ABSOLUTELY*KATE: Harry's gonna tell you how our tale grew. Fellow Harbinger*33 writer par excellence Eric Beetner's "FIST" contest urged our jab. We realized no matter how the bell rung, we had punched out something pretty cool together. If you know the vibrant young writer causing Australia to rock with spotty socks, Scarlett Rose . . . you'll dig Har's enlightenment:
HARRY: My favorite Little Scarley Roo's proposal of matrimony to a spicy sweet cream-cheese snack was the inspiration for Sweet Chili Philly's naming. A*K and I had a ball spinning and knitting our little yarn in between football games over the course of one weekend. We were So Proud of ourselves we presented it to Little Roo for her birthday. I understand Roo has put off he wedding plans with this tasty snack spread and is mainly interested in human boy suitors these days.
Our good pal who calls me Hal, Michael Solender, was kind enough to debut SCP at the NOT and we were quite pleased with the response. SWEET CHILI PHILLY is back for a short engagement right here AT THE BIJOU during NOIR*ARAMA feature presentations. Absolutely*Kate and I think there is more to Sweet Chili's story and we might just . . . correction, I'm told we WILL hammer something out between basketball games and horse races one weekend soon. Until then, please grab a snack and enjoy Sweet Chili Philly!
ABSOLUTELY*KATE: Prequel? Sequel? Well - yeah - BOTH ... You're nuttin' in this world if you don't create in prolific positives.
Here you go Folks ~ a memorable character,
SWEET CHILI PHILLY ~
SWEET CHILI PHILLY
A 1-2 punch by ~
Absolutely*Kate and Harry B. Sanderford
At 52, Sweet Chili Philly’s punchier days were behind him. But on a Saturday night, for a twenty dollar bill or a careless remark, he’d still dot your eye. Came one Saturday night, in rained a cold October bluster and just that kind of careless remark reconnoitered Philly’s muster.
Yes, it was autumn in New York for Philly when this uptown dandy in a brown plaid wool sport coat with a Norfolk style back, three patch pockets in the front -- one showing a hand clenching more than just plaid pocket lint -- barged into Sweet Chili Philly’s streetcorner. I saw the whole thing. That particular streetcorner held no desire.
“Hey Sport, got the time?” Otis Floyd was working wallets and watches when he spotted a beaut cutting off circulation to the ham dangling from the big lug’s sleeve. Probably a ten dollar Times Square Rolex but what had really caught his shifty eyes was the diamond studded doorknob glinting from this manatee of a man’s mammoth middle finger.
The stranger’s size did not intimidate Otis. A small man himself, he was armed and dangerous. He took a little too much pride in his appearance and still greater pleasure in besting a bigger man. He had no idea how poorly he’d chosen his mark or his words.
At 32, Sweet Chili Philly was riding the world higher than most ever gain a vantage point. Punchy successes followed round after round, match after match, in each contested bout on his way to the top. There was never any doubt that what Chili sought was what Philly got. The shining gem on his middle finger bore testimony to his ability to pulverize palookas with his sweet left hook. He earned his sparkly prize along with the WBF heavyweight title in lucky Round 13, if you know what I mean, against a mean crowd from Queens hooting and hollering for their very own local hunk of meat, two-time world champ Rodney Rocky-Jaw Brawlter.
Rocky Jaw presumably collected his moniker through his ability to take a punch, but after Sweet Chili’s methodical disassembly and ultimate knock-out blow, there was consensus among wagerers that it was his feet and not his chin made of granite.
Hard to know you’ve peaked until you’ve begun your descent. Sweet Chili Philly was on top of the world for approximately 72 hours before he started seeing phantoms. After another 72 hours of neurological examinations a team of specialists disagreed on diagnosis and treatment but were unanimous in their decision that the symptoms were the result of one too many blows to the head. And with that Sweet Chili Philly’s career as a professional boxer was over.
Phantoms may not exactly describe what Sweet Chili saw. What he saw wasn’t so unusual really. It was always a boy, the same boy. Sometimes he was riding his bike, other times maybe he’d be casting a fishing line. When he saw these phantoms they were as real and vivid as the crimson puddles he’d left on the canvas of the squared circle and he always saw them through the eyes of the boy’s faithful companion, Sport.
"Here Sport! Heeeeey Sport!" What dog day afternoons were Sweet Chili's run-run-runarounds in the sweet spot his brain refrained with this boy, a place akin to a Mayberry state of mind. The boy he saw as true regularly let loose with a piercing yet jaunty whistle to come home to, a playful sound that conjured the first rambunctious peace to which his pugilistic life had ever let down his guard. A ferocious loyalty to protect something more than a right cross or uppercut jabbed at his own glistening flesh in the ring, was resonating into all his realities recently.
I swallowed these truths to be self-evident as easy as the Chianti sloshed into my chipped goblet at Louie De Palma's Mangiamo in the Bowery, the night Sweet Chili held my hand across a checkered tablecloth. He held his breath too, wanting me to know and believe all the sides a tough guy was offering so sweetly to let him honestly into my life. Takes a strong man to offer himself up. I sipped. I listened. I considered. The waiter served another slice of pepperoni and mushrooms with extra cheese. Sweet Chili served more slices of life, straight up. That's the night I fell and fell hard for the big tough lug. When he clumsily leaned over the tortellini con farcia di vitello for our first smack at a smooch, I knew I was down for the count. I agreed to meet him on the weekend for a tentative trip to Atlantic City. The gamble was how his Ma would take to another woman in his life. I remember - he joked, said I'd have a fighting chance.
Sweet Chili Philly read the suggestion poking from the little squirt’s plaid pocket but did not look at his watch, “It’s time you move along partner, I’m meeting someone.” He saw the boy again and this time the boy was not alone. Otis Floyd decided showing the gun might improve its impact, “Listen Sport, just gimmee the ring.” The boy led the beautiful woman by the hand, they walked the path now familiar to Sweet Chili Philly. He realized he loved the boy and also that he loved the woman. Otis pointed the gun and cocked the trigger, “The ring Damn it!”.
His fighting days behind him, his loving days before him, one more fight, the fight of his life for his life flashed before his eyes as the boy’s whistle, the woman’s scream all careened in a single blazing moment of crimson pride rising again. His right leg came forward when the first two knuckles struck the side of Otis Floyd’s runty head. It appeared Sweet Chili dazed and weakened both the propensity for the little man’s clean shot as well as his desire for heavy flashy jewelry, but it didn’t stop there.
I was screaming, screaming from the streetcorner, pointing the young traffic policeman towards the scene of the crime in progress. In slow motion, I saw a fast flash of the full momentum of the man I now was sure I loved, pivot back, rotating anger and focus on his now blubbering target. His arm swung out like a fishing pole in a wide arc, the sheer speed of his turn and this turn of events drove his fist into this sap’s head. Temple, jaw, nose and ear were not in the same configurations when the cop made the scene.
His piercing but jaunty whistle emitted complete admiration, “Saaaay, wasn’t that the Spinning Backfist? And ain’t you Sweet Chili Philly? Man oh man, my old man took me to Queens the night you K-O’d Rocky Jaw Brawlter. This guy here was armed and dangerous, I’m hauling him in. Uh, can I have your autograph, sir?”
(C) 2009, Authors Absolutely*Kate and Harry B. Sanderford
Very special gratitude for the soul of Solender's illustrative genius.
What can I tell you about Absolutely*Kate and Harry B. Sanderford? That they swallow ideas for breakfast like Peyton Manning shows up on Wheaties boxes. FUEL, for thought, for wordsmithery, for just plain fun and for turning out stories . . . and then some. Watch for the book Harbinger*33 struttin' their stuff plus more published stories they tend to stir.
Oh yeah, and their repertoire and links of other good stuff is over there, on the Showcase*ShowOff Wall to the right. Do carouse, browse and get to know the very fine authors AT THE BIJOU so proudly presents!
~ Absolutely*Kate and the very fine staff of renown, AT THE BIJOU