Word Count 500
What the Future May Hold
By Mike Cecconi
My father met a lot of people for a man who never lived anywhere other than Little Falls. Dad possessed more than one lifetime’s worth of stories and he told the hell out of them. He assumed, for example, that there was an FBI file on him, a small one, since he partied with leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society a couple of times. I hope he had one, he would’ve loved it. I may have one through the friends-of-friends running Occupy Wall Street the brief year I lived in Brooklyn. I held to my father’s commission in my own way. I will admit, I would love it too.
Three Other Stories:
He met Isaac Asimov once, after a speech at the community college. My dad peppered him with questions, my dad wrote science-fiction before responsibility ate up all his time, questions about writing, questions about what the future may hold. Isaac just bluntly replied “that’s all great but can you tell me where the loose women are in this town?”
Dad met John Belushi once, after a comedy show near Buffalo. Drunk, maybe stoned, he snuck into the green room to liberate some drinks for his friends. Belushi walked in, Pop still stuffing bottles in his pockets and said… Dad always said he’d never forget this, he said… “WHO THE HELL ARE YOU, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?” But he didn’t say Hell, of course, family audience and all that. Dad just toasted him and ran off with seven free beers.
Dad met the poet laureate Stanley Kunitz once, after a talk at one of the SUNY schools. They got drunk together and, again as with Asimov, my dad sought out advice. Stanley walked him out to his car, showed him the trunk and said, “a nice kid like you shouldn’t be in the arts, this car, this suitcase they’re all that I have, just driving around lecturing strangers, all for marginal fame, it’s not worth it.”
My father turned down offers to go play with rock bands out in California, maybe considering what Kunitz said, he got a job in a munitions factory where he received the chemical exposure that eventually ate his heart away, married my mom, raised us, didn’t set foot in L.A. until his boys moved out there themselves, died of a heart attack in my little brother’s arms in Tarzana California at the age of just sixty-three.
I’ve always kept my life minimal as I can, I avoid taking on responsibility whenever able, though I see it through when it’s thrust upon me and I have keep writing wherever I end up. For better or for worse, I hold to my dad’s commission and I refuse to buy what some poet laurate’s drunk-ass cynicism was selling. My dad told the kinds of stories that would’ve made the gods weep with delight and I will spend my life trying to live up to that, regardless of what the future may hold.