It’s morning and I’m not to happy about going to school today. My mother pushes me out of my cot and said. “You got-ta go to school. Wake up!” I drag myself into the kitchen for a jolt of espresso coffee. The coffee is strong; I put two tablespoons of sugar in it for energy. I start to feel better but my body is not ready to move. I finally get dressed and walk in a daze to PS 27. Even though I only live a block away from my school, I’m walking so slow I wind up being five minutes late. I walk into my classroom and Miss Kent, my teacher, takes one look at me and says. “Pepino, you look terrible, what happened to you over the weekend?” I sat down at my desk. I looked at her and said. “I helped my father and his friends make homemade wine for our families. It was fun in the beginning, but by Sunday afternoon I ran out of energy. Don’t get me wrong I loved every minute because it was like a huge block party with music, storytelling, dancing and we ate all kinds of treats all day long. We laughed while we pressed the wine grapes and put them into wine into barrels for aging. I’m sorry that I’m so tired today. I will do my best stay awake and keep up with the class work. Miss Kent gave me a big smile and turned to write our lesson plan for the day on the blackboard. I dozed off a few times but I made it to the end of the day. When the school bell rang, it woke me up and I knew it was time to go home.
When I left the school building I found Reno the Greek and his Brother Henry playing with Yo-Yos. I walked over to greet them and I said. “Hey guys when did you get your Yo-Yo? Henry said. “Aren’t they neat? I’m just getting the hang of how to make them do tricks. I bought mine last Friday when the Duncan Yo-Yo man came to the Candy Store to show us what the Yo-Yo can do. He did a crazy routine with one Yo-Yo in each hand at the same time. It looked so easy when he was doing it so I gave him thirty five cents for this bright blue Yo-Yo. It took me all weekend to learn how to make this Yo-Yo go up and down.” My energy started to come back to me. I was so excited to see Henry playing with his beautiful Yo-Yo I said. “Where can I get one?” Reno said. “The Candy Store has a box of Duncan Yo-Yo’s on display on their candy counter.
But if I were you I would wait for the Yo-Yo man come there before you buy one. He told us the he planned to come back to the Candy Store after school on Wednesday. As Reno was talking to me he was doing his best to control his bright red Yo-Yo. He is having a hard time and I know it’s not going to easy to learn how to Yo-Yo but I want one. I don’t think that I can wait that long until the Yo-Yo man comes back to the Candy Store on Wednesday. I rushed home to get fifty cents from my money box that I hid under my parent’s bed. I rushed back to the Candy Store on Nelson and Hicks Street. I walked into the store and found a Yo-Yo display on the candy counter; there are only three Yo-Yo’s left in the display. Wow, they’re almost sold out. Now I had to pick one from the pink, yellow or orange Yo-Yo’s on the counter. I was afraid to take too long because another kid could come into the store and take one before I do. I’m not going to buy the pink Yo-Yo because pink is a girl color. Let’s see, should I get the yellow one? It’s kind of a bright color. The orange one looks good, so I picked it up from the display box on the counter and I paid Mr. G., the Candy Store owner, thirty five cents for the orange Yo-Yo. Then I got myself a Hershey Milk Chocolate candy bar for a nickel.
I walked over to the corner of Luquer and Hicks Street eating my candy bar. When I got to the corner I found a bunch of my friends watching Reno the Greek and his Brother Henry playing with their Yo-Yo. Hum, it looks like they learned a lot since I saw them earlier today. Now they’re able to move the Yo-Yo up and down in a fast motion. Then Henry starts to show off by making the Yo-Yo swing out like it’s going to hit me, then he swings it back real fast. If they could do it, I could do it too. I put my finger through the Yo-Yo string and I try to make it go up and down but I just can’t get it going. I have to rewind it again and again. It’s going to take a lot of practice for me to get to the same level as Reno and Henry. After ten tries, I finally get the knack of making the Yo-Yo go up and down. All of a sudden Pecker yells out. “Let’s play King of the Mountain.” There are six of us on the corner ready for action. The question now is where the mountain is and how does the king or queen gets their rewards. Even though girls can play this game too, but boys don’t like it when they horn in on the action. Mike Tomato collects a nickel from each of us.
He goes to the Candy Store and he buys six treats, Hershey Chocolate bars, with and without almonds, Almond Joy, Mounds, Snickers to hand out to the winner of each round. Now we have to find a mountain to climb. With all the construction that is going on in the neighborhood for the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel we have a lot to choose from. Pecker tells us that he found a condemned bank building that would be perfect for us to climb. The old bank building has a concrete entrance with two columns’ on each side; it’s about fifteen feet high that sticks out two feet from the wall of the building all around, of what used to be the entrance. All the doors are gone except for the plywood boards that are nailed to the entrance to block kids and looters from getting into the building. The old bank building is only two blocks away.
We all agreed that the second mountain for us to climb is a eighteen foot high stack of metal I beams at the construction site. The third mountain is a twenty foot high pile of loose gravel. The start line is going to be fifteen feet from each mountain. When Mike Tomato, the leader yells one, two, three, “go” we all rush to climb the mountain. The one kid who is able to get to the top of the mountain first and yells out, “I’m the king of the mountain” wins that round and he gets to pick one of the candy treats. The old Bank will be mountain number one. We all stand ready to go at the start line. Mike yells out “go” We all run like crazy to climb the old bank mountain. We push and shove each other to get there first. If a kid in front starts to climb ahead of me, I grab his leg and pull him down. Everybody’s fighting, we call each other names and try to get ahead of one another. Pecker beat us all to the top of the old bank door and he won the first and second round. I have feeling that he put one over on us. He was probably practicing his climb on this building for weeks. I won the first climb on the metal I beam mountain and Jimmy Pizza won the second climb. Reno the Greek, that little monkey, won both rounds up the gravel mountain. Reno was so fast using his arms and legs rushing up the loose gravel, we didn’t come close to beating him. Henry, Mike Tomato an six finger Ricardo didn’t win any of the climbs. We had a great time playing “King of the Mountain.” Now we’re all standing on the corner again all sweaty and dirty looking like we went through hell and back.
I glad that I won a candy bar and that my new Yo-Yo didn’t fall out of my pocket. I’m also glad that none of us got hurt clawing our way up the mountains. Nunzio Superman was the only kid who did not play the mountain game. He’s too fat and heavy to squirrel his way up each mountain so he watched us compete and he gave out the prizes to each winner. After the game I went home to get cleaned up, have dinner and do my homework for Miss Kent. Tomorrow is Wednesday and I hope that the Yo-Yo man shows up at the Candy Store after school. I’m so looking forward to seeing him do those tricks that everybody is talking about, with a Yo-Yo in each hand all moving at the same time.