A Child of the Fifties

by Paul Schroder

Chapter 20

I think just about every 1st and 2nd grader on the playground had patted me and Jimmy on the back by the time lunch was over and we worked our way back into the classroom. Jimmy had managed to send a bigger kid flying at the merry-go-round. He'd been trying to make us shoot off of the merry-go-round by spinning it fast. Jimmy's legs, forced by inertia to stick outside the spinning disc, managed to whack the bigger kid at the knees and spin him like a wind up toy.

Jimmy did muscle man poses to all the cheers when we got back to class. Gloria, the girl who's sweet on Jimmy, just sighed out loud.

"What am I missing here?" the teacher asks.

Everybody's talking at once now, trying to explain how a big fourth grader, trying to make a couple of first graders barf, got his comeuppance. Me n' Jimmy are both taking bows. Kids are laughing. But the teacher is looking at us like she's trying to decide if she needs to say something grown-uppy. You know, grown ups can't just enjoy the moment, they feel the need to say something profound. Finally she just shakes her head and calls us all to order. It's story time.

This is the best time of day. We aren't going to take turns reading and slowly sounding out words to some boring Dick and Jane sleeper. The teacher will be reading to us from an exciting story that your mind can get lost in. And for the next thirty minutes, we get enthralled with Jack and the Beanstalk.

I have to hand it to Missus Sweeny. Reading to a group of first graders isn't an easy project when they are all spell bound by the story. There are spontaneous comments and kids popping up and down and, of course, questions galore.

So I, engrossed in the climbing of the beanstalk, was starting to fume over the constant questions that were slowing down the reading. Looking over at Jimmy, he was sending me the facial expressions that basically said, "get a stick and beat them all to death!"

I wasn't well known in this class for my patience. Missus Sweeney kept glancing my way as she read a sentence or two and then answered a question or twelve. When she saw that my head was about to explode she made an announcement.

"All right, children, we are getting to an exciting part of our story and I'll not answer any more questions from this point. Save your questions until the end of the story."

Well she continued on with the story, ignoring the 'goofusses' and 'dingbats' that didn't understand her proclamation. Jimmy didn't ignore them though, and when he figured the teacher couldn't see him, he gave them the finger with each question they asked. (Who says my brothers can't teach us some neat stuff?) One loud mouthed boy got really irate over Jimmy and, in his frustration, started yelling. The teacher had him standing in a corner for the remainder of the story. It didn't stop him from asking questions though.

What seems like the world's longest school day finally draws to an end. Me and my bud are walking towards our bus when I realize this is only Monday and, since we learned the days of the week, there are still four more school days to go. Sigh...

Samantha waves at us when we climb on the bus. That cheers me up some. I'm anxious to hear how her visit with her mother and the principal turned out. She didn't ride the bus this morning because her mother had to bring her to school. They both had a date with the principal over Sam smacking some kid in the chops at recess last Friday. The kid had pushed her down and she got pavement burn on both of her bare knees.

Jimmy tol' her to wear her dress again today and walk like her knees still hurt her. She went a step further and when we sat next to her we saw she'd put Mercurochrome on both knees so the scabs would show up real good.

She pounded Jimmy on the back and said, "your a good ol' boy, Jimmy. Thank you."

It seems that kid showed up today with his mother in tow. She was irate over some bully punching her dear boy in the eye. So Sam's mother took her to task and explained that the bully was this frail girl standing next to her.

"This is my daughter, Samantha, and she responded the way she did because your son shoved her to the pavement and skinned her knees. She responded because of the pain she was experiencing, whereas your son acted out of spite."

Sam's laughing her butt off at this point and me n' Jimmy are grinning like crazy listening to her story. I guess the kid's mom was getting a different story at school from what she'd heard at home. The kid knew it too and was looking panicky. The end result was an apology from the boy and from the mother as well. The principal let Sam's punishment slide since he could see how her reaction could very well have been a reflex from the pain. (And that, of course, was a Jimmy invention.)

Jimmy's batting a thousand today. First he flips a bully like a domino at the merry-go-round and now his advice to Sam paid off dearly. We even let him get away with some more muscle man poses.

"Listen guys," Sam says, "my Momma is gonna pick up some pizzas for dinner tonight. She says I can invite you two over for dinner. Wanna come?"

I do my wiggle dance and Jimmy copies me. Samantha laughs and says, "well, I guess that means yes." Older kids on the bus are pointing at us and laughing. One boy hollers out "well, check out Donald Duck and his friend Goofy!" This kid, evidently, has heard Jimmy's excellent rendition of Donald Duck.

Samantha bounced up to her feet and, hands clenched into fists, walks up to the kid and gets right into his face.

"I managed to get away with punching some butt-hole in the face Friday. Should I try for butt-hole number two?"

"Gosh, girly. I was only teasing. Don't get your pantys in a bunch."

Jimmy uses his Donald Duck voice to say, "Oh ooh... you shouldn't have said that." And then he does Donald's cackle laugh. The bus explodes in laughter.

Sam grabs the kid by a shoulder and forces him to twist around. She then grabs his Hanes underwear and attempts to raise them up over his head. It didn't work. They only got as high as his shoulder blades. The boy takes a sharp inhalation of breath and sort of crouches down.

Jimmy says, still in Donald's voice, "oh my, someone's panties are in a bunch. Hahahaha."

The bus driver pulls over to the side of the road. I guess he was watching everything through his rearview mirror and listening as well. After setting the brakes he walked up to the bent over boy and asks... "how are the nads, my friend? I know that a wedgie can hurt the old nads but mostly they cause embarrassment. If you like, I can be your witness that this little third grader, and a girl at that, managed to make you into a fool. I mean, I would do this for you if you though it would help."

The boy, holding his testicle in a comforting grip, sighed and shook his head no.

"Are you sure son? Well, I want you to know that Walt Disney would be proud of you. You have defended Goofy's honor. From here forward I crown you the new 'Goofy'. He raises the kid's hand and there is a round of applause from everyone on the the bus.

"Goofy, Goofy, Goofy" is the repetitive chant, until the three of us get off at our bus stop.

"Wow, Sam," Jimmy says, "I hope you and the bus driver don't get into trouble. This was the best bus ride of my life."

"I dunno, Jimmy. I know that kid's a big chicken. He won't say anything to anybody."

I nod my head. "But if I can't be Goofy, who the heck am I?" I ask my friends. I stick out my bottom lip in a pretend pout. "Jimmy is Donald, so who do I get to be?"

"Ummm, let me hear you talk like Porky Pig," Jimmy says.

"Ebida, ebida, ebida... that's all folks."

My friends cheer me. "That's perfect," Sam says.

"I don't wanna be a darn pig, you guys."

"Well..." says Sam, "how about Donald's girlfriend, Daisy Duck?"

We both give her the stink eye over that one. Then inspiration hits me.

"Wait, wait, wait wait! Who is this?" And I sing, "Here I am to save the daaaay... Blankety Blank is - on - his - way..."

"Mighty Mouse!" Sam and Jimmy yell out together.


Me and Jimmy got the okay from our parents to have dinner at Sam's house. Now, Missus Humphrey usually orders two large pizzas. One will be all cheese for her and Sam. The other will be pepperoni for Mister Humphreys and me n' Jimmy. I tol' them it wasn't fair that the two ladies, the lightest eaters, got a whole pizza to themselves and the three big eaters had to split one.

Sam says, "Ha... there are usually two slices left of me and Ma's pizza. You two normally get it. If you can't be bothered with a slice of plain old cheese pizza then I guess we can give it to Patches.

"Qwack, wack, wack, wack..." says Jimmy/Donald. "Ignore Mighty Mouse. Just give me your extra slices. Patches is on a diet!"

That earned Jimmy a slug in the arm from yours truly and a laugh from Sam's parents. When I grow up I'm gonna own a pizza company. But I'm not gonna sell em', I'll just make em' for me n' my friends. Oh, and a root beer factory.

After dinner Sam says "come on back to my room you guys and you can watch me peel off some scabs."

Missus Humphreys goes... "Ewww... Saaam!" while Mister Humphreys just laughs.

"You better let me do it, Sam." Jimmy tells her. "I'm an expert. If I'd saved all the scabs I've got in my life I'd have a shoe box full of em'."

That has me giggling. "He's not kidding," I say. "I figure he's changed every inch of his skin by now. Jimmy the snake boy!"

"Yup," he says, "I'm a scabologist."

"All right you three," intones a rather green looking lady, "with what you've done to my stomach, I'm not even taking the pie out of the fridge."

Me and Jimmy catch our breaths in a small panic attack. Sam just grins at us.

"Make yourself a nice pot of coffee mother and that will calm you right down. And give us a holler when you've cut the pie.

Well we didn't pull any scabs. Jimmy announced that they weren't quite ripe yet. "Peel em' too early and they just make new ones" he says. So me and Jimmy laid back on her bed and listened as she read from one of the many books her parents have bought her. Her room is lined with them. I mean these are regular books, without pictures or anything, just like the teacher reads to us."

A slice of pie and a glass of milk were a fitting ending to a Monday. She even let me take her book home with me. Her room became my first ever lending library. Off to home and a bath and a little TV before bedtime. Then day two of the continuing saga will commence. It's great to be six.

Some grown up life experiences are getting in the way. I need to hit the pause button as the chapters are getting way to far apart. At some point I'm going to get back to these rascals. Talk to me occasionally and see what's up. This has been a ton of fun. I'll try not to let the boys grow up without you. callmepaul@graffiti.net

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