We are at the Snazzy Pig for lunch.  My mom is having a snazzy pig sandwich.  Snazzy pig is a spicy mixture of barbecued pork and beef.  The seasonings are secret.  Later on we will own the secret recipe for snazzy pig when the owner who rents from my grandmother becomes an alcoholic and gets far behind on the rent. I’m having French fries.  There is a cowboy in the corner playing pinball.  He is very animated in his play and I decide I want to play too.  When he leaves I beg my mom for a nickel and walk over to the machine.  I can just see over the top of it and so my perspective is of a ball coming right at me, bouncing off lights in front of me.  I put the nickel in and push the plunger.  The ball just barely makes it out of the chute but starts the long trip towards me, striking the bumpers along the way.  When it gets close to me I push a button on the side of the machine and a flipper sends the ball back up.  I can reach only one side of the machine at a time so I have to watch carefully which side the ball is coming on.  I race back and forth from one side of the machine to the other pushing the flipper buttons.  The patrons in the snazzy pig think this is funny and soon I have the entire café cheering me on.  At the end of five balls I am exhausted but as the last ball falls into the hole, the machine emits a long wail a lights start flashing.  I am terrified, afraid I have broken it.  The waitress comes rushing over and I am afraid she is going to hit me.  I shrink back but instead of striking me, she grabs my hand and starts pumping it vigorously.  “You got the highest score ever,” she says.  She looks impressed and she won’t let go of my hand.  “You get a free game, honey.”  I like that she calls me honey.  Another cowboy gets up from the counter and comes over.  “Nice goin’ kid.”  He takes something out of his pocket and lays it on the machine, then walks out of the cafe.  It’s an Indian Head penny.  I pick it up and finger it.  Then I put it in my pocket.  The free game is a bust but I still have the penny.


© Victor Young 2016

Chapter III