My pop gun was broken, and Grand Pop Cage could see that I wasn’t happy about it. We each got a ten ounce bottle of Coca Cola out of the frig and sat at the bottom of the stairs out back on Symington Avenue. The bottles of pop were delivered every Saturday from Uncle Lou’s grocery on Wilkens Avenue, which had the longest block of row homes in the city.
We sat on the two bottom stairs side by side and commenced to solve the broken pop gun. Grand Pop Cage was a tinkerer, a retired railroad man and general repair, fix-it kind of guy. The other elders of my family would say, “he can fix anything.” We finished our pop, and Grand Pop Cage held the pop gun in his hands and scratched his head with his eyes. He then began the repair.
Grand Pop Cage smoked cigars and drank whiskey. His overalls smelled like Swisher Sweets. He turned this and tuned that, and the leaves fell from the oak tree in the backyard.
I twisted my hair behind my ears, and he twisted the barrel and tweaked the trigger.
Grand Mom Cage called out the backdoor, and said it was time to leave. Grand Pop Cage handed me the pop gun, and I cocked the handle and aimed at a leaf on the ground in the grass.
Just as I was ready to pull the trigger the Beatles’ Help came on the radio and distracted me. I lifted the pop gun, and the leaf was spared, only to be raked up and burned in a pile the next day in the back alley.
Grand Pop Cage waved goodbye and said, “I’ll see you next Thursday Billy.”
A drawing by Carol Dant. https://www.redbubble.com/people/caroldant?asc=u