A Spoonful of Sugar

goat poopI think I’ve mentioned my cousin Corwin was interesting. He was still hauling his bottle around when he started school. His teacher made him leave it at home, so first thing after getting off the bus, he’d get his bottle out of the cabinet, fill it up, and enjoy it along with his after school snack. A hearty eater, he’d grab up a handful of Gravytrain Chunks out of the dog’s bowl as he headed out to play football with his big brothers. As a crawling baby, Corwin had started shoving the puppy out of his bowl and just kind of got hooked on Gravytrain. It added a interest to the game to see Corwin playing football with his baby bottle sticking out of his back pocket. One of his brothers or cousins invariably snatched his bottle and ran, passing it on to whichever kid was new to the game. The chase was on. Corwin carried a grudge to the bitter end and picked up a stick or rock and bash the bottle thief’s head in long after the game of “Keepaway” concluded. His older brothers felt this bit of info was on a “need to know” basis, so new kids had to find out the hard way.

When he was about five or six, Corwin decided it was funny to pee the space heater. He’d fall all over himself to beat his mama in the front door, drop his pants, and spray the open flame with a stinking deluge that spattered, steamed, and spewed up the whole house. As he sprayed from side to side, kids would be scattering to avoid the stream. Should he have any ammo left, bystanders got it. His mother made a token protest, followed by, “I don’t know what makes that boy act like that.” Daddy told my aunt he’d hooked an electric shock to the heater, so Corwin would be electrocuted. She believed Daddy, so made Corwin give it up. I was sorry it wasn’t true.

Corwin was horrible. We all hated him. To make a long story short, Corwin was so darned mean, nobody would have stuck up for him. About that time, Daddy brought in some goats. At any rate, when Corwin saw goat pills littering the yard, he thought, they were chocolate M&Ms and gobbled quite a few before he noticed the taste was off. My brother and I made sure he had all he wanted. Seemed like justice.

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Conquering Corwin (Part 1)

Pooped pantsIn my family of “Mixed Nuts” Cousin Corwin was the winner, hands down.  When he was about twelve, he and his twin Kelvin got in a little “dust up” with the police, so it seemed like a good time to get out of town.  Aunt Essie called Daddy, asking if the twins could come spend a few days.  Now if the image “twins” brings to mind thoughts of “barefoot boys with cheeks of tan,” think again.  Kelvin to all intents and purposes, could have passed for normal, but Corwin was nuts.  At five foot eight and two hundred and sixty pounds, he was physically intimidating.  His pale blue eyes blazed with madness.  He ripped through a fried chicken like a chain saw.  Mother had to double the amount she normally cooked the minute he arrived.

Aunt Essie’s call for relief was well-timed.  Mother and Daddy were just about to leave on a much-anticipated vacation.  Though Mother could only hear Daddy’s end of the conversation, it was clear he was assuring Aunt Essie “taking the boys will be no problem.  I’ll straighten them out. We’ll come get them as soon as we get back.  They can stay as long as they want.  They’ll always have a home with us.”  He hung up, turning to Mother.  She was murderous!  Like any right thinking human with twelve years’ experience with Corwin, she despised him.  She’d spent most of those years defending her girls from his attacks.

“Are you crazy?  I don’t want that maniac out here!  He is not coming!”

“Yes, he is!  I’ve already told Essie we’ll come get them as soon as we get back from vacation. I’m going to bring those boys out here, put ‘em to work and straighten ‘em out.  There’s not a kid in the world I can’t conquer!”

“You can’t straighten them out.  You deserve what you get!  Go get them whenever you want to.  We’re not going on vacation!”

Conceding that point, Daddy left, returning several hours later returning with two sullen, hostile boys.  Since neither Mother nor the girls had anything to say to him either, it was a quiet house except for chicken bones crunching when Corwin ate.  Corwin was exhausted after his big supper and brush with the police so Mother showed him to his bed right after supper.  As soon as she cleaned up the kitchen, she went on to bed, leaving Daddy up by himself.  He was horrified to find Corwin in his bed when he got ready to turn in.  He went to find Mother.  She bunked in with the girls, partly to protect them.

“Corwin’s in my bed!” Daddy roared.

“Yep.  You may as well go ahead and get started straightening him out tonight.”  She turned over, the bed shaking with her giggling.  Daddy knew when he was whipped.

He got up, blasting the boys out of bed the next morning about six.  They were sullen, rubbing their eyes.  He was full of false cheer, enjoying the prospect of teaching them to work, turning them into productive humans.  They dragged away from the table, out into the dawn’s early light.  They were back at noon, to eat and rest in the heat of the day.  The boys were unhappy.  I don’t think their morning had gone well.  Daddy was trying to force a good mood on everybody.  After an hour and a half’s rest, he had them back at it.  They ate, bathed, and fell in bed that night.  The next morning, he had to drag them out of bed, openly hostile.  They took potshots at him at breakfasts before he dragged them off.  By noon, things clearly had heated up.

By the fifth day, Daddy was sick of them, but stuck in the nightmare he’d created.  He had alienated everybody.  In one camp, Mother and the girls hated him.  In the other, he was spending his vacation trying “straighten out” two juvenile delinquents who openly despised him and made his life a misery on every turn. It was a challenge having to having work like a dog trying to teach them to work when he’d planned to be on vacation.

There was no escaping the nightmare as he spent his nights with the corpulent, malodorous, psychopathic Corwin, snuggled up against him.  One morning Daddy got up to find he had no clean underwear in his drawer.  While he was searching, the putrid scent of feces drifted from the general area of his closet.  He investigated, finding that Corwin had suffered digestive issues, soiled his dainties and concealed them deep in Daddy’s closet, rather than admit to his weak sphincter.  Exhausting his underwear wardrobe, he’d helped himself to Daddy’s, which he also soiled and concealed.  Daddy had had enough.  He made Corwin take the whole disgusting pile outdoors and wash it. Corwin found he didn’t care for washing aged crap out of his (and Daddy’s) drawers, retching the whole time.  He felt Daddy ought to wash out his own, even though Corwin had crapped them all and was doubly insulted when Daddy insisted he scoop up the piles of poop and haul the filthy wash water far from the house to dump it.  He would have had absolutely no problem leaving the slimy, stinking mess lying on the ground next to the faucet. To everyone’s relief, Corwin called Aunt Essie, begging to go home.  That saga had ended with Daddy finding a kid he couldn’t conquer.

To be continued

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Rudy Carries On

imageJody’s rooster acted just like him, except maybe for the drinking.  He was in a chronic bad mood, always looking for a fight. We could hear him coming. “ Aruuh, aruuuh, aruuuh.”  He sounded like the screeching of metal rubbing against itself.  He entertained himself by stalking around and finding someone or something to attack.  We all despised Rudy, and ran when we heard, “Aruuh, aruuh, aruuh.”   I was visiting the neighbor kids, Lainy and her mean big sister Nita, when Rudy hopped the Austin’s fence into their yard.  If Nita ever played with us, we could usually count on a mean trick, like stomping our mudpies or kicking down the walls of our playhouses.  As we sat in the grass making clover chain necklaces, Nita jumped up and ran in the house.  She latched the screen door behind her, not saying a word.  Lainy and I just kept on making our necklaces when we heard, “Aruuh, aruuh, aruuh,” right behind us.

Rudy had sneaked up on us.  We tried to escape, but he jumped high on Lainy’s back, hanging onto her hair, clawing and scratching her with his big spurs.  I made it to the front porch, but Rudy hung on to Lainy, flogging and clawing.  Every time she tried to make it to the porch, Rudy clawed her again, and off she went, his beating fueling her terror.  Poor little Lainy ran round and round the house, that sneaky Nita running from window to window, door to door, laughing and enjoying the whole thing.  When Lainy’s mother realized what was going on, she raced to Lainy’s rescue. Rudy kept spurring Lainy somewhere out in the yard . Finally, Lainy’s mother caught up to her and pulled Rudy off her.  Furious as a mama bear, she whirled Rudy around smartly to snap his evil neck, slung him a few times around her head to do be sure she’d done the job right, then turned him loose to do his final chase around the yard.  Even though his head hung to one side and flopped madly as he ran in circles, it wasn’t comforting to see the depraved monster coming at us again.

Jody Austin had started over to save his property when he realized Rudy had gotten in over his head, but reconsidered when he saw Rudy’s sad fate at that enraged mama’s hands.  Nita didn’t fare too well when her Mama made time to deal with her, either.

Christmas Nightmare with Evil Larry

christmas-santa-boy-define-goodMy brother just called to remind me of his troubles with our cousin Larry, the bane of his existence. Larry was probably the only reason I had to be glad I wasn’t a boy when I was a kid. Thanks for that, Larry. Larry was fifteen months younger than me, falling right between me and Bill in age. Back then, our families had lots of overnight visits. Poor Bill was stuck sleeping with our cousins Larry and Tory, both power bedwetters. Though it was remarkable that Bill hadn’t wet the bed since he was a baby, when Larry and Tory visited, they both arose in the morning accusing him of drenching them. He still recounts the horrible sensation of sleeping between them, feeling that initial warm, then slightly stinging feeling that quickly cooled to the shock of awakening in a puddle. It must have been awful for kids who wet the bed to have to sleep over in the days before protective pants. Thank goodness for the advances that saves kids’ precious dignity and pride today.

However, Bill’s major complaints weren’t about the innocent concern of Larry’s bedwetting. He was a malicious kid, who reminded me of nothing more than a rat. First of all, no one wanted him around. Secondly, his personality revolved around his urinary habits. Not only did he wet the bed, he ran around with his pants unzipped so he could sneak up and pee on other kids. The fastest kid around, he normally escaped before we could catch and mutilate him. He didn’t seem to need friends, his social needs seemingly satisfied by his constant meanness. We used to joke that he would wind up on the Pea-Farm, the local penitententiary, which he certainly did.

One Christmas, Bill managed to slip into Mother’s walk-in closet and discover his major Christmas gift, a magnificient electronically controlled car. It was huge, probably more than two feet long. He’d turned on the light and was quietly playing with it in the closet when Mother sought him out and caught him in the act. She played out her big guilt act, “I hope you enjoyed yourself, because you’ve just ruined my Christmas. I am taking that car back tomorrow!”

Of course, Bill was just sick with guilt and loss, like he was supposed to be. On Christmas day, he was overjoyed to find the wonderful toy sitting under the tree, after all. Since Christmas fell on a Sunday that year, the kids couldn’t miss church that day of all days. He didn’t get to play with it then, just admired it and put it away till after church. Mother stayed home to get Christmas dinner going. Daddy stayed to make sure she did it right. The invading hoard of relatives descended before we got back. Though we had carefully locked all our loot away, the evil Larry had gotten a hair pin and picked the lock on Bill’s door. He found his precious car apparently just as he’d left it, except, when he tried to run it, nothing happened. When he turned it over, all the wires had been snatched loose from their connections. The only time he’d gotten to play with it were those few guilt ridden minutes in the closet.

More about the evil Larry later. There’s far too much to end it here.