Scranton Lives Matter! Ch. 18

Jumping up from his table in the Polka Palace restaurant, the soft worn fringe on Casey Weatherhogg’s brown suede jacket fluttered like waves in a Ripple wine spill on a windy coastal California day.

Pointing to the front window, he squawked.

Look, look, he said, it’s a Polish falcon.

The sparse lunch crowd looked out the window, giving Casey the few seconds he needed to sprinkle three drops of fresh LSD on the plate of pierogies that sat piled in front of Lackawanna County President Judge Stanley “Stash” Dombroski.

Stickler for control and accuracy that he was, Dombroski corrected Casey.

You mean a Polish eagle, he said.

Yeah, yeah, that’s what I mean, Casey said.

I don’t see no bird, the judge said.

Must have flew the coop, Casey said.

Digging into his pierogies, the judge scowled. Casey dipped his last hunk of crusty bread into his last spoonful of red beet soup and split. Ten minutes later so did the judge, without leaving a tip or paying the bill.

Back at the courthouse, a bewitched, befuddled and bewildered Dombroski read a few emails. Seeing a flash of red, he pushed back his chair, stood from his desk and walked to the window. The Polish eagle sat wearing a Biden/Harris t-shirt and flapping his wings in a tree outside the bell tower.

Dombroski froze.

That’s when the music started in his head, peppy polka music that filled his cranium with the sounds of an army of oom-pah-pah tubas and dulcet accordions, making him want to dance. The judge could hear and feel musical notes dripping and dropping from his ears, pouring from inside his brain and falling on the floor where they bounced, grew little legs and danced the polka led by escaped G and F clefs barking words to the tune with some notes even singing in Polish.

New, rare and wonderful, the lively number boomed around the room, an instant polka hit called Let’s Name the Baby Kielbasy. The judge began to sing, warbling shrill lyrics that came at his brain like intergalactic comets streaking through space as he sang at the top of his voice as free as a born-again sinner speaking in tongues.

Let’s name the baby Kielbasy

This kid burps fun and good cheer

Let’s name the baby Kielbasy

We’ll never run out of cold beer

Let’s name the baby Kielbasy

Break out the good times this year

Let’s name the baby Kielbasy

We don’t got nothing to fear.

Now the judge began to dance, twirling and swirling around his chambers. Sweating like an iced beer barrel on a sweltering summer day, fat beads of perspiration dripped down his forehead. Pulling at the Windsor knot in his tie, he undid his neckwear and tossed the red and white striped cravat over his shoulder. Next went the white dress shirt, then the pin-striped pants. Before he ran from his office, down the stairs and out the emergency exit into Courthouse Square, he opened the second-story window and threw his paisley-patterned briefs into the breeze where they fluttered like a deflated campaign balloon to the ground. For whatever unknown reason, the judge kept on his knee-high black dress socks and oxblood-colored wingtips.

A bored local TV crew doing a story on young professionals living in overpriced downtown lofts spotted him first when Judge Dombroski ran singing his way across the wide expanse of lawn. A skinny veteran reporter chased him down by the Civil War memorial, yelling her question in his flushed face as she stuck her mic under his nose.

Do you have a comment? Do you have a comment?

The judge stopped.

He panted.

He spoke.

Kielbasy, he said, kielbasy.

The cameraman focused on the judge’s private part.

Kielbasy, the judge said.


The reporter backed up. Reaching into her bag, she pulled out the pink plastic throw-away razor she used to shave her legs in the satellite truck. The judge leered a dirty old man leer that would have put the late hustler Larry Flint to shame.

Kielbasy, my dear, he said.

Wave that spicy sausage at me one more time, you pervert, and I’ll cut it into pieces you male chauvinist pig in a blanket, you, the reporter said.

Of course he waved it.

And the chase was on.

Film at 11 showed the reporter bearing down on the pro-Trump registered Democrat as he danced the almost naked polka while yelling words that sounded like hoopa and yashimash. Before a SWAT team threw a net over his head, the judge screamed out one last phrase, a motto with which newspapers and websites won journalism awards nationwide.

Polka people are happy people, Judge Dombroski said.

From where Casey Weatherhogg stood hiding behind the Christopher Columbus statue, he felt enlightened knowing no matter what happened to this crooked, immoral bench-sitter, no matter which psychiatric hospital admitted him for a 30-day evaluation, the judge was right.

Undoubtedly the man was happy.

Happiness is the root of upheaval.

Power to the pierogi.