I came down this morning only to find Mike the Fish the new Italian kid still banging the soccer ball against the wall with his head. I called out to him “Ciao, Mike, you like to play soccer?” He looked at me with a crooked smile and it dawned on me that he didn’t understand any English. So I told him in Italian that my family came to the USA from Mola Di Bari and I was born in the USA a couple of years after they came here. He was happy to hear that since his whole family was also from Mola Di Bari. I went on to say that I can and will help him learn the English language. He thanked me and went off to meet his father and brother to do some shopping.
Just as Mike the Fish left Roger came over to me and said “hey Keyno, do you want to take a look at the old bike in Joey Hook Nose’s cellar? Joey told me that you’re interested he will give you the bike for fifteen dollars.” Wow, fifteen dollars. I have enough money to buy this bike. I replied “Yeah sounds good to me.” We walked over to Huntington Street to find Joey. We got to Huntington Street and walked past PS 27 School heading towards Clinton Street. We got to Joey’s dilapidated house and Roger knocked on his door. The door opened and I could see two beautiful teenage girls standing there. The blond girl said “Hi Roger, where have you been? I haven’t seen you around that much lately.”Roger said, “Cut the crap Ginger. I have to talk to Joey. Where is he?” She looked disappointed when she said “He’s in the back yard screwing around with some old bike he found in our cellar.”
I was thinking to myself that Roger was crazy not to cozy up to Joey’s beautiful sisters. Both girls have blond hair pushed back into a pony tail. They have green eyes highlighted with eyeliner and their lips stood out with bright red lipstick. Ginger is wearing a extra large white tee shirt, which stopped just above her knees and her sister is wearing a red shirt and very tight jeans. Wow, I just couldn’t take my eyes off them, when Roger yelled “Hey Pepino, do you want to look over this bike or not? Get your ass over here.” We walked to the back yard where Joey Hook Nose was doing his best to clean up the old bike. This was the first time I met Joey. His hook nose wasn’t just big, it was gigantic. His nose hooked so bad it almost covered part of his mouth. I never noticed the bike he was cleaning. I just stood there looking at Joey with my mouth open when I heard Roger say “Isn’t it a beauty?” I turned to look at Roger and said “Huh?” I thought he was talking about Joey’s sisters. But no, he was pointing to a piece of shit he called a bike. The bike they were showing me was falling apart. I said “Roger this is a joke, right?
You can’t expect me to pay you guy’s fifteen dollars for this piece of crap.” Roger put his arm on my shoulder and said in a low voice “It just needs a little work. I will help you spruce it up. When we get done even Joey’s sister’s will want to ride with you. He was pointing to the girls who were standing there, giggling and smiling at us.” I started to see myself riding around the neighborhood with two beautiful girls following me on their bikes. All my friends will be so jealous. Roger could really be convincing and I said “Okay, I’ll give you ten bucks.” Joey and Roger agreed immediately and took my money before I could change my mind. There I am, walking home with this rusty, squeaky, old bike with flat tires.
I got to Grandma Chickies grocery store and found Pecker, Jimmy Pizza and Reno the Greek with Mike Tomato sitting in front of the store. As soon as I got up close to them they started laughing and Jimmy said “Where did you find this piece of junk. Did you find it in some vacant lot or something?” I said “No, I bought it from Roger and Joey Hook Nose.” And they all started laughing all the harder. I got so mad and said “Yeah, you’ll see how great this bike will look when I get finished sprucing it up. It will be the best looking bike on the block.” I really didn’t believe it, I just felt so stupid that Roger conned me again. So I put my head down and just kept on walking home.
When I got to Nick Defonte’s sandwich shop on Columbia Street, I leaned the bike against the brick wall and I sat on the curb looking at it. I couldn’t believe that I could be so stupid to let Roger pull this over on me. He’s such a shit. Well, now I’m stuck with this old bike and I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up on it. I will work on fixing this thing even if it kills me. I couldn’t look at it any longer so I wheeled it into my hallway and stored it behind the ground floor stair case.
I went back to find the guys who were teasing me about the old bike. When I got to Hicks Street they were still sitting there. They couldn’t give up on it so I had to stand there a take some more teasing until they settled down. It was still early when I asked them if they wanted to play One and Over. They all jumped up and we picked the first horse, Pecker. One and Over is a simple game, it’s almost like follow the leader. The horse Pecker steps into the street and bends his body and head way down looking at the ground. They agreed to make me, the stupid one, the leader in the first round.
Now I back up to the wall of the building facing the sidewalk and Pecker the horse who is bent over in the street, right up against the curb. I yell out “None” run and jump over Pecker with my hands on Pecker’s back as far as I can. When I land in the street I mark that spot with a chalk, rock, stick, or anything that’s handy. Jimmy Pizza. Reno the Greek and Mile Tomato follow and jump over Pecker the same way I did. When we all finish jumping over Pecker he moves to the spot of my first jump. Now, as the leader, I have to make a new call, if I feel I can make it I will call “None” again. Now that Pecker is further away from the curb the leader may call “One”. Okay I’ll stay with “None”, I run and jump off the curb, take one step in the street and jump over Pecker again.
If I make it without knocking him over we set a new mark. Everyone has to obey the command and follow. If I called “TWO” everyone is allowed two steps before jumping over the horse. If the leader calls “THREE” you’re allowed three steps before you jump and so on. If any of the players including the leader, can’t make it and they crash into the horse, Pecker is released and the player who made the foul is now the new horse. Now we start all over again and I call “None”. I like this game; we managed to play into the night.
When I went home I ran into Roger and he said that he meant everything he said about helping me fix the old bike. We shook hands and he gave me a bunch of his comic books as a peace offering. He told me that we have to fix the tires first and take the bike for a road test. After the road test we can then start to spruce it up. It may take a couple of weeks before we can make this bike look like something.