Tommy’s comments on the reports of his death.

Some decades ago, here and there in the Heights and in the Tunnel Bar stories about Tommy — a dealer in rare powders — often were in the air. I was in the tavern one day back then when in walked Tommy’s cousin Eddy, a railroad worker in the Hoboken yard. Seeing Eddy, I realized that the town crier news feed had been quiet.

“How’s Tommy? I haven’t heard anything about him for a while.”

Looking at his watch, “Well . . . Let’s see . . . It’s after 3, so I guess he’s dead.”

“It’s after 3, so he’s dead! What’s that mean?”

“He got real sick last night and went to the hospital. I was there at 7am. The doctor said that it was meningitis and that Tommy’d be dead in 8 hours.”
. . .
I was walking up Central Ave a couple of weeks later. Out of the corner of one eye, it seemed that there was Tommy. My first thought was that I was imagining an apparition. When I looked closer, indeed it was him.

“Jeepers, Tommy! Eddy told me that the doctor said you’d be dead in 8 hours!”

“Yeah, I was layin’ in the bed too weak to move when I heard the jerk say that. I thought then ‘Who the hell is this bastard to be handin’ out det sentences?’ I willed myself up and told the nurse to get me my clothes. ‘YOU CAN’T LEAVE!’ THE HELL I CAN! I ain’t under arrest. You ain’t keepin’ me here.”

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About Anthony Olszewski

Anthony Olszewski has written on a wide variety of topics: cage birds, tropical fish, popular culture, the poetry of Amiri Baraka and a chapter on genetics for a veterinary text book, as a small sample. He worked as an editor at a magazine produced by TFH, the world's largest publisher of pet books. Anthony Olszewski is the author of a booklet on Hudson County history, Hudson County Facts, and a book of short stories, Second Thief, Best Thief, that are sold on Amazon. Anthony Olszewski established in 1996. A pioneer on the Web, the Site continues to provide unique information on a range of companion animals, focusing on birds and fish. As a community service, he operates Jersey City Free Books. Anthony Olszewski was born in Jersey City, NJ (Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, 1956) and is a member of Mensa.
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One Response to Tommy’s comments on the reports of his death.

  1. Alex Riddick says:

    I enjoyed your writing on Tommy Noir and the TB hospital Pollack Hospital. I worked there for several years as it was later a Nursing Home in the 1980’s. I was in working in the Activties Department which are offices were on the third floor. Those offices were converted patient rooms. I conducted many programs there for the residents through the years. I was the first to conduct the African American History Celebrations at Pollack Hospital. I explored through the entire place and came across some amazing historical things when I was there. Some of them still haunt my memories of Pollack. Especially the very top floors. I will never forget my time working there. Thank you.

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