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Thread: Tocky's Tales

  1. #26
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Quote Originally Posted by nickie View Post
    Was that Upper Heyford, Tocky?
    Yes, all of this happened there. It's a little place between Oxford and Banbury. I think it's around twenty five miles from Oxford. I know if you miss the last bus out of Oxford and have to walk because you have to go to work the next day it takes about six hours. You would think there would be a taxi about after midnight but I never saw one. Parts of World War Z and Octopussy were filmed at the air strip which I rarely paid attention to.

    Okay, the third one, and yes there is a fourth article fifteen. You have to understand I have an animosity to formal religion. I was raised southern baptist fire and brimstone suffering through hot summer weather in starched shirts while a fan hardly disturbed the redwasp nests on the ceiling. There was a time I wanted to swallow it all so bad but I just couldn't. The Bible made God look like a dick, the congregation were often hypocrites holier than thou, it just was not logical, but most of all no god I would worship would want me to worship him.

    Nearly every night these two evangelicals would wait in the lobby of the medical barracks after last call at the NCO club. I didn't always go to the med barracks because my dorm was a temp dorm near the women's dorm but I was over enough that I looked like I lived there. We often stayed up playing poker and drinking Jack into the wee hours. Well on the way in it would be "have you found Jesus?" and I would say "I didn't know he was missing". I recall all of us breaking into song on the way up the stairs because he told us we were going to hell. It was Alice Coopers "You Can Go to Hell". I also recall AC DC's "Highway to Hell" after him saying we were on the road to hell. It became annoying though.

    Oh sure I had my moment of trying to explain why I would never join his Bible study group but that had long passed. Well one night I was shit faced. As soon as he came up to me I said "Heeeeeeyyyy motherfucker! How you doing motherfucker? I know you want me to wash in Jesus blood, motherfucker. Well motherfucker not gonna do it. You know Jesus would likely kick your vampire ass for slinging his blood all over motherfucker?" And lot's of other things I shouldn't have said all ending in motherfucker. I was cordial. I put my arm across his shoulders and was smiling the whole time but for some reason he took offense. As I walked away one of the guys with me said "do you know you called that motherfucker a motherfucker?" I denied I ever would have called that motherfucker a motherfucker and promptly forgot all about it.

    The next day I was in ER sewing a tendon back together and the doc had promised he would show me how to do a football stitch quicker than I had been doing it. Doc was pretty cool. He had been in Nam and wanted us to know shit we might use if a war broke out, plus I think his eyesight was failing. Tendons are really small and white and you have to irrigate often and be really steady with a hook needle. Anyway I never learned that football stitch trick. The brass had sent a flunky down to get me. What now? Frankly I was pissed at all the bullshit.

    Turns out Bible boy had turned me in and you will never guess what for. Calling him a motherfucker. Seriously? So I had to face just one paper pusher captain this time. He dressed me down and I stood for it but I was pissed. I almost never got to work on open wounds and I was missing my chance. We were a small hospital on a small base and who knew when the next time would be. I was telling him of my deep regret but I could not for the life of me act contrite. I can't recall what he said but I recall where I went most wrong in my response. I told him I did not know there was anything in the regs about calling a motherfucker a motherfucker and I just might have gotten away with saying that except I added one more motherfucker.

    You can't call a captain a motherfucker no matter how softly and exasperated and I knew that but damn it I could not for the life of me resist. I had just gotten my sergeants stripe a month prior. It's such a stupid thing but I was proud of it. I had written home about it. Gone. And knocked down a pay grade. Well motherfucker.

  2. #27
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Loving these stories.

  3. #28
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    My last article fifteen I got when I had been trying to be good and slow down on all the good time Charlie business. I wanted to see more of England and the degenerates were all about partying which is a big part of me too but only a part. I wanted to see Liverpool and Brighton. I wanted to see Wales and Scotland. I wanted to stand on the parapet of Edinburgh castle the way my father had when he was in service. I had seen the old 8mm films dozens of times and he had been everywhere and always there was a girl on his arm. He was movie star good looking and I'll show a pic of him if anyone wants. Anyway I'm not but I never wanted for company. Sometimes I just wanted to be alone to soak in experiences and meet locals on their own terms and most natural. I did some of that. I know I can't describe the feeling of walking about at dawn in an English village centuries old and watching a milkman deliver glass bottles and convey the feeling I got so I Won't even try.

    Alas I never got to do everything. I did lots. But I mourn for what I missed. I was turned in for kicking a coke machine. That's right, a coke machine. I explained the machine in the day room would sometimes stick but if you kicked it in a certain place it would spit out a coke. It would do that with or without change but I didn't bother with that explanation. Such a stupid thing to get an article fifteen for. I knew then that I was a setback. They were going to hound me. I had a long talk with a captain I respected on the ward. We worked it out that he would fudge his record and send me up for dismissal from service with an honorable discharge. He was a nice guy. I had talked with him many times and he said I was one of the few he never had to tell to do their job because I was already on it and he would miss me.

    There are other things I could say on this but suffice to say it was a turmoil of emotion for me to leave. A few of the officers even tried to get me to stay after they found out which surprised me. Maybe if I hadn't seen how the guy in basic was hounded, the setback they had it in for, I would have stuck it out. I don't know. But I knew there were other officers who had it in for me. The officers on the ward I laughed and joked around with and forgot they were even officers. Hell, I even went out with a nurse to her friends birthday party against fraternization policy. But the paper pushers I despised.

    In many ways I've regretted leaving. I've often wished I had stuck it out. But I likely would never have met my wife and had the family I do and there is nothing I would trade for that. Still, there is a bit of pain and longing looking back. I loved England. I loved the people and London and experiences, some of which I'll tell later, but I've never managed to go back. I've talked of it with my wife many times and we want to go one day but life seems to always intervene.
    Last edited by Tocky; 25th Nov 2017 at 21:13. Reason: 8mm not 35mm

  4. #29
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I've never told my kids the Air Force stories. I wouldn't have wanted to influence them to be any wilder in their teens and also I'm a bit ashamed to have been so ruled by my whore-mones then. I've always excused it as having been so devastated by my high school girlfriend but there are many factors and one is that I was just a cad in wanting to keep a bit aloof. Women are wonderful, more beautiful than any work of art, more interesting than any mystery story. I want now to show myself in a bit better light and show I can be good. I'm not always a would be lothario. So much of those years I was exactly that.

    The degenerates and I went to see a Rick Wakeman concert in Oxford at an old theater with a steep bowl and red velvet seats. I could look up my old ticket stub and find out its name but it's not important. They had gone ahead or maybe it was me for some reason and I was stuck in the crush of the crowd of two hundred or so folks waiting for the doors to open when I saw a girl stand on a concrete structure and scan the crowd. She isn't looking for a specific person but just someone I told myself. Her eyes seemed to linger on this and that one. When they swept past me I looked away. I didn't want any scam or whatever it was she was going to involve me in. At least that was the general feeling I had. When I looked back she had stepped down and I felt a tad relieved. I'm a magnet for trouble but sometimes I just don't want any.

    Next I know she is in my face. Would I help her? There was a guy who was stalking her and she needed help. She would give me a free ticket if I would. I had a ticket. One way better than the one she was offering. She had really nice eyes and they did look desperate. Shit. I asked the crowd did anyone need a free ticket.

    She was American, some midwest state I don't recall. When the guys caught up I explained the situation and they give me a sure buddy jibe or two and we separate. It was a good concert. Some journey to the middle of the earth stuff of his. On the way out she is happy and excited and I'm just wanting to get her away before her stalker shows up. She says she can get me backstage to see Rick Wakeman and tugs on my arm. She says she knows him and it would be repayment for my help. Well damn, I would indeed like to meet him but I think it's wishful thinking on her part.

    Halfway back in and there he is. The stalker. She immediately turns and pulls me back out again. He follows. We run into the guys outside (Jack, Rob, and Allan) and set off together. The stalker follows. I can't believe this shit. The audacity. He comes to her and starts in with how she should go with him and she says she doesn't owe him anything and he persists. He grabbed her by the elbow. This set me off like pulling the trigger of a gun. He was pulling her backward. I knocked his hand away and pushed him backward and he is trying to tell me I don't understand. I'm telling him it's him that doesn't.

    We turn our backs on him but the asshole still follows trying to get her to go with him. I finally tell the guys to go on ahead and I will explain the facts of life to him. The idiot is still trying to push past me to get at her and I'm heading him off every time. Finally I just start shoving him backward over and over. I figure if he takes a swing I will beat hell out of him but otherwise I'm just separating him from his target. I don't want more trouble if I don't have to have it. Also there is a cultural thing I might not understand because this guy is middle eastern.

    Finally he gives up and starts to walk away. I turn and don't see the guys. Oh shit. I have no idea where Allan's apartment is. I run in the general direction of where I think it is and see them. Thank the lord. We go have a meal at Pak Fooks Chinese restaurant (the brother of Lee Ho Fook of London fame in the song Werewolves of London) and we have a great time.

    Back at the apartment it's nearly ten and the old folks Allan rents from bring us tea and we sit around the living room talking a bit. English folks are great. So damned cordial and accommodating of noisy Americans. Me and Jack have our long running argument about the nature of reality with me arguing for what input is being reality vs what actually is. I had an idea about a brain in a jar being fed information and increasing deja vu it gets. Anyway we go to bed after.

    Allan only has the one room and the one bed. Only Jack has a sleeping bag so he lays on the floor. Me and the rest lay in our clothing atop the covers of this king size sway springed old bed. We all just want to go to sleep but Rob keeps hitting on her. He is a funny guy. He is always on the verge of laughing himself with every word and has a lot of success in getting girls. He has us laughing, including her, as he keeps up his wheedling. At a certain point I notice she isn't laughing anymore. I ask her if she would like to trade places with me who is on the outside. We do. Now I'm between them. We sleep.

    The next day after breakfast of marmalade on toast with the old folks we take her to the train station. Rob still hasn't given up and he has us all laughing again including her. He wants her address in London. She doesn't give it to him. Instead just as she boards the train she whispers it in my ear. I had no paper or pen and forgot it anyway as soon as the train pulled out. I wanted to do something just for the good of it anyway.

    What had been puzzling me was why did she pick me out of that large crowd. How did she know I am who I am deep inside? I was kind of feeling proud of myself for my actions and that somebody could just see me for who I am in my face in the crowd. Then I looked down at my T shirt. I was wearing my Ole Miss T shirt. She saw only that I was a fellow American.

  5. #30
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Going to back up a bit and tell you about my cousin Rodney. There was a woman friend of mine in college (I had a glorious year of partying at Ole Miss with mostly great grades except algebra which caused me to lose my scholarship) who claimed I was dangerous. I sort of understand where she was coming from as I did fight someone who sat down at the table with us in The Irish Rose but mostly I argued I am safe as a feather. I understand where she was coming from though. Rodney is dangerous. Anything he thinks of he will do.

    We grew up together except for some early teen years he spent in Colorado. When we were very young he stayed at my grandmothers with his folks. We were forbidden from fishing in the creek down the road so naturally that's what we wanted to do. It's a snaky tributary of the Yocona river whose name Faulkner used in his Yoconapatawpha county stories. Since the rods were in a locked shed we used broom handles and surveyor string with open safety pins for hooks and uncooked bacon as bait. It worked because there were so many brim that a quick yank would spear one. The halcyon days of youth.

    We had pump up BB guns that were fairly powerful. He killed birds and rabbits and I mostly tagged along. Once he led me into my grandmothers root cellar where he shot several old blue mason fruit jars and urged me to as well. I shot one. Later I heard he was whipped severely for it but he never gave me up. Later still he taught me never to wonder anything aloud because when I wondered what was in those big transformers he raised his gun and shot it. It bled an oily substance for awhile then it blew in spectacular fashion. Sparks like slow white rockets shot from the top and a large perfect smoke ring blew straight up. It was quite a sight. Lights out for everyone nearby.

    He was beaten for that too not that it changed him a whit. The transformer must have cost plenty and his dad was not one to spare the rod when he was angry. When we were about fifteen I saw his dad pick up a two by four and beat him with that for what I considered next to nothing so I imagine that whipping was awful. Still nothing changed him in any way at all.

    When he lived in Memphis he wrecked my brand new Honda Shadow motorcycle. Like a fool I figured he would be easy on it because he was riding his girlfriend. No. It was a shaft drive and when he went through a patch of gravel he gunned it. On the other side it caught and went right on over. No broken bones but it busted her elbow up some and he took her to the doctor. My tach was broken and the seat cocked to one side. I got drunk on tequila and threw up in the side yard the next morning laying in the sunshine to bake the alcohol out. He promised to pay for it but never did. Years later when he let me ride his new Harley I purposely rode all over hell and came back late.

    Later that year we were going to Wendy's and we pulled up next to the speaker but the rap from some folks hanging out in the back lot was so loud we couldn't hear the speaker. He was tired from working all day and hungry. He yelled for them to shut it down but they just laughed. The most I could make out from what they said was "white boy". The next I know his 357 Python, much like the one Rick uses on The Walking Dead is out the window on my side and he fires into the air.

    It was amazing how fast they were all hidden. Over cars, behind cars, under cars, and the music went down. My ears are ringing and to my amazement he gives the speaker his order. You can't go to the window now I told him. The cops are going to be called. With a groan of frustration he turned around and drove out the way we had come.

    That same 357 was on his hip the day we were breaking up a beaver damn on a mans farm. I had my colt 45 automatic and Jeff his 38. We were using picks and shovels to pry open the tightly woven sticks. We expected snakes and we were not disappointed. A water moccasin came swimming at Jeff who was knee deep in water. It was swimming as if it were going to go between his legs. We had all pulled out our guns. I had sighted but there was no way I was going to fire that close.

    POW. Rodney hit it in the head just as it reached Jeff. Water splashed his crotch. It was a great shot. Water snakes swim with their heads moving back and forth rapidly and he had hit it dead on. Jeff was mad. "Did you ever think I might rather have been bit than to have my dick shot off?" Rodney was just as quick with, "What if it had bitten your dick?" Jeff allowed he might have a point and we all laughed.

    Once I married I cut down on the amount of Rodney visits. One of his last to my house before he became married himself and settled somewhat he had come by to show us a gray crane he had caught. He had been holding it out the window and going down the highway at sixty just because he knew it had never been that fast. We took it down to the creek and let it go. "Now he has a story to tell" he said. Indeed. Hang around Rodney much and you would have several.

    Later I will tell of my first night home on leave from the Air Force when he took me out drinking. I've shoved a lot into this segment already.

  6. #31
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Here is the one of the night I came home from the service.

    I told Dad not to saddle me with my kid brother and his friends that night. I knew when I got together with my cousin Rodney that crazy would ensue but he insisted. I had to take them to the drive in movies before we went to do our thing, which was celebrate at The Abby, a local back alley bar in Oxford, Mississippi. I really meant to go easy knowing I would have to pick them up later but I was so happy to be done with the Air Force awhile and I have never been one for moderation. Ever. As much as I can do or get away with at any moment is always who I've been. Don't trust me with responsibility at a time like that.

    We had a great time. Loud music and conversation and girls I hadn't seen in years to dance with. We had been killing glasses of beer poured from a pitcher when my smartass cousin filled it full of tequila. I killed it just as I had the beer. I leaned back so far doing so that my chair fell over backwards and the glass clinked against my teeth as I hit the floor still in my chair but I held the empty glass aloft and proclaimed "did not spill a drop!" I should have. I should have dumped it all out. I realized that soon. Oh shit, I had to pick up my little brother in a couple of hours and I was snockered.

    Sneaking out I walked to a tin shed next to the alley bar and went around back to puke. I knew I would have to sober up so I stayed there in the cold of a November night slumped in a sitting position with my back against icy tin. That would do it I thought. The bracing cold and wind would knock all that alcohol into a back portion of my brain in no time. I fell asleep.

    I awoke shivering. How long? I really was more sober but how long was I out? I made my way around the shed and discovered the bar was closed. Oh hell. After midnight. Where was Rodney? Nobody was around. How long after midnight was it? I walked a circuit of the bar block and even went to the courthouse square in Oxford but I could not find him. Maybe he got lucky with one of the girls. He was ugly as sin but tall and funny and fearless as a maniac and some responded to that. I would have to go without him. He was in the back seat asleep when I opened my car door.

    We drove to the drive in. I know that is horrible. It was a different time but I knew better. Sure it was closer to Donald Draper devil may care but driving toasted and picking up my kid brother was wrong and I knew it. I was going with the flow though. Music blasting I pulled into the drive in and checked the concession stand and all was dark. They must have gone to one of their friends houses just back of it in the subdivision I theorized. Say that frost covered grass looks awful tempting. I cut several donuts and figure eights on the slick frozen grass. It was great. I was one hell of a driver.

    Then I decided to burst through the tall grown together Arbor Vitis that lined a section near a side road. I was fearless and having fun. I was king of the road and showing out. I swung around and flew through them like Steve McQueen and slid sideways on the gravel road beyond still punching it in perfect control and... slid right up to the side of a cop car. Oh fuck. Nothing to do but roll down my window and speak to him.

    Do you know what time it is? No idea, sir. Oh I got a lecture about how my brother and his buddies were shivering in the cold and had been waiting for me hours after the drive in closed. All I could do was hang my head and look sheepish. They were all getting warm in the back of his car while they awaited Dad who had been called to come pick them up. Before he could even finish his berating Dad pulled up mad and disheveled from being woken and having to drive twenty miles at that time of morning. To top his anger off they still wanted me to drive them home.

    I got out of that one as I have everything in my life by the luck of the Irish though I only have Scots in me. Well, English, Cherokee, and Chickasaw too but it's more lyrical to leave those out to end the story on.
    Last edited by Tocky; 25th Nov 2017 at 22:19.

  7. #32
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    This is the story of Johnny Indykacko. I'm pretty sure I told it at some point but it's one of my favorites.

    When we were kids we loved scary stuff. Halloween carnivals at school where you could fish for candy with a clothes pin as a hook or touch the cold wet surgical glove filled with ice water in the dark as they intoned "this is the dead mans hand". We had seances where we urged the long dead ghosts of Indians to "give us a sign" as we then crept a hand up the back of our favorite neighbor girl and pandemonium would erupt. In those days a ouija board was a thing of mystery and fun rather than evil. I miss those days. Folks knew what to take seriously and what to dismiss as just innocent fun.

    My brother was a bit on the serious side though. We could always poke him with a bit of lore or a made up on the spot story that he would accept as gospel. We often went too far just to see how much he would swallow. I was always a bit ashamed that he would not get the joke. I loved him and wanted him to see the world as I did, an adventure to wring the living daylights out of in every way possible. Being so staid and gullible just did not fit in with my sense of hot damn lets have some fun. He was always a good, loyal, and devoted brother though.

    There was a deserted house across the rural road from us grown up with weeds but still containing tables and chairs and the scattered remnants of clothes and various papers and detritus of habitation. Ah what a haunted house it was just waiting to become. It was large with wrap around porches and high ceilings. It had fireplaces and enormous windows like the vacant eyes of malevolent spirits. Perfect.

    My cousins and I had already explored it many times reading letters and trying on left behind hats or eating cherries from the tree out back. We had pranked each other with jumps from behind doorways or clothes stuffed with newspaper to look like someone at the kitchen table. So we were ready to pull the one we did on my brother. Primed for it you might say.

    We told him there was a strange fellow by the name of Johnny Indykacko who lived there. He slept in the chimney standing up. He stomped about looking for children to beat. He wore a stew pot on his head and his greasy hands were claws ready to rend flesh. He was always staring out at our house from the dark windows ready to come and take anyone unawares to his basement and claw them to pieces. The very name of Johnny Indykacko struck fear in my brother and we laid it on thicker with every telling. "He hates it when you call him Kacko IndyJohnny!" So of course when we dressed up as him in overalls with pot on head and face covered with a sheet and let my brother meet him he accidentally called him that. Anger and furious stomping ensued as my brother ran screaming away.

    We made a dummy of legs and boots and stood it in the fireplace. Didn't he want to see where he slept? We added a back story of how he killed his family. We scared him every chance we got. It was fun. We took pride in our inventiveness. Blood (ketchup on the door) was because he had killed recently and a warning to stay away. We tried to drag him inside to see scenes we had set up with various degrees of success. He swallowed it all.

    Then one day when it was just me I played the part of both brother trying to show him something inside the house and once inside, and quickly dressed as Johnny while in a closet, came out to chase him with ominous words of destruction. He ran. He ran all the way home. I followed. I had never done that. He had always been safe once he crossed the road before.

    At our house he turned and screwed his courage to the sticking place as they say. There were apples on the ground, many of them green next to a swing set we played on. He picked those up and held his ground. I came on with my best growling thunder and stomping thinking he would flee as always. He did not. He held. He hit me square in the eye with his first throw and I was yanking off the sheet yelling it was me and not to throw again. He was astonished it was me. So well had we played the role that he never guessed. He had given me a black eye to wear for a week but I was proud of him.

    That is my brother. A little on the literal side but don't bring anything bad to his door step. He stops there.

    So... nobody has a story for me?

  8. #33
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Come on guys, you've got stories I know you do. How about you southerners? Renz? Flannery O'Conner said southerners don't tell stories they just remember things. Somebody remember something.

    Ah hell. With the spate of groping idiocy of late it's gotten me to thinking about my own missed signals with women and whether anything I did could have been interpreted as an abuse. It should every man. Lucky for me the act of sex has never been the end goal and so could be curtailed at any moment. There are of course many things females have done which puzzle me to no end.

    Tech school at Wichita Falls, Texas was a blast. The NCO club at Sheppard AFB had these drinks called hurricanes about half the size of a bucket and we would down them too easily. It is here that I was kicked out (of the bar) three times for various offenses which I may relate in terms of another story down the line. Remind me to tell you about the alphabet soup incident later. Anyway this was near the end of our stay as the final test was the next day.

    I was drinking that night with a guy I roomed with and two girls from my class who were friendly and fun loving giggly that liked to dance. Lots of hurricanes later we somehow got around to talk of the test and one of the girls suggested we all get a room off base and study all night. Well hell yeah anything that keeps the party going is great with me. We will ask each other questions and get it down then pass out a few hours to ace the test. It will be epic! I was in the epic stage of drinking at the time.

    There was a bottle of wine I had gotten to drink with another girl I had recently discovered knew all the words to Rocky Horror Picture Show and I wanted to get to know but we missed our meeting somehow. Christine was her name and we sang "There's a Light" (over at the Frankenstein place) so well the rest of the flight (what a class is called in the AF) that was waiting for class to begin broke out in applause. Absolutely the only time I've ever received it for singing and I hold no doubt it was her lovely voice that brought it. Still it was a joy to sing with her and I've gotten completely off track. Anyway I said I could go get it and we would have a bit to drink as we studied.

    There was where everyone started to get hinky about going except for one girl who insisted the two of us go anyway. Well I'm getting knowing looks from the other two and I'm wondering what signals I've missed. I have a personality that bulldozes it's way along paying slight heed to what others are about if they are not on the bulldozer too so I have to poke my head up and sniff the wind to figure what things are about. Oh. She wants me alone. Well that's cool. A little memory to take with us when we part.

    So we get a room right off base and we drink the wine and fire questions at each other for a couple of hours and honestly I think we have it down pat. I'm just ready for bed at this stage so I get up and do my ten one handed push ups each hand (damn I wish I still had that body) that cracks my back and relaxes me and then go in to brush my teeth and when I come out and see she has taken her clothes off down to her skivvies I'm like cool so I take off down to mine as well and climb in bed.

    We talk about our home towns and what life was like before and stuff and I move against her and kiss her and at first she is going along with it but then she stiffens and I ask what's wrong and she tells me there is a guy back home. Well I'm like what the fuck is this all about then but I don't say anything. She talks about him a bit and I'm thinking this guy sounds a lot like me so I remove my hand from her hip. I'm not going to blight my soul for sex. It would have been nice but I'm not the guy to push myself on her if that's what she is wanting so I close my eyes for sleep.

    She asks me what I'm doing. I'm going to sleep. There's a test tomorrow. She knows. She wants to study all night. Seriously? It's already nearly two. Okay so I study with her another hour and it's pointless. We know all this crap. I prove to her she knows it. Finally we get some shut eye.

    Next morning she goes on ahead to the chow hall while I get my book I'll have to turn in after the test. At the chow hall the two girls are whispering to each other and her friend is giving me the stink eye real bad. I'm like what? I even say "what?" to her. Well they continue the whispering and I'm confused as hell and sit elsewhere as the stink eye burns me between bites of omelette. I wouldn't want to get too close to that hen pecking party.

    We all pass the test. I get a few marks taken off for picking snake bite to penis as my patients diagnosis (it could happen as evidenced by Jeff at the beaver damn many years later) but my chart was on point for it so even though I'm irreverent verging on stupid I pass too. Not that I was worried. Worry and me just have no acquaintance at that point in my life. I took some pictures of the whole class for my future photo album which I do have now and hugged both Christine and the girl I studied with and everything is fine it seems and all smiles. Even stink eye girl is hugging me.

    Christine told me she just missed me at her room and had meant to be there when I came by and I figured she was just being nice and blowing me off sweetly but she gave me her new duty station address and I gave her mine and we did write. She was date raped shortly after getting to her new base. That was rough. I wrote her ten page legal pad letters saying God knows what but alternately pouring my heart out to her and trying to distract her with life in England stories. I swear I felt so sorry for her I was falling in love with her. You ever do that? Anyway she wrote back the most wonderful letters and sent me a picture I still have but then when she went home from where they had her at some recuperation ward thing (he beat her really bad too) the letters trailed off. I remember I so looked forward to them that I passed a female officer while reading one on my way back from the P.O. and got dressed down for not saluting. It pissed me off that I was so aching over this girl and this oblivious officer made me take a chewing but I stood for it.

    Anyway I don't know what the hell the point of this one is except what the hell was I getting the stink eye for? I was good. Wasn't I supposed to be good? What the hell were they talking about? Did I make a pass untoward? We were in our damn underwear in bed chrissakes. I just don't understand women at all mostly. I also don't understand men though. Why would waving your junk like a worm at a fish get you a bite? Why the hell can't men just have fun on a date? It leads to sex often enough. What the hell is wrong with the world? I don't understand any of it. I hope Christine is okay and has put that awful bastard behind her. I'm afraid I felt as helpless and impotent in my rage at that rapist bastard as I do at all meaness and there is no telling what I said in those rambling letters. I hope they helped but hell, look at this rambling crap, do any of you know what the hell I'm trying to say or why this sticks with me after all these years? Life is really fucked up sometimes.

  9. #34
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    I have a few stories but essentially I cannot be arsed typing them out, sorry.

  10. #35
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Damn it Pig, do I have to go get drunk with you to get a story out of you? We would likely just make a new one in that case anyway.

    I've gotten to the point in my life where all the stuff I used to not think about or worry over is now coming down on me. The world just isn't what I thought it would be at this point. What the hell happened exactly? Was I a part of why it isn't like it ought to be? I was a hedonist when I should have used what few gifts I had to better the world. I was given a great gift the day those two shells misfired in that old rabbit eared shotgun (I'll tell that one again too) and I've wasted it. I could have made some small contribution to science. I won the damn chemistry and biology brass danglies in high school. I could have gone into government and been a voice for the little guy against the shits we have there now. I could have gone into the space program. I recall the show "are you smarter than a sixth grader" when they asked an astronaut a math question and I answered it but he couldn't and I was like what the hell? I flunked college algebra because I rarely made it to class that early but yet still did two page problems I no longer understand and crap I was an idiot still for wandering from thing to thing instead of doing what's right. I could have written a novel that helped the world understand itself. I coulda been a contenda.

    I wasted my life like a pagan. And yet I didn't. I could have done so much to help the world but I was a wastrel having fun. I'm not even sure if I really do regret it. It was so much fun. I know I owed more than I paid. I took more from life than I gave. In the end I buckled down and supported my family. I raised two great kids and that helps the world in a way. Still, I know I could have done more. The world turned to shit while I was having fun. At least it feels like that when I drink and think. I hid from the world by having a good life when I should have been butting heads with it. I owed it more.

    Is that what I was supposed to learn? Is it my fault I let assholes ruin the world because I wanted to enjoy it? Will I die confused or happy? With ultimate entropy does anything matter? Somehow it does. Somehow the world all hinged on me and I blew it. Ah hell, I'll regret even writing this tomorrow.

    Somebody tell me a damn story.

  11. #36
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Here's a slice of my life from back in 2006. I wrote this in my LiveJournal at the time:

    Pyrian in the City of Sin
    Now, I'm generally regarded as intelligent. But I think... Slowly. Powerfully, perhaps, and my recall of random facts is good, but in terms of dealing with people - or even thinking of what to say - the gears grind ponderously. I'll figure stuff out far too late, and god forbid someone tries to be subtle, or even just indirect. On top of that, I'm stupid about women. I don't know why; I mean, I'm inexperienced, but not THAT inexperienced. But I never know what a woman does or does not want from me, pretty much ever.

    So... Last night I went to the Vegas strip just to look around for a bit. I was quite tired, and needed to get up early today so I wasn't planning on staying out late. My parents were already asleep so I was on my own, which I kind of like because I can walk briskly and go where I want. I watched the Bellagio fountains, checked out a few promenades, and made up my mind to see the Mirage volcano eruption at midnight.

    Then I got hopelessly lost in the eternal twilight of the Venetian. (I kind of regret never taking a ride in one of their canal gondalas, but whatever.) Being male I refused to ask for directions and eventually just headed for the nearest "exit" sign. About half a dozen one-way doors and three startled looking employees later, I emerged in the shipping and receiving area in back. Sighing, I hoofed it double-time (and that's double MY time, which means I was practically running) to return to the Mirage for the show.

    Finally back in front of the Venetian, I paused at a street corner for the light maybe a minute or so before midnight. Also waiting for the light was an attractive young woman on her own. She struck up a conversation, asking how my night was going.

    You probably already know what she wanted from me. Why didn't I? I met her alone on a streetcorner in Vegas at midnight. Helllloooo? Are there any brain cells in here?

    Well, aside from that she was not exactly a walking stereotype. She was dressed well but modestly, and chatted amiably about nothing in particular. I told her my getting-lost woes and commented on going to see the volcano fountain. She asked me what I was doing later, I said regretfully that it was time for me to go to bed.

    "In that case, why don't you let me come tuck you in?"

    The following roughly duplicates what went on in my head:
    *Error-does not compute*
    *Error-does not compute*
    *Error-does not compute*

    "...What?" I asked. I had heard her perfectly well.

    "In that case, why don't you let me come tuck you in?" she repeated.

    *Error-does not compute*
    *Error-does not compute*
    *Processor note-Tired and have to get up early-ABORT CONTACT*

    "I'm sorry," I declined.

    "Enjoy your volcano, honey," she said so sweetly I didn't catch the implied "fuck you" until long after.

    She was walking away when I figured out I'd been offered and declined sex with a hot woman, but she was out of sight when my mind finally ticked over into realizing that what she wanted from inside my pants was almost certainly in my pocket and not in my boxers. The thought process went something like this: "Wow, I got propositioned by a beautiful woman! How flattering!" "It wasn't your scintillating conversation that attracted her, moron. I'll bet she noticed the silk Tommy Bahama, though." "Ohhhhh... She's working!" (The part of my mind which best understands people despises us all.)

    I kind of wish I'd found out how much she cost. I'm not sure I'm at a point where I'd hit up a hooker, hot and sophisticated though she was. Nonetheless, it would have been interesting to compare the price to what I spent on Gabriella the night before. (What kind of a stripper stage name is Gabriella, anyway? I want my stripper to be named Charity, so I can claim her as a tax write-off.)

    Oh, and the Mirage's hourly flaming volcano fountain thing was pretty cool.

  12. #37
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Now that was a cool story, Pyrian. I've priced hookers twice. Once was in Pahrump near Vegas. It was just for the lark of it though. I've always felt a mixture of morbid fascination, pity, and humor when talking to those in the sex trade. I know Bob Seger celebrated them in "Fire Down Below" but it just seems a degradation of both parties to me somehow. Ultimately you played it well knowingly or not. You came off as kind and human and she came off as the sort of hard she has to be to do what she does.

    The first time I priced hookers was in Mayfair, London when I was with the degenerates. We had gone to Soho to see the sex shops and maybe get a laugh. I was singing "Werewolves of London" like a touristy idiot is what prompted us to go. Then we got talking about the hookers and Jack said they were all in Mayfair instead so we went around pricing them from house to house saying increasingly odd things like "and how much for all my buddies at once with dildoes aaaaaand a live snake?" until we were chased off by the bouncer guys. I swear one of them looked like that guy Jaws from Moonraker. It was a progression. We didn't start out with live snakes and baby chicks. Best I recall they ranged from sixty to one hundred sixty quid back in '80'. The price wasn't why we went of course so I'm not real clear on it.

    The Pahrump thing was me and my old high school buddy. We were going to see his inlaws when we passed the Chicken Ranch so I talked him into going back. I got a picture of him entering and told him I was going to use it as blackmail but then had him take one of me at the gate as well. Inside I had trouble articulating why we were there. We just want to see the merchandise... no I mean the stuff for sale... no I mean... Kevin helped me by filling in "souvenirs".

    They had a glass case of stuff off to the left. Kevin got a shot glass for his wifes collection and I got a hat because the sun is not my friend. One of the most expensive items was the list of stuff you could do, the menu, as it were. I don't recall any prices but the list of stuff that could be done was long. While we were there we got to see a group of girls line up for selection when a real John entered. When I say girls I mean that in the most loose way possible. These girls reminded me of a hot dog left on the rack in a truck stop all week somehow. In your head you are picking too but it just made me a bit queasy. It's like which horrible STD would you like sir?

    Anyway I don't mean to be so judgmental and that's just my personal beliefs. We moved on to the inlaws with me a bit disquieted for awhile. It wasn't quite the bit of fun I imagined at first.
    Last edited by Tocky; 2nd Dec 2017 at 10:35. Reason: spelzing

  13. #38
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Near Brisbane, Australia
    I can understand that Pyrian. In retrospect I can see I actually got a surprising amount of attention from girls in my school years, considering I was utterly determined to be an unsociable loner. I was so completely convinced no-one would like me that when anyone did approach me I would suddenly turn into a right little prick and do my best to drive them away. Looking back, I don't really regret the missed opportunities so much, but I do regret being nasty to people who were just trying to be nice to me.

    Ok Tocky, I've been feeling guilty about the lack of stories for a few days now, but honestly I don't know how anyone follows up on yours. Anyway, tonight I remembered that I have an old diary I wrote back when I was ten, when our family visited Europe for six months while my dad went to France for an academic sabbatical. I didn't realise, but my Mum had kept all our diaries, and gave them back to us a couple of years ago. So I'll type out a few entries: spelling mistakes, self-centered ten-year-old attitude, and all.

    So I was hoping to start with the plane trip over, but funnily enough plane flights aren't actually all that entertaining, especially when your author is ten years old. So we'll skip to exploring the forests of Germany. We spent most of our time in France, but arrived in Germany and stayed there for a little while in this little village right next to the Black forest IIRC. Well. I didn't really do emotion so much in my diary entries, I mean, not unless I was complaining, but let me tell you now that this was the most awesome thing I had ever seen. Here's a short diary entry I wrote after one trip into the forest:

    Today we went for a walk in the forest and Mum brought the video camera as well as biscuits and a drink. Before we started we had a drink and set of. When we got in the forest I spotted a humunggos mushroom and Mum taped it. After a while we got to some huts and Ben, Nicola and Mum saw a mountain goat (me). Then Ben, Nicola and I played robbers and I fell down a slope of leaves which hurt a bit. Then we went walking again but soon the track got narrower and overgrown. So Mum and Ben councilled
    [ed: too much Tolkein] going back and back we went.

    Huh, the entry looked a lot bigger in when handwritten with my very large and messy style from that time . Anyway, I remember my brother and I used to go off and play in the forest quite a lot, but that seems to be the only time I actually wrote about it. I wonder now if the rest of the family didn't go all that often, my sister was only a toddler at the time.

    The other memory I have of Germany is the toys, funnily enough. I have a somewhat OTT description of a visit to a toy shop in Germany which I'll type up next.

  14. #39
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Thanks Chade! Those "huts" in the black forest, were they bunkers by chance? I've read so much Stephen Ambrose accounts of WWII and played several RPG war games that it springs to mind though you may mean Hansel and Gretel cottages. Did you venture inside? What a great place with such a storied history in any event. More please.

  15. #40
    Registered: May 2004
    Ok, I'll try to tell you something about what it was like in the bad old Soviet Union. Though I'm not really a storyteller and it's all kind of a haze at this point.

    Before I do, though, I'll have to say that it's not too late for anything until you're pushing up the daisies. I never thought I'd make it to a university, yet here I am writing a thesis. As the Chinese proverb says, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now. Even if you only have 10 years left, it's still quite a long time and you can accomplish a lot in that time.

    Right, so Soviet times... I don't really know how to describe it to someone who hasn't experienced it. At times, it was kafkaesque and at times it was absurdly comical. There's a novel, The Good Soldier Šveijk, that kind of gets in the right ballpark of how it felt. It's not about USSR as such, but it resonated a lot with the people of the USSR, especially in countries outside of Russia. It captures some of the idiocy and cruelty that an individual could experience as a small cog inside the big Soviet machine and also some of the survival and coping mechanisms. Alternatively, for something more visual, I'd suggest this Adam Curtis documentary about the tragicomical technocratic rationalism of Soviet society:

    Above all, it was a time of scarcity. We weren't starving, but the shops were empty and if you wanted something, anything, really, you had to either know someone in the retail industry who could put things aside or you had to try your luck standing in long lines. Always the long lines. And if you wanted something really extravagant, like a car, you could not simply go to a shop and buy it, you had to first get a permit to buy a car and that could take years and years of waiting, unless you knew the right people to bribe. Otherwise, it was not rare to wait up to a decade for a permit. And then you could actually go and buy a car -- a miserable little box-shaped rust bucket that got way too hot in summer and way too cold in winter, if you dared to take it out of the garage, that is. So, what about used cars then, you might ask. The thing is, counterintuitively, used cars were much more expensive than a new one. You see, anyone who managed to buy a car was loath to give it up.

    Pictured through a sepia-colored nostalgia filter: one of the beauties you could one day buy, if you saved up diligently.

    Picured: typical Soviet garages. If you were lucky, you might have been able to rent one just a brisk 10 minute drive away from where you lived.

    It was also a boring time, filled with the kind of ennui only decades of stagnation can bring. More often than not there would be nothing on the television (static during the mid-day and at night), and especially not for children. A handful of movies and TV shows would get rerun ad nauseam to the point where people could recite large parts by heart. It was not until near the end of the era that we managed to pirate satellite TV and I'd be glued to the television watching grainy movies on Filmnet, a channel that showed movies 24/7 nonstop without commercials. Until then, though, children were treated to riveting entertainment such as this:

    Needless to say, we were not amused, but it's not like we knew any different either. We'd spend our days outside making up games and exploring the neigbourhood and tearing holes in our clothes -- which would get mended by our parents and continue to be worn, as nothing was to be wasted. And any piece of clothing that was beyond repair would end up as a cleaning rag or as material for mending other clothes. In any case, we had a lot of freedom to do what we wanted and we exploited it fully, doing all kinds of reckless things. It's all fun and games... until someone loses an eye or breaks an arm. I myself had to be stitched up a couple of times and almost drowned once.

    Still, life could be quite boring if you were stuck at home and I was home alone a lot. My parents worked long shifts and my father would sometimes get home after I'd already gone to sleep. To pass the time, I'd read every book in the house. My mother worked at a book binding place and if there was anything that looked interesting among the defective books that were destined for recycling, she'd replace their weight in old newspapers or whatever paper material she could get her hands on. Also, books in general were relatively cheap, so we had all kinds of books lying around, some of which were way above my age level. I'd read the bible with all its bloodshed and genocide and I'd read Arabian folk tales full of all kinds of violence and weird poetic sexual metaphors. When I finally exhausted the contents of my home, I had already discovered the nearly limitless supplies of libraries. I'd take out 10 books or so at a time and I remember librarians asking suspiciously if I would really be reading all of them. In truth, I burned through them in no time. It was just the most amount of books I dared to take out all at once.
    Last edited by Starker; 23rd Jun 2021 at 00:52.

  16. #41
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Interesting. And thank you for coming through for me Starker. I don't think we are so very far apart actually. When I was growing up there was still the vestiges of what you speak. We never waited in lines and there was near total freedom in every aspect of our lives but the south had just climbed out of the crushing poverty of the civil war after world war two. I recall my grandmothers house being heated by a pot belly coal fired stove. She still had a well for water though there was also piped in local water. Though there was indoor plumbing there was also an outhouse, rarely used, behind the barn. She saved scraps of fabric for quilts. Poor crosses all borders. We made do.

    The thing is, we were self sufficient. We hunted. We fished. We gardened. We canned. We dried peaches on sheets of tin to seal in mason jars as we did all manner of vegetables. We kept orchards of our favorite fruits. We bailed hay to feed our cows. We got eggs from our chicken coops. Sometimes we petted the chickens until they lay their heads on the chopping block and they ran around headless until they fell over and were plucked and dismembered for dinner. We knew when hog killing time was on a cold winter morning and how to get rid of the hair with boiling water. We knew how to chop things up including our own firewood. Everything was labor.

    I caught the tail end of that before truly modern times and count myself lucky I did. I saw the movie "Places in the Heart" the other day and the pathetic way they were picking cotton. I knew that wasn't how to do it. I've built fences with a post hole digger and tack hammer the hard way. I've pulled corn from sunup to sundown. I know how to dowse water and hypnotize a chicken and yes those are real things. I have ridden the mule of Faulkners bootlegger as it plunged toward a hog wallow to get me off his back. I've hunted coon in the moon lit hollows of a spring night listening to black and tan hounds bay and tasted my first whisky from men around the fire who didn't want to go see the prize. I learned to lead dove and wring their necks when wounded. I learned to teach a pointer how to hunt quail and how little actual teaching it required because it is in their blood. I spent every Saturday morning of my preteens before the sun was up waiting for the catfish to boil the misty water at sunup and take the bait of liver bundled on a treble hook and held by nylon stocking and Saturday evening skinning and boiling them in oil.

    I loved that shit. I also read every science fiction and horror I could get my hands on and built models and rode my bike and hunted Indian arrow heads and millions of other things and when I was bored Mom would tell me it was my own fault and she was right. So I burned down the house. NO. No. I didn't but what she said was right. And damn it was great. Every damn bit of it. Anyway, I don't think we are so far apart. Nowhere near as far as we are from the current generation who has never done anything by hand the hard way. Or maybe I'm taking liberties in my assumptions? How old are you?

  17. #42
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    Great read Starker, thanks

  18. #43
    Registered: May 2004
    I'm comfortably middle-aged and yeah, our family's poverty was due to a war as well. Both of my grandfathers fought in the war on the opposite sides and one of them was a refugee that lost, well, everything. I'd say that poverty was different in the Soviet Union, though, especially for the urban poor. You know how the song goes...

    They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
    They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool
    Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules
    A working class hero is something to be

    Well, in the Soviet Union, a working class hero was really something to be. The intellectuals had it harder and were denied more. It was more difficult to get a car permit if you worked in a university instead of a factory, for example. But if you really wanted to get ahead in life, you had to hustle and you had to grease palms and you had to give the appearance of toeing the party line. If you live in a cage, your freedom only goes as far as the bars allow you to go.

    And the oppression was very real. If you didn't conform, the secret police would follow you. Propaganda was pervasive in every aspect of your life. Books and newspapers were censored. All the previous demonstrations and attempts at reform had been put down with tanks and executions and mass deportations. If you went against the system, the system hit back with everything it had. But that also gave rise to a real determined resistance. A resistance that played the long game and that knew when to talk and who to talk to. A resistance that stood up against tanks and used their own bodies as a shield when the time was right. Also, there's no punk rock like that made under a real threat of imprisonment or worse and we had real DIY punk rock that was subversive and irreverent as fuck.
    Last edited by Starker; 3rd Dec 2017 at 07:18.

  19. #44
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    You know what Starker? I had to go a long way before I found any bars to rattle. There are no rules for you in this thread. Do anything you want. Tell anything you want. If you ran amok I think I would enjoy it.

  20. #45
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Back in my day, if we wanted to draw something on a computer, we had to laboriously plot out each pixel by its screen coordinates. You could make simple shapes with algorithms, but you had to either write them yourself, or copy them out of a book (if you could find one). Don't even talk to me about PEEK and POKE. Then there was the "turtle" where you could give commands to what was basically a pencil. Programs were passed around on disks.

    When I was teenager, we got our first modem. You took a phone and stuck it into this mount. You could hear the beeps and boops as the phones talked to each other at a mighty 300 baud. But suddenly you could talk to other computer people on forums! Well, nearby people. You got to know all the local Sysops. Played lots of turn-based multiplayer games because that's about what was possible. Eventually we got WWIVnet e-mail and could e-mail around the world!

    I remember when C++ first came out; at the time, though, I was into Pascal, and specifically Turbo Pascal, which also got object oriented programming. Nowadays it's almost hard to believe that there was a time before OOP. Even at the time, though, sticking a function that worked on the contents of a structure "inside" that structure just wasn't that big a deal in itself. On the other hand, I remember spending a good bit of time trying to figure out what virtual methods were, and what they were useful for. (I still sometimes wonder about the latter, lol; there's a few in Glade Raid, but they're not necessary or even all that helpful.)

    When OS/2 came out, complete with an IBM C++ compiler, the first printing of the manual neglected to mention the absolutely critical role copy constructors play in making operator overloading work. I was working with my Dad on his neural network program, and we were trying to do overloaded matrix operations. It was hell trying to work out how to make the memory management work.

    I kind of wonder what my kids will talk this way about "when they were young".

  21. #46
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    No telling. I don't even know what you were talking about now. Well, sort of. I've heard of it all but if you haven't experienced it then it's like reading about baking a cake verses doing it. I'll just stick to eating it anyway. I liked reading about it though. Do you know the computer on the Apollo missions was just a bundle of wires? Performed the same function as a circuit board which is what a chip is at it's simplest. At least if what I've been told is correct.

  22. #47
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    Do you know the computer on the Apollo missions was just a bundle of wires?
    That's not really fair, IMO. It's "software" read-only memory was basically wires run through carefully arranged magnets, that's probably where you're getting that. The computer itself though was actually a bunch of integrated circuit chips - absolutely cutting edge technology at the time (Wikipedia says it was the first chip-based computer).

  23. #48
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Sounds as if the "software" was a hard drive of sorts. I don't really know enough to be fair. I've studied the layout of a Saturn V taken apart at Huntsville Rocket Center and seen the ring of wires though I noticed no chip sets. Perhaps they are beneath the control panel of the command module. I've sat in that every time I've gone with various sets of grandkids. The Mercury module too.

    I know Neil had to land by stick because it was overloaded with two sets of the same data by accident. I remember watching it on TV and how tense it was till they set down. My family broke out in a spontaneous cheer. Later we looked up at the moon bright in the night sky full of wonder as I'm sure everyone did. For the first time it didn't look like something out of reach.

  24. #49
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Okay then, the story of my incredible luck. Some of it anyway.

    I first met Elliott when we went to scouts together. He could do a few more pushups than me and I could do a few more situps than him but we both could do more of everything than the rest of troop 202... except for swimming. Neither of us could swim a lick. At Camp Yocona lake there were three sectioned off swimming areas separated by docks with each farther dock being deeper. Beyond even these was the diving platform midway of the lake.

    At first everyone was in the most shallow but as it was proven you could pass certain tests you went to the chest deep area. We all made it to that one quickly but in that one you had to swim the length of the dock and it had winnowed down to just me and him left. It was an ingenious way of spurring you to have your friends leave you. I beat him that time but over the years it was always back and forth with us. It was the same with our fights. We fought into adulthood long past the point we should have quit until the final time when he pulled a knife on me for not letting him hit his wife. At the end of his marriage to my cousin he had turned to complete shit but that is another story.

    We did a lot together growing up in the same one horse town. I would have grown up a goody two shoes bookworm and perhaps made something different of myself if not for him but then maybe he fed as much off of me and neither of us would have been as bad apart. He taught me to steal my first candy and I was so nervous I nearly got caught. Not that we did it often and it wasn't about the candy but the thrill. We did a lot worse and I'll tell some of those stories as well.

    This one evening as we hung out at his grandmothers he came out of her closet carrying an old rabbit eared double barrel shotgun. They call them rabbit eared because the hammers had an extra piece of metal that stuck straight up like rabbit ears for easy cocking. It was a neat old gun but I was listening to the latest Lynard Skynard Album and didn't pay it much mind. Maybe that's why he pointed it at me. While I was lecturing him about never pointing a gun he cocked and pulled both triggers click clack and laughed. Then he broke it open and his smile dropped. "It's loaded" he said with amazement.

    Bullshit. He was always pulling some shit like that. They were empty shells he put there just to fool me. Only... his face said different. "Give me that" I said snatching it away. I pulled them out ready to show him he couldn't fool me. They were heavy. The ends were factory pinched. They were old paper shell federals that had likely been in there since the fifties. Now I was amazed. The primer caps were both dented from the blows of the triggers. He had pointed it directly at my face and God or fate or whatever had said no.

    Oh shit I was pissed then. The first shell I bounced off his head but I had to chase him around with the second until I landed it in the middle of his back. I think we were both about thirteen. I'm glad I got to see fourteen.
    Last edited by Tocky; 5th Dec 2017 at 21:01. Reason: extra letttters

  25. #50
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    My life of crime.

    At first I had been shocked by Elliott and his brothers stealing candy by slipping it in pockets as they pretended to count money but it was a cheap thrill so I tried it. After the first time it lost luster quick. We hung out quite a bit though. We made a fort of his barn. We swiped some hard cider of his dads and caught a mild buzz. We decided to tear the heavy drip rails off some junk cars to use as swords and large old hubcaps as shields and wailed at each other with them. Since it was his place he was king and me and his brother Scott fought for second place or first knight or whatever. Sounds silly except we beat hell out of each other for that spot atop an old Plymouth. Years later Scott killed a guy in a knife fight and all I could think was he didn't come in second that time. That was horrible though so maybe my mind slides off it into the past. There was like a piece missing from Scott that the rest of us have. There was piece missing from the other- no. It was awful. I wasn't there but my brother was. That's part of why I was so pissed Elliott pulled a knife on me that time. I'm wandering and need to go back again.

    We would camp out a lot and go wandering late with friends of mine from school like Kevin or Richard (Elliott went to another school) who would spend the night with me to go along. Often we found ourselves in downtown Toccopola past midnight at the old store just bored. There was a hole in the brick wall about shoulder high on the side near the streetlight where electrical conduit ran through. Your arm could also go through if you were a skinny kid. There was a rack of cokes in cartons just inside so we helped ourselves but that wasn't fun enough. We would fill them up with rocks and place them back in the cartons with the caps hammered back on.

    The next time they had moved the cartons over and we had to use a clothes hanger to pull them out and slide them over. It required someone at the front window to direct and was quite a challenge. Putting the rock filled ones back was even harder but we liked this game. The time after they had moved them to a bottom shelf but we prevailed. We imagined their faces finding yet more rock filled bottles and giggled.

    The next time they had moved them too far. We sat on the sidewalk on that humid summer night defeated. Then Elliott decided he would break the pane next to the lock on the side door. No way. That just did not fit in the game. I showed him we could cut the old dry putty from around the pane then replace it like nothing had changed. We went inside. It was easy to drink the cokes then and replace them with rocks no matter where they put them.

    It went on for over a month every weekend like that. They might never have known. We were becoming bored with it anyway and would soon quit I figured. It was too easy now. Then, while I was away at an FFA leadership camp, Elliott invited a guy from his school over and showed him how we had fun. He wasn't amused. He was mister serious upright citizen and turned him in. Problem for me was Elliott had already told him I was his partner in crime. When I got back from camp I was in trouble.

    We went to court and everything. Neither of us gave up the others of our friends of course. Oh the judge was real menacing and put the fear in us alright. We got nine months probation complete with a probation officer and all of it serious shit without a smile in the bunch. I did get to explain the whole story to my probation guy on those Monday evenings and we became a bit chummy there toward the end but that judge was fear of God hell and damnation. The worst of it was we had to go to church every weekend.

    I take that back. The worst was the look in my dads eye and his disappointment. Having to stand before him and explain why I had stolen was awful. He didn't even punish me and somehow that was worse. I never stole again. Well... borrowed a music van to cut donuts on the baseball field at school and there was the cottonpicker incident but not really stole as in take anything for keeps. You know who really stole? The storekeeper. He had claimed over a thousand dollars worth of stock had been taken which we had to pay back when it couldn't have been over twenty bucks total. That was a lesson in itself.

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