3 October 2011
Pipe in the stomach; “Walk it off punk!” – Fate Fairies – book version
This entry was posted on 10/3/2011 2:00 AM and is filed under Fate Fairies:Fate Fairies – book version.
I must have been in First or Second Grade. John F. Kennedy was still President. A heavy set kid named Jacky who was in the Fourth Grade was a bully of sorts. He and his thin and lanky red-headed neighbor Dave would chuck rotten apples at us little kids as we rode our bikes home. The three-room school we peddled to and from was in the village of Lima Center, the type of place that struggled to maintain a population of 90 even in a better economy. There were about 60 kids in the six grades. We did not have kindergarten in those days.
Some of the kids came from the village proper. A few more lived in rural houses; usually old farmstead houses that no longer supported farm buildings. The lion’s share of the kids came from a plethora of family farms. There seemed to be a distinct demarcation line in the personality traits of the village kids versus the farm kids. The village kids and especially the boys, were tough cigarette smoking children of factory working parents. They seemed to play the roll of perennial pranksters and relentless purveyors of shenanigans. The farm kids however, often came to school wearing their barn chore work cloths. They were usually more preoccupied with all things agriculture in nature.
One interesting, or perhaps better described as mysterious village family, lived across from the school in a basement of an unfinished house. A recent drive back out to the old village, revealed said lot is now abandoned with brush and trees growing up through that old basement foundation; the house never did get built. The school still sits across the road now functioning almost half a century as a ruddy apartment. At the property line, an old heavy iron swing frame still sits firmly anchored in with the same cement poured probably now well over a century ago.
Jacky came from a humble house on the edge of the village. He and his confederate Dave firmly fell into the village kids’ category.
One day, Jacky manifested his brand of chicanery on the playground. It was basically an old farm field. The baseball backstop was some chain-link fence stretched between a couple of old telephone poles. There was a couple of rusty swings, a creaking merry-go-round, and a couple of monkey-bar climbers. The skeletal framework of one of the climbers looked like the capsule of the Mercury space vehicles. We were after all in the “space race”.
The monkey-bars always mysteriously had some parts missing. During recess on the day in question, I looked up from a game of tag with pals to see a monkey-bar pipe spinning through the air right at me. The three-foot length of pipe rotated through the crisp fall-of-the-year, Wisconsin air, like the blades on a Huey helicopter. As the pipe seemed to be hovering closer and closer, in slow motion, I froze in my tracks. In the background of the ever approaching projectile, was the laughing square face of…, Jacky. His bulky torso heaved with each, “Ha, ha, ha.” His face had an incredulous gleam of hopeful expectation. Accomplice Dave stood in the background with a supportive grin of approval, white teeth standing contrast to his freckled complexion.
The pipe hit me crossways in the stomach. Thank God! If it had hit me like a javelin it would have impaled me. I remember Jacky running up to me and saying with a snarl, “Don’t cry kid, and keep your mouth shut, tough it out, you little punk!”
My stomach hurt for a month. I didn’t cry, I walked it off; and, I have kept my mouth shut for over 50 years…
…, of course, until I needed fodder for this vignette.
Note: This blog “Fate Fairies” – book version Category is a work in progress. The original vignettes are edited for book form. Go to the Cooldadiomedia Web site and the Fate Fairies Page for an ordered chronology of the book vignettes (chapters).