Mirror, mirror on the wall
By JOSH RESNEK
Boy, Carlo isn’t going to like the picture you’ve used for this column,” the Blue Suit said to me.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “It’s him. Isn’t it?”
“Well, yes. It is him but that’s not how he sees himself,” the Blue Suit answered hesitatingly.
We were seated on a bench at Glendale Park in the afternoon Tuesday. We were people watching while eating. Our lunch consisted of two large Italian subs with everything, including hots. Very yummy – each bite until the last bite.
It was so warm. The sun was so special on our faces. There is nothing quite like getting some sun on our New England faces after a long winter.
“How does the mayor see himself?” I asked.
The Blue suit cleared his throat. “Not like that picture,” he said to me.
“Well, what does he see when he looks in the mirror at himself?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“What do any of us see when we look at our images in a mirror?” I added.
The Blue Suit looked at the baseball fields of Glendale Park.
He watched several women pushing baby carriages and several kids tossing around a ball. The traffic sped by in a steady stream on Ferry Street.
“We see ourselves when we look into the mirror. If we look beyond the image and look into our images, we see something else,” the Blue Suit added. He often has existential thoughts like that.
“Explain, please,” I asked.
“Carlo knows who he is. He doesn’t see who he is when he looks at himself. He’s seeing someone different than the person all of us have come to know, to fear, to loath or even to admire. In a way, he’s a very cheap and indifferent form of an actor, a pretender who plays a role but has no relationship to it other than to read from a script. I think he sees a completely different image of himself than what is revealed in the mirror,” the Blue Suit added with assurance.
“I know this. I’m around the guy a lot. I’m all over him, wrapped around him, worn by him, rubbed wrong by him. He sits on me. He crushes me. He stretches me. He makes my life miserable. You know what? I get the feeling he enjoys mistreating me. Considering how much he wears me; he should be ashamed of himself.”
The Blue Suit relaxed a bit on the bench.
“God. It is so good he isn’t wearing me right now!” he said. “Carlo is a terrible human being when he thinks he owns you.”
The Blue Suit looked up at the sky. Gray clouds moved quickly above us, sometimes obscuring the sun.
“Does he think he owns people?” I asked.
“Absolutely,” the Blue Suit replied.
“When he thinks he owns you, watch out. Things tend to get very bad with him if he thinks like that about a man or a woman.”
A fire engine bolted out of the Ferry Street station and sped down the street. Its diesel engine strained. We watched it pass by sirens blaring and bright red lights flashing on and off, and the engine creating a wave of powerful reverberations.
“Let’s get back to who he sees when Carlo looks at himself. OK?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“Sure,” he said.
“He sees a powerful, heroic, rich, handsome image of himself. He doesn’t see the picture of himself you’ve used in this Blue Suit column.”
“What is that image of him? What does it show? What does it say if you can put it into words?” I asked.
The Blue Suit drew in a breath. He closed his eyes. He answered with clarity.
“That picture of Carlo says this – and I know it does – “’ I’m laughing all the way to the bank,’” the Blue Suit said.
“That’s the Carlo I know and who I don’t like. I don’t like that grotesque expression on his face, laughing like a horse at the world and letting everyone know he’s had a score and he’s heading to the bank. That’s what that picture of Carlo says to me explicitly. He can’t deny it.”
“Why would Carlo deny it?” I asked.
“Because he thinks he’s got everyone fooled. He believes Everett voters, city employees, department heads, firefighters, police officers, even the heads of those departments, real estate, and business owners, developers and vendors with the city are treated like slaves and second-hand acquaintances by him, chattel that must do as he says, or they get fired, tossed under the bus or hassled or all of them together,” the Blue Suit said.
“What exactly does laughing all the way to the bank mean?” I asked.
“Why does Carlo get such a kick at laughing all the way to the bank?”
The Blue Suit lit a Marlboro. He inhaled a big puff. He exhaled slowly.
“Since when are you smoking Marlboro’s,” I asked him.
“I couldn’t stand the menthol in Salem’s anymore,” he said to me.
“OK. Blow the smoke away from me. I hate it,” I pleaded with him.
“Now tell me – what does it mean when Carlo is wearing that diabolical grin?”
“Carlo gets a kick out of laughing all the way to the bank when he’s made a score. You have to know – and I know you do – that Carlo uses the mayor’s office as a way to enrich himself. Whenever he’s made a score and he is heading to the bank, he is laughing like a hyena. That’s how happy he gets. But you know what? As happy as he is to pillage the mayor’s office, he doesn’t save a dime and he always needs more. This is why this upcoming election is so important to him. If he doesn’t remain mayor his income will plunge. His influence will end. I’d predict he moves out of Everett the next day and never comes back if he loses,” the Blue Suit added.
“Does he believe there is a chance he can lose?” I asked.
“Not really. Maybe deep down he understands that he can lose as easily as he can be re-elected. Carlo doesn’t believe Capone has the right stuff to knock him out of office. But let me tell you something, Josh. Capone presents a better image than Carlo. Carlo’s campaign slogan is “Everett for Everyone.” Carlo doesn’t believe it. It is Everett for Carlo. Nothing else matters to him but enriching himself off the back of the taxpayers.”