I got up late this morning feeling great that we are off from school on Monday because of the Columbus Day celebration. I don’t have any plans for this long weekend so I’ll just sit around a while and wait for some of my friends to call me for some street games. I started to day dream about playing the Hot Potato game with Frances yesterday. I had such a great time. I hope that I get to hang out with Frances again. I don’t know why, but it’s like a magical feeling when I see her. She is so pretty, she has a beautiful smile. I love to hear her laughing and she smells great too. As I sat there in the kitchen looking out the window I hear two loud bangs on the water pipe.
I jumped off the window sill, I woke up from my day dream wondering what in the hell was all this banging about? Then I realized that it must be Roger the Professor calling me to come up to his apartment. No one in our apartment building has a telephone.
So if you’re not close enough to ring our doorbell or knock on our door you have to call the public telephone in Defonte’s sandwich shop on the ground floor of our building. Then Danny Defonte, or one of his brother’s answer the telephone they walk into our hallway, ring our doorbell and yell for us to come down stairs because we have a phone call. It was a great system for my Mom and Dad to keep in touch with our family and friends except that they could only call us when the store is open for business. If Danny and his family were busy making sandwiches they wouldn’t have the time to pick up the phone so it would ring and ring with no answer.
So Roger came up with this great idea for calling me or me calling him by banging on the water pipes in the kitchen. Two bangs on the water pipe meant that he wanted to see me. Three quick bangs on the water pipe meant that it was an emergency alert and to rush up to his apartment immediately. The emergency alert signal meant that there was a “Fire” in the building or that someone was sick and they need help.
It’s a great system for the most part except when Roger got it into his head to “Break My Balls”.
Roger sometimes bangs on the water pipe with a butter knife three times; I would rush up to his place like a maniac, only to find him laughing his ass off. It was just another false alarm. When I realized what he was doing to me, I would curse him out and call him an “Asshole”. This time, I heard the two taps on the water pipe and I walked up to his apartment. The door was open so I walked in and found him sitting on the couch with his black cat on his lap. He noticed me standing there when and I said “Hey Roger, what’s up? I hope that this isn’t another one of your bullshit signals.” He held up his hand and said “No, no, I just want to show you my new candy Pez Dispenser. I got it from crazy Joey Hook Nose yesterday. This sucker is really neat.”
He then held this contraption in his hand; he pressed down on what looked like a trigger with his thumb and said “Here have a mint.” I’ve never seen anything like it; it was like magic when I see this little mint pop out. So I took the mint and put it into my mouth and said “Wow; what a neat contraption. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Why would Joey Hook Nose give you this new candy dispenser?” Roger laughed and said, “Well, do you remember the Red Ryder BB gun I conned him out of? Joey really missed shooting it. He came over the other day and asked me if he could borrow the gun so that he could shoot some targets in his back yard. I told him no, that if he wanted to shoot the BB gun it will cost him ten cents a shot.
Joey was broke so he pulls out this Pez dispenser and said, “Here, I’ll give you a mint for every shot.” Roger put his hand on his forehead and said, “When I saw this Pez dispenser I almost lost my cool. I said to myself, shit, I want this contraption. So I told Joey, no, you can’t shoot my BB gun for mints. He looked so disappointed and stupid holding the Pez dispenser offering me a mint. When Joey put his head down I made him a counter offer. I told him that he can shoot as many BB’s he wants too for a half hour if he gives me the dispenser. Joey put his head down again and gave me the Pez dispenser. So now I can offer you a little mint by pushing down on this lever, here; Take one.” I can’t believe that Roger conned Joey Hook Nose again. I took the mint and put it in my mouth. The taste was OK, but not as good as the Good n’ Plenty mints. I left Roger sitting on his couch petting his Cat.
When I got to my apartment I found my sister, Isabella, sitting at the kitchen table cleaning vegetables for my mother. I said, “Hey sis, did you ever see a Pez dispenser? Roger showed me his “Captain America” Pez dispenser and gave me a mint. I can’t get over how this contraption spits out a mint every time you push down on a lever.” She looked up and said, “Yeah, the dispenser I’ve seen were not jazzed up with the head of a super hero. They are kind of plain looking. They sell them in the candy store next to the cigars and cigarettes. A lot of women and men buy them to fresh-en their breath after they finish a smoke. I heard that someone in Europe, I think Austria, Invented this contraption because he was sick and tired of his wife bitching about his bad breath after he finished smoking a cigar.” I just stood there as she finished her story about the Pez dispenser and I said to myself, wow, my sister knows a lot of shit.
She looked at me again and said, “You know it’s Columbus Day on Monday, right?” I just shook my head up and down, she then said, “My girl friend Frances and I plan to go to the big Italian-American Parade in Manhattan on Monday. Frances is taking her little sister, Mary Jane with her. Do you want to come along?”
I said, “Huh, yeah, I heard so much about the parade. My teacher told us all about Christopher Columbus discovering America and all. It would be great to see the celebration. I want to see and hear the marching bands, I want to see all the big Italian mock E mocks marching with the New York Governor, and our Mayor waving American and Italian flags. I want to be there instead of seeing pictures about the parade in the newspaper. I can’t wait to go to the parade with you.” My sister said, “Okay, we have to get up early on Monday morning and take the D train to Manhattan so that we can get a good spot along Fifth Avenue.” I thought to myself, Columbus must have been a little crazy to go to Spain, after the Italians told him that he was nuts. At time everyone in History everyone knew the world was flat, and that Columbus and his ships will fall off the Earth when he got to the end of the world. The Italians just laughed at him, they would not give this crazy guy the money to find a new route to Asia.
So he packed all his maps and went to Spain. Just like Roger, Columbus conned the Queen of Spain, Queen Isabella, with a promise to bring back to her lots of gold, silk and spices from Asia. So she give him the money for the trip to Asia. Maybe she wanted a new silk wardrobe after all she was the Queen of Spain. Well, my teacher said that he never got to Asia. Columbus and his three ships didn’t fall off the earth. But they did find North America in 1492. Queen Isabella took a long shot on this nut from Italy and she won big time. She didn’t get her new silk wardrobe, but over the years she got lots of gold that made Spain the richest country in Europe.
What a Story, you can’t make this stuff up. I got to thinking how Columbus discovering America is such a big deal for the Italians. After all the Italians blew him off when he asked them for the money to buy the ships and supplies he needed for the trip. That’s why he went to Spain in the first place. I got to thinking why they don’t call this parade the Queen Isabella Spanish American Day Parade. Well, there must be a lot of Italians, like Roger out there, who said Columbus is an Italian and it’s only right to make a parade to honor him and all Italian-Americans. Who’s complaining, not me, I’m going to the parade on Monday.