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by Albert Russo

Where the hell did they get the name Corona from, which is Eyetalian for crown? Queen Lilibet who has as many crowns as there are m&m’s in a 500-gram package is a real cutie pie with her hats of all shapes and colors. I still find her so cool in spite of her being a great-über-grandmom who is rapidly dwindling into midgetdom, on account that her spine is bending to the point that soon she will be licking her toes. Did the ole gal travel during her triple-chin life! I do envy her.

Alas, Unky Berky and I can no longer ply the world, let alone go and visit her in Backgammon Palace. Poor dear Ole Lilibet, she too is locked down and under and has to wear a mask - Cartier has made her one in alpaca and cashmere, rimmed with dozens of precious stones, including lil diamonds, emeralds and rubies - what else? as Jorge MacClownie repeats when he drinks coffee.
Since she can’t see any of her chidren, grand-children or the mini ones, she has long discussions with the ghost of her beloved Filippo. Apparently they still fight over why he did not become king. He tells her that now that he is in the Kingdom of Heaven, he has his own throne. He is lying, and actually resides in Purgatory Palace, on account of all the gallivanting and partying he did during the century he spent on earth. He probably felt he was treated like the royal corgis - wow I wouldn’t mind being one of Lilibet’s pets, being fed by a chef and lodged in a private golden kennel with silk cushions, and … above all, nobody would ever bug me.

We visited four continents already, remember? From the North Pole, where I never saw a polecat, to the land of the Zulus - there, I learned that I have South African cousins who are Afrikaners (white Hug-‘em-not Protestants of Dutch and French origin), of mixed blood (black and white, or white and black, I really didn’t ask), or gay like my uncle - he insists on remaining in the closet, coz ‘no children should be exposed to indecent adult shenanigans’. He has no right to talk for me, I’m a free tinker.

We even tequilad in Mexico, catching la turista every second day, and got lost in a cave in Maimland China - I screamed my head off for an umpteenth - oomph - number of times, so much so that the echo of my voice made me lose my balance, and I had to claw Unky Berky’s arm in order not to slip down to the river (he too began to howl, from pain, all the while he was bleeding gooey-like, yuk!), while the bang of our ukulelations resounded something awful in my ears; I feared that my brain would pop out of my skull any second and fall plop to my feet, like a ripe melon ready to burst.

Excerpt 1 from CORONA ZAPINETTE by Albert Russo