New York Coliseum 1979
Charley Goes For a Walk

Freight is flyin’! Moving out the National
Computer Conference. The Big Apple. I’m
in a truck myself, shoving, lifting - sweaty
June day. My pretty young wife arrives
between trailers, my two-year-old son
in a stroller, dressed to take us to visit her
sweet, old and very proper English Granny,  
pleasant matriarch, for tea at the Jersey shore. 

Up walks Willie, on the dock, gruff siciliano
clean plaid work shirt, black Members
Only jacket, plaid drivers’ cap on thick
white hair, says, “Cal, dat youah boy?”   
I say “Yes,” and introduce him to Margaret
and my first-born. “Hey, Cal, c’n I take him for
a wawk?” Her eyes at me say, “Huh?”

“Sure!” I say. “Back in a houah,” 
says Willie, my pal, steward of the
biggest Teamster local at the New York
Coliseum, principal axis of trade both
inside and outside of the USA, where
everything we make is up for sale, 
even Willie’s friendship, which comes to
my non-union company at a high price.

Yeah, it’s an offer I can’t refuse, at this place
where corruption erupted even before the first
wrecking ball laid waste the old apartments and
stores at the foundation site, where soon after, 
they say, Willie, young hitman for the Mob, 
got his job in a shootout on the roof—may
the best paisan win. In this case, not the one
who was skimming off the top, but a new
hood whose 45 shot straight. The old cheat
got a pair of new shoes and a wet home in
the East River, and the price to back into a
union dock went down, so that’s good. Right?  

Speechless, Margaret’s eyes follow
while Willie strolls off with our cherished son, 
as his five bodyguards, all packin’, fall in
their random formation nonchalantly
around the Boss for his afternoon walk
across Columbus Circle into Central Park.
And her look says, “What the…?” and I just say:

“For the next hour our beloved son is the best
protected kid in the whole wild City of New York.”