Found the Fireworks Dealer
Roger is about 15 years old, average height kinda chucky teenager, sporting a large rear end he has dark almost back dirty hair, which hangs partly covering his eyes and a black, mostly penciled in, mustache. Roger lives with his family in the top floor apartment of my building. There he is walking on the sidewalk with a cigarette hanging from his mouth. I don’t know if he realized that if a hot ash from the cigarette by chance fell into his shopping bag, he was likely to start a chain reaction by igniting his stash of fireworks and blow himself up. What a show that would be to see Roger trying to put out the fire and explosions taking place as he is running down the street with his shopping bag all ablaze. On the top floor of our building where Roger lives, it’s always very “hot” in the summer. Roger and his family try to cool off out on our building’s fire escape. I think he’s crazy when Roger tells me that he sometimes sneaks out there at night to sleep. It can be dangerous, if he makes a wrong move or turn, he can slip and fall and kill himself. Some nights when it’s so hot and I can’t sleep, I’m tempted to sneak out there with him. Anyway, so much for my daydreaming so instead I called out to him “hey Professor” which immediately caught his attention.
Everyone we knew called Roger the Professor. He is smart, inventive and he could solve almost any mechanical problem presented to him. Roger also has the ability to manipulate and con you into joining him in various schemes that were on the border of being illegal. Roger will always try to separate you from your money or have you help him do the same to others. Bottom line, Roger is a lot smarter than he looks. “Keno, what’s up?” Roger responded. “I notice your shopping bag and it looks like you connected with the fireworks dealer. Can you help us out and tell us where we can find him?” “I sure can big head. If you give me fifty cents I’ll tell you where to go.” At that point I looked at Pecker and said “okay.” “You better not let on to anyone that I gave you his location. Not even the dealer since he may kick my ass around the block for telling you kids where to find him.
Your mother and father will kill me if they found out that I helped you find the fireworks dealer. Anyway go to number 36 down the basement and ask for Stevie, also known as Blackie Parisi and show him your money right away. He may let you buy some fireworks if things are slow. I can’t guarantee that he will let you into his hide out to show you his stash of fireworks. Even though he’s connected with the mob who would sell fireworks to anyone, Blackie doesn’t like to sell this stuff to kids. But you can give it a shot but remember you better not tell him who told you where to go. So pay up I’m getting hungry.”
“Okay, Okay, I heard you the first time.” I gave him fifty cents from our fireworks money for the location of the dealer. No sooner than Pecker and I turned around to look for number 36 I could see through the comer of my eye Roger at the hot dog stand asking Louie for a couple of dogs with onions no doubt.
We found number 36 which is a two story dirty light blue wood building that seemed to be falling apart. The four steps leading to the ground floor of the building were made of brick covered in concrete which was chipped and broken. There is a wrought iron gate running along the front of the building which has parts of it missing due to rust and decay. The windows were in no better condition, a part of the glass in each window was missing and the window shades, which must have been white a hundred years ago, had various blotches of dirty brown covered with dust and spider webs. The window shades were uneven with tears and holes going in every direction. The colums holding up the the roof to the front door entry way were ready to crack and fall. I hope that we don’t have to go in the building that way. There were no sighs that anyone lived in this rat hole except for some noise coming from the basement..
I was thinking to myself that if Roger the Professor gave us the right information and the fireworks are in this dump, what a fire trap. This place looked like the buildings that were condemned to make way for the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. We looked down the basement which is full of garbage, old tires, and rusty hubcaps and the place smelled of Urine. The basement door was open and I turned to Pecker and said “looks like this could be the place. One of us has to go down there to see if Blackie is around. Let’s flip for it.” Pecker turned to me and said.
“No friggin way: I’m going into this rat hole alone. This is your idea and you have the money we saved so you go down there and give me a holler when you find Blackie.”
“Pecker, you know, you’re just chicken shit. We made a deal months ago to collect the deposit bottles, cash them in, save our money so that we, partner, could buy fireworks for the 4th of July. I’m not too cool in meeting this Blackie guy. If we’re still partners then let’s just go in there together.”
Pecker knew I was right and he didn’t know what to say. He just flipped his hand and said “okay as long as we do this thing together, count me in.” So down we went, me first with Pecker holding up the rear position, into the hell hole. As we got to the basement level the smell and the garbage was giving me a nauseous feeling, but I didn’t want to insult Blackie by walking into his abode holding my nose and puke all over him. When I got to the doorway I cried out “Hello, Hello, is anybody here?” “Yah shit head what do you want?” There he was, all six two and about two hundred and fifty pounds. He is as dark as can be; (now I could see how he got his nickname.) his nose looked like it was smashed several times and his green eyes glowing like they were shooting red flames as they reflected the sun beaming through the broken window. My guess is that his about forty years old.
Blackie was wearing a dirty white coffee stained athletic tee shirt, blue jeans and motor cycle boots that have seen better days. His body was covered with dark back hair. His body hair was so thick that you could barely see the tattoos covering his arms and chest. Blackie looked like a tough biker dude who could kill you and never give it a second thought. I don’t know how Pecker was holding up, I was afraid that he would bolt and make a run for it. Even though I was scared out of my wits, I was trying to stay as calm as possible.
The smell was just as bad in the apartment. I don’t think that Blackie washed in weeks. I held out my hand and said. “I have this money here and we’re looking to buy some fireworks for the forth of July, Can you help us out?” “WHO SENT YOU!” “Nobody, really, we overheard some kids talking about getting some fireworks on President
Street. So Pecker and I started banging on as many doors as possible to try to find were we could buy these fireworks.” “BULLSHIT!” At this point I was shaking and started to back away when I said. “Sorry to bother you mister. We do not want to cause any trouble. We’ll just try another building.” “Waite up kid, show me you money again. How much money do you have?” “Ah, about eighteen bucks.”
“Okay, I don’t believe your bullshit story but you have money and I have nothing better to do. I don’t like to sell this stuff to kids and you better not tell your folks about me and if you do I’ll hunt you down and KILL YOU. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” “Yes sir we wouldn’t tell anybody where we got the stuff. We promise.” “Okay follow me.”