12 Feb 07

Little Chickadees

“One spring mornin’ in Tucson,” Two Tonys said, “me and Charlie Batts Battaglia have some business to take care of in the desert. After we do what we hafta do, take care of business, we set off back to Tucson at about 7:45am. I’m ridin’ shotgun in the Batts’ white Caddy Eldorado. The sunroof’s down. I’m enjoyin’ the smell of creosote in the air 'cause it had been rainin’. The sun’s comin’ up through the mesquite trees and the paloverdes. The paloverdes are turnin’ a little yellow. They’re in the bloomin’ stage. We’re cruisin’ along the roly-poly roads in the Catalina Foothills. The radio’s playin’: get up America…we love you…and all that shit. Earth Wind & Fire’s Fantasy comes on. All at once we rise up a steep hill and hit a dip, and we see a hen quail goin’ across the road with little chicklets behind her. All of 'em in a straight line.
The Batts has gotta big Anthony and Cleopatra cigar in his face. He sees the quail family, slams on the fuckin’ brakes, and my head almost goes through the windshield, 'cause I ain’t wearin’ no seat belt. I thought somebody had shot the Batts. I’m scared. I’m wonderin’ whatthafucks goin’ on here? The Caddy is spinnin’ on the gravel but somehow he regains control and we head for breakfast.
At Sambo’s on Miracle Mile, over bacon and eggs, I say to the Batts, ‘You know you almost killed us back there for a fuckin’ bird.’ I’m lookin’ in the eyes of a stone-cold killer, a guy who whacked guys left and right throughout his career but was never nailed for any of 'em. Guys like Lewis Sirotta and Joe Hootner. He was investigated for whackin’ motherfuckers from coast to coast. He knew how to kill and get away with it.
The Batts looks at me and says, ‘Hey. Lemme tellyasomethin’: it wouldna bin da right thing to do. Somewhere out in da desert tonight’ – a smile came across his face – ‘a mother quail and her little chickadees are gonna be altogether at suppertime and I’m not gonna be responsible for breakin’ up their little family an’ squashin’ 'em on the highway.’
I’m saltin’ my cantaloupe, and I get the impression that the Batts is puttin’ me on. But there’s somethin’ in his eyes that tells me he’s serious. This leads me to believe he justified doin’ things he had to do as just somethin’ he had to do. Although I hadn’t seen it too much of it, it was clear that the Batts had a heart.”

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice work!

Anonymous said...

WC Fields would have appreciated this.

Anonymous said...

two tonys as good as ever

Anonymous said...

what happened to Batts in the end?

Skipper said...

To answer the question on what happened to Batts, Charlie died of a heart attack years later. He was still living in the Tucson area until the time of his death.