Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Conclusion: Giant Killer

Ricky let out a shrill whistle and waved urgently to stop me from staring at the Scottish lady on the billboard. A mistake. He drew unwanted attention before running away.

Chris Ferris and two of his henchmen, Donny Greco and Phil Jaggly, approached like jackals about to pounce on Bambi. Chris Ferris, a head and a half taller than me, had long ago assumed the task of making my life miserable. Jaggly, who had so many freckles it looked like a fountain pen had exploded in his face, spent many an afternoon in detention. Greco, like Ricky, was becoming well-known by the police. I was too fat and slow to get away, and they took their time surfing the gravel slope to the bottom of the creek.

Ferris, with his trademark toothpick dangling from his lips, looked even more vicious than he did when adults were around. “She’s got big tits,” he said, jutting his jaw in the direction of the pretty lady on the billboard. “Like big tits, do ya?”

I had nothing against big tits, but kept quiet.

“Know what I think,” Ferris said, “I think you’re sweet on her.”

He reached down for a rock and threw it with all his might.

I don’t know how long the Scottish lady had hung there, or what type of surface she’d been painted on, but the first few throws bounced off of her, after which she disintegrated easily. First to go was her beautiful smile, with a rock taking out several pearly teeth.

“Leave her alone,” I begged, as if she were real and could feel pain.

A mistake.

Greco and Jaggly snickered at me before joining in. They worked up a sweat blitzing that beautiful face until it was a grotesque ruin of what it had once been. As if in response to her agony, a breeze kicked up, twisting and spinning the fragments raining around us.

It felt like an execution. I tried to leave.

“Not so fast, “ Ferris said, blocking my departure with a beefy hand. “What you got there?”

“An albino tadpole.”

“No, I mean on your wrist.”

“You mean my Zorro watch?”

“Yeah. Hand it over.”

No way. The Zorro watch was a birthday present, one of my most cherished possessions. Maybe he could be distracted. “Check out this albino tadpole.”

Jaggly tore the jar from my hands, peered through the glass at the tadpole swimming about in murky water and handed the jar to Donny Greco.

“What the fuck do we want with a freak tadpole?” Greco said. “Let’s dump it on a hot rock and watch it fry.” He passed the jar to Ferris.

Ferris grinned. “Not a bad idea,” His eyes were dark and menacing. “I bet you wouldn’t like that. Just look at you—about to blubber. Give me that watch or this thing’s gonna sizzle like bacon.”

The watch was too precious to hand over. I tried to convince myself he wouldn’t harm an innocent creature, but I knew better. Ferris was known to run through the neighborhood, whacking butterflies with an old tennis racket. “You can’t have my watch!”

“We’ll see about that. But first things first…” He threw the jar high into the air in the direction of a large chunk of concrete surrounded by a sizable puddle. The jar caught the bright slanting light before it collided with the concrete and shattered. The tadpole made like a Mexican jumping bean on the griddle-hot concrete, but with one impressive leap rose into the air, spun about several times and kerplunked into the muddy puddle, disappearing under the concrete.

Ferris noticed the look of relief washing over my face at his failure to torture and kill something I cared about.

“Hand over the watch, Porky!”

“No.” I’d take a beating, but I wouldn’t hand it over.

Ferris approached and stood so close I could smell cigarettes on his breath, undoubtedly smoked on the scaffold. All was quiet while I anticipated that first punch, until the silence was broken by a voice behind me. “You can’t have his watch.”

I spun around and saw Ricky quickly approaching. In years to come I’d always recall him dashing to my rescue with a shimmering sword and knightly armor, but in reality he was unarmed, until he reached the shattered mayonnaise jar and reached down for a shard of glass. Ferris and company had been too distracted to see him returning.

“This isn’t your business, Delgado. Get your bean-shitting ass out of here,” said Greco.

Ricky was the smallest guy present, but when challenged he could puff himself up like a cobra. “It’s a fuckin’ kiddie watch; you don’t want it,” he said, addressing the three of them calmly.

Ferris bent down and plucked a rock from the ground. Greco and Jaggly did the same.

The broken piece of glass in Ricky’s fingers reddened when his grip tightened on it. “C’mon, we’re leaving,” Ricky said, pushing me toward home with his empty hand.

“There’s three of us, Delgado,” Ferris growled, “and only you and this fat sack of shit.”

If Ferris thought Ricky would back down, he was mistaken. Ricky never backed down, not even when beaten by his drunken old man. Ferris took a step forward; so did Ricky. Ferris took another, but never reached us. At that moment a chunk of billboard, sporting a giant eye, caught the breeze, sailed down and caught Ferris on the side of his face. The material was sharp enough to cut. Ferris dropped his rock and pressed a hand to the side of his face, now seeping blood. He moaned and sank to his knees.

Ricky punched me in the arm to shake me out of my paralysis. We beat a hasty retreat while Greco and Jaggly stared at their leader and wondered what to do.

By the time we reached our bikes dinnertime had come and gone. An hour later we peddled to a stop in front of my house, where hell would break loose as soon as I opened the front door. I pulled off the Zorro watch and handed it to Ricky.

“What’re you doing?” he asked.

“Take it; I wouldn’t have it if it weren’t for you.”

He reached for it, his hand caked with blood from clenching that piece of glass. But he changed his mind. “Naw, don’t want it. Got my eye on one with real jewels inside. But I might borrow it sometime, if you don’t mind.”

I didn’t.

This wouldn’t be the last time Ricky Delgado would slay a giant for me.

He never did borrow my Zorro watch.


  1. Good thing Ricky came back. Too bad though for the poor tadpole and billboard. At least he got what he deserved.

  2. What goes around, comes around! He found out the truth of that, didn't he? Another truly great story, and an enjoyable read~

  3. Your own Woim from the "Little Rascals." Way to stand up to him. Great story, unfortunately, whenever I try to open part one it is blank?

  4. An excellent read, Steve. Your story reminds us that there is both good and bad in the wold, and how important it is that we make sure the "good" stays a step ahead at all costs.


  5. You're such a good story-teller. I'm glad the bad guys didn't win :)

  6. very cool story- good for Ricky to step in! And that watch is fantastic! I wouldn't have handed it over either.

  7. Having been in similar situations myself I know the feeling. Friendship indeed!

  8. Shades of "Stand By Me." But more believable. Nice story.

  9. I like Ricky. A. Lot. Good friends that will watch your back is a real blessing, but you already know that. Great story.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  10. I'm glad that you had a good friend to watch your back. I think that some children are born evil. Your excellent story just reminded me of that fact. It's a good thing that I don't have Superman's powers (I know that seems like a completely random comment). However, if I did have Superman's powers and bullets bounced off of me, and I had no fear of anyone. I have to say, that when the sun rises tomorrow, there would be a whole lot of people alive today that wouldn't get to see it rise. People that I've marked as evil in my mind. And yeah...I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

  11. nice story! it's good to have a friend who's got your back and even better if he's a stubborn potty mouth who's been beaten enough to know that he can withstand it if needed.

  12. Ricky is an alright kind of guy if you ask me. Those other turds got what they deserved. :)

  13. Everyone should have a "Ricky" in their life!!

  14. Nice that you had a friend. But now I'll never know if the white tadpole ever ended up being a white frog.

  15. You have kept my belief in "good triumphs over evil" alive and well, thank-you-very-much! So maybe you didn't kick his ass (as you denied in part one's comments) but karma took care of it for you.

    Yay for Ricky. It's never easy to stand up for a cause but the fact he did so against uneven odds. What a great friend. Sometime you will have to tell us what happened to Ricky and how he turned out.
    And more importantly did he keep the freckles?

    As for your nemesis, Ferris and his henchman. Dare I hope they are all doing time in prison now?

  16. Such a great story. Girls (or the girls I knew) have a different kind of battles, fought mostly with words and behind people's backs. Coming-of-age boy stories, like this one, sound extreme and terrifying, and I guess in fact they were. At least you knew who and what you were dealing with, and each boy's character showed for what it was. That certainly makes a better story, and probably a better life lesson. Ricky, in spite of his record, was a righteous guy.

  17. Excellent story Stephen, It seems we all have a friend like Ricky and have been bullied by the likes of these three, I always like to see them get put into their places so to say, simply by standing up usually does it, the falling piece from the billboard was the Scottish lady helping you out too.

    Friends like Ricky last a lifetime, the bullies are gone before you know it.

  18. Stand By Me came to my mind too. I'm glad the tadpole was okay. So did Ricky get the watch with the jewels inside?

  19. I guess everyone has a story a lot like this. You sound like a carbon copy of my childhood me. And MY bullies were the neighborhood terrors: the Zowines. I sincerely hope they're dead. Well, in jail (because wishing someone dead is probably bad. Unless it was Hitler).
    I happen to like big tits.
    Except on dudes.

  20. Well, i hope Ricky grew up to be as eloquent in what he chose as his life work as you are with words.

  21. God bless Ricky Delgado. I hope he married well and became a great success at his chosen profession of superhero.


  22. The white knight always appears at just the right time and then is aided by a surprise event. Enjoyed your story.

  23. Great story! And yes, what happened to Ricky Delgado? Or even the three bullies, Chris Ferris, Donny Greco and Phil Jaggly?

  24. Wow! What a true, brave friend you had in Ricky!! And the billboard beauty, too. ;)
    I still felt badly for the albino tadpole, but the tadpole's shattered jar gave Ricky the weapon he needed. Funny how things like that work out. Love how you tell a story. :) :)

  25. Gripping story. Kept me in suspense until the end.

  26. It's stories like these that make me glad I was never a boy.


  27. Between the current movie outing of "The Expendables" and that photo, I loved this story! :D)

  28. What a great story! God, bullies are awful. Thank goodness for people like Ricky. I enjoyed every bit of this, you really are a gifted writer.

  29. Hey CC "Peeping Toms" comes up blank just like part 1 of the bullying story! This is bumming me out. Anyone else reporting this? I have no other blog reading issues. I need my CC fix!

    Really Cranky

    1. I'm experiencing the same issue. Thought it was me, not holding my tongue right while clicking!

  30. You spin this into a book and I'll stay up all night reading. Hey, Young Adult is hot, hot hot.
    But honestly, your characters were plucking my heart strings from the get-go.

  31. It's amazing how true friends are there when you need them. Ricky sounds like quite a guy!

  32. Just tripped over an interesting fact. 55% of YA is purchased by adults and 78% of those adults bought the book for their own enjoyment. Hint, hint.

  33. What a great tale. Love guys like Ricky! We need more of them.

  34. What a great ending! Your story was so well written and a blast to read. Well done!

  35. I can never hope to understand kids like this...please tell me this is a chapter in a novel, and not your life retold...

  36. What an incredible story told in such a real and raw way. I will never understand bully personalities like that, but thank God for people like Ricky.

  37. I didn't want this story to end! It was awesome! More! Write more!!!!

  38. Ferris sounds a right charmer - I wonder what he's doing now?

  39. Awww... what a great friend Ricky was. I don't ever remember being bullied, but I was such a Tomboy that I might have smacked them had they tried. I used to beat the boys arm wrestling so maybe everyone was afraid of me.

    Still having trouble commenting on new posts.