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Carmine eats his way through the Mermaid Parade after being yelled at by a bus driver

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I’m madder than a great white shark after he got the bill from the dentist for this quadruple root canal over the fact that my beloved Mermaid Day Parade in Coney Island moved its viewing station from right in front of my best seats in the house to MCU Park a half mile away, turning my usually super awesome day at the beach into something slightly less awesome (but awesome nonetheless).

Look, you all know the ol’Screecher’s two favorite holidays are Christmas because of the food and presents, Halloween because of the candy and costumes (I usually go as Santa Claus or Zorro, depending on my mood), and, of course the Mermaid Day Parade, because deep down inside I enjoy pagan rituals based on the changing seasons.

So you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I have certain expectations when I get together with my pals at Community Board 13 to partake of the delicious, tender vittles that Eddie Mark prepared just for me. And two of those expectations are simple enough — I want to get their alive by city bus, and I want to see all the action unfold right in front of me.

Folks, I got some bad news, because two of those things didn’t happen.

Let’s start with the bus.

Me and my trusty steed Tornado headed over to the B64 and were met by a very unfriendly — and fat — bus driver. I mean, this guy was Ralph Kramden fat. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Carmine, how the heck can you call somebody fat when you know full well that the when it comes to chubby, you yourself set the bar.”

Well, that’s my point exactly, because for me to call a guy fat, he must be really fat. Like Ralph Kramden fat!

Anyways, he was all upset because I didn’t have enough money on my MetroCard to get me and Tornado on the bus, and he started to get wise with me. But I learned a long time ago to always carry a roll of quarters for two reasons: you never know when you’re going to need extra change for the bus, and you never know when a stand-in for brass knuckles! In this case, I hit the jackpot, because I needed it for both.

When I finally got dropped off at the Stillwell Avenue station and made it over to the office, I was greeted by some of my favorite things:

salsa, hummus, cheese and crackers, cut veggies with dip, and some roasted garlic with crustini. Oh, and there was some fish fry sandwiches, pulled turkey sandwiches (for the healthy people), rippers with bacon (look it up and don’t knock until you tried it), Junior’s cheesecake and some assorted fruits. Plus soda, water, and egg cream (for those who want to venture on making one from scratch) and pina colada (both virgin and alcohol in them.

So I don’t have to tell you how that went.

At the party, we were restricted to the office itself because Tornado couldn’t climb the stairs to the roof.

But I knew that and acclimated myself to being in the air conditioned office where all the goodies were and the newcomers came in. I said “Hello” to old friends and people I’ve known for years and met some very interesting ones for the very first time.

Case in point was a guy who didn’t know me from a hole in the wall. Can you imagine someone who doesn’t read my column? Well, believe it or not, such a person exists, and when we started chatting, we hit it off, and he ended up giving me some good medical advice.

Which brings us to Carmine’s Health Tip of the Week, a new feature that focuses on my own health.

Folks, turns out I’m not going to get knee-replacement surgery despite my painful appendages.

I overhead this retired detective talking about his knee replaced and how disappointed he was. I asked him about his problem, and told him of my being advised of not having my knees replaced until a lost a pound of 300. He told me that even after his surgery, he was still limited. I told him that right now all I can do is swim and dance, and his eyes lit up.

Turns out he always wanted to learn to dance, and now I’ve got a new client.

Hooray for me, hooray for him, hooray for the gang at CB13, and hooray for the mermaids!

Screech at you next week!

Read Carmine's screech every Sunday on BrooklynPaper.com. E-mail him at diegovega@aol.com.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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