I could barely sleep all night long. Just thinking about walking Joanie’s Boxer, Joy had me all excited. Joy is still a puppy and he looks so beautiful. Every time I see him with Joanie I just want to hug him. Now that Joanie is visiting her aunt on Long Island I will have Joy all to myself for a whole week. She told me to pick up Joy at 9AM and walk him for an hour and then come back again late afternoon to walk him again.
At 8:45AM I ring the door bell at her house on Luquer Street. He father Bruno answers the door and says “you must be Pepino, Joanie said you will walk the dog while she’s away this week. Just make sure that the dog poops and pees before you bring him home. Okay?” “Yes Mr. Bruno. I will make sure he does his stuff before I bring him back home.” “Just remember, kid, I don’t want this dog to shit all over the house. If he does his stuff in the house I’ll kick your ass all around the block. Understand!” “Yes-sir, yes-sir.”
After he finished his little talk he gave me the leash with Joy on the other end. I got the dog and went to Columbia Street and started walking towards Coffey Park. It’s a nice day and I think that Joy will like to run around in the park with me. It took us ten minutes to get to the park only because Joy stopped a few times to do poop along the curb. Lucky for me the dog took no time to do his stuff. We got to the park and Joy started to pull on the leash, I could tell he wanted to run without the leash. If I let him go who knows if I’ll ever find him again. If I lost the dog Joanie will be upset, more important, her father will kill me. So I held onto the leash for dear life.
No way was I going to let go of this dog. Joanie father is a tuff guy; he’s over six feet tall, with black hair slicked down with Vaseline, he has big black eyes and a very dark complexion. He wears a athletic tee shirt to show off his muscles and his skull tattoo with bloody sharp seissors stuck in its head, the tattoo is on his right arm. I’ve seen him beat the shit out of a few guys in the neighborhood because they owed him money. Joanie’s father is the neighborhood bookie, he take bets on horses and he also collects money from his runners for the numbers game. No one ever talks about it but some of my friends told me that he runs the neighborhood gambling, loan sharking and other stuff that I don’t want to know about, for the Mob. After I ran all over the place with Joy I brought the dog home.
I walk up to Hicks street and see Pecker and Henry on their knees drawing a big box on the street black top with a piece of chalk. I say “hey, what are you guys doing? Are you praying or something” Pecker looks up and says “no stupid! We’re drawing a Skully box.” “What the hell is a Skully box?” “I know this kid who lives in the Red Hook Projects and he told me about this game he played in The Bronx before he moved here. The rules are kind of complicated, so he asked his mother to write them down for us. So me and Henry are making this box and start line to see if we can get the hang of it.”
I took a look at the rules and said, “Wow! It’s a lot of stuff to learn, I don’t want to work this hard to learn this stupid game. I feel like we’re back in school.” Pecker and Henry started laughing and said “come on don’t be such an ass hole. If we don’t get it we’ll make up our own rules as we play the game.” Okay-okay, what do we do first?” “We made the Skully game, six foot by six foot box with this chalk on a smooth surface so that we can drive the bottle caps when we snap our fingers like this.” I took another look at the rules and I was more confused than ever. What the hell I’ll just have to read this stuff over and over again. The instructions went on to say, you need a bottle cap that you can weigh down with an orange peel, crayon wax or some clay so the cap doesn’t flip over when you hit it with your fingers. With the chalk you continue to make 12 smaller boxes in the perimeter large 6 x 6 box. Then make number 13 box in the middle of the square surrounded by a dead zone or skull.
We start the game by aiming for the number 1 box. If you get in and you’re not touching any lines you can continue to shoot your cap to the next box. If you miss or you are on the line the next player goes. You can shoot your cap at any player who is the box you’re aiming for and knock their cap out of the box as far as possible. After you move your cap from 1 to 13 without getting knocked out(in which case you have to start again) you have to go back from 13 to 1. Then you shoot for 13 again or the “Skull” in the dead zone, only then your cap has the power to hunt and kill the other players. You can also hunt other killer caps by hitting their cap three times. The last player left in the game is the “Winner”.
Looking over these rules I can see why every neighborhood makes adjustments for what they think the rules should be. Any way we played this game for hours and I think that we did stick to the rules listed as close as possible. Henry came out on top this time. With some practice, I think that the next time we play this game I can kick Henry’s ass.
I picked up my cap with the orange peel in it,I put it in my pocket and started walking to Joanie’s house to pick up Joy for his afternoon walk.