A Coney Island Saturday with Sidney Green
Betty sat in the back of Sidney Green’s taxi and poured out a glass of iced tea.
”Here ya go,” said Betty.
“Thanks, kid," said Sidney. “It’s a hundred and twelve in the shade out there. Forget about fryin’ an egg on the sidewalk. I bet you could roast a pig.”
“Then drive faster,” said Betty. “So’s me and Craven can stick our heads out the window and catch some breeze.”
It was a hot July morning that Betty and Craven decided to go for a ride with Sidney and his dog.
“I love Saturdays,” said Betty. “The serious part a life shuts its eyes for the day an’ all that’s left is the fun stuff.”
“I’m with you there, sister,” said Sidney. “Coney Island, here we come. I got a pocket full of nickels and I plan on spendin’ every last one of ‘em winnin’ FDR that Kewpie doll that got away from me last week. Knockin’ down those three milk bottles is tougher than it looks. I must have lost eighty seven nickels.”
“Who you kiddin’?” said Craven. “You were missin’ them bottles on purpose. You were gettin’ all steamed up over that cutie that was runnin’ the Three Throws for a Nickel stand. For eighty seven nickels you could have bought yourself some nerve and asked her out."
“Yeah, Sidney," said Betty. “And with the change you coulda got a movie, popcorn and maybe even a goodnight smooch.”
“Hey,” said Sidney. “What are you lovebirds gettin’ at? You two in the matchmakin’ business now? The only company I’m keepin’ these days is with FDR. And that’s the way I like it.”
At the mention of his name the old German Shepard leaned over and licked Sidney’s ear.
“That’s a good dog,” said Sidney. “I love you, too, ol’ boy.”
“Oh, for the love a Mike,” said Betty, “You just gotta get yourself a girl. A dog's good for certain things, but kissin’ ain’t one of ‘em.”
“Ah, he’s just sayin’ hello,” said Sidney.
“You need to be said hello to by someone wearin’ lipstick,” said Craven. “Not by someone whose breathe smells like liverwurst and onions.”
“Speakin’ a which,” said Sidney. “I got the sandwiches right here. Who’s in?”
“No thanks,” said Betty. “Me and Craven’s been dyin’ all week for Coney Island hot dogs at Nathan’s.”
“Then it’s just you and me, FDR,” said Sidney. “And I slapped on plenty of spicy brown mustard. Just the way you like it."
Sidney held out the triangle-shaped half sandwich in front of FDR. One bite. One swallow. It was gone.
“Oops,” said Sidney. “You dripped some mustard down your chin, FDR. Let me get a napkin.”
Sidney dipped a napkin in his iced tea and dabbed at FDR’s chin until the mustard was gone.
“There you go, boy,” said Sidney. “All clean. What say we listen to a little music on the radio. I know how much you like a little tune or two after you eat. Then maybe we’ll go for a nice walk on the beach when we get to Coney Island.”
“Oh, brother!" said Craven. “I now pronounce you man and wife. Where do you two sweethearts plan on Honeymoonin’? The local pound?”
“Ah cut it out,” said Sidney. “There’s nothin’ wrong with having a little canine companionship. Me and FDR understand each other. Women? I never could figure them out. They was always tryin’ to get me to do things for my own good, when I was perfectly happy doing them other things.”
“What things?” said Betty. “Wearin’ the same underwear for three days straight? Keepin’ nothin’ in your icebox but beer and liverwurst? And when was the last time your bed’s seen a clean sheet?”
When Benny Goodman’s Sing, Sing, Sing started playing on the radio, Sidney turned up the volume until all he could hear was the dazzling sound of Gene Krupa’s swingin’ sticks.
Ah, peace and quiet at last, thought Sidney. I’ll take a dog’s life any day.
Sidney put his arm around FDR as they sped across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Craven and Betty put there heads out the window and took in the cool breeze over the East River.