IN THE SHUFFLING MADNESS

Wednesday morning

January 21 1978

Great, it’s snowing again. What the fuck is the deal?

Maybe I should grab a shovel and see if anyone needs their sidewalk cleared. It’s a good way to make some money. At least it’s not too cold out. The temp is about twenty-eight degrees.

Mom left for work about about an hour ago, my sister is at school, she’s in the 7th grade at Holy Name and my older brother is still sleeping. He stays out late, comes home and sleeps in.

Fuck it, I’m headed over to the city.

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Hopping on the F-train I head over to Times Square. I rush the gate because I don’t pay to get on the train. Thank God no cops are around. The guy in the token booth is to busy with the line of people waiting to buy a token.

I’m starting to get a little pissed off about life.

Everyone around me seems to be fucked up.

My mother is getting on my case.

“Lower that Music.”

“Take the garbage out.”

“Make your bed.”

“Be home by nine.”

My brother is always yelling at me. Just the other day he got mad at me for wearing his shirt.

“What the fuck ya think you’re doin’ wearing my shirt?”

The shirt was really nice. What sucked is that he yelled at me right on Windsor Place. I was with my girlfriend. He embarrassed the shit out of me.

Speaking of my girlfriend, we broke up again. She gets me mad when she talks to other boys. From my bedroom window I watched her catch the 69 bus for school. At times I think of going over and apologizing to her. I know I can be a pain in the ass sometimes. She stands there every morning. Every morning I sit at my window watching her.

As for me, school is the last thing on my mind. I know I should go back, but I’m embarrassed.

Bless me Father for I have sinned, it’s been two weeks since I last attended school.  

The secretary at school is always calling my house in the morning wondering where I am. I pick it up when it rings.

“Hello can I speak to Mrs. Moore?”

CLICK! I hang up.

School tried sending letters home but when the mailman comes, I grab the mail before mom. I open it, read it and throw it in the garbage.

On the Manhattan-bound train I’m standing against the door.  I look around at all the people headed to work. They look tired and miserable. Suckers if you ask me.

At Jay Street Boro-Hall I get off, grab a Daily News on the newsstand and hop back on the F. How cool is that? A newsstand on the platform. When I’m with my friends and we’re riding the trains we steal candy from the newsstand on 4th avenue. It’s easy.

I’m read about the Knicks, my favorite team. What the fuck is up with these guys? They can’t win a game. They suck.

As we pull into West 4th street I think of getting off, heading upstairs and checking out who’s hanging around the courts. I love the village.  I started coming here last summer. It happened right after I met this pretty girl at Manhattan Beach; her father lives on 16th street and 6th avenue. Her parents are divorced, like mine.

Often times I dream of living in the city.  What I thought was so cool is that her father has cable TV. She told me her dad watches Knicks games live from the Garden.  Her and I hung out a few nights in the summer just walking around. We had pizza at Ray’s and even walked down to the East Village for an egg cream. But that’s all I’m going to tell you.

I also love watching basketball at West 4th.  There’s been some great players come through here. I’m too young to get out there and play with these guys, but I do try to get some shots up when no one is around. One night, about two in the morning I hopped on the train with my basketball and came out here to shoot. I had the court to myself.

I decide to stay on the F-train and go a few more stops to forty-second street.

As we get to 34th street I think of getting off and walking past the Garden. I could go in and look for Red Holzman.

“Yo Red, what’s up with the team?”

I stay on the train. Holzman would probably laugh at me anyway.

The next stop I get off and as I walk up the stairs with the crowd of people I roll up the newspaper and stick it in my back pocket. I learned that from my father and all the ironoworkers down Timboo’s.

Out on the street I’m relieved it stopped snowing. Standing on sixth avenue I look up to see a building going up.  I see a few ironworkers walking across the beams. I wanna be an ironworker in a few years. My uncle says I have to be 18. I still have three more years to go.

Walking down forty-second I stop in a coffee shop. The take-out line is long, out the door onto the sidewalk. People are grabbing their coffee and breakfast to go. I notice an open table by the window and take a seat.

The waitress comes over with a glass of water. She’s an older lady. Probably about forty. She looks excited.

“Coffee hun?” she asks. She looks like Linda Lavin on that show “Alice.”

“No, can I have a coke please?”

The Linda Lavin look-a-like writes it down and walks away.

I grab a menu and check out their breakfast.

It starts snowing again.

-Red

Hoops135@hotmail.com

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