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NEW REVIEWS: What a clown you are. I give you this popular venue to post a serious
piece and you're just joking around. Actually, you had me hooked from the beginning. A
cleaver, if frivolous, piece of writing. That whole schtick about Hoboken, the waterfront and
an Italian dock fighter . . . come on. ****__Cash.

If nothing else, this short story was a pleasure to read because it was short. Obviously a
striking departure from the Captain's "First Kiss" it was still fun  to read, and I really
enjoyed the punch line. I like all of your work, Captain Apple Jack. ****__Su Chang.

A quick and pleasant read. Demonstrating a broad and versatile range in writing and
character development. Somehow I found myself captivated by the very nerve of it all.
Nice surprise, Captain. ****__Barbara A. Sabo.

This is so Italian. Capisce? And for that very reason an enchanting read. Reminiscent of
long black limos with tented glass, short stocky Italian mothers who can cook better than
they can make love, and undeniable fidelity to the family. I liked it even though it was
written at the hand of an unenlightened Englishman. ****__Anthony M. Gullatta.

The story unfolds as a sad but moving piece about an old man living on his own, wishing to
once again plant a tomato garden, but alas, the ground is still frozen hard.  But in a
humorous turn of events, his son comes to his rescue and grants his wish.  Great
story.*****__Melissa R. Mendelson.

An Old Italian lived alone in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Away from the waterfront and the
sweaty dock workers. He had found a small apartment in a U.S. Government  attraction of
private garden plots in the rear of the building for all residents. So, today he wanted to
plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as it was only late March and
the ground was still hard in Hoboken.
His only son Vincent used to help him, but Vincent had gotten into some really bad trouble
on the waterfront using his fists as tools of persuasion whenever someone older and wiser
needed assistance in collecting a debt or receiving fair pay for a favor done. Vinny's pay was
always good, and he always got the right result for his simple work. That is until the son of
the Greek shipbuilder decided he could muscle his way into some of Vinny's trade. Telling
Vincent's best clients he could perform the same persuasive tasks faster and for less pay. It
wasn't a personal thing, he had explained to Vinny. Just business. And that's when Vincent
went to prison.
The son of the Greek shipbuilder had died in shame. Agony too, after Vincent had
humiliated him, breaking his face, popping his eyes and crushing his lungs with his large
powerful fists. Then laughing and punishing him more. Finally punching him over the ropes
into the black waters of Hudson Bay.  The peaceful Jersey dockworkers looking on in
disbelief as Vincent's longshoremen brothers made ready to resist any sign of weak
intervention. Unfortunately for Vinny, the FBI represented a lot more than just a weak
So now, the old Italian had to write a letter to his son describing his predicament:

Dear Vincent,
this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here
my troubles would be over.  I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the
old days. Love, Papa

A few days later the Old Italian received a letter from his son:

Dear Pop,
Don't dig up our plot for your garden. That's where the bodies are buried.
Love, Vinny

At 4:00 am the next morning, twenty FBI agents and a few local Hoboken police arrived at
the apartments and dug up the entire area assigned to the old Italian's family without
finding any bodies.  Very disappointed, they apologized to the old man and left.

That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,
You can go ahead and plant your tomatoes now . . . That's the best I could do under the
circumstance s.  Love you,  Vinny

                                   ©2014 John Apple Bowman III [All Rights Reserved]
“The Tomato Garden”
By John Apple Bowman III
Sunday June 9, 2014
Rated "G" by the Author.
More than one way to skin a federal cat.