The Morelli Bros. (Prologue, ii.)

When his sons were ten, just a few years before he became entirely dependent upon the bottle, the Morelli family set sail for America.  Rocco had turned into a miserable excuse for a man, unwashed and unkempt, but he still worked just as hard as he had before his sons were born.

They made a small home for themselves on the outskirts of Brooklyn in an apartment that was only big enough to be comfortable for one person, while two would have been a crowd.  To top it off, Rocco had no where else to store his tools.

The boys never complained.  They never cried, and despite the fact that there was hardly ever any room left for them to play or sleep, they always found a way to make the best out of their situation.

Mario, the oldest of the two, had the strongest interest in his father’s trade.  Whenever Rocco was still sober, he constantly grilled him for information about the various tools and equipment that was lying about.  When Rocco was too drunk to talk, he studied from the various texts and manuals he found lying around. His younger brother Luigi was just as bright as he, but his talents lie more with how he interacted with people.  Though he was a gangling youth, taller and often clumsier than his brother, he had a knack for reading people.  This talent had gotten them out of all kinds of trouble growing up.

The boys were very athletic.  They enjoyed playing outside from morning until evening.  Running, jumping, climbing, nothing was off limits to them.  They soon became legends among their friends.  Where Mario was the stronger of the two, his brother was the quicker.  Where one was known for his iron fist, the other was recognized for his ability to outrun and jump everyone else.

As they grew older, the boys began to pick up the slack that their father left behind. They did it without complaint.  They did it unconditionally, because despite his faults he was directly responsible for their very existence.  Even though he only ever grunted in response to their stories, they still loved the man whose passion was quickly becoming their own.

Much like the man before them, they began taking odd jobs here and there. If they weren’t fixing pipes that Rocco hadn’t properly set, they worked as a two man moving crew.  They prided themselves in the jobs they did, though ‘moving’ was only a vague reference for what they actually did.  While they sometimes helped the many other immigrants that have come and gone over the years, they were often called upon to help move things around by elderly neighbors who couldn’t do so for themselves.

Everyone thought kindly of two young brothers and often paid them more than for what they were asking and being the thrifty boys that they were, they used that extra money to buy clothes, food for the apartment and the various tools and parts that were needed for their father’s business.  They knew where their father kept his earnings and when the landlord came each month, they took out just enough to cover the rent and the utilities.

It wasn’t an easy childhood for the Morelli brothers.  Their days were more filled with work as they grew older.  While their friends enjoyed going to school and playing out in the streets until the darkest hours of night, they quickly became masters of their trade. By the time their peers were graduating, they had taken all of their father’s clients.  With their meager savings, they had purchased a used utility van to store their tools and spare parts for easy access.  It wasn’t much, but it made things so much easier than hauling their equipment in the basket on their shared bike.

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