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Sunday morning.

January 25, 1978

The noise outside my apartment is driving me crazy.

My head is pounding.

Feels like someone is whacking me with a fuckin’ hammer.


I hate headaches. There’s nothing worse.

I want to sleep-in but the cars, trucks, and busses on ninth avenue make it impossible. My bedroom faces the avenue. About ten minutes ago there was a guy downstairs on the pay phone screaming at someone on the end.


I place my pillow over my head.

Fuck it, that doesn’t work too well. I get out of bed.

No one is home. The apartment is empty.

Is the fuckin’ heat even on?

Jesus Christ it’s like twenty below in here. Landlord tends to shut the heat off. But I’ll tell you about that shit another time.

My sister slept at her friends house last night. She does that a lot.

My brother hasn’t been home since Friday.

Mom? She’s probably still working her after-hours job out in Bay Ridge. On Sunday’s she usually gets home close to noon.

What about my father?

You kidding?

That fuck left about ten years ago.

Feeling like shit, I walk into the kitchen and open the fridge. The kitchen window is covered with frost. I’m starving like Marvin.

The light is out in the fridge. Nothing looks good. It’s actually empty. No milk, means no cereal. Frosted Flakes is my favorite. The box sits atop the fridge. I look at it.


I get dressed and walk downstairs. Heading across the avenue to get a buttered roll and coffee at the deli.

Can’t beat that combo for a buck.

Starting to snow and my head is killing me.

I got so drunk last night. You should have seen me.

Worst part of drinking is the following morning.

I get my roll and coffee and head over to Rae’s for the Daily News.

Did I tell you I like my coffee light and sweet?

I tuck the bulky newspaper under my arm and go back home.

Passing people on their way to church. I see some kids with their moms and dads. I could care less. I stopped going to church last year when I graduated from Holy Name. Who needs it.

But the families walking together sure look cute.

After church they’ll walk over to the Parkhouse for breakfast. Or they’ll wait in line at L&J bakery to get donuts.

Sitting at the kitchen table, I scan the sports section. I sip my coffee. It warms me up.

Knicks lost.

Rangers won.

Mets made a trade.

My brother is a Steelers fan, they beat the Cowboys last week in the Super Bowl, 35-31.

I feel like going back to bed but the java has me amped up. Ever since I started drinking coffee I seem to have much more energy.

Keep in mind I am 15.

Yeah, yeah, I can’t hear you know; 15 and you’re drinking coffee? Yep, I also drink alcohol. What else you wanna know?

Sunday mornings suck. Can’t go to the yard to play ball. Last mass ends at one. The priests hate it when I am in there. I get thrown out often. Come on Father Shine, I’m just working on my jump-shot.


Wish I could remember what happened last night. Details are cloudy.

All I recall is hanging out in Prospect Park drinking. There were so many people. All my friends and some kids I didn’t recognize. We get kids from other neighborhoods who come around to hang with us on Saturday nights.

Kids from Xaverian, OLPH, Kearney and some come as far away as Grady.

I once had the chance to rap to this pretty girl who plays for Kearney. She was real cool. Told me she plays center for their varsity. Her height was amazing. She was like five-ten.

She had short hair and a beautiful smile.

I started with a few cans of beer at about six, then by eight I switched up to Wild Irish Rose.

By nine I was wasted.

Ninty-nine cents a bottle for the wine. Even I can afford that. I think I had four bottles. Maybe five?

My girlfriend and I spent a little time together last night. But I wish I could tell you more.

Not sure why I drink to tell you the truth. But I enjoy it. I feel so good when I have a few drinks. Throwing up sucks. It gets messy.

After reading the newspaper I walk out of the apartment and head over to the park.

I pass Farrell’s and it’s empty. They don’t open until twelve. Looking through the front window, there’s a guy behind the bar wiping off the bottles of booze. Can’t wait until I turn eighteen. Hooley can finally serve me.

Turning the corner at the circle, I see a few of my friends sitting on the bench.

All of a sudden, I feel better.

These guys are all I care about.

Love being with them. The girls too. We have a ton of girls who hang with us. It’s really a great group.

We’re all from the neighborhood.

Went to Holy Name together. Some went to 107’s and P.S. 10’s. Even have a couple of friends who went to Saint Saviour’s.

I can tell my friends anything. Well, almost anything.

“Yo fella’s what’s up?”