Victor Molinari’s prepubescent years ran through the Thirties. After the deaths of his parents, he maneuvered through a rough-and-tumble childhood in a depressing time of lost fortunes, no wages, rampant unemployment, and long soup lines made up of decent people down on their luck. The devil-may-care largesse and national exuberance of the Roaring Twenties, in part a resurgence of renewed hope after World War I, had ended almost overnight on the sour note of a busted stock market, shuttered banks, and unemployment shock across the nation.
The teenager Molinari drifted in and out of street-corner gangs composed of young toughies who used back alleys as their turf for activities that brought in whatever money was good for the getting (or taking)! He had scrapes with law enforcement, but not because his Grandmother Amelia Molinari was lax on discipline at home; she was Old Country tough. When the Spanish Flu killed her husband a decade earlier, she took over management of the basic-needs store he left behind. That responsibility trapped most of her days and evenings and was her primary income source to shelter and feed herself and her young charge. Left with no other choice than praying that he would survive the streets, she let her grandson fend for himself between the cracks like a weed in a minefield laced with lethal dangers: one wrong step, a wrong turn, and he was dead.
Victor owed his nickname (The Mole) to his grandfather’s legacy, which, in part, included a rather large mole on his left cheek near his upper lip. Aside from the genetic blemish, his looks were average but certainly not worthy of ridicule. When Grandmother Molinari caught wind of the rumor that others bullied her grandson in elementary school classrooms and playgrounds, she sat him down. She explained how her husband had survived similar gauntlets.
“Victor, your grandfather never let words or references to his birthmark bother him. He thought of it as a play on the proud Molinari family name. So, don’t you go worrying about that. You’ll get over it. Trust me.”
Within her field of vision, he accepted that explanation and acted the part, but he silently vowed to exact his revenge on the worst offenders who constantly made him feel bad or fear for his life. The older he grew, and the more abuse he took, the better his vengeful plan gelled inside his brain. He took on boxing lessons, honing his skills inside the local gym after school. Sharpened to his liking, he sought out and punched the kids that he targeted, besting each opponent with one swift roundhouse right straight into their faces, in most cases breaking their jaws, shutting down their callous remarks forever!
Vindicated in the mirror, Molinari came to like his street-fighting name and his genetic mark so much that he used the title to introduce himself to others.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Victor ‘The Mole’ Molinari. You got a problem with that?!”
The smart ones right away accepted whatever he told them and never looked directly at Molinari’s birthmark. Others who stared at it suffered declines in their health!
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