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The Life and Death of DePiglio

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No one knows what DePiglio is. He’s kind of like a dog, but even comparing him to a dog is ill-fitting. He is neither here nor there, he is everywhere but only in one place. DePiglio, he’s a really cool dude. I know him actually, I took my driver’s test with him. My friend Matty, he went to high school with him. Everyone knows DePiglio, and DePiglio knows everyone. Except for one person. One person has evaded his prying omniscience, one person has never met him, never even heard of him. Depiglio knows. DePiglio is angry. DePiglio will find him, even if it’s the last thing he ever does.




The DMV is an intimidating place. The air is stale and unmoving, an underpaid RMV worker is yelling out three digit numbers, licensed drivers are anxiously tapping their feet on the thinly carpeted floors. The number on my receipt was 277, but the numbers being called were all out of order.

“459,” the lady paused a second.

“459,” the lady yelled with apathy and a hint of dissociation in her voice. Half a minute went by before she took a deep breath and yelled,

“155.” She coughed.

I was one of the few foot-tappers who was unlicensed. My mind was rehearsing all the tricks and safety tips I had learned over the past couple months.

How do I parallel park again? I was afraid that I would be too nervous to parallel park.

Pull up to the car… reverse… no, turn the wheel… one rotation? I better practice… I swung my arm to the rear of the seat next to me as if to begin my fantasy parallel parking job, not realizing that as I was fantasizing about parallel parking, everyone in the DMV had stopped what they were doing and were looking at me. I paused a second, and took my arm from the seat next to me.

“Sorry,” I said a bit too loudly. I went back to my nervous foot tapping.

“277,” Yelled the lady. I gathered my permit and bag, and walked up to the desk. After a couple minutes of fumbling and apologising, I made it out to the DMV parking lot, my permit held tightly in hand. A car flashed its high beams at me, and I made my way over.

I peeked through the windshield to see who was to be in charge of my fate, but I couldn’t see anyone, anything, in fact, in the passenger’s seat. I opened the door, only to see what appeared to be a scruffy looking Yorkie- I wasn’t sure. It was way too short to be able to see over the windshield. But when it spoke, I knew.

“Hello, my name is DePiglio, and I will be conducting your drivers test this afternoon.” All thoughts of Yorkies left my head- this was DePiglio. A pretty cool dude. Maybe he looked kinda like a dog or something? But that didn’t really matter- he was just the guy proctoring my drivers test. Is that a bucket hat that he’s wearing? I personally wouldn’t, but I like the-

“And your name is-?” DePiglio’s voice removed me from my train of thought. His voice was incredibly smooth- I wondered if he had a podcast. I paused a bit too long before I responded.

“Rachel Crowe,” I sighed. I straightened up a bit more.

“Rachel Crowe.” I said my name this time with more authority. That voice kind of… relaxes you.

“Pleasure.” DePiglio winked at me. Under any normal circumstances I would’ve found this incredibly creepy, but these circumstances didn’t feel normal. I responded with a nod and a smile.

“Are you ready to begin?” DePiglio questioned.

“I think so.”

 

I put my foot on the gas, and the car started to slowly roll forwards.

“Turn left as we leave the parking lot.” I put my turn signal on, and the car slot itself into the incoming lane of traffic coming from the right.

“Turn right.” I glided up to the intersection, and put my right turn signal on, and put my foot on the gas. But the car wouldn’t move. I started to panic- was it something I did? Is the car in neutral? Park? I looked down to make sure my foot was on the gas, and it was. The light turned green, and suddenly the gas worked again. The car lurched a bit, but it wasn’t very noticeable. It was when I was turning right that I noticed the sign:

“NO TURN ON RED.” I let out a nervous chuckle. If the car hadn’t malfunctioned at that exact point in time, I definitely would have failed my driver’s test.

“Don’t be nervous,” said DePiglio. The rest of my test was without incident.

 

———

 

Click. Great. Good to know that forced smile will be saved forever in image form. Click. She’ll probably be uploading that one to facebook.

“Can you hold it up above your head? Like you’re celebrating?” I raised my brand new license up above my head. Click.

“The USPS should rename snailmail to cheetahmail,” announced my mom. “It only took, what, a day to arrive?”

“Yeah,” I responded.

“My facebook friends will love this.” I sighed, but I wasn’t about to have a debate with my mom about posting pictures of me on facebook. “So, how was your test? I want details- you only gave me the bare bones yesterday.”

“Well, I kind of embarrassed myself in the DMV. I practiced parallel parking in the seats, and everyone was staring, which I guess is understandable.” My mom snorted. “Then I got my permit all sorted out after the lady called my number, then I went outside and there was this thing that kinda looked like a dog or something, his name was DePiglio and he was the proctor-”

“WAIT! Hold on, I’m friends with him on facebook! He works part time at Barnes&Noble, we talked for like a half hour the other day when I went to buy you the new John Green book! He’s such a cool guy, and he has the most interesting fashion sense!

“Oh! Was he wearing a bucket hat?”

“Yeah, a bucket hat!”

 

— 8 years later —

 

“Albany’s actually the eleventh largest city in New York!”

“I know! Eleven is my lucky number actually, yet another reason to love Albany.” I was so glad I knew someone who loved Albany as much as I did. “It’s such a beautiful city. How many times have you been up there again, Matty?

“I would say that I’ve lost count, except I haven’t.” Matty pulled up the notes app on his phone. “78 times,” He said proudly.

“You lucky son of a bitch. Albany is such an amazing place.”

“A little birdie told me you were talking about Alabany, aka the greatest city in the whole world.” A lanky man with show pony hair and orange pants sat down on the bench opposite Matty. “Does that bird speak the truth?”

“I’m Chris. Ask me anything about Albany.” Matty looked taken aback, but he had a smile on his face.

“Ok,” Said Matty. “Tell me something about… Washington park.”

“Burial ground,” responded Chris. “It was planned to go on top of a burial ground so they had to relocate the bodies to the Albany Rural Cemetery.” Chris looked smug.

“Wow, even I didn’t know that,” I said, bewildered that there was a person out there who loved Albany as much as Matty and I did. “How many times do you get up there per month? Like on average?”

“Yeah, I don't make it up to Albany as nearly as often as I'd like. I only get up there about three to five times a month.” Chris looked visibly disappointed in himself.

“Yeah, there's so much to see there. I always tell people, if you don't have two years to spend up there then you shouldn't go at all.” Matty was very sincere, as he should’ve been. There was a short pause before I heard a screech coming from down the street.

“Oh shit.” Chris was staring at something in the distance. I flipped my sunglasses down to get a better view.

“Is that DePiglio again? God, what is that thing?” Sure enough, Chris was right. It was DePiglio. I had actually run into him a couple of times since my drivers test- he still worked part time at Barnes&Noble, so I’d had a couple of discussions with him about books. He recommended a couple of novels to me, he has incredibly good taste.

“Whoa whoa whoa, please do not talk about DePiglio in that way.” Matty looked rightly upset. DePiglio screamed in the distance, which I thought was extremely unlike DePiglio. He was usually pretty quiet, but I suppose that’s because I didn’t really know him outside of the bookstore.

“So he’s like a dog or something?”

“RAHHH” DePiglio screamed again, but he was a bit closer this time. I thought I heard DePiglio’s favorite song “On Broadway” coming from his direction too, but I couldn’t be sure.

“He's kind of like a dog... What's up DePiglio!”

“Ah,” said Chris. Matty nodded, but I knew we were both thinking the same thing. How the hell did he not know DePiglio? DePiglio was so popular, and such a genuinely nice guy that I thought everyone, or at least everyone in LA had ought to know him. Especially someone who is so enthusiastic about Albany- DePiglio was actually the one who suggested that I read William Kennedy (an author who wrote nearly a dozen books about Albany), after I read all his books I forced Matty to read him, and we’ve been admirers of the city ever since.

“Is he wearing a bucket hat right now?” Chris looked ever the skeptic. I don’t think any of us were sure what he was skeptical of, but he was looking at DePiglio with a mix of confusion and suspicion on his face. DePiglio screamed again and he jumped a little.

“‘Sup DePiglio,” said Matty, as an attempt to relieve the tension.

“If that little freak is wearing a bucket hat…”

“Bucket hat or not he's running right at you. Waddup DePaeglio!”

“Why me though?”

“Why not you?” I flipped my sunglasses back up. “I actually took my driving test with him.” I figured maybe DePiglio was just making an entrance- he probably already knew about Chris’s enthusiasm for Albany, and was just trying to join the conversation in an interesting way. But the whole situation felt really out of the ordinary, and I was starting to become a little on edge.

“Excuse me?” 

“Yeah, I went to high school with him” It was such a funny coincidence when I learned that Matty went to high school with the same DePiglio who proctored my drivers test and works at Barnes&Noble. It’s kind of funny how DePiglio seems to just know everyone. Except for Chris, I guess.

“Whaat?” Chris looked so out of the loop. Matty reached into his backpack, and brought out his highschool yearbook. “That’s him. Could you guess it?”

“That’s just him as he is now,” Chris asserted. “In a yearbook.” At this point I was really confused. Chris really knew nothing about DePiglio, and DePiglio seemed incredibly angry at him.

“Did you do something to piss him off? He's usually super chill and shit.” At this, DePiglio seemed to get even more pissed off. I could practically hear his intake of breath from a block away before he screamed.

“AGGHHHHH! WAHHHH!!!!!”

“But not right now,” I informed. “Right now he's running at you like a badass.”

“So I should probably... start running?” Chris looked defeated.

“Yeah, I would.” Matty and I were on the same page- even though DePiglio was usually pretty nice, he looked mad at Chris right then. Chris sighed.

 

— 1 month later, in Albany —

 

It was my fifth time up to Albany with Matty. There was just so much to do and see there- it was a treat every time. This trip we were mainly focusing on the residential areas of Albany- to see the architectural style. A lot of the houses there are very old, seeing as the Dutch settled it in 1614. Matty and I like to play this game, which he dubbed “Dutch Realtor.” Basically, whenever we come across a house we guess how old it is, then we look it up on Zillow to see who’s right.

“11 Cambridge road,” I said. “What do you reckon?” (I strongly encourage the reader to go on google street view: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.6755766,-73.8163335,3a,75y,128.04h,74.51t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sNf6KcU9kw-1Xr2Iu5ZP_RQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192 )

“Let’s say it at the same time” appealed Matty. I took a hard look at the house. The brickwork was the most obvious clue. I’d say it would probably have been made after ‘25. Bricks weren’t widely mass produced until around then. The sunken fireplace gives me the feeling that it was probably built before 1950… I don’t have much else to go off of… I’m going to say 1937, right in the middle. Matty looked at me, and began to count backwards from three on his fingers.

“1940!”

“‘37!”

Matty was the one to look it up on Zillow. He ended up winning- the year was 1939. We walked down to the next house, and right before we were about to yell out our guesses, we heard a familiar scream.

“FOCKKKKY!!! AAUUUGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!” We both turned to see Chris running towards us, coming from Western Ave onto our dead end street, pursued at a distance by our pal DePiglio. We could hear Chris panting from a dozen houses away.

“HEY, CHRIS!” yelled Matty. “You made it up to Albany!” Chris was now only a few houses away from us. “And you convinced DePiglio to come up here too!” Chris’s head shot up at the mention of DePiglio. His eyes were completely bloodshot, it was as if he hadn’t slept in a week. Chris opened his mouth to speak.

“You should probably,” Chris gasped. “Run about this.” Chris ran right by us. I looked at Matty, then we both started to chase after him. I was incredibly confused.

“What’s DePiglio’s deal? Why is he chasing you? Wasn’t he chasing you last month? I thought you guys would be tight by now.” Chris continued to run.

“He hasn’t let up. I ran home after you guys told me to start running, and all was fine until I walked out my door around noon for my boba, and he was a couple of houses away, and he was running and screaming at me. He chased me all the way to the boba shop, and when I was about to leave he burst in screaming ‘BOBAA!! AGGGGHHH!’ and everyone knew him, and they all said hi to him, and some asked him why he was so upset,” Chris took a breath. “But he was out of there, he didn’t answer them, he was already chasing me down the block. I decided on a whim to try to fly up to my parents, I figured he couldn’t chase me there, but I didn’t have enough time to get a plane ticket so I had to drive, and he chased me on his little DePiglio feet all through Kansas and Pennsylvania and Alaska and Brazil, and he chased me out of Massachusetts once I finally got there a couple days ago, and he chased me all the way up to Albany. I don’t,” he huffed. “mean to complain about being in Albany, but these circumstances aren't… ideal.” Matty and I both were horrified.

“Shit,” huffed Matty. “Let me try to talk to him.”

“You can try.” Chris didn’t seem hopeful at all. He started to jog backwards to watch Matty.

“DePiglio!”

“HGGRRRAAGGHHHH!!!”

“DePiglio, chill out man! What the hell? Give Chris some room!”

“NYEEEEGH!” Depiglio gave him a look, but he kept running. I decided to speak out.

“DePiglio, stop it! That isn’t right!”

Depiglio just kept on running. And I’d had enough. Even if DePiglio had been nice to me in the past, he had totally gone off the rails.

“You’re a right hooligan, DePiglio. I respected you, but you’ve shown your true colors.”

Depiglio froze. I looked around towards Matty and Chris, and they were also frozen, mid-footfall. I looked back at DePiglio. He started to tremble. I looked up, a plane was frozen in midair, the tree above me was as still as if it had been hit with an out of season ice storm. Fear was in my heart and eyes, but with anger in my chest I screamed.

“Screw you, DePiglio!”

Depiglio looked up at me, a tear forming in his eye.

“That hurt.”

 

———

 

“But… what was that? What the hell was that?” I was pacing back and forth. We had made our way to the Short and Stout Tea Lounge, a fantastic boba shop that happened to be on Western Ave. “If he can freeze time like that…”

“Who knows what else he could do?” Matty finished my sentence. Chris, invested he was in the drama of DePiglio’s possible divinity, was more invested in the restorative powers of Matcha Green Boba Tea. Boy, was he slurping. “Do you think he’ll just keep chasing Chris forever?”

“No,” I replied. “There has to be something that could stop him. He must have some sort of weakness. Like, he’s not chasing him right now.” Matty nodded, then started to stare off into space. I looked out the window to hone my thoughts. I thought back to all my previous interactions with DePiglio. Drivers test… he was pretty chill then. Nothing weird happened besides stalling at the stop light. When I first ran into him at Barnes & Noble… I remember I found a book that had fallen on the floor, and when I went to put it back, DePiglio came over and complimented my book choice. I actually remember him giving me the money to pay for it. It was the first William Kennedy book that I had ever read. My eyes strayed towards a stray straw wrapper on the floor. I was starting to feel guilty about what I had said to DePiglio—he was such a nice guy. He’s so nice to everyone, I would feel horrible if I got in his way. Chris had probably pissed him off or something, and just wasn’t telling us…

“I don’t think we should stop him,” Matty and I said at the same time. Chris’s face turned 3 shades redder, and a look of panic was in his eyes.

“WHAT? He’s been chasing me around for, what, a month? What the hell will I do if we can’t stop him? Are you gonna let me die at the hands of this fiend? You know, I think DePiglio must have some sort of influence over you. If anyone else had chased me around North America the way that DePiglio did, I think you guys would have been furious.”

“Yeah, you’re right, you’re right.” Matty took a breath. “That little fiend can’t go on doing what he’s doing, no matter how excellent a football player he was in high school.” Matty’s eyes went out of focus. A couple of seconds passed.

“Matty?” I asked. Chris tapped his shoulder.

“Matty!” I yelled. I got a couple of looks from the other boba addicts in the shop. Matty jolted, and his eyes focused once again on his tea. You could almost hear his heart beating from half a table away.

“Shit. Time… it stopped, like what you said. And I heard DePiglio, he said ‘Stop… Please…’. You know his voice, Rachel, it was harrowing.” And that’s when it clicked.

“Wait.” All eyes turned to me. “I think I know how to stop him. It’s just a theory, but…”

 

———

 

A renewed strength was coursing through all of our veins. We were making our way back to where we had left DePiglio.

“So- just to make things crystal clear- we insult him? And just see what happens?” Matty repeated my shell of a plan back to me.

“That’s all I got so far. I don’t think Chris should, since DePiglio doesn't seem to have a connection to him.” Chris nodded at me. “So it’ll just be you and me.” Matty furrowed his brow and clenched his fists.

“We’re coming to get you, you little narcissist!” Matty yelled. He stopped and squinted for a bit, then continued to walk.

“Yeah, he’s mad alright. I heard his voice coming from over there.” He pointed right in front of us. We kept on walking down the street, the tension building every step closer we came to DePiglio. Chris was fidgeting anxiously.

“Do you guys think… Why do you guys think I didn’t know DePiglio? Why was he targeting me?” Neither me nor Matty knew how to answer that question, so we just left the question to pend for the time being. Only a couple more minutes passed before we heard a scream.

“HYÑERAHH!!” Sure enough DePiglio was running straight towards us. I took a deep breath.

“You suck, DePiglio!” I saw DePiglio stop and sob.

“DePiglio, you’re not even that good at football!” Matty unfroze to join mine and Depiglio’s strange time pocket. DePiglio wailed.

“DePiglio, you can only hold like a minimum wage job.” I paused, and exited the trance to find a gaggle of pedestrians staring at the three of us. Chris was explaining our situation to everyone- even the people of Albany knew DePiglio, and they were all pleading with Chris to stop us from harassing him. I knew Chris could handle it, so I went back into the time pocket.

“You look like a sack of squid ink pasta met some thirteenth century dentures!”

“Hey, what’s up you inconsiderate little... little mop monster!” DePiglio screamed. Matty was really roasting him.

“You’re what would happen if the tortoise got jiggy with the hare!” Matty gave me a look of approval at that one. DePiglio did not look at all pleased, but it looked as if our plan was working. He seemed to be unable to move, he looked as if he was getting weaker and weaker with every insult thrown at him. I heard Matty take a breath to scream another insult, but before he could, I saw another person who I didn’t know start to move out of the corner of my eye.

“What the heck, DePiglio. I thought you were cool, turns out you really are just the worst.”

“HYERRRRAHHHGHHH!” Someone who was passing on the street had joined us to insult DePiglio. I started to see more and more people leave the normal timeline to come into DePiglio’s time pocket. I was silent for too long, and I got put back into reality. Chris was egging people on, telling them his story, proving to them that DePiglio was evil.

“Did the sewer custodian mistake you for his mop?”

“If you are what you eat, your pantry must be filled with a mountain of dead birds. Because you look like one!”

“You smell worse than my father in law!”

“Are you a vegetarian? Because you’re so annoying!” I wasn’t sure who made that comment, but as a vegetarian it hurt a little.

“You would get 2,630th place at the Westminster dog show! If you could even pay the 100 dollar entry fee because you have no money and a bad credit score probably!”

“Yo momma don’t even exist because you’re probably a celestial being or something of that nature!”

“Take a bath, Depiglio! Then take a shower, because you’ll probably still be dirty!”

“DePiglio, did you get your rabies vaccine?” I chided. Insult after insult was thrown his way, and I could tell that with every new insult he was losing power. He was losing the power he had over the people who once knew him as a nice dude.

 

———

 

“Reporting live from the streets of Albany New York, we are here with Chris Fleming, DePiglio, and a massive army of bullies. Tell me Chris, what are we witnessing here today?”

“Well, um, all these people here are insulting DePiglio. DePiglio- I’m assuming you know him, right?”

“Yeah, DePiglio. I do know him. He’s the sexton at our church, actually. Which leads me to ask- why are all these people ridiculing this good (and may I add good-looking) churchgoing fellow so harshly? What did he do to deserve this?”

“Um, well, I, he chased me. Like, everywhere, and I didn’t sleep for a week. I still haven't slept, but I drank boba, so yeah.” Matty started to giggle. Chris, Matty and I were all sitting on the foot of a queen bed in the Hilton. We were rewatching the YouTube clip of Chris’ interview on the CNN youtube channel for maybe the twentieth time.

“I see. So, how did that incident lead to DePiglio being so terribly disparaged like this, on national television?” I tensed up in anticipation for something spectacular.

“Well, DePiglio might be just a Sunday sexton who’s kinda like a dog. Or a football player for Matty, or a drivers test proctor for Rachel. But that’s just it.” Matty snorted preemptively. Chris half covered his eyes, but was still looking at the screen.

“Kinda like a dog? No. Kinda like a god.” Chris flopped backwards onto the bed, Matty was doing his weird snort-laugh, and I was slapping my knees. They were probably slapped raw at this point. By the time we recomposed ourselves, the video was almost all the way over. The reporter was talking to the camera, and 3-days-ago Chris was hanging sheepishly in the background.

“There you have it folks. DePiglio isn’t who you once thought he was, he is a little monster, alien, devil’s accomplice, what have you, that needs to be taken down.” Her eyes glossed over for a second. “Woah. So if you want to help at home, shout a couple insults his way.” Depiglio screamed in the background. Chris sat back up.

“I was sleep deprived, ok?”

“Fair. But still a wack thing to say on live TV, my guy,” explained Matty. We started to pack up for yet another day of hurling insults at DePiglio, when my phone rang. It was DePiglio. I showed the phone to Matty and Chris, and they motioned for me to pick it up. I lifted the phone to my ear.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ok__l1Acuwg (click the link to listen to what the phone call sounded like)” My heart started to beat. I had the phone on speaker, so everyone could hear. It was DePiglio’s favorite song, On Broadway. We rushed down to the street to see if anything was happening. Sure enough, we heard gasps and hollers from DePiglio’s spot near the boba shop. We managed to push our way to the front of the crowd, and we saw. DePiglio was fading. Like, you could see right through him.

“DePiglio, you smell like a giraffe!” Chris yelled. And just like that, DePiglio was gone. And with his disappearance, a splitting headache befell everyone. For a little while, you could hear moaning and screaming coming from every direction. Some people fell over, some sat down, a few kept on standing. But after a while, people started quieting down, and the headaches were subsiding. And with the disappearance of the headaches came something unexpected. All of our memories of DePiglio had changed. I didn’t remember DePiglio how I once did. DePiglio was still the one who had proctored my drivers test, but when he winked at me it freaked me out, and the car hadn’t actually stalled at the light. I ran right through it. I found the William Kennedy books on my own, but DePiglio’s power had led me to believe that he bought them for me and I liked them. They were honestly just ok. And… I didn’t like Albany anymore. Albany, without DePiglio influencing my thoughts, was an incredibly boring city. Like, there’s literally nothing to do or see there. It’s so grey, and it doesn't really have much culture. And DePiglio- he wasn’t such a cool dude anymore. He wasn’t really a nice guy either. The most I could say about him is that he was kinda like a dog.