excerpts from house of cards the curse of alphonso father figure
“Joe” is on his way to the Worlds fair……..
The first thing they saw were the large signs placed at strategic spots along the way. “The New York World’s Fair — Gateway to the Future!” They exclaimed, each colorful picture creating just that right amount of excitement. They were excited!
Approaching the entrance to the fair, they passed a huge steel globe, fountains with tall sprays of water, loud triumphant music, and a multitude of gaily dressed citizens. It was a sight that mesmerized Carmine…
“Ooh! Look at that!” He cried out in a voice that turned everyone’s head at one time.
A policeman, swinging his nightstick, walked over to them.
“What are you young fella’s doin here?” He asked in an authoritative tone. “Why are you dressed that way? Where’s your parents?”
Joe started to stammer, “They uh, they …” When Carmine’s voice stopped any thought of explanation.
“I did’n do notin— he stol’ the shoos! Joe wanna run away… Not me! I just wanna see th…”
Joe pushed the officer, who tripped over a small retainer wall and into the water of one of the fountains, pulled Carmine’s arm, and ran as fast as their small legs could into the large crowd hoping to be camouflaged by the masses.
He knew he had to get control of this situation: “Listen to me! I’m the man of the house and you must respect that… Let me do the talking from now on, fair!?”
“If he can git som’ cottin candy!”
Thus began Joe’s second lesson to his pupil: “Respect for the man of the house.”
Jeanette awoke with a deep pain in her back. With a slow and difficult turn in her bed, she twisted her swollen feet until they were over the bed, then, with a push that sent waves of pain courcing through her body, she heaved herself upright. “Joe! Hey, Joe!…. Angela, Angela. Come here.. Angela!”
“I’m here mom.” Angela said as she stepped into the room with caution.
“Where is Joe?!”
“I… I don’t know…” Angela stated as she cringed with the thought of what was going to happen when she discovered the boys absent. She hated the fact that they had left her to face the music…
“Help me up.” Jeanette asked Angela as she lifted her arms up and out for Angela to grab ahold of. Jeanette arose with a series of grunts and moans. After stretching the pain and cramps away as best as she could, she reached over to the night stand her mother had given her. An array of pill bottles competed with the silver framed photos massed together upon it’s dulled surface as if to remind her that she once had a father, husband, grand father, and a mother whom bore her! What had happened? She perused the faces of her family, stopping on one which showed her mother and father at the beach. She suddenly felt a familiar feeling raging from deep within her chest. Heaves of tears washed her swollen face and dripped as rain upon the gilded frame. As they washed across it’s yellowed glass, a thought crossed her mind: The one thing she was sure she would never run out of were her tears of grief…
Jeanette had shed so many tears in her life. Every time she thought of her father the tears would rush forth. Oh had she missed him and cryed her way to sleep so many, many times. She was forever telling Joe and Angela of her recollections of his love and handsome countenance. A picture she carried for twenty years, one which showed Grand Father Jimmy in creased baggies and spats, center parted hair with thick mustache and handsome, gentle features, had become wrinkled and worn from her perpetual demonstration of it. She once heard rumers he was living in Chicago and swore she would find him one day– a fantasy she would never part from. She had attempted to transfer those emotions to Joe-Pep… but now that he was gone her hopes and dreams were once more returned to her original Knight in Shining Armor; her Princely Father whom would appear and rescue her from a nightmare which seemed to begin after he moved away. But for now, her children needed her…
She gulped down a series of pills and shuffled her way into the kitchen….
Joe was at a loss on a procedure to gain entrance to the fair. He could not go through the main gate, too risky! He decided to investigate the possibility of climbing the fence.
Approaching the fair from the east side, Joe spotted an entrance for employees and delivery. Walking over, he saw three police officers — one on foot, two on horse.
Grabbing Carmine by the shoulder, he stopped, hid in the bushes, and deliberated on the situation. There was a gate, a small booth with one employee in it –not busy– most of the vendors and employees had entered already, a few delivery trucks, and those uniformed officers of the adventure-ending squad.
Spying a garbage can loaded with trash, he went over, pulled out his lighter, lit the garbage inside, then hid back in the bushes to wait for the show.
Noticing the flames, the mounted police officers went to investigate. The flaw soon became apparent: the footman stayed on duty!
Just when he thought that his plan was doomed, a delivery truck stopped right in front of the bushes. The driver jumped out of the truck and, fire extinguisher in hand, doused the fire.
While the policeman and driver were busy playing fireman, Joe was busy playing hide and seek. Running from his place of concealment while dragging Carmine in the process, Joe raised the back door, lifted Carmine up, and climbed in to wait. They relaxed as the “firemen” conversed..
“Thanks for your assistance.” It was one of the mounts.
“No problem,” the driver responded. And with that, climbed into the truck and entered the fair grounds. The truck stopped, the driver exited and went inside the building — either to get a signature or help to unload the contents. Joe raised the door and he and Carmine hopped onto the ground and into the crowd.
At last they were in!
Joe stood in front of one of the many pavilions dotting the giant landscape, a futuristic building sitting upon an expansive, concrete, “mushroom” shaped tower, with curves and whirls and widely spaced open areas dotting it’s circular roof.
Carmine was ecstatic and wanted to eat, so Joe decided to find a food vendor. He soon discovered that food was abundant– abundantly expensive! It was then that he noticed the pavilion of The Bell Telephone Company with its army of eager, uniformed matrons enticing the public with free hors d’oeuvres. Yanking his brother’s arm, they joined the crowd and proceeded to stuff their faces. Two women in Bell uniforms gave them this pitiful look…he wondered why—but continued to gorge himself.
Throughout their seven hours of exploration, they saw sights that amazed them: telephones that enabled an individual to see the person they were conversing with, little gadgets that would add and multiply for you with a press of a button –‘sure would be handy in school,’ he thought. Large things with colored lights whizzing and whirring called computers; the pretty lady said one day they would be used to run the world… but he wasn’t that stupid! And then the finale’…a ride in the amphibious car!
By the end of the day, traversing on foot, they had gone to every free exhibit within the complex. They were tired and were now facing reality: “What do we do next?”
Leaving the fair, they headed towards the train station and the next jaunt of their mission. Arriving at the Ticket Master’s booth, Joe inquired of the uniformed gentleman the next scheduled train to Pennsylvania.
He looked down at him and said, “Sonny, you mean Penn Station?”
“Yes, that’s it!” Joe replied as the clerk stamped two tickets and he paid the dollar fee.
At last they were on their way to Pennsylvania!
As they boarded the train, Joe informed Carmine that they were on their way and to take a seat and get some rest. Carmine was seated and snoring before he could say anything else. The train rumbled off and began screeching along the track. Before he knew it he was being shaken by the conductor.
“Penn Station, last stop! Penn Station, last stop!”
His brother awoke in a cranky mood. “I’m tired… I wanna go home!”
“Listen to me, we’re here! We’re in Pennsylvania! Come on, let’s go, then we’ll find a place to sleep.”
Carmine hesitantly followed Joe to the exit and they left the train.
As they ambled toward the exit, Joe realized they were still in New York City! The Ticket Master had written up two tickets for Penn Station, NYC.! He had figured Penn Station meant Pennsylvania Station — not New York!
The place was busy with commuters coming and going, oblivious to anything but their feet– feet that methodically carried them on pre-programmed paths. He stopped several and asked which train went to Pennsylvania. Each answered without missing a step, “Young man, ask the policeman over there.”
He was ready to call it quits while his brother wailed away about going home. He was lost as to what to do with Carmine’s crying when he spied a gift shop. Dressing the window was a miniature power boat with two props that would spin and sound like the real thing when wound up! He pulled Carmine towards the brightly painted object that caught his attention.
“Carmine look at that!” He cried with excitement. “Wow, ain’t that neat? A real power boat — almost like the car we rode in!”
Carmine’s eyes lit up and he forgot about going home. All he wanted was the boat in the window… They both were learning new things on this adventure.
Entering the store, he asked the clerk the price of the displayed boat. She opened a new box and pulled out the contents, revealing a yellow and red duplicate of the one in the window while deftly winding it up.
To the tune of the motor whirring away she said, “This is only $6.50…would you like me to wrap it?”
“No, don’t bother to wrap it. My mother told me to find something for his brother to play with on the train to Pennsylvania.” He said with authority.
The sales woman looked at him quizzically and said, “You mean the bus…right? There aren’t any trains going to Pennsylvania.”
This statement was the answer to the question of his next move, “Yea…. that’s what I meant…. the bus…..”
With Carmine once more happily in tow — winding and whirring away — he proceeded to investigate the layout.
“Oh! My God! Where are they…. What did they do… Call the police! Call Uncle Frank! Angela, call some one now!”
Jeanette had discovered the note. Her mind was in turmoil. She feared for her children. In several hours, the streets would be crawling with cops and mobsters, all in pursuit of two boys…one seven and one eleven….
The train station which abutted the Greyhound bus depot was a center of swarming activity. Men in uniforms and red caps loaded baggage while people scurried to catch last minute departures. Signs above the front windows of of an army of buses announced their destinations: Buffalo, White Plains, Hackensack…
Joe knew he could not buy tickets and he was worried by now there would be a warning to look for two runaways. He had Carmine sit down and play with his boat while he searched for the opportunity he needed.
As he walked around the depot a young punk of sixteen approached him. “Hey you, you lost or sumpthin?”
“No, just getting some tickets for Pocono, Pennsylvania.” He replied cautiously.
“Well, ya gonna have a hard time. Cops are gonna get you!” He said with assurance.
“What do you mean…. I’m just taking my brother home?” Joe replied worried he might know something he didn’t.
“Yea right! I’ve been watching you — you’re a runaway! Then, in a chummy tone, he continued, “Listen. If ya want, I’ll buy your tickets… How much money ya got?”
Joe reached into his pocket and brought out the bills and change that he had from one of the twenty dollar bills while keeping the other in his pocket. He handed this to the punk.
After counting it the young stranger looked at him pointedly and inquired: “This ain’t enough. You got anymore?”
Thinking to himself that he had to get those tickets, Joe reached in his pocket and handed him the last twenty.
“If there is any change I’ll give it back, OK?” He said, as if he was his best friend.
“Sure, that’s great!” Joe answered in relief.
Joe had been waiting twenty minutes when the kid appeared as suddenly as before…with a new jacket, a transistor radio, and two tickets to the Pennsylvania mountains. Joe asked him for the change. His flippant reply was….”There wasn’t any!”
Joe looked at the tickets and noticed that $3.00 was stamped on each one. Then he looked at the radio and jacket.
The punk was ready. “Listen, I had to grease the Ticket Master! You know—pay him off.”
With that, he spun on his heels and danced away to the blare of the small radio held to his ear. Broke, exhausted, and alone, Joe went back to get his brother and boarded the bus.
Joe knew he had been taken — a new lesson for the rapidly developing “man of respect”!
They were seated in the very back of the bus when the driver came up and inquired of their destination. Producing the tickets, Joe told him they were going to visit their grandmother. He advised Joe he would keep an eye on them and would wake them when they arrived at their destination — which would be around one in the morning. After about an hour, the bus was full and they left the station on their way to a new life. His brother was soon fast asleep. With out looking at the other passengers, Joe also fell fast asleep.
With her priest comforting her, Jeanette shed her tears. The house, packed full of relatives and police, was a world of whisper. The word that the boys might of been kidnapped rushed in rumors of pale pain and foreboding innuendo. Even though the note had been found, some believed they were gone forever.
“Oh, please find them…” She kept saying over and over as Angela bore the brunt of the mishap through her obedient servitude: she made and served sandwhiches and coffee…
The low voice of the driver, combined with his gentle nudging, awoke him. Softly he said, “Young man…you’re here. It’s the last stop–c’mon, wake up.”
Joe woke up his brother and they exited the bus. The driver asked if some one was picking them up and he said yes. With that, he closed the door and drove off.
They stood next to a bench on a dark, cold, silent road. Not a single sound of a car, truck or human pierced the cloak of silence. The only noise was the occasional cry of an animal as it delivered its message of existence. There were no tall buildings, only the darken images of giant mountains bordered by a multitude of stars that sprinkled a pitch black sky. No street signs pointed the way, no friendly face greeted them in cheer, they were alone!
Carmine, frightened to the bone, kept crying that a bear was going to eat them. He was crying for mommy. To tell you the truth, Joe was just as frightened.
Joe told Carmine not to worry — they just needed to find a place to sleep. In the morning they would find where the people were. Not giving him any more time to think, he started walking
Down the road… Carmine followed in a hurry!
As they walked for what seemed like an hour, he talked to God. “Why are people lost in the world? Why is there not enough food? Why did father leave? Is he with you now? How long is the ride to heaven? Do you use a train or did angels take him to you?”
The questions bothered him. He could not comprehend the situation. How did he die?… became his greatest question. His mother told him it was a car accident. He pictured two Chevy impalas colliding at an intersection. Both father and Uncle Carmine dead: a recurring nightmare…
Walking in deep thought, he almost passed a sign posted to the entrance of a golf resort; a pleasure resort owned by the Mob which opened in the summer and closed in the winter. When he saw it, he turned into the entrance which was barred by a locked chain link fence. They climbed over and discovered a pro shop with several doors and windows. It was cold and they needed shelter, so he broke a window and entered.
Inside there were golf balls, cigarettes, books, and candy bars. They went for the candy — loading their pockets as well as their mouths. After satisfying their hunger, he informed Carmine that they should sleep somewhere else because they might get caught in the building. Taking all the books, they walked down the drive range and plopped on the ground. He started a fire and they attempted to sleep. During several hours of tossing and turning on the hard, frost-covered ground, a dream of his mother –“there are people that sleep on dirt floors”– came to him…
Jeanette spent her entire childhood with relatives, sleeping in “borrowed” beds, beds just as lonely and desolate as the cold, hard ground that they rested upon. She was surrounded by people whom had their own children and were too busy with their own problems to care about hers. The forests surrounding his brother and he represented those that surrounded her: beautiful, full of life, providing shelter and sustenance…but totally silent. When Joe-Pep came into her life, Jeanette grabbed onto what she perceived as a life-line to love, family and a bed of her own. Her love would doom her to misery; family would be an ingredient of lasting servitude—a bed never to be made.
…Joe’s cramped back delivered it’s hard lesson: he could now understand what his mother meant when she told them stories of children sleeping “on dirt floors”, sorrow pierced his soul!
“OH, God help us, I promise I won’t runaway again… I will go home! Just find us a place to sleep and something real to eat.” He said out loud in his dream.
Suddenly, a sharp pop startled him, he jumped to his feet in one bound. Carmine was seated, shivering with cold, tossing golf balls into the fire. As he yelled for him to stop, another loud pop pierced the stillness of the crisp, clean air. Then, all heck broke loose: the pops turned to explosions sounding the Fourth of July! Golf balls exploding in the fire. Sparks lighting up the night…
Carmine and he ran as fast as they could through the dark virgin forest; branches and brambles tearing at them with a vengeance — punishing them for their unannounced transgression upon it’s inviolable soil. By the time they spotted the huge, white house, they were scratched, clawed, and bleeding.
“Look at that!” Carmine yelled. “It looks like a castle. Do you think they got a phone?”
“It looks like the place is empty… let me check.” He said in a low tone.
Approaching the stone and wood mansion, it became apparent the place was empty. Large windows overlooking a wide, terraced lawn were boarded up. A set of huge double doors with massive steel chains binding its handles and a large padlock securing it barred any thought of entry.
Calling for his brother, he went around the side of the house and saw a cellar with two doors –like the one in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy hid from the tornado. Reaching down, he lifted one of the doors. It opened with a loud and piercing screech. Looking down into the dark bowels of this grand house he was tempted to close the door, but they had no choice. He could hear a fire engine somewhere in the darkness. “They must not find us tonight!” He said out loud. Flicking his lighter, he proceeded to climb down to the bottom of the stairs.
Moving through the cobwebs, tripping over many obstacles that cluttered the way, he stumbled to find a stairwell leading to a door with a hasp and lock. Turning back, he searched the dirt floor until an old ax revealed it’s rusty presence. Using this to break open the lock he entered what he envisioned to be a palace. It was dark inside but he could make out enough to get his bearings.
The furniture was covered with huge white sheets, the ceiling twenty feet above, front door forty paces forward–A scene out of a Boris Carlof movie: tapestries draped the walls, fireplaces with large mantles towered above him, chandeliers in crystal covered with cobwebs twinkling in rhythm to his lighters flickering moments. All around were candlesticks in elaborate candelabras, spooky but beautiful! He knew he’d better light some of the candles before Carmine came in.
Descending the stairwell, he left as he came and surveyed the house from the outside. He had lit candles throughout the house and no light penetrated the boards that covered the windows! They now had a castle to live in! Calling for his brother, he went back inside and showed him the layout.
There were twenty-five rooms. A library, a kitchen stocked with canned goods, five bathrooms, a pool parlor with all sorts of card and billiard tables, bedrooms that had huge canopied beds, and a music room!
Carmine was going crazy, jumping up and down on a bed, screaming, “This is my room!” Over and over. He told him to get some sleep and started a fire in the fireplace. Joining him, he fell fast asleep.
The following morning they awakened refreshed and hungry. Racing down the stairs they entered the kitchen. Joe opened a pantry which revealed cans upon cans of food.
“Peaches!” Carmine yelled in excitement, “I want peaches!”
Grabbing a huge can of peaches, he searched for a can opener. The only one he could find was electric, but the power was turned off, so he grabbed a knife and hammer and he mutilated the can open. After feasting on a wide array of delicacies, they decided to explore the grounds.
“Are we going home now?” Carmine asked.
Forgetting the promise he had made to God, he lied…
“Yea, later on.”
They left the house and proceeded to the woods he loved. Entering its canopied tranquillity, he was once again in tune with its powers. He was immediately calmed and at peace. He had no cares—he was in charge. He was showing his brother the wonders of the forest when Carmine noticed a stream.
He ran over to it as Joe yelled for him to be careful… “Heh. Carm, be careful,”
Carmine had reached its edge and was attempting to make his two pound metal boat float when it sank. In his desperation to recover it Carmine jumped in and also sank!
Joe was horrified. He yelled to him, “HOLD ON, I’M COMING!” And ran, leaping into the freezing cold water’s rapid wash.
Jeanette had been fretful and awake for twenty seven hours, yet it still took a heavy dose of sedatives to knock her out. Nana Lou hovered over her exhausted daughter. In sleep, quiet, peaceful, and lovely, Jeanette resonated thoughts and memories of her own childhood, her own family, her own father, her love, her future….dashed and crumpled had those dreams been vanquished and pain and suffering their offspring! What had happened…. Why? And her daughter… she had so much in thought and plan for her. And now, her grand children were on their way into a life of continuance! Tears dripped off the cheeks of her memories of what she once was: A child!
She had culled the portions of her own childhood from the larger memories of her life. All her life she had lived for money and self sufficiency on the pretext that she was doing the right thing. These memories had haunted her for what seemed like forever… She would come to love little children with all of her heart…but, when they reached the age of five and above, she would shun them! The memories were just too strong; they mixed and mingled with the pain of her husband Jimmy and father Antonio. She had long ago bleached this ragged bit of destiny from her mind… yet all it took was a visit to her daughter to prove the stain was permanent!
“Angela, you go and get some sleep, don’t you worry about your mother or your brothers…they are men of respect, they will be just fine….”
Nana had yet to rest her belief that men could just do and did as they wanted. Men were to be left to discover and subjugate on their own. Though she cared for the boys, she still thought of them as men whom would find their way. This idea became a favorite of hers, one which would lead to Angela receiving some special and important attention. But, which would leave Jeanette feeling left out…as she always was. Nana lived in her own world. Occasionally she made attempts to make up for her abandonment by giving Jeanette some money, especially when she wanted to take Angela on a trip to the south to see the strange worlds of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi… Places that continued to live in an age gone past–an age Nana reveled in…
Joe grabbed his arm and pulled, the water was to swift, it started pulling him down. He yelled for Carmine to let go of the boat which he had recovered, but he wouldn’t. He beseeched God for help. Promising that he would go home. As he was yelling and praying, Carmine dropped the boat, which sank, and he pulled him to safety.
He decided it was time to go home…
As they tromped through the woods on their way towards the road a group of teenagers approached them. With in ten feet of them, a tall, blond headed teenager shouted to them: “Hey, what are you doin in my forest!”
Joe felt frightened by his size but he had his brother with him — he had to show his dominance.
“What do you mean, your forest! We have a castle here and it’s my forest!”
The kid tore at him and Joe side stepped, grabbed his jacket collar, and flung him into the ground! It was amazing, and very strange how it occurred, and so easy–as if he had practiced this maneuver a million times!
The kid was frightened by his misfortune and Joe never gave him the chance to recover, turning towards the group he told them who they were: “Listen, we’re mobsters from NYC. We are hiding out at our castle. If you want to see it, come with me!”
The group, dumbstruck by the rapidity of their dominance followed.
Arriving at the boarded up building, they journeyed through the bowls of it’s deep and emerged into the heart of it’s richness. They were amazed!
“This place is yours?” The tall kid asked. “We always wondered who owned this place!”
“Well it belongs to my father…” Joe lied. Carmine was looking strangely at his open lie. Before he could ruin the situation, Joe began giving them a tour and a story about hit men and such. Within two weeks, they had every kid ten miles around hanging in their “castle”. Soon, they became The Motely Crew!…
Sitting high above the throng, upon a throne atop a pool table, giving orders to the “guys”: “Put the TV over in the main study, I’ll take the jewelry.” He ordered the two kids whom delivered their recently “acquired ” loot. “Go and get yourselves a drink! You deserve it.”
He had a crew and they were enjoying the fact that they belonged to a Mafia family, their proof, the booty they brought to their castle: jewelry, TV’, furs…. The list grew and grew.
‘Boy, would father be proud of him!’ he thought to himself. He was an eleven year old God Father of the mountains with a fortune of goods — though he knew not what he was to do with all of the stuff. His motley crew were the terror of the empty, boarded vacation homes that dotted the mountain sides.
A crime wave hit the Pocono Mountain Resorts and soon the authorities became aware of the “Mobsters” from New York City. They reacted swiftly…
Wailing sirens atop jeeps reached their enclave with out prior warning: Police had encircled the castle before announcing their presence. Pandomania broke out. Thirty kids hit the basement at one time. A candle or something was knocked over and a blaze erupted. All of the kids got out, but, in the ensuing madness, twelve got away: including Carmine and Joe.
The “manhunt” to find the “criminal element” encircled the mountain side. For the next day and night they hid out in a icey cave. Then, when it seemed the hunt had died down, they walked out cold, hungry, and wet looking for signs of life. They were crossing some railroad tracks when they heard the order to halt. Turning around, they saw the state police officer whom had his gun drawn.
Looking at two bedraggled kids in weird clothing — cut, dirty, tired, and hungry — he replaced the gun in its holster and just shook his head as he opened the car door and pointed.
Joe grabbed Carmine’s arm and sat down in the patrol car. Off they went; quiet, tired, and wanting to be back in their own beds…. asleep with full bellies!
Handcuffed, they entered the18th century stone jailhouse and discovered it cotained a large room with one desk, a big table, and three cells with iron bars.
The room was crowded with angry townsfolk –their “fame” had spread– who heard of the capture of two mysterious “mobsters” responsible for the out-break of crime and subversion of their children. Joe immediately thought they were going to be real life subjects of a movie: a lynch mob, waiting, ready, rope in hand, taunting the sheriff… Who holds off his former friends with words… and a double barrel shot gun! Joe halted, pulling Carmine back several steps as his nightmarish thoughts continued: the mob rushes… Shouting… Screaming for vengeance …storms the sheriff ….knocks the gun from his hands –grabs, pulls, tears… Hangs them…!
Frightened, holding his brother’s hand, they were led through the crowd to a cell, shoved in, and its door shut with an echoing boom. With the loud rattle of huge keys the jailer locked them in. A tray of “food” was brought to them and there they remained for several days.
The dismal gray iron bars, cold stone grey walls, and grey steel bunk eclipsed the dirt floors of his mother’s visions. The sights, sounds, and thoughts of this experience ingrained another cold, hard, grey picture into core of Joe’s mind, drastically altering his perceptions of adventure.
“God I just want to go home.” He prayed, not sure that He would listen to him again.
The New York “kid hunt” never reached the mountains of Pennsylvania. No one was even aware they had left NY! After final consultations with the NY police department — and some guy named Salvatore Donitelli — the sheriff declined to press charges. He wanted them out of his town! His mother arrived at nine that night. Boy was she mad! All the way home she smacked and beat him — while Carmine slept peacefully — yelling that it was costing her money to come and get him; informing him he should be ashamed of himself for causing the family grief and worry about his brother. On one hand, Joe felt his mother demanded he emulate his father, on the other, she despised the fact that he tried to be like him. As oldest son, his father’s tradition again became a part of his present circumstances: he was to handle it as a “man of respect”—take the blame and like it. He took the blame like a man– but did not like it.