“The count was three and two, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded,” Skip said aloud, as he tossed up a wiffle ball in the air. The ball floated back down to waist level when, Skip slammed it with his wiffle bat. As Skip watched the ball arch over the roof of his dusty green clap board home he noticed the familiar rumble of John’s blue, big block 55 Chevy. Skip quickly threw the wiffle bat behind a nearby cedar tree to hide it. Without looking back, Skip started walking towards his driveway to meet John.
After, pulling into the driveway John yelled, “Rock and Roll!” Skip said, “Far out man. You already have the tickets?” John replied, “Not yet.” A little putout, Skip said, “What the? The concert is sold out, man. How are we going to get the tickets? John smugly said, “Don’t worry my man, I knows a guy that told me of a guy that we can score some ticket from. We’ll go get them right now. You collected the money from everyone, did you not?” Skip said, “Yea.” John said, “We can take my car or would you rather take your car?” Skip said, “No, my car has a rear axle bearing out, better take your car.”
Rolling up Skip’s street John asked, “I thought you were broke from fixing that pile of junk car of yours. How did you get enough money to buy your ticket?” Looking straight through the front windshield skip explained, “I knew you would not have bought the tickets in time so, I charged everyone scalper prices. I’m hoping we will be able to buy the tickets and have money left over to buy my ticket.” John gasped, “That’s cold man! You are charging the guys a carrying fee?” Skip said, “That’s right, if I have to go to all this trouble to get the tickets the guys owe me. And, really do I have a choice? It’s either that or I don’t go.”
John down shifted into second gear to hear a satisfying rumble of his 55’s twin tail pipes as he pulled on the scalper’s street. Skip said, “Wow, it’s a little seedy here. Wasn’t that Aiken Alley we just passed? OH MY, it was, we are on Prairie Street. What are we doing here?” John said, “Calm down, we’re alright. What was that address? Here read what I wrote on this piece of paper?” Skip said, “423. There it is. Pull in here. Didn’t Richard Prior grow up around here?” John said, “Who?”
John and Skip sat in the car as they surveyed the two story apartment in front of them. John said, “Let do this!” Stepping out of the car John and Skip were startled when a man loomed out of the shade to lean over the railing of the building’s second story porch. He demanded, “What do you want here?” John looked up and said, “Ahhh, we are here to see Leroy to buy tickets.” The man said, “You guys cops?” John said, “No.” After a pause the man said, “Alright then come on up. Use the stairs in the back.” As Skip followed John to the back of the apartment building, Skip jumped when he felt a tug on his shirt. Skip said, “John wait up. Something’s got me!” John laughed at the same time Skip heard a giggle from the second story porch. Looking up, Skip saw a young boy holding an open reel fishing pole. Skip realized the boy had hooked him with the fishing pole’s line. The man looked over the porch and said, “Jimmy, looks like you have caught a big one, but if I were you I’d throw it back.”
John led the way up a wooden set of stairs that was in dire need of paint. When Skip started his way up the stairs they creaked and wobbled back and forth after each step. On the landing John knocked on a faded white wooden screen door. Several minutes later, Leroy came to open the door. He stuck his head out to look both left and right before zeroing in on John. Leroy said, “You the dude that wants to buy the Aerosmith tickets?” John nodded. Leroy looked at Skip and said, “Whose dat?” John said, “He is my friend Skip.” Leroy replied, “If you say so. Come on in.”
John and Skip followed Leroy into the living area of the upstairs apartment. Surveying the dimly lit room that smelled of smoke and cherries the boys saw the furniture consisted of lawn chairs and a card table. John looked to his left to notice a full length mirror oddly built into the wall. The first thing that went through his mind was that the mirror was a two way mirror and that there was someone with a machine gun on the other side watching them.
Without offering the boys a seat Leroy set down at the table. Leroy said, “You wanted six tickets to the Areosmith concert being held at McCormick Auditorium in Chicago?” With one eye looking at the mirror John said, “Yes.” Leroy said, “Good, that’ll be 60 bucks.” Skip reached into the front pocked of his faded Levi jeans to produce six-ten dollar bills. Leroy took and started to count the bills. Leroy said, “Ten, twenty, forty, sixty, and eighty.” Leroy looked at John before handing Skip back a ten dollar bill. Leroy said, “Hey man, he gave me too much.” Eying the mirror John said, “No disrespect but he didn’t.” Leroy scrunched his eye brows and counted the money again. Leroy said, “No man, I came up with eighty dollars.” John said, “Let me count it.” Taking the money back, John counted the bills out one by one laying them in a pile on the table. John counted, “One, two, three, four, five and six. See its sixty dollars.” Leroy gave a big belly laugh and said, “Well I’ll be, your right” as he stood up to put his arm around John’s shoulder. Leroy said, “I tell you it is sure hard to find an honest man now days. Most dudes would have taken the money. I know I would have but, not youse. You’re a good kid. I likes you.”
Leroy set down and opened a gray metal box to produce 6 tickets. Leroy said, “Here you go kid. Hey, can I interest you in Grand Funk Railroad tickets? They’re playing at ISU on the eighth. I’ll give you a good price.” John replied. “Maybe later, for now just the Areosmith tickets.” Leroy said, “Suit yourself.”
Jumping off the last step of the rickety stairs Skip said, “Let’s get out of here!” John said, “No doubt!