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Archive for May, 2014|Monthly archive page

Grasshole. 5/5/15

In PRINTED, The 70's, Writing on May 2, 2014 at 8:41 pm

It was 1972, and I was almost  done with the fifth grade. It was a week until the last day of school, and I had just finished serving a detention I’d gotten for passing a note to my friend Toni during a social studies reel-to-reel about the Great Depression.

The gist of the note was that I wouldn’t be able to go to the movies with her this weekend because I was dying of boredom and would be dead by the end of the film. I also said I hoped those weren’t Mrs. Leary’s pubic hairs trapped in the corners of the screen. Writing the note had been the only thing between me and a desk nap.

Mrs. Leary seized my note and read it aloud with a ‘tsk, tsk’ The class loved it,and there was wave after wave of laughter, which incensed the teacher- it took a few minutes to restore order, but I hadn’t intended my note to become public. I did receive many high fives in the hallway after the dismissal bell, and Chad Weed called it a ‘masterpiece’ But I had to pay the piper, as school children often do.

I was firmly relegated to stay an hour in detention, which I chose to serve that day (to get it over with) trudging back into the ‘cell’ after watching all of my lucky comrades leave for the day. I was all by myself in the very room I’d been held hostage in in the first place, where I sat tapping a pencil on the desk. I couldn’t even apply my signature graffiti to the desk, as I had broken the tip off the pencil with all the tapping. I tried sharpening it by picking at it with my nails which had little, if any, effect other than breaking off several nails, which I  flicked off the desk like paper footballs. Lastly, I resorted to inspecting the strands of my long hair for split ends, and wondered what the point of the detention really was. The only thing it really taught me was that I needed to use better creme rinse.

Upon release (with yet another teacher’s lecture about my ‘potential’ *big sigh*) I walked through the Wolfpit school parking lot, which was practically empty. I headed up the hilly driveway to Starlight Drive. The sun beat down on my faded jean jacket, and a sense of almost unbearable boredom permeated the day-the cloudless blue sky, the faint buzz of electrical wires my only companion. I didn’t even see any cars pass by.

When I got to the end of Starlight, I crossed over the far left side of the Rinaldi’s yard. From there I could hop the stone wall, and get home faster than if went around. My house was behind the Rinaldi’s, on the other side of the stone wall. I was dying of thirst, and hoped my brothers hadn’t jacked the last of the Kool-Aid. About three quarters of the way to the wall, I heard a shrill voice.

“HEY! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!”

It was Priscilla-‘Prissy’  Rinaldi- the older sister of Gary Rinaldi, who was in my grade at Wolfpit. I looked over and saw her standing by her dark blue Volkswagen Bug, keys in hand. Prissy was a witchy looking thing- bony, with the posture of a question mark, a hook nose and the body of Olive Oyl. Even her voice grated.

“What??” I asked, unsure of what was going on. I looked behind me just to be sure she was addressing me.

“STAY OFFA OUR LAWN!” she shrieked. “GO AROUND!” She pointed towards the end of the street, indicating the route she thought I should have taken.

What a freakin’ bitch! Like she really cared whether or not someone walked on her raggedy-ass lawn. Obviously, she was channeling the cranky senior citizen she would no doubt become.  I could easily picture her an old, hunched backed woman, a few decades down the line. She’d peer out of her dusty bay window, waiting for the big moment when some kid cut across her grass, then she’d bang on the window with her bony fists and scream ‘Offa The Lawn!’ until she was hoarse. Or until the kitchen timer rang and she could go check on the children cooking in her oven.

I wanted to say  ‘What’s the big whiff anyway, dumb-ass?!’ but being a fifth grader while she was in high school put me at a great disadvantage, should anything go down. Meanwhile, the Rinaldi’s lawn was half  dandelions, half crabgrass, and wasn’t going to win any awards anytime soon. It may have been news to Prissy, but Jack Nicklaus wasn’t going to show up and practice his swing, mistaking it for a golf course. Disney World wasn’t going to display any world-class topiary animals on this lawn. It was mediocre, at best.Certainly,  a fifth grader cutting through the yard wasn’t going to make any difference.

Still, Prissy was wound up. She pointed a car key in my direction, holding it like a switchblade, stabbing at the air. She looked ridiculous with her strange halting jabs, and I couldn’t help but smirk.

“Oh- ya think it’s funny?” she cawed. Yup! You should come over here and look at yourself. It’s hilarious.

“I’ll beat your ass!” she croaked. Yeah? I’d beat yours too, if ya had one!

Even though I was somewhat intimidated- after all Prissy was old enough to drive, practically a grown-up, I couldn’t resist: I held my middle finger up, proudly, like Billy Jack held up his fist at the end of a movie. I knew I’d be burning a bridge for this particular shortcut, but I didn’t give a damn.

Prissy gasped audibly, took one, maybe two, steps forward, but went no further. I was twice her size, but few people over the age of ten weren’t. She began yelling: “YOU STUPID B**CH!”, and on and on, her shrill voice cutting through the afternoon lull like a weed-whacker. Her eyes were goldfish like, furtive and bulging. I pictured her and her fish-eyes in a twenty-gallon tank,  shrieking in a garbled, bubble filled rant to the ceramic skin-diver ‘Get offa my gravel!’ Gurgle. Gurgle.  I imagined I could see the vein in her neck pulsating. She was crazed. One thing about this skank: she sure loved grass!

When she  finally blew out her vocal chords, she stood with her hand on her hip, breathing heavily, her crooked stance doing nothing for her already unfortunate looks. She had run out of steam, and I suddenly became certain that she wouldn’t have the guts to come any closer. I turned around casually, walked the six feet to the stone wall, hiked myself up and over , and landed in my own shady backyard. Of course, Prissy began shouting again, now that I was on the other side of the stone wall barrier, so I gave her a bonus middle finger salute, my hand wiggling back and forth like crazy this time, from my side of the wall. I was weirdly energized, excited even! I couldn’t wait to get inside the house and call Toni. She hated Prissy Rinaldi as well (was it something about Prissy almost running her over in the school parking lot while picking up Gary one day? I hadn’t really paid attention, but I would now) We could commiserate and really tear Prissy a new one, I thought as I entered the kitchen through the back door and swung open the refrigerator. Just as soon as I made a new pitcher of Kool-Aid…..

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