Downtown Diary 

A New Assignment

A New Assignment
by Rocky the Diabolical Catâ„¢ I resumed playing my vibraphone. My cell phone vibrated again. "Hello ... Rocky here!" "Hlo Rky, Brtlmo Pstla hr!" "What?!?" "Brtlmo Pstla hr!" "Is that you, Bartolomeo Pistola?" "Ys. I sv mny spk lk tlgrm!" "You're trying to save money by speaking as if you were writing a telegram? Really, Bartolomeo! A phone call from Italy to the U.S. costs what, 10, 15 cents a minute? Please speak to me like a normal human being." "OK, OK. Rocky, the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto wants you to go to New Orleans for a story. Can you fit it into your schedule?" "Certainly, dear fellow." "Great! Rocky, Il Manifesto wants you to address the following issues in particular: When and how do the displaced residents get back into their homes without being harassed by police and military? What guarantee is there that they will have the right to return and rebuild? What has happened to the undocumented workers of New Orleans - where did they go? What happens to homeless people - do they get arrested? Will poor people and people of color have a say in what happens to their neighborhoods? And finally: The latest technology was used to identify remains from the WTC disaster - is this happening in New Orleans, too? Can you handle it, Rocky?" "No problem, Bartolomeo. My comrades Ikey and Brooklyn Ivan are down there right now. I'll let them know I'm on my way." "Thanks, Rocky. You are a super-genius writing cat!" "Yes, I know. Adieu, Bartolomeo!"

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