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Slept in today.

Missed church.

Don’t care. I don’t go to Holy Name anymore so they can’t say anything if I don’t go.

Been going to church every Sunday since I was eight years old. I’m 14 now.

Mom never came home last night.

Younger sister slept at her friend’s house.

Older brother never made it home. Haven’t seen him since Friday.

Apartment on 9th ave

Head out to the kitchen and open the fridge, it’s pretty empty.

No milk.

Damn!

Guess that means no cereal.

It’s cold in our apartment. I swear sometimes I think the landlord shuts the heat off. Mom would turn on the burners on the stove to warm us up.  One night a couple of years ago I slept with my coat.

Slide my jeans on, slip on my sneakers and throw a coat on. Don’t need socks.

Forget to brush my teeth.

Walk down the two flights of stairs out onto ninth avenue.

It’s cold. Snow still on the ground from Saturday. See a few people walking on the avenue. Some coming from church. Some kids are wearing nice clothes.

Cross ninth avenue and walk over to Pynn’s Deli on the corner of 16th street.

See a few older guys outside Farrell’s. Two guys are holding containers. One guy is smoking and talking politics. One guy is complaining about the Giants. They missed the playoffs. Some day I’ll be able to get into Farrell’s, buy a container and hang out.

Walk into the deli and there’s a long line. I hate waiting on line.

Pull out my money and count it. I have six bucks. Had twenty last night but I spent it on some booze. Saturday night is a drinking night for us.

“Coffee light and sweet and a buttered roll,” I tell the guy behind the counter.  He doesn’t seem to enthused about working. He has a white apron on. Looks perturbed.

My order is made in a flash. Gotta admit, the line goes fast.  I look through the glass showcase and see the rice pudding isn’t out yet. I love it. You should try it some day. I usually get a dollar’s worth. Fills me up.

The guy behind the counter puts my order in a brown paper bag. No “thank you,” and no “have a nice day.”It’s okay though. I’m used to it.

The owner of the joint Billy, is a good guy, he sees me and say’s hi. In the summer we talk about the Mets.

Walk past Farrell’s and over to the parkside where I take a seat on the wooden bench straight across from Lefrak. The snow is cleaned off. The bench is dry. There’s a 68 bus idle.

“Yo Red, Knicks need Melo!”

That’s Mickey, he’s a former teacher and basketball coach at Holy Name. Really knows the game. He’s more of a college guy than NBA. But he knows I love the Knicks. He’s talking about Carmelo Anthony; he sat out last night, Knicks lost.

“NOT A FAN OF MELO!” I shout across Prospect Park Southwest.

Mickey smiles and keeps walking up towards the avenue.

“Matter of fact, maybe they should trade him!” I add.

Doubt Mickey heard me. He walks fast.

I sip my coffee. It’s hot. A few people are walking into the park carrying their sleds.

The buttered roll looks delicious.

I’m starving.

Wonder where all my friends are?

-Red

Hoops135@hotmail.com

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