Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Memoirs from Kings Plaza Part One:

This is a new series I am creating on stories from my youth. I used love to hang out on Saturday afternoon at the Kings Plaza Mall. That was back when they sold books, CDs, and DVDs. Which was truly a long time ago. Not sure how often this subject matter will be updated but there are many stories to write. Today's stories will include: The Rooftop and Jamie. Feel free to let me know what you think.
The Rooftop: In the Pre-Sears days of Kings Plaza my friends and I had a secret place away from the rest of the world. It was the roof of Kings Plaza which was a desolate and cold area with no personality. No people, no cars, no intruding thoughts. The only concern was only if security would find us. Not sure how Joey and I came about finding the location. When you go to the mall each week and are not in a hurry to get home you try and find new adventures. Joey was a little dirty and always unshaven. He was the type of friend that if you met at any other stage in life besides pre-teen you would avoid. He was an agreeable guy that shared a passion for B-Movies. (So I thought. When we ended our friendship he claimed to hate watching them and only did because there was nothing else to do.)

The following week we had decided to share our discovery with the rest of the misfits that made up our group. Greg Cozzo was a self imposed hermit, with dirty skin that had green spots, and greasy hair. He was quiet. Sal Buzzetta was a bruiting ape of a man that loved to bully Greg. Sal would bully Greg everywhere we went. In school he made Greg curtsy to him. He also put a lock on Greg's schoolbag once and made him pay ten bucks to have it removed. The worst thing Sal probably did to Greg was pee on a carpet sample and slip it in Greg's PB and J sandwich in the cafeteria. Maybe some of this lead to the fact Greg has not left his house since 1998. Richard J. Lopez was also there and he was the coward of the group. After a couple of weeks when we finally got caught on the roof, Richie said, "Don't worry guys. I will handle this". Then he ran up to the guard and said, "I didn't want to do it but they made me".

But to backtrack to that first time as a group that we were on that roof was amazing. The five of us escaped to a world that we owned for once. No rules, no parents and no bullies. (Except Sal.) We were right next to the giant lettering. We all needed to look over the edge to realize where we were. We ran around like The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night and discussed everything from girls, movies and our home life. Greg considered jumping and Sal helped him weigh in the reasons he should. Then Joey and Sal threw some rocks at a boat that was below. The Captain got out of it and yelled up to them, "Stay right there, I'm gonna come up there and beat the shit out of you". It was time to leave. I wish I was up on that roof with those guys again.

Jamie: Jamie was my first lesson that what should happen in life isn't always what will happen. And that expecting the unexpected is something that you have to learn in life.

Joey and I used to go each week to Sam Goody to buy videos. (Yes, VHS!) When a new shuttering employee approached me. "Do--o you need any help". I could hear Joey down the other aisle mimicking her voice. To this day I don't know what attracted me to this girl. She wasn't overly cute, her voice was annoying and she had a lousy hair cut. I made some small talk and left to get on the bus with Joey.

"She has twelve year old boy tits!" Joey tells me when we got outside. His voice had the dread that I was about to pick an ugly girl to date.

The following Saturday she was there again. My heart literally went up my throat. I went up to the counter, and proceeded to check out. "Would you like to reserve any of our upcoming films?"

"No, they are always in stock". We both nervously laughed and I walked out. I wished I had reserved something, what an idiot I felt like. Within ten minutes I had went back to Sam Goody and told her that I would like to reserve something. She thought I was the sweetest guy ever. So I asked for her phone number. Her pen had dried out, as she started to write it. Then the old lady behind me gave us a pen from her purse. I felt great.

Three days later that all fell apart. I called her home phone, and her Mom answered angrily and upset that I had the number. She wasn't even sure where her daughter was. She thought maybe I would know.

The next Saturday Jamie explained to me that her mother kicked her out. I was heartbroken and confused. I didn't know this girl at all but I imagined her as a saving grace in my life. I learned that sometimes in life we wish so hard for the right person that we don't even know the truth. It was a lesson we all have to learn in life.

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