Please press play for some mood music
Sandy looked through the drawers and found the cigar box. They were filled with photos of her Uncle Rocco and after flipping through half of them, she found her favorite. It was the one of him all decked out leather. She smiled.
"It takes a certain kind of man to wear leather," he told her when she first saw this amazing picture. "People can tell if you're not meant for it so don't ever let the jacket wear you."
She smiled some more and felt her bottom lip quiver. She bit it, stifled herself and remembered the story behind the photo.
* * *
"The Wild One" was just released and everyone under 25 wanted to be Brando. Problem was, Rocco didn't have the scratch to buy a motorbike like the Triumph Thunderbird 6T in the film, so the family car would have to do.
Uncle Rocco and the rest of the neighborhood's throttle jockey hooligans worked on the engine round the clock and pretty soon, that heap was tighter than a bank vault with a busted timelock.
Still, no matter how ponies rumbled under that hood, there was that outlaw biker just itching to get out.
So Rocco compensated, bought a leather jacket from Andy's Thrift Shop and played the role of Johnny Strabler. With his 'duck's ass' (D.A.) pompadour greasier than the 'spoon' off Interstate 344, Uncle Rocco swore he was tough enough to swap punches with a power shovel -- all 138 pounds of him. He even went so far as to rip up his draft notice.
That afternoon, after Rocco lit his first Pall Mall, Spike McCrory took a snapshot of him before catching "The Wild One" yet again at the drive-in. By the time it was through, they had enough puffy chest incentive to rebel against as many 'whaddya gots' as they could possibly find.
Uncle Rocco and Spike sauntered into the nearby malt shop and plopped their rumps at the counter. It was a packed Saturday night and Rocco saw a slinky piece of homework that caught his eye. He smiled and had a waitress send over a milkshake. Funny. That night, there was all sorts of extra credit going on, and that slinky piece of homework was on everyone's mind - namely Mikey Mapplethorpe - who hip checked Uncle Rocco out of his stool.
The place went quiet. Spike helped Rocco to his feet and as the rest of the malt shop watched, Rocco knew what they didn't. The switchblade in his back pocket was primed and ready.
* * *Uncle Rocco got out of jail a few years later and by then, the country's newest rebel was a lost cause after he perished in a Porsche 550 Spyder on Route 466 in California.
Sandy was glad that the 'slinky piece of homework' -- her Aunt Sally -- pretty much reformed Uncle Rocco and by the time he was released, he was on the straight and narrow and the two were married a few months later.
The tears were coming back now and she put the picture back in the cigar box with the others and headed to the funeral home. Driving there she just knew her favorite picture would be the big hit of her collage.
Music: "Wild Wild Young Men," by Ruth Brown. It can be downloaded HERE.
Art: A tip of the hat to Paul Bishop at 'Bish's Beat' for the inspirational pic. Check out his blog. Its filled with all sorts of pulpy and retro delights.