It was morning when I got to Luquer & Hicks Street. Pecker was already there waiting for me. I could see Jimmy Pizza walking towards us from Columbia Street. Henry and his brother Reno didn’t show up. Mike Tomato came down from his apartment above his grandmother Chickie’s grocery store on the corner. I never knew why everyone called his grandma Chickie. There are three wood buildings in back of the store along Luquer St. One building has two wagons and equipment for the horses to pull. The second building stored the fresh fruit and vegetables that had to be sold that day. The last building or barn has two stalls for the horses.
On top of these buildings Mikey and his younger brother Vincent put up a large pigeon coop. They got to the coop by stepping out of their apartment window directly above the store and in line with the roof top of the out buildings. They would fly as many as 100 pigeons at a time. It was exciting to watch all these pigeons coming down and landing at the same time. I felt a little jealous that mike and his family had their own business and all that property.
It was quite a set up except for the smell from the horses in the barn. I think they put the horses in the last building to keep the smell as far away as they could from where they lived. We were short by two guys but the rest of the crew was ready to work on making the carpet guns. Mike had a smile on his face and said. “Guess what? I put aside a lettuce create my uncle Ju Ju gave me when he came home last night.”
I gave Mike a smack on the back and said. “Great! Now we have to get a saw, rubber bands and nails.” We split up so we could cover more ground. Mike thought that he could get a saw from his grandfather tool shed behind the wagons. I went to Nick’s sandwich shop to see if he could give me some rubber bands. I also plan to get clothes pins from my mother’s laundry basket. Jimmy Pizza and pecker had to find nails and linoleum. This meant that they were going to search for this stuff in those condemned buildings at the Brooklyn Battery tunnel construction site. After what happened yesterday I wasn’t ready to go anywhere close to any of those dilapidated buildings. It was about 10:30AM when we all got back together again.
Pecker and jimmy found some nails and the ripped out a big square of linoleum from one of those old buildings. They also found two sticks that were about the right size we needed to make carpet gun rifles. I asked Nick at the sandwich shop if he could give me some rubber bands. He said that he thought he had put some away and started to look around the sandwich shop. He gave me six rubber bands he found in his junk draw. Nick is such a nice man. He always looked after the kids on the block and would never let us go hungry. I then went up stairs to look for the clothes pins. My Mom wasn’t home. I managed to get three clothes pins from her basket. I don’t think she will miss three clothes pins. Mike Tomato got the hammer and saw from the tool shed. We collected all our stuff and went to the vacant lot across the street.
The vacant lot was a dump site for all kinds of junk. There is a collection of old broken ice boxes, assorted soda boxes, old car and truck tires, old window frames with broken glass sticking out all over the place.The lot is also a dump site for old broken pieces of lumber with nails sticking out, rusting empty paint cans and rotting fruit and vegetable. The smell was pretty bad but we needed a place to work.
We settled on a spot where we could use an old ice box as a work bench. The ice box was pretty level even though all the doors were missing. Since Mike had the saw and hammer he is in charge of taking the lettuces create apart. Mike has to becareful not to damage thewood frames. Meanwhile the rest of us were working on the old linoleum.
The old linoleum is very brittle so we could break it into tiny squares by bending it with our hands. We then can use these pieces for the ammunition we need for both the pistols and rifles we are making. We finished about one hundred little squares for the ammo.Mike did a great job. We have three wood frames to work with. Mike used a pencil to mark off the cuts he was going to make with the saw. He started to cut the pistols while I held the wood frames steady for him on our ice box work bench.
We completed twelve ruff cut pistols. Now comes the hard part. Mike now has to precisely saw the joint of each pistol on two sides at a 45 degree angle. It’s a delicate cut since the wood is glued together at that joint. If you cut too far it will destroy the trigger and we will have to throw it away.
We were all coaching Mike when we thought he was cutting too deep. It turned out some of the cuts were too deep. We had to throw away two pistols out of twelve. OK, we’ve got 10 guns to work with. Pecker started to nail a rubber band on the bottom of the barrel. He nailed some on the bottom of the barrel and he nailed a few at the tip of the barrel. When completed the rubber band has to be pulled as tight as possible around the tip of the barrel until it hooks on to the back nib left by the joint cut. We completed one pistol and cocked the rubber band. I then slipped a piece of linoleum into the rubber band and with my thumb pushed the rubber band off the back of the pistol where it was being held ready to fire. It went “SNAP!” The linoleum bullet went flying about 20 feet. Not too accurate of a shot but who cares it works.
We were all quite while watching the carpet fly away. I said “Holly Shit! It works.” Then we all started yelling, screaming and jumping around.
Now for the rifle; Jimmy nailed the clothes pin that has a spring action about one third the away from the back end of the stick. He laced three rubber bands together as tight as he could around the stick until they reached the clothes pin or trigger. He worked the runner bands over and around the clothes pin to make a tight fit. This way when you work the last rubber band into the clothes pin trigger it will not slip out. You need to make it so tight that it will be ready and released only when you’re ready to shoot. We are now ready to go to war. As for the cannon, well, we have to wait for Roger to help us. Henry and Reno will have to make their own guns.