I went with Joanie to the candy store for ice cream. We both got vanilla ice cream in Dixie cups that we ate with wooden spoons. I never went to the candy store with a girl before. We sat on the stoop, we finished eating and we just sat there without talking. I thought that it was a good thing Jenny went home. But then I thought maybe it would have been better if Jenny stayed with us I wouldn’t feel so silly just sitting here. One of us has to break the ice, so I said “hey Joanie, how is your dog Joy? Did he have his tail and ears cut by the Vet so he can look like a Boxer?” She didn’t look at me, she look down at the ground and said. “Well it was pretty bad.
I went with my Dad when we took Joy to the Vet. The dog was so upset like he knew what was about to happen. I didn’t want go into the room with my Dad, I just started crying. My Dad told me to wait in the lobby. He told me that the dog will be put asleep and he will not feel any pain. I couldn’t help it, I cried the whole time. About a half hour later my Dad came out with Joy in his arms.
Joy’s ears and tail were all taped with a white bandage. When we got home that afternoon Joy was still asleep and I fell asleep too.” I was getting sick just listening to her story and I wish I didn’t ask her about the dog. I finally told her that I was sorry and I hope that the Joy is okay now. I got up from the stoop and I said that I had to meet Pecker at his house and then I just walked away. I don’t think she believed me.
I walked to Hicks Street and found Mikey Tomato, Reno the Greek and Nunzio Superman sitting in front of Mikey grandmother Chickie grocery store. Mikey looked at me and said, “Who died? You look so sad.” I sat next to him and said “I saw Joanie and asked her about her Boxer Joy.
She was so upset that her dog had his ears and tail cut off so that he would look like a full breed Boxer.” Reno started laughing and said “Uooooo boooooo, she was sooooo upset. Face it stupid you really like her. That’s why you’re always talking to her and taking care of her dog.” I turned to face him and said “If you don’t SHUT UP; I will kick your ass around the block. Ass Hole!” He backed off and said “OK, Ok, don’t get crazy.”
I thought to myself that maybe he’s right about my feelings for her but I can’t let on that I really like to be around her because my friends will tease me to death. Joanie is always nice to me and she’s so smart. I was still thinking about her when Nunzio jumped up and said “I’ve got a ball, how about we play Chinese handball.” Everyone agreed that it was a great idea. We haven’t played this game in a long while. I told the guys that we need to play Chinese handball against a build that has a flat wall and smooth concrete sidewalk in front of it with sharp lines so we can get a box for each one of us.
Then I mentioned that the factory building on Columbia Street on the same block as Defonte’s was rebuilt about six months ago. A machine manufacturing company called the Triangle Tool and Die just moved in. I think that this building and the smooth side walk they made would be perfect for Chinese handball. We all got up and started walking to Columbia Street.
Chinese handball is a Brooklyn game. Up to six guys can play this game. If you play Chinese with only two players it’s not as much fun. We draw lots and each kid has his own box in front of the wall of the building.
Since Superman has a Spalding ball he got the first box or ace box. The Greek was in the second box or King box and then the Queen, Jack, etc. We are not playing American handball. If we were playing American handball we would slap the ball and hit the wall on a fly. When we play Chinese handball the Ace serves first and slaps the ball on a bounce against the wall to another player. The ball can land in the King, Queen or Jack box. Whoever receives the ball has to slap it in one bounce back to the other players. The game continues this way until one of the players makes an error. The player who has the ball in their box does not have to immediately slap the ball to another player. He can keep the ball in his box but he has to keep slapping the ball in one bounce against the wall until he is ready to hit the ball to another player.
When you slap the ball to another player up or down the line and if your ball hits a rock or bottle cap that happens to be on the court and goes cuckoo, you can call a “do over.” The point of the game is not to make an error. If and when you miss a shot you lose your box and you have to move to the end of the line and you receive a penalty number 1. The Ace is the only player that can make an error lose his box and not be charged a penalty number. If anyone makes seven errors they’re out of the game. The players continue to play until the one player is left and declared the winner. The number seven is not a good number when you’re playing Chinese handball. This game has players who develop different strategies when hitting the ball. You can “blast” the ball hard to another player or slap the ball with a “spin” down or up the line. Each player develops his or her own technique on how to slap the ball. Yes, even “girls” can play this game.
We played two games and Reno the Greek is the big winner he took both games. At the end of the second game the non winners all sat along the brick wall and watched Reno doing his victory dance. As we sat there Mikey turned to me and said “I heard that you were working at Defonte’s this weekend. One of my cousins saw you working with your head down assembling about a hundred sandwiches. He told me that you never looked up to say hello.” “Yeah, it was my first job. Mr. Nick paid me 20.00 dollars; I never had that much money at one time.”
Mikey laughed and said, “Why don’t you buy a used bike? I know that you don’t have one. I can teach you to ride on my bike while you’re looking for your own bike.” “Gee, thanks Mike, I would like that. I’ll check with my parents and get back to you.” I then started day dreaming of myself riding my dream bike…