The New Kid came to Our Junior High. He was big and tough, dark and brooding. He never said a word. He was of the mysterious loner archetype.
This is a true story. Only the names and places have been changed to protect the INNOCENT, the guilty, and the unwashed rabble between.
About 45 years ago, a new kid came to Our Junior High. He was big and tough, dark and brooding. He never said a word. He was of the MYSTERIOUS LONER archetype somewhat in the mold of the titular character in Billy Jack. Since that name is taken, let’s call him The New Kid. He arrived with a twin sister. Plain, normal, middle of the road, mousy brown hair. She’s called Mouse One.
About two weeks into their arrival in Our Fair City, word exploded like WILDFIRE through Our Junior High, that The Hood had challenged The New Kid to a fight. The Hood was the school hood, doy, big and tough in a stocky-square sort of way, blonde hair slicked back, cigarette, the complete 50’s look straight out of Grease. The fight was set for later that day.
At 3:30 p.m., about 200 kids, boys and girls alike, arrived at a vacant lot about 300 yards north of the school. It was on this HARDSCRABBLE bit of suburbia that battle was to be had. I was worried the police would come and was kind of hoping they did. I was feeling bad for The New Kid who had done nothing more than arrive at Our Junior High. He had not a single friend in Our Fair City.
Without fanfare, the fight started almost immediately. They say styles make a fight. This was a clash of styles. The New Kid immediately took the initiative by going for a grappling move and attempted take-down. He was, apparently, a wrestler. He had The Hood around the waist and was trying to force him to the ground. The Hood was standing firm and not going down. It was a stalemate. A matter of physics. The irresistible force against the immovable object. The New Kid’s face was about waist level on The Hood and they were locked up tight. There was not much room to operate. Then The Hood rocked The New Kid with a couple of constrained, hard, right hooks to the mouth. BRIGHT RED BLOOD ran across The New Kid’s mouth. That was it. The fight was over. I remember thinking The New Kid fought a more honorable fight, not throwing punches, considering the whole thing should not have happened anyway, and I scored it as his win. The girls and boys, their blood-lust satisfied, went their separate ways, alone and in groups, to their suburban homes, where Snickers Bars, Pepsi, and Gilligan’s Island awaited. Life continued its unabated march …
But the story does not end there. I remember Mouse One and The Hood in Our High School. Mouse One, for her part, was now considerably less mousy. She had a friend, Mouse Two, a tall brunette. They were both pretty attractive, but were off in their own little GEEB WORLD, population two. They both wore sheer, natural, pantyhose with dress shoes and with short shorts to school. Yep, I remember this. In the very stratified social milieu of a big city, well-to-do, suburban high school, these two were well down in the sediment with the Crinoid Stems and Trilobites. Hey, there.
Then one day, the context escapes me, but I think it had to do with Our Hip English Teacher, Mouse One and Mouse Two were suddenly singing a duet of The Beatles’ Blackbird, both playing guitars, in front of our class. The thing was so good, so professional even, that it was undeniable and everyone just sat there amazed and gap-jawed and dumbfounded. THE THINGS THAT ROSE FROM THE SEDIMENT now bore reevaluation. From time to time, thereafter, I thought about Mouse One, but the stunning performance is the last thing I remember about her.
The Hood continued on with his hard look and ways. He missed his true calling by not playing high school football. Too many cigs, I guess, but in gym class he dealt out PAIN in flag football and was absolutely brutal to tag when he carried the ball. He might get tagged or might not, but you were going to get ruthlessly run over. Fantastic fullback and linebacker material, there, unfulfilled.
Then, I ran into The Hood one day in THE BOWELS of a large building on the campus of A Major Midwest University. He looked completely different, like a normal student. He said he had been selling funeral plans, but, now, here he was in college. I remember being totally amazed at how collegial he was in all ways. That was the last I saw of him.
And I do not remember one instance of The New Kid after the fight. As far as my memory is concerned, he was GONE, vapor-like, an ether in the mist. Strange, isn’t that. So, I guess, I would best like to imagine him, a Billy Jack, one lonely figure on a dusty desert road, a cipher perhaps, in the fading sunset, a silhouette in black.
Anyway, that is what happened when The New Kid and Mouse One came to OUR FAIR CITY.