#3

cover issue #3

issue #3 . writers, ramblers, poets & outlaws (the characters)

THE LAST MANGO IN PARIS l CAPTAIN TONY TARRACINO
by Cricket Desmarais

I’m sitting in a world-famous bar built around a tree from which 77 criminals were hung, feeling a bit like a rebel drinking a Corona on a Tuesday afternoon. I’m not there to drink, per se, or to enjoy the live music I’ve heard for so many years emanating out of this little dark bar covered in business cards and bras, so much as I am to collect the real story about a man that’s so infamously famous, he’s been dubbed “the salt of Key West” by the New York Times.
And I’m a little nervous he may have forgotten about me. He is, after all, nearing 91. But then a car pulls up and I see a flash of white hair and feet decked out with house slippers behind the car door that is now slowly opening. Out steps the ultimate rebel himself — Captain Tony Tarracino — former bookie, shrimper, gun-runner, gravedigger and mayor, as well as father, husband and general legend of lust, love and lore.
We make our introductions and tuck ourselves into a corner to keep us free from distractions, where I quickly learn there is no such thing when it comes to this man. Captain Tony is like a rock star or a celebrity of sorts — people recognize him and want a little piece of who he is. He is more than happy to oblige. Within minutes, a small crowd has gathered nearby.
“My daughter,” he announces to the crowd, motioning to Josie, who has just returned from parking the car. “One of 13.”
They balk, kindly.
“Where you folks from?” he starts in. The bantering goes on for some time, and then he says “I’m gonna tell you a joke to make you happy.” He points to me and says, “I’m taking you home.”
Laughter.
“I gotta tell you girls,” he adds. “The advantage you have. Every woman has a little bit of whore in them.”
More laughter, except from me. Sure, I’m half-smiling, but my professional footing feels more than a bit shaky. I figure I better roll with it, though, or I’m in for a tough run with this legendary figure who clearly plays by his own set of rules. But this captain’s not insensitive, either; He sees my discomfort and quickly shifts his game. Later he’ll confess that, “in the end, if you want to win people, go to sex. It’s the bottom line.” …

contributors

din allen
james amos
eric anfinson
coleman barks
dominique barrera
sloan bashinsky
nathan benn
lynne bentley-kemp
brad bertelli
margit bisztray
rosalind brackenbury
barbara bowers
brita v. brookes
kirby congdon
tom corcoran
marie cosindas
jane day
cricket desmarais
dominique falkner
barry george
c.s. gilbert
alexis girard d’albissin
sarah goodwin-nguyen
connie “c.j.” groth
scott gruppé
ben harrison
arlo haskell
mark hedden
eric vaughn holowacz
mark howell
danne hughes
nell husted
corky irick
michael jarvis
susan johnson
matt dukes jordan
don kincaid
tony klein
david laughlin
bud lee
sheri lohr
jeff macnelly
markham mcgill
francis masat
sharon mcgauley
sandy mckinney
allen meece
brett c. millier
jennifer mitchell
marsh muirhead
carol munder
kim narenkivicius
giovanni novara
letty nowak
jennifer o’lear
rob o’neal
reese palley
suzy peña
reef perkins
jane phillips
marky pierson
david plumb
saul paul stewart
jim savio
joanne savio
terry schmida
emily schulten
laurel seaborn
billy selesnick
carol shaughnessy
jimm sherrington
edward steinhardt
laura theobald
elizabeth thomas
michael w. thomas
nick vagnoni
barbara vogel
ellen warner
richard wilbur
cassandra womack
jenny zeller

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