I had a lot of fun yesterday watching Roger make a go cart for Jeffry with old carriage wheels he found. To top it off, me and Mike Tomato had a chance to test our street scooters in the Court Street All Wheels, downhill race. The free ice cream cone was good too. I dragged my spruced up black bike from the cellar this morning and walked it over to the school yard. Even though I was upset that Roger sold me a piece of shit bike, he did make it up to me by sprucing it up like new. I hate to admit it, but I always respected Roger and yes, I do like him like a big brother. I got to the school yard and started to ride my bike around when I hear sounds that a motor bike would make.
I thought to myself, nobody would have the ball’s to ride a motor bike in a school yard with all these little kids playing here. I then see Joanie riding, what looked like a new bike, towards me. Then I notice that the motor cycle sounds were coming from her direction.
Sure enough the sounds were coming from her bike. I yell out to her. ”Hey Joanie, What’s with your bike? It’s making all these motor bike sounds and I know that it isn’t a motor bike.” She yelled back “pull over and I’ll show you.” So we pulled over by the chain link fence. She got off her new bike and said. “Take a look at my back wheel. You’ll see that my Dad attached a playing card and balloon with clothes pins to make motor bike sounds when I ride my bike forward.
The sound comes from the bike’s wheel spokes when they hit against the playing card and balloon. Isn’t that a cool idea?” I said to myself, wow it’s so simple and it sounds great. You would think that Roger would come up with an idea like this. I have to tell him about it. Me and Joanie got back up on our bikes and I followed her and her motor cycle sounding bike around the school yard. All the kids were looking at us going around and around. Finally the balloon on Joanie’s bike popped and the playing card came loose and fell to the ground. Then she waved at me motioning that she was heading home. So I waved back to her and decided to head back home too. I put my bike back down the cellar and then I went to Hicks Street looking for my friends.
When I got to Luquer and Hicks Street I found the whole gang standing in a circle talking. I pushed my way into the circle to find out what they were up to. Sure enough they were talking about playing “Haunted House Hide and Go-Seek.” They were trying to decide which condemned house in the construction site for the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, would make a good target for this game. It looks like we have eight players. One of the players will be it! After we drew lots Reno the Greek came up short. When the game starts Reno will turn against the wall and count up to fifty, while the other players run into the selected dilapidated building to hide. Meanwhile, you would think that the security guards could keep the kids out of these dangerous broken down buildings before a kid falls through a hole in the floor, killing himself.
But no, most of the time the guards were sitting around drinking beer. If they happen to see you sneaking into a condemned building, they would yell at you but they would never chase you into the building. They don’t want take the risk of hurting themselves by chasing a stupid kid into one of these buildings. For the little money they were paid to do this work, in their mind, it just wasn’t worth it.
All the kids knew that there was little or no risk of getting caught by these guards. To bad, over the past year I know of ten kids that went to the hospital with cuts and broken bones. But none of this was going to stop us from playing “Haunted House Hide and Go-Seek.” Hide and Seek, was not as dangerous as “Haunted House Tag” in this game there are eight or ten kids being chased through the haunted house by the tag leader. If you’re caught he will hit you with an old sock full of corn starch. At least in hide and seek you find a good hiding place and wait. When we play tag we run up and down the building that is covered with broken glass, old pipes, plaster, old sinks and toilets, mixed in with the smell of poop and pee. I hate to play “Haunted House Tag”.
We walked down Hamilton Avenue and found the haunted house we were looking for. The outside of the house wasn’t so bad except for the broken windows and fire damage, but the inside of the house was creepy. The smell inside the place made a few kids throw up. Over the months when this house was condemned a lot of kids, including me and my cousin Johnny, ripped out all the Lead and Copper they could find.
Just for the hell of it, some kids thought it was pretty funny to pee all over the place. I stopped thinking of all this stuff when Reno started the game by counting, one, two, three, four, and so on. We all ran like hell to find a hiding place that wasn’t loaded with the smell of pee. I got lucky and found a broken closet that the pee brigade did not put their mark in it. Out of seven kids that were hiding Reno only found five before his time was up. So we all came out from hiding and Reno had to start counting all over again. This went on for two hours when we finally gave up the ghost and called it quits. I was fairly clean, but some kids weren’t as lucky. They smelled so bad, we weren’t about to let them come near us. Three of the guys had to go home to face the music and get beat up with the wooden spoon for being so stupid.
Reno the Greek, Jimmy Pizza, Pecker and me had enough money in our pockets to pay for some treats and a movie. Jimmy said that a new Ali Baba movie was playing at the Ledo Theater on Columbia Street. It took us fifteen minutes to get there for the three O’clock showing. I love the Ali Baba movies, I like it when Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves get to their hide out he yells out “Open Sesame” The ground shakes and then the big rock doors of the mountain side open to a large cave and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves rush into the cave on their horses. Then the rock doors close behind them. When they get deep into the cave, they light torches on the wall and now you can see all the treasure laying on the ground, gold coins, diamond jewelry, rubies, pearls, gold robes, piled up and over flowing in open gold and silver chests. What a beautiful sight it is to look at all of Ali Baba’s treasurer.
Then the Forty Thieves unload the loot that they took during the latest battle with the Kings tax collector. Then they put their bounty on to the pile of loot already there and ride off again to fight against the evil kings who tax their people into poverty. I like to watch Ali Baba battle against the Kings army. The Forty Thieves mainly fight with bows and arrows and swords. The poor people rise up to fight with them using rocks, knives and pitch forks.
After they win the battle Ali Baba, turns to help the poor people and gives them the gold and jewels that he and the Forty Thieves took from the evil King. This way they can start a new life with their families. It feels so good to see Ale Baba kick ass. After we left the movies we started play acting that we were in the battles with Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves against the evil King.
When we were on our way home we made wooden swords and ran through the streets, yelling and screaming. People were watching us like we were crazy. When I got home I yelled “Open Sesame” to the front door of our apartment building. When the doors opened to my command and I stepped into the hallway, there was no treasure to be found. Oh well, we live to fight another day.