I am so happy that Mike Tomato promised to help me learn how to ride a two wheeler bicycle. I never had a chance to get on a bike before. When I got home for dinner I asked my mom if she was okay with the idea. She went on to say that I am too short to ride a 26 inch bicycle because my feet will never touch the floor when I stop the bike. I told her that yes, my feet cannot touch the floor but my friends who are about my height ride and stop their 26 inch bike close to a bench, curb or stoop and put their foot out so they wouldn’t fall over. Sometimes when they’re not close to a curb, bench or stoop and they have to stop, they still put a foot out towards the side of the bike that’s falling and they do their best to hold the bike and land on an angle. I know it will take time and practice but I can do this with Mike’s help. She then agreed to let me practice on Mike’s bike as long as we’re riding in the school yard. If anyone sees me riding in the street she told me that she will shut me down for the next year or two.
I agreed and told her that I will not ride in the street. Now I can plan to hook up with Mike tomorrow morning for my first bike ride lesson. I went to bed and I had a dream that my whole family were riding bikes, before I knew it was morning. After breakfast I ran down the steps and crashed right into Roger the Professor who was just coming into the building. I fell on my ass but Fat Roger was still standing and he looked down at me when he said. “What’s wrong with you Shit Head? Why don’t you look where you’re going?” I was still in a daze while I was looking up at him. I told him that I was sorry that I crashed into him.
Then I started to tell him the whole story of my new job, the money, Mike and the bike lessons and my hope to buy a bike. As I looked into his eyes I could tell he was thinking about the money and how he can get some of it. I don’t trust him. He grabbed my hand to pull me up from the floor and said. “I can see why you were in such a hurry to meet Mikey. Let me know when you’re ready to buy a used bike. I will help you; I know where I can get one for you real cheap.” I told him that I will see him around and then I took off to find Mike Tomato.
As I got down to Luquer and Hicks Street I could see Mike and his brother flying their pigeons on the roof of his grandfather’s barn. I called up to him and he waved to me. He came down and said. “Hey Pepino, are you ready for your bike lessons?” “Yeah, Mike, I’m ready, but my mom told me that I’m only aloud to ride in the school yard. If she finds out that I rode the bike in the street she will kill me.” Mike didn’t care where we went so he got his green and white two wheel bike and we walked to the P.S.27 school yard on Nelson Street. When we got there Mike said “Listen, it’s not hard it’s all in the balance. Just remember how you balance yourself on the street scooter. You do the same thing when you ride a bike.
You don’t look down, you look forward and get a feel for when to move your body side to side for balance. Just keep pedaling the bike, if you’re going too slow the bike will tip and fall.” I told him okay and that I understood the instructions. Mike held me as I got on the bike, I started to pedal and I went forward. Mike ran with me as he was holding the bike which helped me keep my balance. After two or three tries I was moving solo without my having any support from Mike. What a great feeling, it’s like you’re set free from gravity. I did fall a few times but I got back on the bike and kept going. I was now ready to get my own bike.
After an hour of riding around the school playground we walked back to Mike’s house. When we got there I put my arm around Mike’s shoulders and thanked him for teaching me how to ride a 26 inch bike. He was right about the street scooter and knowing how to keep your balance that was a big help.
I was so happy that I asked Mike to come with me to see a Tarzan move at the new Clinton Theater. I told him that I will pay for the move and our treats. He smiled and said “That’s great, I hear that both the Happy Hour the Lido Move House can fit into the Clinton Theater with room to spare. Not only is the new theater huge, it has a balcony too.” We planned to meet after lunch about 1 o’clock so we could walk and there way before the 2 o’clock matinee starts. When I got home for lunch I told my sister what we planned for this afternoon. Then she told me that the Clinton Theater is a new and very modern design theater with air conditioning.
I said, “What’s conditioning?” “It keeps you cool, Stupid!” She went on to say that the Clinton is the largest neighborhood theater in Brooklyn. It can hold 1,000 people on the ground floor or orchestra and almost 700 people in the balcony. The people who own the place built the theater because of the Red Hook New York City Projects being built nearby. When the Projects are completed 2,500 poor families will live there. So that’s why the Clinton Theater is so big. The owners expect a lot of customers will come there from the Projects to see the movies and buy treats.
After lunch I met Mike Tomato and we walked to the Clinton Theater. As we turned the block on Huntington Street we could see a crowd of about 300 kids standing on line waiting to get into the Theater. When we finally got in I treated Mike to a bag of popcorn, soda and a box of Good & Plenty. We sat in the kid section and watched coming attractions, news reel, and some cartoons before the Tarzan movie started.
The Tarzan movie was fun to watch. It was all most two hours long. The movie shows us that when Tarzan was a baby he got lost in the African rain forest.
A wolf pack found him wandering around and a mama wolf adopted him, feed him, raised and protected him. So when Tarzan was a teenager he thought he was a wolf. He would hunt and howl like a wolf. There was lots of action with his animal friends, cheetah the chimp, Mogador the Lion, Juba the Elephant and others.
Tarzan did not know he was human and when the natives try to hunt and kill his animal friends he would come to the rescue screaming and yelling while swinging from tree to tree. This was his way of warning his animal friends that they were in danger so they could run or hide from the natives.
We were just standing in the lobby thinking about all this stuff when Mike looked at me and said “You know that we have to go home sooner or later. I think that the theater manager is about to throw us out.” “Yeah, you’re right Mike. But it’s still hot outside and I can stay in this air conditioning forever. It would be nice but I don’t think that they will let us sleep here tonight. Okay, let’s go home and tell the guys all about the Tarzan movie we saw