Scene One – WHAT SHOULD I DO? – Bobby’s back yard, Mequon, Wisconsin, May 1959, Sunday
“Davy, I need brass knuckles and maybe a blackjack.” I reach for Davy’s pack of Camels lying on the cedar picnic table.
“Brass knuckles?” Davy blows an oval smoke ring in the still afternoon air between us. “What the hell for?”
“For John VA.” I light my smoke.
Davy exhales from his mouth and re-inhales lingering vapors up through his nose. “Who the hell is John VA?”
“John Van Allan.” I take a deep drag and cough. “Some guy who’s messing around with Jeannie. I want to scare him off just like Carl chased me away from Jeannie.”
“That worked really well as I remember.” Davy laughs.
“Never mind that. Where can I get brass knuckles?”
“I don’t know. Maybe we could go to Sears? You could say, ‘Excuse me Sir. Could you direct me to the brass knuckle department? I’d like to look at blackjacks, too.’ The salesman would say, ‘Right this way young man. Do you need small, medium, or large?’”
“Could you be serious?” I shake my head. “I need to learn to fight. I found one of Uncle Larry’s Argosy magazines. An article said to stand sideways to be a smaller target so that it will be harder for John to hit me. But how do I hit him if I’m standing sideways? My arms aren’t long enough. I really don’t want to fight him but I have no choice. What should I do?
“I don’t know, Bobby. Let’s figure out how to make brass knuckles first. A black jack will be easy. We can pour buckshot into an old sock.”
“Making brass knuckles will be harder.” Davy flicks an ash from his cigarette butt into his pants cuff. “Maybe we could screw two carriage bolts together and wrap black masking tape over the whole thing? Carriage bolts would be perfect because they have rounded ends that will be easier on your fingers when you slug John.”
“That’s not exactly brass knuckles. What about the nut holding the two bolts together?” I snuff out my half-finished smoke under my shoe. “When I hit John won’t the nut break my middle finger?”
“Well, don’t hit him. Just show him your super brass knuckles, and wicked black jack, and he’ll run away. Where do you plan to confront him?”
“Jeannie has a date with him Friday night. I’ll hide in the bushes in her front yard. When he walks back to his car, I’ll jump him.”
“Cool. Sounds like a plan.”
“Dad has carriage bolts in the garage. Let’s get started.”
Scene Two – NEWS – Jeannie’s front yard, Mequon, Wisconsin, May, 1959, Friday
She’s late. Man, it’s cold. These bushes are scratching my ribs. Maybe I should go home? Wait – I see something – it’s him.
“Good night, John,” Jeannie leans back against her screen door.
John bends forward and kisses Jeannie on her cheek. “Good night, Kitten.”
Kitten! I move branches for a better view. John walks along the path toward me. I step from my shelter, hands in bulging pockets. “Hey big man.”
He stops. “Who’s there? Are you Bobby?”
I step forward. “Yeah. What’s it to you?” My shoulders shake.
He moves toward me. “Jeannie talks a lot about you. I was wondering if I would meet you.”
“John?” Jeannie approaches from behind. “I didn’t see your car leave. I was worried. Who are you talking to?”
John faces Jeannie. “Bobby.”
“Bobby?” Jeannie turns toward me. “What are you doing here? Why are your hands in your pockets? Are you cold?”
“No, I’m okay.” I pull my hands from my pockets. “John and I were just talking.”
“What’s in your pockets?” Jeannie walks toward me.
“Nothing.” I shift from one leg to another.
Jeannie faces both of us. “I’m glad all three of us are here. John, why don’t you tell Bobby your news?”
“Well, okay. I’m moving to Texas. I’ll leave Homestead High and transfer to Marine Military Academy next week.”
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Richard Wilberg, MS, PLCC, ACC
Creativity Coach for Personal Fulfillment and Career Success
About the Author
Richard Wilberg is a creativity coach, musician, writer, photographer, and former business leader who lives in Madison, Wisconsin.