Chapter Two Joey found himself in an aura of light. As the light faded, he found himself with a broom, sweeping the floor of a small store. The store reminded him of CVS or Duane Reeve. Beauty items, baby items and other such common stuff lined the shelves. He stopped sweeping. "What de hell are you doing, Mario?" the middle-aged man behind the counter yelled at him in a thick Italian accent. "I told you sweep!" Joey didn't want to sweep. He wanted to look around. He swept lightly, looking around at the same time. &This is probably what was meant by a five and dime& the teenager thought. The prices were shocking to the 21st century boy, since there was nothing over three dollars there. In that respect, it reminded him of the dollar store in town. A teenage boy walked into the store, or at least what seemed to Joey at the time to be a teenager. The teenager looked exactly identical to him. Same facial features and coloring, even the same height and weight. "Hey, Mario!" the guy said, his voice sounding completely familiar. "Luigi, what can I do today?" "Straighten the shelves, Albert," the old man ordered. "Dad?" Joey questioned. It never truly dawned on him until that moment that his dad was once his age. He wondered what his father was like when he was 16. Joey went to grab the "teenager's" arm. In an instant, the covering aura disappeared and Joey saw Sam standing in front of him. "Oh, it's only you, Doc B," he said disappointed. "Hi, Joey!" Sam greeted. "Expecting to meet somebody?" "No, its just you and your aura just caught me by surprise." "I wouldn't blame you. I leaped into your dad again, and even this leap is taking me by surprise." A redheaded Catholic high school girl walked into the store to buy something. Immediately, Joey left Sam and was by her side. "Is there anything I can help you with, gorgeous?" "No." She smiled at him, twirling a lock of her frizzy long hair. The two of them started to get to know each other. Joey felt like he was flirting with somebody's grandma, but now she was just some beautiful teenager. Her being a beautiful female teenager is all Joey could really care about at the moment. She walked up to the cash register and Luigi ran up her purchase. "By the way, what's your name?" Joey asked her. "Mary Margaret," she answered. "Like Saturday Night Live," he joked. "Are you trying to ask me out for Saturday night? Of course, a day is life." "Sure," Joey said. "How about tonight?" "It's Christmas Eve," she stated. "I don't know how my parents would react to me leaving, let alone going on a date with an Italian." "Please," Joey begged. He didn't know how long he was there for. "Sure! If I can make it, I'll meet you at Bonze's Drug Store and you can treat me to an ice-cream soda." Al was watching the whole scene from near a display of cough syrup. "Like father, like son." Sam nodded in agreement. "Joey, get over here!" Al commanded. "I have to tell you your mission." "Why? You mean I won't be birthing horses?" Joey laughed. There were no animals in sight in the Bronx other than cats, dogs, squirrels and rats. "Very funny, kid." Al was not amused. Al wanted his son to leap into a nice safe town like Elk Ridge, not be a Bronx street kid from the wrong side of the city. "You want to take a trip to the Bronx Zoo." "No, dad." Joey rolled his eyes. "Who am I? I already know who Doc B is - you, right?" "Right!" Al glanced down at the hand link. "You're Mario DeMugicio, and I don't feel like telling you anything else besides that you work here at Luigi's." Al turned to Sam. "Can I see you outside, Sam?" "But, who am I?" Joey yelled at the two older men as the glass door shut behind them. "Now Al, why won't you tell you're son who the kid he leaped into is?" "I don't feel comfortable. I spent all my life scrimping and saving to treat my kid's great and give them almost everything within reason. How do I tell my son on his first leap that he now lives in an orphanage?" "Mario lived with you growing up." "Yah. He was kind of my little brother, but not by blood. He arrived at the home a year after me, and I took him under my wing. It was my duty to see that he was safe, and well I did my best because he was a deeply good kid." "Like you?" "No, more like you, Sam," Al said. "That's why I thought my kid was going to leap into Elk Ridge. I honestly believed that he was going to leap into you, buddy boy." "So, what should I do?" "Well, you can ask Maria to let him stay the night at her place. Hopefully, that will work. If it doesn't, then we're in deep ca-ca." Sam knew that Al didn't feel comfortable with Joey around snooping in his past.