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StatNisland in SanFrancisco Robert Sheridan bobsheridan bobsheridan@earthlink.net Fresh out of French Roast, I wandered into da Caffe Roma across from the San Francisco Hall of Injustice and ordered a stiff cup to open my eyes for the second cup required to make it through an entire day.

I wuz out late last night.

Visiting firemen in town.

A guy I hadn't seen in, oh, say, about 42 years, minus a month or two. Yeah, my classmate from Curtis, Class of June, ‘58, last century. And his charming girlfriend, Barbars. What's a guy my age doin' in San Francisco wit' his girlfriend, I didn't wanna ask, but they looked like they were havin' a good time, especially at the bar of McCormick and Kuleto's, the premier place on Fishermen's Wharf if you don't count all the other premier places on the Wharf, each one a little better than the next for fresh seafood. This place is special for the oysters flown in from all over the world except Raritan Bay off the Sout' Shaw of StatNisland for reasons you're all familiar with.

"Ken, I'd recognize you anyplace."

"Bob, you haven't changed a bit!"

Ken's a bigger liar than I am. I think it comes from the water on the Island.

"Hey, Ken, there's somethin' I needya to do for me, you forgot last time."

"Whaddya want me to do, sign your Yearbook or sumtin?"

"Howdju know?"

Parese is smarter than I gave him credit for, I'm thinking, as I produce this album printed by Johannes Gutenberg. Ken starts to inscribe right over his picture, which is okay, because, lemme tellya, that picture is outdated.

"Wait, Ken, hold up a sec, I gotta camera, I wanna capture this. I got some friends I wanna show it to, on the Innernet, if that's okay wi'chu. ." I havta tawk this way to Ken because he's from StatNisland and wouldn't unnerstan' good English if I knew how to speak it. Which I'm not sayin' I do, but you understand.

He signs it, "4/20/2000. Bob, it took you 42 years to get this. Ken P."

Ken is the one who found me here on the SI-Web and emailed asking if I was the same guy who's picture appears on page 104 of the Curtis ‘58 Yearbook, the one with the Sputnik on the cover. Caught dead to rights, I had to cop out that I wuz.

"Next time I'm in Frisco we're gettin' together," he writes. "Okay pal, it's okay with me." Classmate ‘n all. He doesn't know that if you say Frisco in Frisco, they shoot you. How would he know, he's from Curtis. It takes Curtisites a while longer to catch on, but when we get hot, watch out.

Ken, the lovely and personable Barbara, and I spend the next couple hours catching up on 42 years of adventuring and "Who've-you-seen-lately?" Easy for me, being 3,000 miles away. A little tougher on Barbara, as she's from da Bronx.

But I digress. I wuz tellin' you about the next morning, today, when I needed to mainline some caffeine and I wandered into the Caffe Roma across from the San Francisco Hall of Injustice where the criminal lawyers practice telling their lies.

If a lie works on us, you can try it out across the street in fronta da nice folks in the Black Nighties. You know, tall desk, in fronta the flag, next to the Holding Cell?

It never works on us.

We know all the lies.

With us, even the truth is a lie.

You gotta get up real early to get one past us.

Here's today's conundrum. No, that's not something that floats up on the South Shore at low tide. It's the staff of life in the criminal law. A case.

A guy in his twenties goes out with a girl in her teens, for years, and they enjoy each other's attentions. After she turns eighteen, she lives with him for a couple of years, goes deer hunting with him, and finally they split up. Some more years go by and she's all screwed up. Her parents never liked this guy. She complains to the police, "He screwed me when I wuz only 17, or 16, or 15...", or any number you want to imagine.

The DA charges him with dozens of counts of sexual misconduct worth more years in prison than I can count without dragging out the calculator. The bail is in the million$. The DA won't consent to lower the bail because the guy had guns and she's all screwed up, and they're saying he used force and he's responsible for her being all screwed up.

Jeez, I say, any-a-you guys know a defense to this?

I gotta better one, says one of the attorneys. I've got the priest arrested for alledgely molesting the altar boys. The bail is twice as high as in your case!

Well, he's a priest, whaddya want?

"Hey, Sheridan!" interrupts Tony, Lisa's cugino. "You know anyone on Staten Island?"

"No!"

I never admit knowing anyone on StatNisland. You could get killed. Maybe it's someone who remembers.

Then I remembered.

The package.

Someone mailed me a package. The Caffe Roma left a message on my machine. Bill collectors have trouble getting past that machine. Much better than a secretary answering the phone saying "He'll call you right back."

I went upstairs to get the package, but the door was locked. Lisa wasn't around today. Back downstairs, Tony Cugino says the package is down here.

One of the attorneys says, "Sheridan, you get your mail here?" like this was such a great idea why didn't he think of it first.

"Only on special occasions, and I think this is one of them."

I write on the SI-Web about pizza, beer, computerized personal data assistants, and all kinds of stuff. No one has ever sent me a pitcher of beer or a pizza. Last time I wrote about the PDA, someone sent me one made out of paper, at da Caffe Roma. I hadda write a story just to thank him.
I was so touched. Then someone emailed Lisa tellin' her she oughtta be a lot nicer to me, and another character posted an image with my mug pasted next to hers. It wuz gettin' to be a pain in the a*s straightening things out.

But here I was, touched again.

Youse guys gotta cut this out, otherwise I'm gonna start writing about a nice boat I always wanted but never got around to acquiring.

I open this huge cardboard box, big enough to hold a computer monitor.

It's fulla popcorn! Everybody's looking at me looking at popcorn.

What's this, I wonder, did I write about popcorn on the SI-Web? I don't think so. It smells good, but it's packing material. I go digging. Hidden underneath is a big bakery box.

Alfonso's Pastry Shoppe, Victory Boulevard, Amboy Road, and Richmond Road. Home!

"Hey you guys, you gotta try this, it's StatNisland crumbuns." I don't even havta open the box. I know what's inside.

A ton of crumbuns. A dozen per bag, loads of bags. Still fresh.

I start handing ‘em out. "Hey, try this!"

"These are good, what are they?"

"Crumbuns from StatNisland, my hometown. Place is famous, known all over the world, for crumbuns, ahead of pizza and beer, even. Try some. In StatNisland da cops don't eat donuts, they eat crumbuns. When they lock up potential clients, they call ‘em Crumbums, as in "I collared some Crumbum the other day and you'll never guess what happened," "that kinda thing.

So that's what we did this morning. We scarfed up crumbuns.
That's an old StatNisland word, scarfed. It means eating more crumbuns than you should at one time.

Then I remembered I had a camera in the bag of tricks that I carry around. Whenever I need a killer piece of evidence, that's where I keep it. The universal evidence locker it is. Need a confession stating someone else did it? That's where I keep it.

So I took some pictures and had some taken of us scarfing up crumbuns. Some day I'll get the roll developed and send you a good one.

Then my son Teddy paged, needing a ride from the airport. He was back from seeing my little kid at school in Boston. So I grabbed my buns, stashed ‘em in the evidence locker, and vaulted onto the motorway to SFO.

What am I gonna do with the rest of the crumbuns?

I've got ‘em in the freezer, waiting for Easter Sunday, two days away. Then I'm gonna show Teddy, Robbie, my big boy, and Marie, my probation officer (their lovely mother, my wife, whom I happily see weekly) what life is really like on a Sunday morning.

So I wanna thank, repeat Thank, alla you StatNislandahs for thinking of me, again. (Remember, next time it's a boat that I really need.) Especially Cron Ron, who went to a lot of trouble and expense, and his trusty henchwoman, the Sultry Gina, who plotted together, just to make me more nostalgic than I usually am.

Loved the buns.

Excellent!

Later.

-rs




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