"Where are we going?" I asked.

"We're skipping church today, going to Nellie Bly instead. I think, uh, religion can wait another week, don't you?"

My brother and I paused for a half-second. Then, we gave each other a high-five. Yes! I think we would have even settled going to King Cullen for grocery shopping instead of church, but we were actually going somewhere fun. Nellie Bly was smaller than Coney Island, but still a good time. I looked up to see the Parachute Drop from Coney Island in the distance. The Parachute Drop wasn't used anymore, but my mom remembered seeing people go up on it. I tried to imagine going on that ride, but it seemed so incredibly high.

We walked to the subway stop and headed down the stairs. Paying for our tickets, pushing through the turnstiles, I could hardly believe we were actually escaping a normal Sunday. As we stepped on the subway, the familiar smells surrounded me: sweat, pee, liquor, rubber, and grease or fuel. I tried to hold my breath sometimes on the subway. It was worse when the weather was hotter. The light cast a yellowish tint on everything, the metal railings, the wino sleeping in the last seat, the two Russian guys playing chess on a magnetic board. We sat near the middle door, and I could hear the chess players' conversation.

"Alekhine was the best, you fool!" said the bigger man. Everything about this man was big: his stomach, his beard, his bald head.

"Tal was! In his prime, he could beat anyone!" said the wiry man with glasses and greasy hair. He then moved a piece and slapped it down on the board. "Just like I beat you with the Caro-Kann!!! Hahaha!"