The Elk Hotel, October 2015

by Bruce Thines

Barbara and Lorenzo’s Wedding

Barbara Randazzo and Lorenzo Fullwood are two crack heads that are on public assistance and have lived at the hotel for years. They hung together for as long as I can remember. Both of them are mentally stunted and had little common sense. I heard from people who were neighbors of them years ago, and they say that they were problem children back then.

They enjoyed doing things together, like picking the head lice from each other, sharing a bottle of cheap wine and getting high. Barb had often expressed her love for Lorenzo but love was not in Lorenzo’s vocabulary, it’s not to say that he didn’t love her it’s Just that he was unable to express it. He just followed Barb around like a puppy dog.

The other day Barb stopped by the security office to say that she and Lorenzo were planning on getting married; she said she wanted to wed before she died. She asked Lorenzo if he would do this for her, he said he would. After all they were friends and shared everything they had together. Barb said she wanted to hire the little people from the Wizard of Oz for her wedding, and asked me where she could find a unicorir I told her I didn’t have the faintest idea. Over the years I have learned to accept Barb for wha^^as “dysfunctional” and ignored what she had told me.

Barb wanted a church wedding, which was weird since she hadn’t been in a church since O she was a child and she wasn’t in good standing with any church or priest for that matter. Lorenzo was just scared to set foot in a church. Barb’s friend Mary Rivers said she knew a minister from the soup kitchen run by the Unitarian Church, maybe she could help.

Barb walked over to the Unitarian Church with Mary Rivers and talked to the Reverend Glory Garbagski. Miss Glory, as she liked to be called, listened to Barb and Mary’s request and gave it much thought. Miss Glory had a weak spot in her heart for the homeless and the dysfunctional. She thought, yes they were both hopeless and dysfunctional people, but was just as much deserving of love and a happy life together as anybody else. So after much deliberation she agreed to perform the wedding.

A friend of Barb’s said she could get a wedding dress for her. She pulled a tattered,(once white dress) out of a dumpster on Elmwood Ave, and said a good washing and a little sewing up and it would be fine.

This wedding was the talk of the neighborhood; people were even taking about it at the Red Front, the Open Door Mission to World Wide News. Everywhere you went people would say “hey did you hear about the wedding.” All the bitches from Saint Paul Street were talking about it.

Monday Lorenzo showed me a suit he got from a Salvation Army drop box on East Ridge Rd., it was in dire need of cleaning and repair. It was a blue suit with only one button on the jacket with blue plants with black piping down the legs.

The wedding was to be held at the Unitarian Church of Love and Peace, the Reverend Miss Glory presiding. The Rev. Miss Glory is the first transgender minister of the Unitarian Church. Before going to the seminary Miss Glory was a tight end for the New York Jets named Paul Bearer.

Barb’s maid of honor was Mary Rivers, longtime resident of the Elk Hotel along with Feather Chicks and Deedee Forearm as bride’s maids. Lorenzo’s best man was his longtime homey Drew Chopper, former crack dealer and now Rapp singer.

Mary had to remind both Barb and Lorenzo to bathe the night before and to put on clean under wear. This will be the first time Barb wore a bra in over a year.

Both the bride and groom were a nervous wreck and could not sleep the night before the ceremony. Barb smoked a huge joint and drank a tall can of Natty Batty beer before she could fall to sleep. Lorenzo stayed at Dew Chopper’s crib and they both polished off a bottle of Wild Irish Rose and a couple of joints and passed out.

The next morning all the participants gathered at the church. Barb’s father was there to give the bride away. He commented to Barb that she smelled good. Barb said “yes daddy I took a bath.” Barb’s maid of honor had to give her a valium so she would calm down.

Lorenzo was waiting at the alter with his best man, both looked mellow. Lorenzo had that look of a deer caught in the glare of an oncoming car.

Barb came down the aisle with her 88 year old father both hands on his Swift Roller walker which had a squeaky wheel that echoed throughout the church. Barb looked totally different, her hair was washed and done up in a tight bun. On her head she wore her white sailors cap with a garland of pink posies around the top. The dress she wore would never be white again no matter how many time’s it was washed. It was a tired beige color but it looked good on Barb. On her feet she wore a brand new pair of white sneakers. Barb could not walk in high heels without falling over.

When they finally met at the alter they both exchanged toothless grins. The minister. Miss Glory glanced at both of them and started the ceremony with “we are gathered here today to wed Barbara Randazzo and Lorenzo Fullwood in holy matrimony.” As Miss Glory said the word “holy” a black cloud passed over the church and a black crow fell to its death from the church rafter’s. The Rings they exchanged they purchased from Raoul’s Mini Mart on Main and Clinton.

After they said I do’s they were waiting on Lorenzo’s best man Dew, he could not find the bride’s ring. When he reached in his trouser pocket it was not there, he had a hole in his pocket. Dew panicked, he started taking his pants off at the altar. It was after he had taken his pants and boots off that they found the ring. It had fallen through the hole in his pants pocket down his pants leg and into his right boot. Dew gave the ring to Lorenzo, he stared at it for a while until Miss Glory told him to put it on Barb’s finger. Meanwhile Dew put his pants back on; he fell over twice trying to put his boots on.

As they were leaving the church they all paused for pictures and Barb tossed the bridal bouquet over her shoulder and it was caught by Feather Tricks one of Barb’s brides maids. Barb’s father gave the bride and groom five hundred dollars cash as a wedding present.

They finally got into their cars and headed to Uncle Moe’s Ribs and Things for the wedding reception. While in Dew’s car Barb and Lorenzo shared a jaunt and a tall Bud Ice.

They both breathed a sigh of relief that they were able to pull this off.

After the reception they would change their cloths and catch a bus to Buffalo for their honeymoon. They would stay at the Huron Hotel on Chippewa Street.

Bruce Thines is a local short story writer in the process of publishing his seminal and picaresque collection, Stories from The Elk Hotel.