Before you know it was morning and it feels like it’s going to be another hot day. I couldn’t help thinking about Roger’s plan to put a small pigeon coop on the roof of our building. I know I’m just a kid but I still feel that we will catch hell from our family and a whole lot of people in our neighborhood. I’m sure that Roger will keep the pressure on me until he gets me to go along with his plan. I don’t want to think about this anymore. I had a quick breakfast; I’m in a hurry to meet up with our gang.
I ran downstairs, I turned the corner started to walk on Luquer Street towards Hicks Street. I could see the gang waiting for me. (Pecker, Jimmy, Mikey, Vinnie, Reno, Henry, Nunzio, Even Ricardo six fingers was there.)
The word was out that we plan to have a carpet gun war. There are another four kids who I didn’t know. They came from a couple blocks away closer to the Red Hook Projects. They asked if they could join the action. We all agreed and started to choose sides; they’re about six kids in each Army. Each Army has to make a flag and collect any junk they could find to make a fort. Collecting junk in our neighborhood was not hard to do. The cannon has to wait for the next war since the invasion was about to start.
Even though we didn’t have time to make the cannon for this war we have lots of fire power. We put together carpet pistols, machine gun, rifles that were made the other day and linoleum for ammunition. We collected an old ice box, a bunch of old tires, wood pallets and boxes, doors and assorted lumber. We made two forts one on each side of the street. Along with the carpet guns we made we also have sling shots, small rocks for ammo, water balloons, pea shooters (good thing Ricardo six fingers is in our Army), tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and any rotted vegetables that Mr. Pauli was throwing away.
We even found some old pots and pans that we could use as helmets. We decorated our face and bodies with charcoal like warpaint. It is quite a sight. On one side of the street is the red flag Army and across the street they are facing the black flag Army. It is hot mid afternoon summer day and both Armies are ready for action.
The war starts when each Army throws water balloons at each other which help us cool off on this hot day. Each Army has about two hundred rounds of carpet ammo. Every carpet pistol, machine gun and rifle has a two guy team. One member of the team loads and the other fires as fast as they can. There are bits of carpet flying everywhere. The shooter has no idea if the bit of carpet he is shooting will hit anyone he just keeps shooting at the fort across the street. The carpet shot is not accurate like a bullet it just flies in all kinds of crazy directions.
If you are unlucky and one of the bits of linoleum bullets hits you it could and will cut you. So you better keep your head down as much as possible. The old pots and pan helmets’ can help protect you from all the stuff that’s flying around but if one hits your eye it will get you a trip to the hospital ER. That goes for the sling shots and pea shooters too.
We are hot and heavy into the action…. Carpet guns, water balloons, pea shooters, sling shots, and my favorite, rotted tomatoes, potatoes and vegetables, there’s nowhere to hide. I get hit with a couple of tomatoes and it looks like there’s blood all over me. I could hear the ping of peas and rocks hitting my helmet. There are bits of carpets lying all around me. I could see Pecker picking them up and reusing them to fire back at the enemy. Our black flag is all messed up with rotted vegetables. Some kids were crying and in pain from getting hit with bits of carpet and rocks from the sling shot.
They may be hurt but no one stopped we just kept shooting and throwing anything around us at the enemy. War is great! Now for the final charge…. We will use sticks with a sharp point as swords and run at the enemy’s fort as quick as we can. To win the war we have to get to the enemies red flag before they get to ours. I yell “CHARGE!” All our soldiers pick up their swords and run at the fort across the street. The hand to hand battle begins.
Good thing we have Nunzio and Pecker who are the biggest and tallest soldiers in our Army. I can see that our Army has a chance win this battle. With our sword sticks hitting each other and more rotten tomatoes along with carrots being thrown at us I yell out to Nunzio “grab the flag!” Nuzzio turns, knocks over Mikey and Henry and grabs the red flag and claims “Victory”.
Everyone stops while we do our victory dance. It takes about ten minutes for us to settle down. We sat on the curb looking at the mess all around us. I turn to Pecker and say “WOW! It was a hell of a battle. Look at all this shit. Is anyone hurt?” Pecker says “yeah, I think that Nunzio is hurt bad.” I walked over to where Nuzzio was sitting and said “hey Nunzio are you okay?” He says “I don’t think so. My hand hurts like hell.” I asked him to show me his hand. There’s a big bump on the back of his hand between his thumb and first finger. I turn his hand over and I see that there is a hole in the palm of his hand with a piece of wood sticking out of it and blood all around it. It got me sick to look at it. I say to him “we better get you home right away”.
We get up from the curb and walk to his house. I knock on the door and his mother opened it. She looked at us and said “what happened to you kids?” We are all wet and covered with rotten vegetables. “Ha, we were playing war. I think Nunzio is hurt. Please check his hand.” Well she let out a scream when she looked at it. She started to cry and said.“ Nunzio get in here. I have to get dressed and take you to see the doctor right away.”
She didn’t say a word to me she just closed the door. I stood there just looking at the closed door for a couple of minutes, and then I turned and left. I went over to where the rest of the gang was sitting. I was very upset that Nunzio was hurt. I looked at Pecker and said “I took Nuzzio home and his mom is rushing him to the doctor’s office.” I thought Pecker was going to start crying too. I said “don’t worry I think he’ll be OK. He must have been stabbed with a wooden sword when he went to garb for the red flag and it broke off in his hand.” Pecker had his head down. I put my hand on his shoulder and said “I’m heading home OK?” Pecker just shook his head.
When I got home it was a good thing my mother was still out shopping. I ran over to the laundry sink and washed up a fast as I could. I threw my dirty clothes under my sister’s bed and I put on fresh pair of socks, clean shorts and tee shirt. I hope my mother doesn’t notice the cuts on my arms. It would have been the greatest day ever if Nunzio didn’t get hurt.