— Eye on Everett —


Conversations between Leader Herald Editor Josh Resnek and the mayor’s Blue Suit


I picked up the Blue Suit at the end of Abbott Street. It was shortly before noon on Tuesday.
“I’m hungry,” the Blue Suit growled placing his hands on his stomach.

“I want to eat. I want to eat something delicious,” he said to me.

“OK, buddy,” I answered. “We’re heading to Tarps – Santarpios in East Boston. Sit back and relax. We’ll be there in about 15 minutes.”

We drove through streets without much traffic. The July 4 week is quiet. Many people are on vacation or have gone away. At Santarpio’s we were given a table in the front of the restaurant.

“Ah, listen to that. It is music to my ears and hits me right in my heart,” the Blue Suit said to me.

Frank Sinatra’s famous song, “That’s Life,” was booming from the jukebox at the rear of the restaurant.

The Blue Suit sang along – briefly: “That’s life…that’s what all the people say. You’re riding high in April, shot down in May. But I know I’m gonna change that tune, When I’m back on top, back on top in June…”

We ordered.

Three large sausage pizzas. Three plates of sausage and lamb, extra hooves of Santarpio’s homemade crusty bread and Coke for me, and two bottles of Budweiser for the Blue Suit.

Lefty, who’s been cooking grilled lamb and sausage over wood chips on the grill at the front of the place for longer than 35 years came over to our table.

“I thought that was you,” he said to the Blue Suit.

They exchanged a hearty hello with a vigorous high five and slap that could be heard all around.

“Lefty, what’s up my friend,” the Blue Suit replied.

At tables near to us, groups of people eating stopped for a moment and craned their necks to get a closer look at the Blue Suit talking with Lefty.

At several tables, I heard a familiar reprise: “Look. That’s him. That’s the Blue Suit.” Or as one man cried out: “What’s the Blue Suit doing here in East Boston. I heard the Blue Suit never leaves Everett!”

Several people tried pushing Lefty out of the way so they could shake hands with the Blue Suit.

“I know when I’m not wanted,” Lefty said to the Blue Suit with a smile. “I’ve got to get back to the grill…great to see you, my friend,” he told the Blue Suit.

The commotion about the Blue Suit appearing at Tarps lasted a few verses of the Sinatra song still playing.

“Listen to those lyrics,” the Blue Suit demanded.

Sinatra’s voice is mesmerizing.

The Blue Suit sang along.

“I said that’s life and as funny as it may seem, Some people get their kicks stomping on a dream but I don’t let it, let it get me down, cause this fine old world, it keeps spinning around.” We devoured the bread and hot peppers. The Blue Suit sucked down a Bud. I sipped from my Coke.

When the pizza arrived, we were quiet and determined to enjoy every slice.

And we did.

Tarp’s pizza is a one-off. There is nothing else quite like it.

You either love it or some of you don’t. Firm crust, a wonderful sweet red sauce, great sausage, and plenty of cheese a bit watery and loose. That’s Tarp’s trademark.

The Blue Suit and I talked about life right now and what it is like for us – for him and for me.

We talked about recent attacks lodged against us, as if he, the Blue Suit, doesn’t exist and that I am a liar.

“Can you imagine some people thinking and believing that I am not real and that I don’t know what I’m talking about?” the Blue Suit said to me with just a touch of anguish.

“Some people like to claim I don’t exist, that I’m a figment of your imagination. That really pisses me off. It pisses off Carlo, too. He knows I exist. He wears me all the time. He knows I keep all his secrets. He does not like at all that I reveal some of his secrets to you. Why do you think he complains so vociferously about me?” the Blue Suit asked me.

I shook my head in disbelief.

“Yeah. Yeah. You’re right about that,” I told the Blue Suit. “Some people out there believe everything you tell me is a lie, that all the stories are made up like fiction – can you imagine that!” I said to the Blue Suit.

“Little does the world know and little does the world care

about the stories we share, and the friendship we share, Josh,” the Blue Suit said to me. “We share truth but the truth is a terri- ble weapon of aggression for most people, isn’t it?”

“What we discuss is as real and truthful as Sinatra’s song about our lives, about life in general,” I added thoughtfully.

The Blue Suit repeated Sinatra’s lyrics as walked out of Tarps into the afternoon sun in East Boston.

“I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a king, I’ve been up and down and over and out and I know one thing, Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race,” chimed out the Blue Suit.

“Isn’t that the truth,” I said to the Blue Suit. “I’ve had millions and I’ve lost millions. I’ve been up and I’ve been down. I’ve been all around and you too. But at least we share all this and we acknowledge our failings as well as our successes. It’s just all about being honest about our lives, isn’t it?” I asked the Blue Suit.

We talked briefly about Carlo.

“He’s in a strange place these days,” the Blue Suit said.

“How so?” I asked.

“Sometimes it seems to Carlo like the world is crashing down all around him. At other times, he remains the same guy I’ve known for longer than a decade. He does believe he is untouchable by the law. He seems impervious to the US Attorney’s threats. Yet he is uptight. He wears his feelings on my sleeve if you don’t mind. I don’t like that about him. He’s angry all the time. He’s uptight. He’s still pissed off that his $40,000 a year longevity payment was taken away from him. You know it would have been $50,000 this year,” the Blue Suit said to me.

“Why didn’t he take it?” I asked the Blue Suit.

“Because his lawyers told him if he took it he could be in trouble. He could be in trouble anyway. Let’s see what hap- pens,” the Blue Suit added.

And then he sang out these lyrics from that Sinatra song that was playing when we arrived at Tarps.

“That’s life. That’s life and I can’t deny it, many times I thought of cutting out but my heart won’t buy it, but if there’s nothing shaking come this here July, I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball and die.

“My, my.”

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