With a title like this, I should add some context, and fast! First of all, let me state categorically that my mother does not, nor ever did (to my knowledge – because one can never know for sure, right?) associate with the Mafia.
No offense to any mafiosos who might be reading this blog, by the way.
The closest my mother ever got to the Criminal Element was when she worked as a secretary at the Detroit Police Department back in the era I like to refer to as B.S.: Before Suzanna. My mother was a pretty, young newlywed in her early twenties who grew up in a (relatively) well-behaved family. Sometimes, when a police officer would haul a scoundrel in for booking, he would seat the miscreant in a chair next to my mother’s desk, just to tease her.
About fifteen years ago, Mom had brain surgery. Eventually, she was placed in a private room, her head wrapped in a turban of white bandages. Dad and my sister needed to go out and run some errands, so I stayed behind to keep an eye on Mom. A meal was brought in on a tray and placed on her hospital bed table.
She slowly picked up a fork and tried to begin eating, but her eyes were closed, so she spent a lot of time jabbing at the air and bringing the empty fork to her lips, expecting to find food. Having never seen someone come out of brain surgery before, I was intrigued. I sat mesmerized as she slowly repeated this routine over and over again.
After a while, I watched her right hand feel around to the back of a bowl where a butter knife had been placed. She picked it up slowly, then said, “Come here.”
“What?” I said.
“Come here,” she repeated.
By this time, I was thoroughly creeped out. This was just plain bizarre. And I didn’t like the tone of her voice, either. It sounded downright sinister.
I approached her cautiously. This was new territory for me. One part of my brain was reassuring:
Relax, it soothed. She’s had brain surgery and there’s probably some swelling, not to mention the residual anaesthesia that’s still wearing off. She’s your mother, for Pete’s sake! She’s not going to hurt you!
The other part of my brain was more cautious:
Okay, this is just plain WEIRD. Mom is holding a knife and asking you to “Come here.” What the heck is going on? She’s had brain surgery and who knows what weird things she might do, so be careful!
Eyeing the butter knife in her right hand, I asked her the Thousand Dollar Question: “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to cut your neck,” she replied flatly.
WOAH! This was just wrong, wrong, WRONG! You know in the movies when someone gets so freaked out they run over to a corner and curl up into a fetal position? That’s pretty much what I wanted to do!
I sat back in my chair and didn’t move or say anything until Dad and my sister returned. When I told them, my sister’s eyes widened. “Creepy!” she said.
At the time, it was pretty horrifying to have my own mother threaten to cut my neck with a butter knife. Mom doesn’t remember it, of course.
Whenever I bring it up, though, she laughs like it’s the funniest thing she’s ever heard.
And that’s just a little bit disturbing.