Mundane Doesn't Describe It

For the slackatudinally challenged.

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Location: United States

I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting. Mark Twain, Hard work doesn't harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances. - Unknown, I am retired and have tried to do as little as possible - slowly. Me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How Do I Explain This?

When I was about 10 or 11, I had a best friend named Mitchell. Mitchell was a year older than I was and much more worldly. He was one of these people that were constantly in trouble. While trying to think up new trouble to get into, he would try and get me to go along with him, but thankfully I had sense enough to decline, well at least most of the time. On the long dirt road in front of our house, he lived about a mile away. He lived with his grandmother in an old travel trailer. To say they were dirt poor would be an understatement. The trailer was parked by a country store and she worked for the man there. As far as I can remember she was a mean old lady, but I guess this went along with the guy she worked for being a mean old man. I would walk down to Mitchell’s place, but would never stay too long. It always seemed to me to be one of those places that just didn’t seem right and there was a lot of bad vibes there. So Mitchell would be down at my house a lot. My parents tried to discourage this, but Mitchell was the only one close to my age out in the country. Being the worldly guy Mitchell was, I was always trying to impress on him I was just the same. Of course I wasn’t, but I would look for things to show that I was.

One day Fmom, Fdad and siblings were going to visit some friends for a little while. I had talked them into letting me stay home and Mitchell and I would do stuff around the farm. It just so happen that Fdad had bought Fmom a pocket tear gas thing to keep in the house incase someone ever broke in while he was gone. I can still remember it. It was a long bronze looking tube about 5 or 6 inches in length. It had a sort of nub on the side to take the safety off and a button to fire it. I told Mitchell about it and he was all on me about getting it so we could look at it. Trying to show Mitchell how worldly and cool I was, I got it and started to show him how it worked. Up to this day I still don’t know how it fired, but all of a sudden there was tear gas though out our house. We’re both trying to breathe, our eyes are burning and saliva and snot are running freely (sorry to be so graphic on that). We run outside and don’t know any better and start rubbing our eyes. Very big mistake. We finally get our eyes and breath back and then we start to freak. I knew the family would be back soon and something had to be done. I told Mitchell we had to go back in and open all the windows and get the house aired out. Mitchell refused to go back in and this started an argument. In all the time I knew Mitchell we had never exchanged punches, and we didn’t this time. It was always wrestling and getting a face in the dirt and seeing how far you could push an arm behind the back up past the head. I was lucky in the fact that I won most of the matches we had. So here we are fighting it out in the dirt while the tear gas in impregnating everything in the house. I finally won and Mitchell said he would help. I start heading up the steps to the house and thinking Mitchell is behind me, I look around to see him high tailing it out to his house. I didn’t have time to run him down, so I went into to the house to start opening windows. It was horrible. The same choking, eye’s running and other things as I mentioned before. I would get a few windows open and then run outside again. I finally got all the windows open and a box fan we had pushing air out of the house. I was thinking OK; I will get all of this taken care of before everyone gets home. WRONG! Just when I thought it was all right, the family drives up. As soon as Fdad came up to the house he asked, “What the hell is that smell.” Before I could explain what had happened, he goes into the house and turns around and comes right back out. Now Fdad when he got mad he didn’t yell. It always came out more of a roar. He was angry and he roared at me what did I do. I told him what had happened and he surprised the hell out of me and started laughing. He saw how miserable I look with my bloodshot eyes and said there would be hell to pay later, but right now lets get the house cleaned up.

It turned out that since the tear gas gun was kept in my parent’s room that was the place that got hit hardest. All the clothes, bedding and everything had to be washed. My parents put me to cleaning the entire house. It took days to finally get it back to where the house was at least livable. I didn’t see Mitchell for a couple of weeks after that. Fdad had talked to him shortly after it happened and Mitchell was playing the “I told him not to do it, but he wouldn’t listen to me” spiel. Of course that was a complete lie because Mitchell was trying to get the thing away from me so he could look at it. Fdad took that with a grain of salt thank goodness.

Time passed and Mitchell was allowed to finally come back to the house. Needless to say when he first came back, I wrestle him down and really put a hurt on him. We remained friends until he destroyed a present my favorite uncle had given me. It was a little Honda 50 that offered me some freedom at that time. But that’s a story for another time.

We moved away from there when I was 13, and I never heard from Mitchell again. Years later my brother who lives out there and keeps up with people told me that Mitchell had moved to West Memphis, gotten married, and been arrested a number of times. One day my brother told me that Mitchell was dead. He had been in a poker game and gotten shot and killed.

As I wrote earlier about M who I had worked with in Germany, there are people in your life you don’t forget. I can remember Mitchell as a friend, the trouble he got me into a lot of times and how even back then how I felt sorry for him about where he lived and how he was treated by everyone. Even at that early age, I somehow knew Mitchell would always be in trouble and come to a bad end. I think now if he’d just had a stable family and more people to love him how his life might have turned out differently. I don’t know but some people from the day they are born to the day they die are bad news. I always liked Mitchell and prefer to think that if things were different he might be alive today leading a happy life.


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