It was a long day but it was worth it. We finished six carpet gun pistols and two rifles. Then we broke up for the day. I started heading home when I noticed that Joanie and some other girls were playing “hopscotch”. I would not admit it to my friends but I like playing Hopscotch with Joanie. Joanie is about ten years old and she lives across the street from me on Luquer Street. Joanie is a pretty girl, and she’s a little taller than me. She has brown eyes and brown hair made up in pick tails. She likes to wear farmer jeans and sneakers.
I called out to her and said hello. She looked up at me and said “hey Pippino, come play Hopscotch with us.”Well, I looked around and I didn’t see any of my friends hanging around so I said “OK.”I ran over to her side of the street and she gave me a roller skate key to play with. The Hopscotch boxes were already laid out in chalk on the side walk with boxes numbered from one to nine and a winner box at the top.. You can play with two, three or four people. The first player will toss a bottle cap or roller skate key into the first box. Then hop with one or two feet over and around the box with the key in it. You are never allowed to have two feet in a box or touch any lines with your foot when hoping or you’re out and the next player gets a turn. If you hop into each box, turn and hop all the way back you go again and toss your key into the next numbered box (#2). If you don’t make any mistakes you can continue to the next box (#3). If you are able to hop in all the boxes before anyone else “you win the Hopscotch game.”
I’m pretty good at this game but I could never beat Joanie (a girl). If my buddies found out that I lost to a girl they will laugh and tease me to death. That’s why I play this game when my buddies aren’t around. Joanie and me played a couple of games and Joanie won every game hands down. I had enough, being whipped by a girl is no fun so I crossed the street and went home.
As I was climbing the stairs I heard Roger talking to his mother Emma. So I kept climbing the stairs all the way up to the top floor apartment where Roger lives. I never had to knock on the apartment door, it was always open. So I walked in and asked Emma where did Roger go? She said “he’s in his laboratory”. Rogers’s family has a double apartment or a total of eight rooms. It is big but it always looked crowded to me, after all nine people lived there. Roger’s laboratory and bedroom combination is a small room about eight by ten feet. The room is located way in the back with one window. Roger noticed me coming in his room and said “what’s up Keno?”
I told him what our gang was working on all day. We made carpet gun pistols and rifles; he said “wow! You guys had a busy day.” “Yeah, but we’re stuck on how to make a carpet cannon.” Roger said “well maybe I can design one for you.” He sat at his little table while I sat on his bed. He took a pad and pencil and started to draw. He must have ripped a least six or eight drawings before he said “I got it.”
I was amazed at all the details and instructions he put together on his drawing. I said “wow! This looks great but I don’t know if me and my pals can make this thing.” He said, “ I make the Cannon pretty much like the rifle. The big difference will be the size and the fact that we will use an old bicycle tire instead of a rubber band. I have to work on the trigger because the close pin is too small to hold a tire tube. Just put all the materials together and I will be there to help you guys make this cannon once I figure out how to make the trigger.” He continue to say “you need to find a couple of two by fours, an old bicycle inner tube, nails, some small sticks, a rubber ball, rubber bands, rope or twine, etc,, etc.” I said “Roger wait a minute, I’ll never remember all this stuff.” “OK, OK, I will make a list for you to follow.” “Thanks Roger, I can’t wait to work with you on the carpet gun cannon.”
Roger looked like he wanted to ask me something. I said “Roger, do you have something on your mind?” “Matter of fact I do. What would you say if I asked you to help me build a small pigeon coop on our roof?” He took me by surprise, I was lost for words and it took me a couple of minutes to respond. “I had dreams about making a coop on our roof, but: For one thing my parents will be against it. The Defonte’s who own the building would be against it. The women in the neighborhood would be against it. I would be scared shitless trying to sneak all the wood, tar paper, shingles and chicken wire to the roof. Then there’s all the banging to put all this stuff together to make a coop. If we could do all this without getting caught, then there’s the money we need to buy all this stuff not to mention the cost for the birds and the feed.”
Roger didn’t say anything until I was finished. “You know what you’re such a dick head. How did you come up with all this stuff? Maybe you should go hide in the toilet. Look at you. You had the balls to go find Blackie Parisi in that shithole on President Street to by fireworks. You maybe just a kid but you have to take some chances in order to get what you want. Just think about it and try not to pee your paints. Meanwhile I will work on putting some money away for the material and the birds. So maybe one day when you stop being afraid of all this stuff we’ll talk about this again.” I didn’t say another word. I left his apartment and went down stairs to my apartment on the second floor. I had dinner, and then I listened to some radio shows before I went to bed.