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Scarliotti and the Sinkhole

Padgett Powell

In the Pic N’ Save Green Room, grits were free. Scarliotti, as he liked to call himself, though his real name was Rod, Scarliotti ate free grits in the Green Room. To Rod, grits were virtually sacramental; to Scarliotti they were a joke, and if he could not eat them for free in a crummy joint so down in the world it had to use free grits as a promotional gimmick, he wouldn’t eat them. Scarliotti had learned that when he was Rod, treating grits as good food, he had been a joke, so he became Scarliotti. He wanted his other new name, his new given name, to come from the province of martial arts. Numchuks Scarliotti was strong but a little obvious. He was looking for something more refined, a name that would not start a fight but would prevent one from starting. He also thought a name from the emergency room might do: Triage Scarliotti, maybe. But he had to be careful there. Not many people knew what terms in the emergency room meant. Suture Scarliotti, maybe. Edema Scarliotti. Lavage Scarliotti. No, he liked the martial-arts idea better. With his new name he would be a new man, one who would never eat grits with a straight face again…

Read the full story here at The Collagist.