After breakfast Sal picked up his mail ,daily newspaper and headed for the library. Reading his New York Times he heard a voice at the doorway that had the clear distinct accent of his birthplace. He placed his paper down,turned to the sound of the voice, and with usual Jersey City sarcasm uttered;
“Oh Jesus look what the cat dragged in, Michael McNally. I hope you are only visiting because the Fox Hill Bond rating will go down
God. I haven’t seen you in over forty years.Warmly shaking the hand of his long lost friend he asked “How the hell are you?” Never one to completely abandon the smart ass response they had cultivated and perfected in their youth Michael replied: “Oh don’t tell me that they let Guineas live here. I thought this was a high class place. I may have to request my deposit back. Obviously if they checked references you would never be allowed to live here. “
Sal laughed, and thought the ball busting gene never leaves any of us old timers. In fact he was thrilled that someone from his past would actually be a neighbor, and certainly someone he could relate to and understand.
“ Michael I am surprised you passed the vetting process.Do they know that you were once part of a group of degenerates that spent most of their lives hanging around on a corner?That shirt and tie may fool these hicks, but I know that deep down you were part of the infamous ST.Als seven”.Sal was referring to seven attendees of St.Aloysius High School that were inseparable, and to hear it told, about twenty five minutes from being residents in the local Reform School.
Motioning for Michael to have a seat, Sal began the process of indoctrination for the new resident.: Placing an imaginary list in front of him he began to read in a very solemn tone.“If you really are one of the inmates, as a member of the friendship committee I must welcome you to “prune juice heaven.”The staff will be devoted to keeping you dry, and moving your bowels on a regular schedule. The main focus around here is urine and excrement control. You are to suppress all sensual thoughts ,and farting on the elevator is strictly forbidden. These rules are unchangeable and violations are subject to a public stoning.” Placing down the imaginary list he asked. “When did you arrive?”
Mike took out a cigarett, and realized by the apoplectic look on Sal’s face that smoking was not allowed in the library. He dutifully returned the cigarette, and confessed that he had abandoned cigarettes for years, but lately thought what the hell the grim reaper is gonna get me one way or the other. “Actually I visited last Thursday, and with a lot of arm twisting from my children I decided that this probably was better than most places that warehouse old farts like us. I loved where I lived in Manhattan, but was highly pressured to leave..”