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No Time to Die

Jerry Vilhotti

Jerry Vilhotti graduated from the only college that won the NIT and NCCA basketball tournaments in the same year but more importantly than that-Jonas Salk who helped rid some of the world of polio with his vaccine was also given the opportunity to contribute to Mankind and graduated from the same NYC school that's called in some circles: "The poor man's Harvard". This and the fact that there was a place of higher learning that indeed gave every race, nationality and creed an opportunity to play in the game of sculpting a better world gives him greater joy.

Johnny could have been killed in East New York by three American black guys who thought he had sideswiped them; never realizing he had avoided a crash by going around the driver - onto the sidewalk and just avoiding a pole - who was signaling a right hand turn and only for the fact that Johnny had learned to fight by the age of four in The East Bronx and tossed in against bigger and older kids from "aroun the cawna" by his older so-called brother Leny One N who resented the little blond curly-haired kid becoming their father's favorite - able to win large amounts of moneys from watching people getting five to one odds; among whom was a guy named Julius Garfinkle who had been sent up to The Bronx from lower New York by loving relatives who were trying to save "the little bum" from sitting in an electric chair up the river in Sing Sing and was helped by a principal named Angelo Petri to lose his stammer to finally become the actor John, "Everybody Dies", Garfield and a Tami Mauriello was another watcher from Arthur Avenue who would fight the great Joe Louis in The House That Ruth built and even staggered the man who became a "good niggero" after defeating the "Nazi" Schmeling; giving half the nation that wasn't rooting for the Fuhrer a belief they also could beat the mighty German war machine and then he became a "nigger" again after the IRS hounded him down for moneys he owed the government - a government that could make its own money like Lincoln did and not have to borrow from banks paying huge interest rates to them in its Barnum - like world of suckers - that his handlers had stolen who could not believe the smiling good looking Johnny could fight so well while using Leny's trick of fighting southpaw and learn he did with the impressions of Leny's red blotched hand-prints all over his face until he memorized the skill of jabbing with his right hand and instead of a left hook would follow the straight hard jab with a mighty right cross which brought down many of his opponents and Johnny did fight all frightened up inside.


This very night he fought: sending the biggest guy of the three reeling backwards under the street lights - and not in one of the many dark alleys where people lay dead for days as cops were afraid to go into such places - where Johnny chose to stop at the intersection where four gas stations were situated throwing great heaps of lights out to attract "addicted motorists" looking for a gas fix and after negotiating fifteen green traffic lights by going a steady thirty miles an hour in his brand new convertible Spring-time yellow Mustang. Johnny turned to the little man who had urged a bad beating on the "honk" and said: "You would have been the one to stab me in the back if we were in an alley."


The little guy nodded wearing the same hateful face that people wore while lynching blacks where apartheid once began.


Two cops showed up; one African-American and one an American Jewish guy.


"You're under arrest for this mister white guy."


Johnny asked the guy if he really thought he would be chasing three guys in East New York after attending classes in Manhattan for his masters in world lit and then in September go teach youngsters at Mark Hopkins Junior High?


The white cop nodded saying: "Gosh Booker, that makes sense."


"Ok so you three niggers are under arrest!" the sergeant yelled.


Johnny said: "I'm not pressing charges. It was a misunderstanding among three men." He purposely left the little guy out; making him even more angry.


After this night Johnny would have a recurring dream: he would be walking in a very deep darkness on a street pushing a gurney toward intersections watching for traffic lights to see if they remained green but would fade into a blackness and yet he always managed to get over to the other side and just then an American-black man, a father to his children, began walking to his side and just as suddenly on his left side appeared an African-American cop walking along a bank slightly above the sidewalk and coming toward him were two young American-Black boys smiling happily; similar to the youngsters he was teaching near Myrtle Avenue; telling all his students education was a door to getting out of their rat infested slums and behind them walking slowly with an angry face was another man coming toward him as the man who was Johnny in the dream continued to push forward crossing every intersection whose light would go from a green to a blinking yellow and when Johnny looked to his left lying in the burnt brown grass was the severed head of an African-American .... Johnny always awoke at this point of the dream and recalled vividly how that night returning to their apartment overlooking the Flatlands of Brooklyn he had gone to his four month old son's crib and placed his finger into his hand and only after the baby's tight squeeze and loving smile did he allow himself to cry.


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