This article is based on almost actual events from my childhood. Fridays are full of promise. Schools out and you have 3 days of freedom. Here is how I spent one such Friday. Enjoy...
I'd been staring at the clock for what seemed an eternity. I would take a glance, and wait along as I could before peeking again. Only to be shocked how little time had passed. I looked over to my friends, they too were suffering, trying desperately to keep their sanity intact. Whether it was doodling pics of Wolverine, or rubbing your hand underneath the desk and feeling the rock hard gum pasted underneath from years long past. You had to stay awake. Then finally you hear it, that blessed sound...
School was over for the week as I ran frantically out of class. I met up with my buddies, about 5 of us in total. It was my best friends birthday and we were going to celebrate at the local Aladdin's Castle Arcade. But that wasn't till later we had several hours to burn. Our first stop; 7-11 of course!
We all walked in excitedly. Making the clerk nervous. I looked up at the food signs. I had 10 bucks, a 11 year olds fortune, burning a hole in my pocket. What to get?
While my friends all went their own way looking for products containing the most amount of sugar at the cheapest price, I ventured over to the holy grail of kids foodstuffs. The candy isle...
I was overwhelmed at the selections. There was everything from Lemonheads to Warheards.
I chose more than a few of my usual favorites. There were always some outrageous new candy, but I stuck with the classics. I went to see what my friends were up to, they were at the Hot Dog machine. Another one of my favorite foods.
It took about 2 minutes for me to choose the best looking dog on the rollers, then another two for me to try and point it out to him. After I got it I went over to the condiments and loaded the bad boy up! I put jalapenos, olives, mustard, salad, sour krout, basically the works. I then moved over to the machine that dispensed the Hot Cheese and chili.
I still remember those gross piles of cheese and chili left over on the tray. You can believe I loaded by Hot Dog with enough cheese and chili to give me a stomach ache for weeks! I also picked up one of those great frozen burritos. My taste buds must have not worked properly back in those days, I loved junk food too much.
The 7-11 had a modest 4 game arcade, but we were going to to a real one later and ignored the lonely Pacman machine.
I couldn't believe how long we were in that 7-11. That's how kids are. But we ended up getting shooshed out by the clerk. I think he was getting annoyed because we were sip stealing at the Slurpee machine for too long.
Well it was about time for my friends party so we all got on our Huffies and pedaled down to the mall.
After a little riding we were there!!
We ditched our bikes outside and ran in. There we met up with about 5 more friends from school. We all piled into the Party room and laid all the presents in the corner. My friend was really excited. There were lots of presents.
I loved going into arcades. The dim lighting really added to the feel. I walked to the machines. Sound affects blaring everywhere. Laser beams blasting and grenades exploding. Fatalities happening and Aliens getting blown away. It was Bliss.
I had about 5 dollars in tokens jingling in my pocket. I always went through them fast but I really wanted to savor the experience so I looked around.
I tried my hand at some games but always died quickly. I must have spent half my college tuition in arcades. I tried my hand at a the incredibly hard toy claw machine. I remember getting a hockey puck. But I was going for the Football cards in the bullet proof cases, I don't think any body got those.
I soon ran out of coins though. I mooched off my friends as much as I could. But they were less than sympathetic to my pleas. I even tried duping the guy working there, saying Mortal Kombat ate my coins. Soon I found myself searching the floors for dropped coins. People always dropped them by the Race Car machines that you had to sit in. But there I found my prize, one shiny token. SWEET!
After I spent my last coin I got my friends and we gathered up our tickets.
And went to the Prise stand.
There was alot of stuff. There were alarm clocks and RC Cars, Back packs and stereos. Of course they required literally hundreds of tickets. So we were limited to Chinese finger traps and Jolly ranchers.
It seemed as a kid me and my friends were always getting kicked out of places. Whether it was the Library for being too loud or the toys store for running around crazy. It was no different here. We all ran out of coins and were trying to bump the coin game so it would drop some more tokens. The alarm on it went off and we were promptly booted out.
Well normally after a day like this we would all part ways and not see each other till Monday. But since it was my friends birthday we were all going to his place for a sleep over. Let the madness begin!
My friend Raymond was the birthday kid. His family was also had alot of money, so he had all the good stuff. His room was like a arcade, fun house, toy store, and luxury suite, all in one.
We has spent nearly all afternoon at an arcade playing video games, so when we got to his house what do you think we did? That's right. More Video Games...
He had a huge collection of SNES and Nintendo games. We were all pretty amazed. Most of us had like 7-10 games. But Raymond had like 30+.
We all almost killed each other over who's turn it was to play the games. We went back and forth from playing SNES to Nintendo all through the nite. He had all the classics. Me and my other friend were getting pretty far on TMNT when someone threw a ball and hit the console. Making it freeze up. You could believe there were Wedgies and Wet Willies to be given for such insolence.
We continued playing games. He had a Super Scope, the only one I ever played.
We pretty much went through his whole library of games.
OK, the above picture may be a slight exaggeration of his collection. But still, Raymond had Games. Period. He also had a Gameboy on roids too, that I played when it wasn't my turn on the TV. It's kind of goofy looking now, but back in the day that was one sweet piece of equipment.
After a awhile though we all got pretty burnt out playing Nintendo. We started playing a little imaginary WWF. Of course everybody wanted to be Hulk Hogan or Ultimate Warrior so we basically had a 3 on 3 Royal Rumble on my friends bed. Last one off got to choose the Pizza toppings!
The match ended abruptly though when my friend Max, Hogan Leg Dropped the birthday kid. We all had to make him laugh and tell him he's was tough to prevent him from crying. Funny times.
Anyways soon after, his dad came up to check on us hooligans. It was getting late and we didn't eat since the arcade. So he asked what we wanted to have. Obvious answer; PIZZA.
My friends Dad was the only one there, guess his mom was working. So we all crowded into his Beamer. Every body squished together, but in a BMW, so it wasn't to bad. We soon arrived at the Pizza Mecca of the the tri county area. Pizza Hut.
I love going into the old resturaunts from the 80's and 90's. This Pizza Hut was cool. All the way from the soiled carpets to the stained glass lamp shades.
We ate till our stomachs felt like busting. Washing it all down with Mug Root Beer.
We got back home, tired and stuffed. We spent the rest of the night just chatting. We were getting to that age where girls started to affect us more. We revealed secret crushes and talked about having girl friends(Yikes!!). Gradually we talked a little less and a little less...till eventually we all drifted off into sleep contently, knowing tomorrow was Saturday and more adventures were to be had.