Sunday, May 16, 2010

Knight on a Charging Schwinn

As this tale opens one must imagine a very young Jeremy. In fact, I was six years old. We had recently moved from Moncks Corner to Williston and, as school hadn't started yet, I only had one friend in town. Jim Melvin lived right down the road from us and our mothers had gone to school together. As a result we were fast friends as soon as I moved to town.

Now, just as with most boys our age fights were inevitable, but as a rule we got along great. Jim was around twice my size in spite of the fact that I was a few months older than he was. I was a small child, but Jim was a colossal one. The great disparity between our sizes was more because he was border line giant than it was due to my being border line fey. (You may think of me as being around the size of some elf child in a Jim Henson production.)

Looking at us no one would ever imagine that we would ever fight. They would probably think to themselves: “Fight? No never! That ogre may occasionally become outraged and pick that elf up and slap him against things until he stops moving, but I'm sure there is never any fight about it...” However, life can be deceptive like that. Nature had given Jim a certain docility of nature and slowness of action. When he and I fought I knew it was about to come to blows a second before he did. As a result the first punch was usually mine.

Once the fight started I'm sure it was something to see. Being in the middle of it one had very little chance to consider it while dodging Jim's tree felling swings. He was as strong as an ox and if he managed to get a hold of me the fight was usually over. However, I was quick and I didn't make it easy to hit me. Still, there were times when I decided to think out conquering Jim rather than just jumping in and hoping for luck. I admit that it was a rare occasion when I was angry enough at Jim to plan out a course of action against him. This story revolves around such an instance, however.

It all began with Dad getting the job that brought us to Williston. Up until that point Mom and Dad had not been in particularly good financial shape. They hadn't been married long before they were blessed with the costly burden of a bouncing baby boy. As Dad's career moved upward my brother was born, so their finances were still in the tank. Once we moved to Williston all that started to change. Dad finally got ahead of Josh and I as an expense and there was a little extra money.

“What has that to do with anything?” you ask? “Who's telling this story?” is my counter question. Moving on: As Dad had a little extra money he decided to buy me a new bike. In fact at the end of the day he decided to buy me a new Schwinn. I was overwhelmed! I had never heard of Schwinn before, but Dad informed me that they made the best bikes in the world. That settled it in my mind. I might never have heard of one before I got my own, but now I felt like the owner of one of the best bikes in the world.

There was only one thing to do! I had to rub it in somebody's face! (I was six... I also think this was the last time I ever did this. In a moment you'll understand why.) I only had one face in town in which I felt I could justifiably rub my fortune. I hopped on my new bike and headed for Jim's.

“Jim, come out here man!” I yelled as I peddled past his front door.

He lived in a large two story home that had an eight foot hedge all along the road in front. The only holes in this hedge gave access to gates that allowed one to reach the road. Anyone stepping through the gate had his or her peripheral vision completely filled with hedge. I only mention it here as it popped in my mind. Although, it will enter into the story later. At last Jim came out to see what was going on.

“Hey, what's up?”

“I got a new bike and you don't!” I yelled riding past him as fast as I could.

“I have a bike!”

“Not a Schwinn!”

“What's a Schwinn?”

“The best bike in the world!”

“I didn't know that...”

“You wouldn't! You ain't got one!”

This dialog continued while I rode back in forth in front of him trying to make sure his face was adequately rubbed. After a while he headed back into his yard and I began riding back and forth in front of his house yelling.

“I got a new bike and you don't!” “It's too bad your old bike isn't a Schwinn.” “Maybe one day you'll get a real bike!” Etc.

I admit on reflection that it was far from my finest hour. Again, I remind the reader that I was six. In fact, even at that age this was somewhat against my nature. However, the idea of picking on Jim overcame all my better instincts. After perhaps five minutes Jim reappeared at the gate. He just stood there looking at me. I decided the time was right for a fly-by so I rode past him so close I could reach out and touch him.

It seems that was exactly what he had been waiting for. He jerked his arm up and threw a lasso made out of carpet string around my neck. Before I could even think of putting on the brakes he jerked the string with all his might. Between my forward momentum and his backward pulling I flew off the bike, into the air and onto the ground in an instant. Jim didn't wait for my rebuttal, he disappeared silently into the hedge as I lay there crying and trying to get my breath back. (Keep in mind Jim was six as well.)

Now, as a grown man I can reflect on the fact that Jim had given me exactly what I deserved. He had provided me with a healthy opportunity for reflection. I like to believe that in this point in my life I would be thankful for the buffet and make use of the experience for self improvement. However, at six years old I felt differently. Even if Jim was right (and even then I suspected he was) that wasn't the point. It was the principle of the thing. Jim couldn't just lay me out and expect to walk away unscathed. In fact I made it my goal to see that he was scathed a bit above the average.

I picked myself up, got on my bike and slowly peddled home. I sat thinking about what I had to do to even this all out. Jim had laid me out so I had to do at least as much to him. The problem with this was the “How?” involved. As I mentioned before Jim was like a small pale gorilla. I could beat him in a fist fight sometimes, but completely lay him out... never. I had to give it to him with no chance of a return from him. I had to take and eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. (I never took the time to consider the fact that I had started all this. That was beside the current point.)

I began to take stock of my resources. I had my bike, obviously. I wanted to include the bike in my revenge in order to put a little more rub on Jim's face. With a little looking around I found an old mop handle. In a flash I was reminded of the knights of old charging across the battle field on their proud steeds. What better revenge could there be? I would ride Jim down like the peasant he was!

I got the mop handle and held in my right hand while I steered with my left. I rode over to Jim's house and put myself in a position where I could see the gate, but where Jim couldn't see me. I stood with my feet on the ground, my left hand on the handle bars and my right hand holding my lance up at rest. I called my massive adversary:


He was still out in the yard.

“Yea, what do you want?”

“Come here, I need to show you something.”


“Come on! You don't need to be like that!”

“I'm not coming out there!”

“Why not? Look, just come here and let me show you this real quick!”

“Well, alright...”

I planned to show him something alright, just as soon as he showed his face through that gate. I couldn't have spaced myself from the gate or timed things any better. As soon as Jim said he was on his way I was on mine. I had just gotten up to full speed when he stepped out of the gate. I shifted my lance aiming right for his head!


I hit him right in the temple! He dropped like a sack grain. Having looked over my shoulder to satisfy myself that he was down and out I rode off into the sunset!

Looking back I can see how dangerous this was and that I could have easily killed him. Thank the Lord he didn't suffer any permanent effects. In fact I'm not certain that he remembered what happened to him after he woke up. All I know is that he didn't tell his Mom and the next day we acted like nothing had happened. I suppose he may have figured turn about was fair play. I feel we both learned a valuable lesson. He learned that I could be very dangerous if angered and I learned that rubbing things in people's faces wasn't a good idea.

I hope you all got a laugh!

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