Don't Under Think It

Philly don’t dial 911

My name is Rupert Hope Denton.

Now close your eyes and conjure up an image of what Rupert Hope Denton might look like. A cherub perhaps? Surrounded by other cherubs with names like Caleb, Alexander and Tobias? Maybe Caleb, Alexander and Tobias are savagely beating Rupert Hope Denton with their lutes and harps for having such a wussy name. So when a guy called Rupert Hope finds himself in a city called Philly he ought to be scared.

Philadelphia is a tough city. Everyone looks like a character from The Wire, The Sopranos or Skins. I on the other hand look like a character from Doug. Everyone has a take no shit suffer no fools attitude. I on the other hand, am a fool and talk a lot of shit.

I’m standing in line at a restaurant in Italian Market in South Philadelphia. One of those establishments were the walls are covered with signed black and white photographs of boxers and musicians posing reverently with the owner. Do these people ever enjoy themselves?

Above the cashier hangs a framed image of handgun being thrust towards the customer, beneath it the bold letters WE DON’T DIAL 911. This is the first time I have been in a place where the management reserves the right to shoot the customer.

As I wait I watch two people, both resembling James Gandolfini, chatting in a booth. The conversation is vanilla but for some reason they are using a tone and urgency you’d expect at a drug deal that’s going wrong, “So I just got the new iPhone 5 and then one of the drivers at work told me that it ain’t much better than the previous model. So I’m thinking WHAT AM I DOIN’ WITH THIS PHONE?” He waves his phone around, “WITH THIS HERE PHONE, THAT AIN’T NO BETTER THAN THE PREVIOUS GUY, YA KNOW?”

The other Gandolfini brusquely removes several paper napkins from the dispenser leans over and mops his flustered forehead. He puts the phone down, “Thanks hun’, you’re a great wife,” he slams his leg of ham sized fist on the table and repeats, “YOU’RE A GREAT WIFE!” Dear god, that’s a husband and wife?

My turn comes to order. I approach the cashier who is wearing a Philadelphia Flyer’s cap pushed backwards and a Temple University hooded sweatshirt, the sleeves pushed up revealing his tattooed forearms. He doesn’t say anything he just stands at the counter and nods his head in acknowledgement. I give a reciprocal head nod but say nothing. We both wait for a moment before he says, “Whaddaya mute or somethin’?

“Come again?”

“Whaddaya want?” He points up at the sandwich menu chalked onto a blackboard above him.

  • The Heartstopper: Brisket, bacon, pastrami pecorino cheese, peppers, tomatoes, mayonnaise;
  • The Gutbuster: Salami, brisket, fried egg, pecorino cheese, pepperjack cheese, tomatoes, mustard;
  • The Flatliner: Chopped steak, bacon onion rings, cheddar, pecorino, mustard, mayonnaise).

I glance again at the barrel of the gun bearing down on me, reminding me that, WE DON’T DIAL 911. I want to seek qualification about this. The sandwiches are obviously designed to shut down a human being’s vital organs. So what happens if my heart stops or my gut busts? What if one of the Gandolfinis flatlines? Will 911 be dialed then? Or, in accordance with the sign, will they just shoot us like we’re dying cattle? It’s a risk I don’t want to take. So I try and pick the healthiest option.

“I’ll have a Heartstopper.”

“Name?”

I feel the unfriendly eyes of the boxers and musicians who hang on the walls and have probably all been gunned down by the mob by now. I can’t say Rupert Hope Denton.

“Robert… o. Roberto… Bellini. Roberto Bellini, um,” I look at a poster of Sylvester Stallone jumping up and down in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, “Rocky Roberto Bellini.”

“Rocky Roberto Bellini?” He repeats back to me, “I only need your first name big man.” He yells back at the kitchen, “One Heartstopper for a blonde, skinny guy called Rocky.” I hear a snort of laughter/derision from the kitchen.

“6 bucks, Rocky.”

I get out my wallet I only have 2 dollars. I go to get my credit card, but freeze. My name is on my credit card.

“Hey, boy-o, we got customas ta serve, kapeesh? 6 bucks!”

I hand him my card, defeated. He examines it. He pauses, and scratches his head. He then points at me, “Wait a minute, you said your name’s Rocky Roberto Bellini,” he points at the card, “But this here, it says, Rupert Hope Denton.” He looks me in the eye.

I stammer something. But he ignores me.

“Hey, Rupert guess what?” He says.

I say nothing, I know what’s going to happen. He’s going to inform me the cards are stolen and (I look up at the gun) according to store policy he will shoot me.

“What?” Comes a voice from behind me. I spin around. The Gandolfinis have stopped eating and are looking past me at the cashier.

“This guy’s name is Rupert Hope!”

“Ya kiddin’ me?” The husband calls back, he looks to his wife, “Did ya hear that, Hope? This kid over there has our names: Rupert (he motions to himself) and Hope (he motions to his wife).” Then he bursts into laughter, slamming his hands on the table making it rattle. What the hell is happening? I ask myself.

Then, suddenly, his laughter turns into a choked gasping, his face contorts in pain, “My heart… My hear…” he wheezes, grabbing his chest, he lurches over sideways in the booth and goes silent. “Oh my god!” Hope yells, turning to the cashier.

“CALL 911!”

54 comments on “Philly don’t dial 911

  1. 5thingstodotoday
    October 19, 2012

    I really like your blog and would love you to feature on mine, http://www.5thingstodotoday.com. All you have to do is write five suggestions along with a link back to your site. Please check out the blog and see the sort of things people have written about. Please consider following me on facebook. http://www.facebook.com/5thingstodotoday

  2. Just Me With . . .
    October 19, 2012

    What a great story. See, seemingly tough guys are more dimensional than we think at first glance and might even call 911 in an emergency.

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Thanks for the comment! Indeed. I, however, am as cowardly as you’d think at first glance.

  3. The irony is in the last two words…call 911!

  4. AsheX
    October 19, 2012

    This is a funny story and I am curious if this actually happened 😀

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Thanks, I’m glad that you liked it. I’ll let your curiosity linger…

  5. Hardik Gohil
    October 19, 2012

    I still don’t understand what this is all about…..:D

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Me either! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. williamw60640
    October 19, 2012

    So are you a professional comedy writer, or do you just play one on television? Ha ha!
    Hilarious post. Congrats on being FP.

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Thanks! I’m glad you like it. I just like writing stories that hopefully make people laugh.

  7. HipsterApproved.net
    October 19, 2012

    Funny…did you give him mouth-to-mouth?

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Ha ha

  8. billlattpa
    October 19, 2012

    I grew up in Philly; it’s simultaneously nothing like you describe it and exactly like you describe it.

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Ha ha. Full disclosure: I had an awesome time in Philly.

      • billlattpa
        October 20, 2012

        So did I, but that didn’t stop me from moving….

  9. TheWordpressGhost
    October 19, 2012

    OK, what would you want my response to be to this?

    I liked it. I enjoyed it. But, it was rather short.

    🙂

    ghost.

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Thanks for the comment Ghost. I fear being longwinded or being wood-winded (it’s when somebody hits you with a saxophone).

      • TheWordpressGhost
        October 21, 2012

        Ah, Rupert, you got to my heart.

        I always loved the sax …. Unfortunately, I never learned to play.

        Do you play?

  10. Allen Capoferri
    October 19, 2012

    I lived in Philly for a short while when I attending school and had to smile while reading this post as it reminded me of the city.

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Thanks for the comment! I’m glad I was able to transport you back to the sandwich stores of your youth!

      • Allen Capoferri
        October 20, 2012

        Well..more like young adult. I was still impressionable though.

  11. segmation
    October 19, 2012

    So when you called 911, did anyone come?

  12. Great post!

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Thanks!

  13. sportsandthecross
    October 19, 2012

    Nice! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Thanks, I’m really happy/confused

  14. angloadventure
    October 19, 2012

    This delighted me. Congrats on the freshly minted freshly pressed status.

    • Rupert
      October 21, 2012

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.

  15. suchwildlove
    October 19, 2012

    Ha. Good tale!

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Thanks!

  16. tigerasia
    October 20, 2012

    Reblogged this on Tiger Asia.

  17. fatliesandfairytales
    October 20, 2012

    This is hilarious! I’ve read it several times today and laughed each time. I lived in S. Jersey for a number of years and most of my neighbors were from S. Philly. I actually think I know the Gandolfinis you are referring to! Not fur nuthin’, but in my experience, most guys from Philly are named Joe or Tony. : )

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Ha ha! That’s funny, I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  18. Adam Colquhoun
    October 20, 2012

    Ha Ha! Hilarious!

  19. javaj240
    October 20, 2012

    That’s Philly for ya!

  20. Jackson Williams
    October 20, 2012

    Reblogged this on Bored American Tribune. and commented:
    NO PHILLY DON’T. RIOT PUNCH.

  21. mrscarmichael
    October 20, 2012

    The Sopranos is my utter favourite – you hooked me there and kept me ’till the end. Well done.

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Ha ha, I will be sure to write more Sopranos related stories. Nothing beats coat tailing it.

  22. Nirmal Vs
    October 20, 2012

    Reblogged this on Grasshopper Diaries.

  23. maxdenmed1
    October 20, 2012

    Nice! Thanks for the chuckle.

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      Thanks for stopping by!

  24. brighteyedgirl86
    October 20, 2012

    Reblogged this on Clueless in the City and commented:
    A comical story of a man named Rupert Hope in Philly.

  25. Lori Fontanes
    October 20, 2012

    As a Philly native, I salute you–very funny!

    • Rupert
      October 20, 2012

      I am honoured. I hope to come back one day, once I digest my cheese steak,

  26. rabmoghal
    October 20, 2012

    Superb story, I laughed several times throughout! Do you read Danny Wallace is a man?

    • Rupert
      October 21, 2012

      Thanks for the comment, glad you liked it. Just check out Danny Wallace, thanks for the recommendation.

  27. sholashade
    October 20, 2012

    F.U.N.N.Y! So they do dial nine-one-one after all! 😀

  28. monkeyfacekim
    October 20, 2012

    This is hilarious! Thanks for the laugh and congrats on FP!

    • Rupert
      October 21, 2012

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.

  29. I'm Not Corey
    October 21, 2012

    Love it. Amazing read.

    • Rupert
      October 21, 2012

      Thanks for the comment, I’m glad you liked it.

  30. bohemianopus
    October 21, 2012

    LOVED this blog. I’m from Philly, and you captured the place (and the attitude) perfectly!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email here and the crap I write will end up in your inbox and hopefully put a chuckle in your day.

Join 242 other followers

%d bloggers like this: