Pizza and Beer

I once got busted outside a pizza place for drinking beer. My sister was under age, so I was even less, 15 at the most, but I’m thinking 13 is more likely, maybe even 12. Me and my sister and a friend of ours, Maddy were picking up pizza for the family. Maddy was my age, actually a bit younger and had been one of my first friends, like at the age of 3, but by this time had become a better friend to my older sister, and they would let me hang with them. We were all sharing a quart of some cheap beer, pretty sure it was Ballantine Ale, while waiting for a pizza from Gino’s, our favorite of the many typical places back then that had great NY pizza. This was their idea, I didn’t even really care for the beer, but they were drinking it in a paper bag, and leaving it on the sidewalk outside, and we would take turns going out there and taking a sip. So of course I was the one that was out there when the police came up and asked, “What’s in the bag?”

“I’m just, it’s just a little bit of, um…”

“what’s in the bag?”

“It’s beer.”

They pulled us all out there and gave us a lecture.  I’ve always wondered if because it was a big bottle in a paper bag, they might have thought it was something stronger. They threatened to tell our parents, I’m pretty sure. or to “take us in” or some such thing, but back then police weren’t really up for all of that work. They were lazy, corrupt and so much more laid back. I miss that.

After they left, I was still holding the bag and Maddy asked me if she could have some. She was up for getting right back to drinking it.

“They made me pour it in the street,” I said.

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