THE BLUE SUIT
Personal conversations between the mayor’s Blue Suit and Leader Herald editor Josh Resnek.
“What did you think about Queen Elizabeth dying?” I asked the Blue Suit.
He looked at me as though I was an alien.
“Do you think I cared about Queen Elizabeth?” he answered. “Are you nuts?”
“First of all, Josh, those royals would never have anything to do with me. I’m machine made and they’d never let me forget it. Those folks don’t buy off the rack, Josh. They are upper class snobs, about as bad as you be.”
I thought about this for a moment. What would the royals think about someone like me, I wondered to myself.
After all, I wasn’t born in a castle. I was born at the Whidden Hospital. Not many royals were born there over the decades.
The royals would think I was very common, Jewish, about as unroyal as you can be – and they’d be right.
“But what do you think about having royal blood?” I asked the Blue Suit.
Again, he gave me a look of contempt.
“Royal blood. Are you kidding me, Josh. The blood flowing through King Charles veins and his kids veins and their kids veins, well, it’s just blood. There is no such thing as royal blood. Such an idea is ridiculous.”
“Is Carlo’s blood royal?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“Of course it is, Josh. He’s the mayor. Didn’t you know that? He’s just like the royals!” the Blue Suit said to me.
“You mean there’s no difference between being the mayor of Everett and being the King of England, or the Prince of Wales, or the Earl of Beckwith?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“Wait. Put a pin in that thought, I’ll be right back,” I told the Blue Suit.
I jumped out of my car. We were in Everett Square in front of the Everett Bank. I opened the door to the Square Deli and walked in.
Chris, the owner greeted me as always. He reached for a large bag and handed it to me. I handed him my debit card. In a moment I was heading back to my car when I noticed a small crowd milling around the passenger door side of the car.
About six people were all reaching for the Blue Suit’s hand, exchanging fists, and mock high fives.
They passed me as I made my way back to the car. I heard them saying things like: “Yo. The Blue Suit. Like he’s so cool.” Or “The Blue Suit…he rocks like a star inside that car” and the others were congratulating themselves on meeting the Blue Suit. “Man. He’s like a celebrity, dude, you know!”
“Never met a guy like him…he rocks…he’s major league they said to one another smiling and shaking their heads in disbelief. “I thought I’d never meet him,” said one to the other. As they walked past me.
Thank God that ended.
This was in the early afternoon Tuesday after the rain abated. We decided on a bench in Charlestown that overlooks the Mystic River and faces Everett in the park by the Schrafft’s Building. We situated ourselves on a bench. We broke into the bag from Square Deli.
Now commenced what we two do best, that is, breaking bread.
No matter how uptight we might be or how much pressure we might feel or how greatly we want to vent our frustrations, eating together straightens us right out.
The Blue Suit began with a large meatball sub with extra sauce and grated cheese. He followed that with a large Italian with everything and hots, and when he was finished with that, he ate half of a chicken cutlet sub before saying to me “God. I’m so full I could explode.”
When the Blue Suit says something like this to me I take it seriously. I fled the car and stood outside because if he exploded, well, it would be an incredible mess.
“I was joking,” the Blue Suit said to me with a laugh and a smile.
“How are you doing, Josh? Are you OK?
There’s a lot of talk going around about you, you are aware of that?” he asked.
“Yeah. I read everything. I listen to every- one. Chatter can be a great deal of fun and it can also be a source of anxiety if you let it get to you. You must remember this. Always consider where the chatter is coming from. In other words, who is saying what and does it matter or count? That is the question. In my case, I’ve stood alone here for longer than five years. The Everett political scene today is a far different place than it was five years ago. There is an uprising taking place. You know it. Carlo knows it. I know it. Five years ago, it was incomprehensible to think the mayor could be touched and his closest allies liked to say he would be the mayor forever. Forever, my friend, is a very long time, isn’t it?”
“You’re right about that, Josh” the Blue Suit said to me thoughtfully.
“I always believed I’d have a place in the mayor’s closet on Abbott Avenue until I was torn apart and was thrown away. Now, I’m not so sure how long I’m going to get inside that closet or being worn by the mayor. You know, Josh, nothing lasts forever, does it?”
“Are you trying to be a philosopher?” I joked. “You’ve had a great run. Things are likely to change. They are changing right now. This isn’t the city your boss recognizes anymore. It’s a different place, growing more multi-cultural by the day. Your boss, at times, is a stranger in a strange land. Not everyone is listening to him as they did five years ago. Everything he tries is now a hassle with many people speak- ing their minds. Nothing is simple or the way he wants it to be anymore. You know what I mean?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“Do you think I’m mind dead, Josh?” he asked me. “Do you think I haven’t noticed the change? Well I have, and the boss has, too. It is all disconcerting. After all, the last thing any of us want is change. Don’t you think?”
“What would you do if Carlo came home and said to you – “That’s it. I’m done with you. I’m taking you from this closet and bringing you to the Salvation Army Store. We’re done.”
The Blue Suit thought about this for a moment.
“I’d do everything in my power to ruin his life if he tried a stunt like that. To be treated like that after everything I’ve done for him. Forget it!”