Synecdoche (si-nek’-do-kee): A whole is represented by naming one of its parts (or genus named for species), or vice versa (or species named for genus).

I pulled my blade out of my pocket, pressed the button and felt it open firmly in my hand, making the lovely dull clicking sound a switchblade is known for. The steel blade gives me goosebumps as it flashes in the candle light. We’re at our favorite Italian restaurant—Parmesan Party—where my great-grandfather’s crew met for Sunday dinners back in the late 1940s. The waiter knew if he gave me any shit about my knife, I’d have one of his kidneys for dinner, and he would be lying dead in a back room somewhere, wrapped in a sheet, resting in peace.

The red plaid table cloth, the basket of bread and breadsticks, the tub of butter, the little pitchers of wine and water, the soft cloth napkins, the shining plates and silverware, and Dean Martin wafting through the air, were like traveling through time in a time machine made in Jersey City. I always had the veal saltimbocca. I could see my Great Grandfather sitting there with two goons standing behind him, ready to take a bullet if there was any trouble. I was sitting there in my short pants with suspenders and a white short sleeve shirt, like Pinocchio, our family’s guardian imp. I was so glad I didn’t have to wear the stupid hat, and that I was a “real” boy.

My father, the youngest member of the crew, was fidgeting in his chair and looking over his shoulder toward the restaurant’s entrance. Suddenly, four guys burst through the front door, pointing pistols out in front of them and firing as fast as they could pull their triggers. They killed everybody except me and my dad. In an act of treachery almost as bad as Pearl Harbor, my father had conspired with the Pronto family to have his own family whacked.

Revenge, vendetta and all the other stretched out hatreds were a normal part of life in my culture, but apparently not any more. I was marrying Mary Pronto the next day, 20 years later. This was an instance of hatchet burying on a par with a signature on a treaty. Mary and I didn’t like each other, but we had to do what we had to do. Taking no chances myself, on our wedding day I was wrapped in three layers of Kevlar underneath my monkey suit. When we got to the part of the ceremony where we put on rings, I reached in my pocket, pulled out my switchblade—my great grand father’s switchblade—pushed the button and jammed the blade into Mary’s chest. I ran out of the church in the middle of a phalanx of my family’s good fellas. The Pronto’s dared not shoot, afraid of killing one of their own. Also, in typical mob fashion, no investigation was undertaken, and no charges were pressed out of respect for my “balls.” I still hold a grudge against my father though, but he’s my father. So, I leave him alone.

The family’ next job is the Trump campaign. He’s a piece of shit, but the money’s good and his daughter Ivanka is a real piece of ass.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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