I keep thinking about the Dart game and that we can’t tell anyone our secret. I’m not good at keeping secrets but I don’t want Nunzio to get pissed off if I spill the beans. As I was walking to find my friends so we can go to the last night of the feast together I see Joanie sitting on her stoop with her dog, Joy. She calls out to me “Hey, Pepino, where are you going? Do you plan to go to the feast tonight?” I yell back to her “Yeah, I’m looking for Jimmy Pizza, Reno the Greek and Pecker to go with me.” She says, “It’s still kind of early, I like to get there when it’s dark and all the lights are on. If you’re not in a hurry how about playing a game of pick up stixs with me?” She’s right about the time. It’s only four o’clock and the feast doesn’t get rolling until eight o’clock. “Okay, I heard of the game but I never played it before.” “Pepino, it’s not that hard to play. I play this game with my four year old cousin and she doesn’t have a problem getting the gist of it.”
“If your four year old cousin can beat you I think I can beat you too.” “Wait a minute; I didn’t say that she beat me. But I’ll have no problems kicking your ass in this game.” “Wow that sounds like a challenge to me.” While me and Joanie are going back and forth about who can beat who, Joy the dog keeps moving his head from looking at Joanie and the back to looking at me and then Joanie again, as we argued about who can beat who. It’s as if the dog was watching us play ping pong game. I finally sat down next to her on the stoop. I am ready to play her stupid game and show her whose Boss.
We sat kind of close as she took out a cylinder about ten inches long with a label saying “Pick Up Stixs.” We are so close to each other that I could not help but notice that she smelled so good. She takes out a bunch of colored sticks that look like eight inch long thick tooth picks in different colors. She separates ten sticks each of two different colors and says, “The blue sticks are yours and the yellow ones are mine.” She then gives me a red stick and tells me that I have to use the red stick to pick out my blue sticks without touching the yellow sticks. I’m thinking that this game is more complicated than I thought but if a four year old can do it so can I.
Joanie then takes the blue and yellow sticks and mix’s them together in one bunch. She hold the bunch in her hand upright and drops the on the stoop. They fall in a crazy pattern all blue and yellow mixed together laying on the stoop. The she tells me “Okay, now you have to take your red stick and try to separate your blue sticks from my yellow sticks without touching or moving my yellow sticks. If you touch my yellow stick with your red stick you lose your turn and then I get a chance to try to separate my yellow sticks from your blue sticks without moving them. The player who can get all their sticks out of the pile first wins the game. After three hours, Joanie was ahead five games to my one game. I guess I showed her who’s the Boss. I was thinking that her four year old cousin could probably kick my ass too. After being embarrassed by a girl, I said goodbye to Joanie and went to find my friends.
I caught up to the guys and we all walked towards Saint Stephens Church and the Italian street festival. As we crossed over the highway we could hear the Italian music and the crowd of people singing along with the Band. When we heard that the feast was in full swing we all started running as fast as we could. We did not want to miss any of the action. As we got closer I smell the sausage and peppers cooking mixed in with the smell of funnel cakes. I am getting so hungry. We were about a half a block away and I see that there are so many people crushed together it looked like a wall. It is so exciting, the music, and the food, the colorful lights the crowd singing and cheering the band for more. The vendors are doing their best to keep up with people who wanted to play the games and buy balloons for their little children who are screaming their heads off.
The carnival rides are going strong too. The Merry Go Round, the Ferris wheel, the Whip and more. There are so many teenagers and kids my age pushing a shoving for a place on the line to get on the rides. We pushed our way into the crowd trying to get to the guy cooking the sausage and peppers. Pecker got there first and I started yelling for him to order me a sandwich and I shoved two dollars between two guys who were standing behind him, he took the money and yelled back “Okay I got it.” Pecker squeezed back with two sandwiches in his hand and pushed one in to my face and said “Here, are you happy now?”
I grabbed the sandwich and said. “Shit yeah, I’m so hungry that I thought I was going to pass out.” We just stood there crushed by the crowd eating our sandwiches as fast as we can. I yell back to him again “Let’s find a food stand were we can buy a drink and keep a look out for Jimmy Pizza and Mike Tomato. I think I saw them back there waiting to get on the Ferris wheel.”
We pushed our way thru the crowd again when I felt a soft sweater almost like a pillow in my face. It was a little hard to breathe when I looked up and realized that my face was buried right in the middle of Maria (aka, Head Lights) Lopez’s chest. I thought I was going to die right there and then, with this huge crowd around me. She smelled so good. All of a sudden I felt a strange feeling in my body as I rubbed up against her. It was a weird feeling but I liked it. My face was still nuzzled in her chest as I looked up and she looked down at me and said “Hello, Pepino, are you having fun?” If the crowd wasn’t pushed around me I would have passed out and fell on the ground. Pecker, who is a witness to my good luck, is laughing so hard that his was crying. I did my best to back away from her, but the pressure of the crowd kept me there with my face stuck between her Boobs. I just couldn’t move when I mumbled “Hi, Maria, sorry, I just can’t move. Is your brother Ricardo here too?” She looked at me with her beautiful green eyes as she brushed her jet black hair away from her face and said. “Ah-huh, I think that he’s right in back of me. If you want I can try to turn around so you can see him.”
Oh God, if she turns her Boob will rub up against my face. But what the hell, I mumbled again “Yes please.” She did as I asked and it was wonderful. Now I could see six finger-Lopez and I said. “What’s up Lopez?” “What do you think, shit head? I’m pushing my way through the feat just like you are.” At this point the crowd released me and I could see Maria walking away in her pink high heels shoes. She looked like a movie star. She has a body that girls would die for. She is wearing a tight light pink short sleeved sweater, with tight white shorts. Every guy and man at the feast turned to look at her.
Pecker stopped laughing and turned to me saying. “You’re the luckiest friggen guy I know. Not only are you having a great time at the feast, you then find a way to bury your face in Maria Lopez chest and rub your cheek against her Boobs. What was that all about?” I’m thinking to myself, I don’t know but I enjoyed every minute of it.
I didn’t answer pecker. I am still pumped up because of my face to chest meeting with Maria Lopez. We walked over to the vendor cooking Zappoles and I bought nine deep fried dough balls and I ate all of them in ten seconds. I washed them down with an ice cold Pepsi. We Found Jimmy Pizza and Mike Tomato by the Carnival rides and I started to tell the all about my lucky face to chest accident meeting with Maria Lopez when all Hell broke loose. Explosions and lights flashing like lighting all over the place. The fireworks show was starting; they are being launched from behind the Church. This show marks the end of the Italian Street Festival. It is beautiful to watch the lights from the fireworks flashing around the Church’s steeple. Every time there are a few seconds in-between the loud booms, I did my best to tell my story about Head Lights Lopez, to Mike and Jimmy but they could not hear me because of the loud booms. So I gave up and just watched the show. I realized at that moment, not only is the Feast over, but that the summer season is over too.