October 2008 / Volume 8 / Issue Three
Samantha Arlotta
Gabe the Mod

has lived in the same house since he was born

heís lived in that old stucco place on tortilla flats
for 41 years

and you have to climb 70 stairs of
overgrown ivy and crushed snails
to get to the front door where
he lives with his mother
alone in this place with 5 bedrooms

his sister Sally used to live there too
but she died of an aneurysm three years ago
and ever since their mother has
refused to leave the house

she hasnít left the house at all
for any reason

she just stays on the couch watching basic cable
eating whatever Gabe the Mod brings up for her
watching videos on their old VCR
and smoking Marlboro Lights while he goes out drinking

Gabe the Mod wakes up to an 18 pack
every morning and doesnít stop drinking til he
passes out listening to the Quadrophenia soundtrack
in his car
sometimes a cigarette in hand

we donít know whatís going to happen to him
but it canít be good

my dad and I talk about it more and more often now

sometimes the phone calls come in
at 4 am

Gabe the Mod blasting an old 70s theme song
or quoting 45 minutes worth of Jaws

he has this amazing fact recall and can recite
whole movies word for word
pause for pause

could have done a thousand things with
all that passion, you know

Gabe the Mod is my godfather
I used to call him my nino

everyone protested and my grandmother
in particular thought it was sacrilege for
some one like that to even be at the baptism

but thatís the way my dad was
he didnít care what anyone said
and now my grandmotherís dead
and theyíve been friends for over 25 years
even though when I was 13 he put his
hand on my thigh and asked me if Iíd ever read Lolita

Gabe the Mod collects film memorabilia
and owes over 20,000 dollars to
various credit card companies because he had to have
the official Brandon Lee Crow action figure
an exact replica of Stryderís sword from Lord of the Rings
a James Bond Edition Rolex

heís a man who knows what he wants
and has to have it with no concern for the cost

itís not really his fault
I mean, it is and it isnít

you see, his mother never made him grow up
she always coddled him, paid his way

maybe she felt guilty that his father
walked out on them
maybe a lot of things

but the fact is Gabe the Mod didnít have
a real job until he was 32 when he applied at Costco
and they hired him as a meat cutter

he got paid decent money, was given
union representation and everything until
La Gata Negra made the scene

La Gata Negra or the Beast with No Name
was his manager and he took up with her for
a month or so of sex and drinking

according to him she was a neighborhood girl
with a slight, permanent hunch
and a questionable weight problem

they maintained relations until she found
another meat cutter and then Gabe the Mod
got furious and went on a drunk to end all drunks
driving by her house, throwing shit on her lawn
calling her cell phone at 2 in the morning
bursting into tears at supermarkets and
in the middle of the street

ď
I TOOK HER ASS CHERRY, MAN!Ē

ď
SHE SAID SHE LOVED ME, THAT FUCKING WHORE!Ē

but I guess thatís just how it goes with women

I guess thatís how it goes with Gabe the Mod and love

heís never had much luck in that department
even when he was handsome before all that
drunk-bloat kicked in

heís like all of my dadís friends
like my dad

somewhere along the line they all got bitter
and gave up
they all have sad stories,
failures piled upon failures

but I think Gabe the Mod is by far the worst

maybe because he was the closest
maybe because I saw him get worse
go from a drinker to a drunk

and now that Iím older I can
see it for what it is
and heíll never put his hand on my thigh again
because Iím grown up now and he isnít

a few years back he spent thousands of dollars
having Ace Face of Quadropheniaís scooter replicated

that whole year he only wore Fred Perry
and listened to skiffle

the bike got shipped all over the place,
parts were imported from all over
it passed hands, there were setbacks and
mistakes, technical issues, money issues

it took a long time and when finally
the whole business was finished
and every detail had been replicated
down to the license plate and the exact
shade of the bumper stickers
Gabe the Mod wheeled it into his garage
where itís been ever since

sometimes when heís drunk he puts on
a sharkskin suit, puts on Love Reign Oíer Me
and passes out like that
holding the handle bars

but it hasnít moved in so long
it doesnít run anymore
itís totally useless.
RETURN to OCTOBER 2008