A man awakes in his bedroom to the sound of primal roaring. 7:15 a.m. is known to Billy Fuccillo as feeding time.
Fuccillo doesn’t often receive gifts, but when the Bosnian prime minister offers you a Bengal tiger as a token of gratitude, you take it. Sasha is 7 years old, and when she’s hungry, she’ll let you know about it.
“At ease Sasha,” Fuccillo mumbles. “Daddy’s home.”
Three uncooked filet mignon steaks later, and Fuccillo begins his morning preparations. He is still moving all of his belongings into the mansion he rented from Derek Jeter in Tampa, Florida, so his palace looks more like a Minecraft map with boxes scattered across the premises. This doesn’t distract Fuccillo from getting ready: Armani suit, gold Rolex and a Livestrong-style bracelet engraved with a four-letter word that rhymes with luge.
At the airport, he pulls into his normal spot in the hangar and heads to the Fuccillo Jet, fully equipped with food, drink and his favorite video game system — the original PlayStation. One “Crash Team Racing” game turns into two, into three, into twelve and before you know it, he’s in Syracuse.
After his usual Bruegger’s bagel with cream cheese and capers, Fuccillo heads downtown to the OnCenter to confirm a brand new billboard for Fuccillo Hyundai, his car dealership and diamond sanctuary. Upon request, he asked to see the advertisement firsthand to ensure quality.
“Just like you said,” mutters the billboard representative from North Syracuse as he tries to hide the fear in his eyes.
“This is not what I asked for. It’s too small.”
“Then what do you want?”
“It needs to be … bigger.”
“How much bigger?”
Fuccillo walks away from the representative from North Syracuse and leaves him to contemplate. As he walks, he hears behind him the open weeps of another grown man who has fallen beneath the weight of an iron giant.
In the limousine on the way to the Sheraton, he gets a phone call from “No Caller ID.” He knows exactly who it is.
“The River Thames begs to embrace the one and only Billy Fuccillo. The London skies are just a bit more gray when you aren’t around.”
“I miss the United Kingdom very dearly, you know this Sir Elton John, but I have prior engagements. My work here isn’t done.”
“When it is, you know who to call.”
A beat passes, and then at the same time they both answer, “Ghostbusters.” It’s the type of friendship that stands the test of time. The type of friendship where they say their first and last names on every phone call, as men do.
Fuccillo gets out of the limousine with the license plate that rhymes with refuge and cracks a grin. This is it, what he’s worked for: his induction into the Syracuse Car Salesman Hall of Fame. The National Car Salesmen of America voted him in first ballot, and today was the induction ceremony outside of Marshall Square Mall, where Fuccillo would be receiving his statue within the next 3-5 years, depending on city planning.
The crowd outside the diminutive mall was massive. Men in suits were throwing toilet paper out the windows of Whitman and Starbucks renamed each of its Frappuccinos after a different type of Hyundai model. Today was cause for celebration and, at the heart of it, was a monolith whose name will ring in the ears of our grandchildren.
“Today, I consider myself the luckiest car salesman on the face of the Earth,” begins Fuccillo at his personal podium made of gold, frankincense and myrrh. A stray, “We love you Billy!” echos from a passerby leaving the Sheraton, waiting to enter the brand new The Sheraton Presents: The Billy Fuccillo Atrium for Hyundais and Other Important Things.
“You don’t know what this means to me. I’ve shot so many commercials with so little care for the quality,” Fuccillo says. “I’ve sold cars to Sheiks, CEOs and even the original Joe the Plumber.”
The crowd “Oooohs,” and Fuccillo lets the awe sink in.
“But I just want to say that this town is where my heart will always be. Thank you for your money and trust. You see, it’s not the wheels or the engine or even the heated seats in our latest Hyundai Elantra that you can pick up with no down payment. A car cannot move without a brave soul to hit the gas.”
The crowd erupts into applause, anointing the patron saint of Hyundai in a sea of gray and brown snow that is thrown into the air like confetti. If it weren’t so gross, it would be mesmerizing.
And through it all stands Billy Fuccillo, car salesman extraordinaire with a satisfied smile on his face.