Three boys were walking on East 149th Street near where it meets Melrose Avenue and Third Avenue in the Bronx. The morning traffic was thick, trucks were double parked and deliverymen hustled boxes to the curb.
The boys made a move through the congestion and across Melrose. They had a near miss with a speeding car, but reach the other side safely.
They were ready to try their luck against Third Avenue when a gravely voice made them turn.
“Be careful,” an old man said.
The boys nodded and laughed.
“Sure, old man,” they all said.
“I didn’t get to be this old by running through traffic,” the old man shot.
The boys laughed again.
“You’re a ballplayer aren’t you?” the old man said nodding at the tallest one. “I’ve seen you pitch. You’ve got a good fastball and a pretty good curveball.”
“I’ve got a great curveball,” the boy snapped. “It’s a hammer.”
“Keeping working on your hammer,” the old man said. “And get to the other side safely.”
“Sure, old man,” the boys said as they waited for the light to turn and traffic to stop.