Tonight Bobby Bellini is celebrating. In fact, he is celebrating this very moment. And though it is a hellacious celebration, one his neighbors will surely phone the authorities about, there is but one missing ingredient.
So Mr. Bellini slides the record from its sleeve, places it carefully on his turntable, watches ceremoniously as the needle descends upon it, and listens to the soft hissing before Kool and the Gang come boogieing through the speakers, possessing him to sing along—“Celebrate good times, come on!”—though whatever sounds are coming from his mouth appear guttural, wretched, out of tune.
The record, in case you are wondering (surely you are), belonged to Grandma Bellini; she used to love old Kool (and his gang). In fact, Bobby wishes she had a copy to listen to now, to celebrate with, as she lay dying in the biting cold sterility of a nursing home room; her mind all or half gone; her kids thumping bibles in Texas, purchasing land in the Carolinas, or stagnating in Brooklyn or Bremen somewhere—Bobby’s family, the lot of them: rotting, limping fruit hung like ornaments from some gutted-out Christmas tree. All celebrating.
In a small room on a numbered avenue Bobby Bellini weeps for Grandma Bellini’s bones, wishing he could celebrate beside her—a disintegration postponement, he calls it—but he hasn’t the strength: he is captured, cornered, having to salvage what’s left of his own life.
So now, tossing in this bed-less, love-less room, walls on fire, Bobby on fire, the celebration continues—while downing a tall-boy (the contents dribbling down the front of Bobby’s shirt, embarrassingly); while hitting the bong so hard his eyes turn to glass and break; while Willa, his ex-lover, his once-savior, celebrates with another in the same holy bed the two of them had once celebrated in—a bed they both slept in and loved in, a bed Bobby was content to die in.
And yes, despite this feeling of abandonment—this feeling of being some useless, unwrapped gift that nobody really wanted to begin with—Mr. Bellini will go on celebrating. He will celebrate like a mad man. Like a damn fool he will do it. He will celebrate, regardless.
It is Bobby Bellini’s celebratory right.
Photo Source: Maddalena’s