|Al's Trivia: 'Kafer', in German, means 'Beetle.' |
Plus, Hitler liked them.
Vince Spagnoula reverently tapped the glow-in-the-dark figurine mounted just above the dashboard of his red Volkswagen beetle.
“Ain’t this the cat’s ass?” he cackled.
|Peace be with you. And also with you. |
Now, keep your eyes on the damn road.
Even though Spags, Donny, and I thought Mr. Spagnoula’s little plastic Jesus was a nice touch, I doubted the Son of God would appreciate being referred to as a “cat’s ass.”
Chuckling to himself, Mr. Spagnoula jammed the car’s transmission into reverse and zipped down his driveway. Abruptly cutting off an old lady in a Rambler, he then continued down the street.
He snapped on the AM radio. “Little shit kickin’?”
Not waiting for an answer, he began crooning along to a Hank Williams ballad about trains, trucks, or somebody’s dog. Or all three, for all I knew.
It didn’t matter to me what music he played, though, because he was taking us to a ballgame that afternoon. He could sing Christmas carols in a dress for all I cared.
When I got the call from Spags about going to see the Yankees and the Red Sox along with him, Donny, and his dad, I jumped at the chance. It wasn’t often I had an opportunity to go to the stadium.
|"I love you." |
"Well, I don't love you!"
"Well, for starters, you're going to
have me stuffed, you A-Hole!"
Spags dug into an ash tray filled with coins. “Let me do it, Dad. Pull into the exact change lane.”
“You got it, Tommy,” he said as he whipped the tiny beetle in front of a puke green station wagon the size of a cruise ship.
As the Volkswagen glided to a stop, Spags rolled down the passenger window with his left hand, a quarter gripped in his right.
“This is good right here.”
“Let ‘er fly, son.”
Spags flipped his hand up and shot the quarter across the car’s roof. We could hear it bounce across the metal as it danced toward the plastic basket.
Mr. Spagnoula sighed.
Spags held his hand up, “Don’t say it. Give me another shot.”
A buck and a half later, Mr. Spagnoula decided that was enough Toll Booth Basketball. “Just dig up twenty five pennies.”
Spags looked at him like he was crazy. “What? You can’t use pennies at the toll booth. It says so on the sign.”
|"I said NO PENNIES!!"|
Mr. Spagnoula pooh-poohed his protests. “Money’s money, isn’t it? Besides, the sign says ‘No pennies, please.’ It doesn’t say ‘No pennies or else’.”
Sure enough, the toll basket did accept twenty-five pennies, even though it slowly cha-chunked its way through each one of them. Too bad the line of aggravated motorists fuming behind us failed to see the wisdom of using small change to pay a toll, though. As each little coin slowly registered with a click, the symphony of irritated car horns behind us built to a deafening roar.
Unfazed, Mr. Spagnoula waved an unconcerned hand and repeated, “Money’s money.”
“Hey, Mr. Spagnoula,” I asked. “You want me get all those quarters?”
“Naw,” he said, as we passed under the upraised booth arm. “Consider it a donation to the New York Department of Potholes.”
To be continued......
Next: Squeegee Boys, Off-Street Parking, and Yankee Stadium