I know, I know, I’ve talked endlessly about my youth, the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve talked about good times, bad times, friends, enemies, bullies, adventures, ice cream, candy, soda pop, and little cuddly puppies. But I must now discuss an interaction that haunts me to this very day. Every time I recall it, it is like a literal punch in the belly button. I must now sooth that pain with a full accounting based on memories of memories of memories of that fateful day.
Most tales that have any chance of being interesting start with the line “It was a dark and stormy night” or maybe “Everyone was at the wing-ding” but I start my tale with the line “It was a bright and sunny day”. and so, let us proceed.
It was a bright and sunny day in the life of a 10 year old boy. Now typically I would spend my day playing baseball, riding my green Schwinn banana bike, or throwing rocks in the Cayadutta creek, but this particular day, I had a different agenda. Scraping a buck out of my piggy bank, I decided that I would head over to Washburn’s ice cream store to treat myself to a big old cone.
Heading up Crescendoe and down Perry, I arrived at the store and ordered myself up a double chocolate on a sugar cone. Now a double chocolate on a sugar cone was not your typical stingy little wimpy ass serving. At Washburns, it was a towering monstrosity that could barely be balanced in the hand of a small boy. I can’t for the life of me remember what the price for the thing was in 1968, but I’m pretty sure it was around 50 cents, leaving me 50 cents to buy an orange Palm soda at the Texaco down and across the street.
Now here’s where the story takes a nasty psyche scarring turn down Freddy Kruger lane.
Directly across the street from Washburn’s was a gruesome looking green house owned by Mister John Nellis Senior Esq. Why is that important? Because the progeny of John Nellis Senior Esq. were the dreaded Nellis gang, consisting of Ray, Roy, and Johnny Junior. Ray and Roy were twins, so I never really knew which one was Ray and which one was Roy.
They also had a big doofy goober named Timothy Frenyea who acted as the muscle for the gang. Frenyea was a scary dude with inch thick glasses and yellow eyes. Everybody feared that fucker. He kinda was like that robot that Doctor Smith could control with his voice. You know … “Crush, Kill, Destroy”.
Normally, you didn’t see the Nellis gang anywhere near the house, as they were normally out torturing young children or baby animals in some other neighborhood. But on this particular day, unbeknownst to me, they were lurking just around the corner from Washburn’s.
As I walked out of Washburn’s, proudly steering my double chocolate ice cream cone before me, Ray and Roy each grabbed one of my arms, knocking the ice cream to the ground whilst Tim Frenyea socked me right square in the belly button. They then ran away across street in the direction of their house.
You know, I don’t think it hurt so much as it was more of a “shock and awe” attack on my tender shy spirit. I mean really, here we are 52 years later and I can still recall it like it was yesterday. Who the fuck just walks up and socks someone for no apparent reason and then runs away? To this day I still wonder what the motivation was. Doesn’t every character in a story have a motivation?
My conclusion is the same as that of Michael Caine in The Dark Knight
“…some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”Michael Caine
All content copyright of Christopher Hammond