Day After Thanksgiving…
“Can I have ten dollars?” I ask my mother as she sits on the couch watching television, sipping a cup of black coffee.
Without looking at me, she asks, “For what?”
Every time I ask her for money, she always questions me.
“There’s a basketball clinic tonight at the YMCA,” I replied.
“No, I don’t have it.” She barked as her eyes never left the screen.
I don’t even know why I ask anymore? Just once I want to hear, “Sure, here you go sweetie. Have a good time.”
I mumble something under my breath as I walk away.
Mom ignored me.
Usually after I mumble something she’ll say, “WHAT DID YOU SAY MISTER?”
As I walk out of our apartment she shouts, “GO DOWN TO TIMBOO’S AND ASK YOUR FATHER!”
I haven’t seen that prick in weeks.
He doesn’t give a shit about me but it’s a worth a try.
I remember he used to come by on Saturday mornings to get me. We’d head down to Timboo’s and I would spend the whole afternoon there. But before we got to Timboo’s we’d stop off at the Cube Steak on ninth street for breakfast.
Walking out of our apartment, I hang a left on Windsor Place, down the block, past my girl’s house and across seventh avenue.
For late November, it’s actually a nice day. The sun is out and it has to be at least fifty degrees.
It didn’t cross my mind to ask my girlfriend to walk down to Timboo’s with me. All I thought about was getting the money from my father for the clinic. Besides, I was just with her last night until midnight. She’s probably still sleeping.
When I get to 11th street I make a left and head towards fifth avenue.
Outside Timboo’s there’s a few guys standing on the corner shooting the breeze.
Red D. has a cup of coffee in his right hand. Roger C. is leaning against the lamp post reading the New York Post and Dee-Dee is checking out a hot girl across the avenue.
“Wow, look at that honey over there,” Dee-Dee muttered.
We all look over at her. Even Roger interrupts his reading to take a peek.
“She’s young enough to be your daughter,” Red implied.
“Shit, if there’s grass on the field, let’s play ball!” Dee-Dee insisted.
All three guys laugh. Even I had to smile. And Dee-Dee was right, he was fine.
There’s always hot babes on fifth avenue.
I turn around and look through the front window of Timboo’s to see if my father is in there. He’s always in the same spot at the bar. If he’s not in his spot, he’s on the pay phone by the window.
There’s three guys in there, including the bartender.
Dad’s not there.
“Stevie, what’s up kid?” Red D. asks as he looks over at me.
“Hey Red, you see my father?”
“He’s not here yet, should be here soon though. I’m waiting for him too, he owes me some money.”
Roger picks his head up from the paper. Red smiles at him.
“That was some bet last night,” Roger noted.
“I knew Georgia Tech wouldn’t cover,” Red bragged.
That was some game. I watched the whole thing.
Dee-Dee walks over to me and puts both fists up like a boxer and gets down in a stance.
“Come on Stevie, put ‘em up baby!”
I stand there and watch him bob and weave.
Dee-Dee is a black belt and is always looking to get me to learn Karate. Every time I see him, he wants to spar.
He scares me. Not in a bad way but now he starts jumping around and kicking into the air like Bruce Lee.
What the fuck?
I think to myself.
He’ll kill me if one of those kicks land at my head.
Dee-Dee taps me on the head with an open palm and walks into the bar.
I could never learn Karate, I’d get my ass kicked but it would be cool to be able to karate chop someone and peg someone with a flying drop kick.
Plus, no one would fuck with me if I knew Karate.
“Hey kid,” Roger says as he walks past me, stuffing his newspaper in the back of his pants.
“Who you like today?” he adds.
Before I could answer, he’s inside the bar.
Roger is always asking me who I like?
He doesn’t mean which girls I like either. He wants to know which teams I like to win or which ones will cover the spread?
Red’s alone on the corner now, sipping at his coffee as he continues to look around the empty streets.
I’m sure he’s keeping an eye out for my father. Red’s head is on a swivel. Looking left, then right.
My father’s a bookie.
Red bet Marquette last night, he was getting five points. They won the game outright by two.
I have given serious thoughts to placing bets on basketball games. I read the betting lines every morning. I circle who I think will cover. I usually get a lot of games right when I check the scores the following day.
But my father would probably never let me gamble.
Wonder how much Red had on the game?
I hope my father can give me the ten dollars for the clinic.