During Summer, the town of Meridian Mississippi was almost as boring as a dark room with no windows. Of course my brother, Tom never thought that. He was always busy playing war in the forest behind the library with the other rowdy boys. Not only was it boring, it was hot and sticky and old. Pa always said that he'd been living in Meridian for his whole life and when he was my age, he was never bored.
Sometimes, all the kids would have a picnic in the schoolyard.
The girls would wait for their "loyal soldier husbands to come back from the battlefield" and when the boys came back from playing war, the girls would fake cry and wave their handkerchiefs around and hug each other.
Me, I never did that. I sat on the swings until the food came out.
Charles Finch would come back to his "girlfriend" , Susan Mays, bark for a ham sandwich and while we ate, he would tell us lies about himself.
Charles Finch was the biggest liar in Meridian. Even he knew it.
Today he said, "My pa has a rifle at home. When I turn nine he's gonna let me use it. I'm gonna shoot a bear an' a pigeon an' a geerafe. Know what a geerafe is? It's a big yellow thin' with a mile long of a neck an' a purple tongue. That's what Mrs. Wakefield said.I'm a gemme a geeraffe an' a mad dog!"
Of course, Susan believed every word that came out of Charles's piehole, because she favored him.
Lunch in the schoolyard was fun, actually. I would threaten llittle kindergardeners til they gave me whatever food I wanted. Today I got Dewey Stewart to cough up a ham and cheese sandwich, Shirley Wood to hand over an apple, Lollie Margerets to give me a coke, and Bobby Davids to hand over a pack of twinkies. Lollie was crying and said she was gonna fink on me to her momma, and i said she better not or else I'm a' beat her up.
That quieted Lollie down.
I'm a big kid an' I got seniority, nobody's gonna boss me around.
At my school, the little kids stay on the sliding board, the inermediate kids on the parallel bars, and big fourth graders like me, we get the rest. The see-saws, the jungle gym, the sandbox, and the swings. The recess teachers would yell at us, but we never changed.
Meridian was a town chock full of catholics. Meridian don't care if you're mexican, or irish, or greek, or italian, as long as you were catholics. Strict catholics, too. Girls wear skirts, dress nicely on Sundays, kissing before marriage is sinful,never hurt a fellow catholic, yada yada yada.
The kids don't care though, we beat up whoever we want. Yesterday me, Jerry McGraden, Nick Stephanopolous, and Arthur Giocoso all beat up Omar Del Marlio. Omar's eye was black and puffy, and he had a nosebleed, and he cussed at us in Spanish. Or at least, I think he did. We followed him home, yelling that spanish cuss word until he told his pa. His pa came out of the house with a black leather belt held firmly in his hands, and chased us till we hid in Farmer Craigs henhouse. We laughed ourselves silly till Jerry wet his pants, then he got mad and kicked a basket of eggs over.
"What a you crazy idiots doin in my property?!" Farmer Craig screamed. I smuggled some eggs into my pocket as we ran off. I knew perfectly well what I was going to do with it. After supper, I snuck outa the house down to Omar's place. I hurled the egg at the window. It hit the pane. Then, I threw it at the front door. Splat! Omar's bedroom window! Splut! The gutter! Clunk! The birdbath- but my throw wasn't powerful enough and knocked over a statue of Jesus Christ. I gasped and ran onto their lawn. One of the catholic rules is be good to Jesus and he'll be good to you. I was afraid if the real Mr. Jesus saw it, I'd be burning in Hell when I died. I started wiping off the cold goo as quick as I could, but out of the corner of my eye I saw Omar look through his yellow, gooey bedroom window, then he saw me and ran down stairs. I froze. His pa came running out the door after me. He yelled that spanish cuss word. I was running and thought I was gonna get away when I tripped over a bump in the road. I scraped my knee and was too slow to get up because Mr. Delmarlio had got me cornered. He raised the belt up high then with great force smacked it against my head. I cried out, hoping someone would hear me. Slap! Finally after three whacks, Mr. Delmario stopped and I took my chance. I ran till I got home, my hands covering my head.
My own pa put a banddage on my head and said he was sorry but also very ashamed in me. He said I wasn't the type to fight, which made me feel bad, because he didn't know that I've got the record for most black eyes given in one minute.