Feeding the Spanish Bull, Part 1

by | Mar 8, 2024

Photo by Drew Taylor / Unsplash

By Bruce Mastracchio

Bullfight critics ranked in rows
Crowd the enormous plaza full
But only ONE is there who knows
And He’s The Man who fights The Bull.

“It was a dark and stormy night.” I always wanted to start a story like that (Snoopy does it). But, in reality, it was a bright, sunny East Greenwich summer day. Buddha Boy, Frosty Buns and Kid Pony were lazing on the small, grassy hill just outside The Barn, a teen rec center mostly for Catholic youth, but open to all.

“Hey,” said Buddha Boy, “I see where the Spanish Bull Market is going to pay out 10 cents for big soda bottle returns, and if you bring them in a wooden case, they will give you a dollar for that. What do you say we try to get some money from that deal.”

“Where are we going to get enough bottles and cases to make that worthwhile?” Frosty chimed in. “Cases just don’t lie in the street.”

“I saw old man Arslanian put a bunch out behind his restaurant just the other day. He stacks them pretty high for the soda truck to pick up. If we timed it right we just might be able to boost some and make a pretty good chunk of change.”

“Sounds like a plan,” chirped Kid Pony. “Why don’t we meet at the library tomorrow night around nine. It will be dark then and maybe we can score some cases. I’ll drive by in the afternoon to make sure that there are enough there to be worth our time.”

“Good idea,” said Buddha Boy. “Good idea, all right,” added Frosty Buns.

“Dress in all black,” said Kid Pony. “We don’t want to stand out.”

Nine o’clock the next night the would-be soda-bottle bandits met at the side wall of the library, which was right across from the driveway that led to the back of Arslanian’s Tent Restaurant. The stacks of soda cases stood like silent sentinels at the ramp off the back entrance. The boys had on black pants, black shirts and black tokes. They blended in with the midnight black of the night.

“I’m going over to scout it out,” said Buddha Boy. “You two wait here.”

Buddha scooted over the wall and crept right up to the back door, which was lit by one small bulb. Checking all sides of the building, and even opening the backdoor to check inside, he finished his scouting trip and buzzed his behind back to his waiting comrades.

“Everything looks good. I’ll get my car and park it just below the ramp road. We can go in take a couple of cases each and load my car right up.”

“I’m not sure this is right, ” said Frosty Buns. “What if Father Joe finds out? We will be roasted. My parents won’t be too happy either.”

“We’ll be fine,” said Buddha Boy. “Stop acting like a scaredy cat. “

“Well we better not get caught,” said Buns.

“We won’t be,” put in Buddha. “Let’s go!”

So, the boys left their spots below the granite wall, jumped over it and slip slid their way towards the waiting soda cases.

They had started bringing the cases out to the car when Frosty Buns, chattering and nervous, dropped a case.

All of a sudden a spotlight came on and a loud voice boomed!


Buddha Boy and Kid Pony melted into the brush on the side of the ramp road. Frosty Buns, with pictures of Father Joe and his mom and dad future punishment in his head, was out of there like Jesse Owens. He dipped. He darted. He was gone.

If I catch you people, you will pay!” the voice boomed again, sounding not too sure that anyone was really there. He never left the comfort of his light.

Then the light went out and darkness settled over the area once again.

End Part one. Click here for Part 2.

Bruce Mastracchio grew up in East Greenwich, where he experienced those 28-hour days and 8-day weeks that contained the magic that made his hometown so special. Included in all that were the numerous characters that added color to the local life and produced many of Bruce’s remarkable stories.

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Donna Rice
Donna Rice
March 9, 2024 11:24 am

Another good tale from Bruce. Love these stories.
Donna Rice

Caroline S Derensis
Caroline S Derensis
March 9, 2024 4:19 pm
Reply to  Donna Rice

Bruce has the greatest wit. His stories need to go into a history of East Greenwich journal.


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