But anyway, it started out just the same as every other year. I grabbed my lawn chair, a bucket of hot wings and 4 liters of Dr. Pepper and headed down to the Walmart audio/video department to watch it on their big screens. Must have been the economy or something, but I couldn’t even make it through the pre-game show before I was beset upon by a bevy of salesman (or is it a gaggle of salesman? Or a brood? A shame of salesman? I don’t know zoology) who kept yammering about 1080P this and HDMI that. Before they could waste any more of my time, I gave them my neighbor’s social and told them to go run a credit check. That kept them out of my hair for a piece, but midway through the first quarter, security showed up, and, even though I was in strict compliance with their ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service’ policy, they tried to escort me out anyway. As if ‘pants are implied’ is a valid legal argument. That’s why I like the Dollar Tree. I don’t have to get dressed up all fancy like I do when I go to the Walmart. No big screens at the Dollar Tree, though.
Regardless, it turns out Paul Blart Mall Cop was well researched and remarkably accurate. Before they could get the second cuff on me, I twisted free, grabbed my stuff and easily eluded them out through the fire escape. I huffed across the street to Iggy’s Sports Bar where the hostess tried to abscond my food and turn me away, muttering something about not allowing outside food into their establishment. Like they’re going to have lots of business on Super Bowl Sunday. What self-respecting man goes to a sports bar to watch the Super Bowl? They might as well just close up shop like they do on Christmas.
Anyway, after a brief and animated discussion which began with me asking the hostess for her phone number and ended with her throwing a crumpled post-it note at me scrawled with the numbers 911, I exited the lobby, moved around to the side of the building and set up shop in the bushes. If I leaned forward, cupped my hands and pressed my face against the tinted window, I had a clear view of the game on their big screen. Except for when that stupid kid started slapping his hand against the glass right in front of my face. And doing blow fishes at me. Annoying whelp! If you can’t control your brood in public, you really ought to just keep them in the kennel. I glared at the parents, but they didn’t even scold him or nothing, just summoned the waitress over.
A few minutes later I saw the hostess come around the side of the building, and I thought she must have reconsidered my offer and had come to apologize for her rude behavior earlier. But then I saw the big gorilla she had in tow and figured otherwise. Since cowardice is often the better part of valor, I hoofed it. After nearly a block and a half when I couldn’t possibly run another step, I noticed they hadn’t bothered to give chase. Guess they knew better than to mess with me. Cowards.
It was about that time when I noticed the house in front of me. It had a big bay window out front, and I could easily see the game on the lovely, large plasma inside. I set my chair in the front yard and pulled out my binoculars to get a better view. I’d missed the halftime show, but I’d heard later there hadn’t been any wardrobe malfunctions this year, so, in retrospect, I didn’t feel too bad about missing it. Anyway, everything was pretty shiny until midway through the third quarter when the front door to the house burst open and a spry old geezer hobbled out brandishing a small gauge, single barrel shotgun in my general direction. Just before the gunshot, I heard a shrill, shaky voice screaming, “Get your filthy peepers off of my wife, you bleeding peeping tom pervert!”
As I was knocked backwards in my lawn chair by the blast, the gaze through my binoculars was thrust upward to the second story window. Time seemed to stop, and I could see everything with a vivid clarity. The wife in question was still standing in the window wearing less than should be legally allowed by a lady of her antiquity. Why she was still standing in the window was unclear to me. But as I gazed up at her through this timeless drop, it seemed that I recognized her. It was my second grade teacher, many decades past retirement age now. During the eternity it took me to hit the ground, she just stood there, peering down at me with one eyebrow raised erotically. Through the wrinkled landscape of her countenance, I could have sworn I saw her wink and smile and then part her lips ever so slightly as her tongue smoothly caressed her upper lip.
My stomach curdled, and then time started again as I hit the ground. As the geezer fumbled to reload, I scrambled to my feet and ran until I couldn’t run anymore, and then I crumpled to a heap on the ground, clutching my scatter shot bucket of chicken to my chest. Turns out I’d been holding the bucket in my lap, and the chicken had absorbed the bird shot that had been meant for my manhood. My life was saved by a heaping helping of greasy, artery-clogging goodness. How’s that for irony? I think I may have been in shock, and I fell asleep picking the bird shot out of the wings.
I was found there the next morning, rocking the chicken to my breast and muttering, “Wink…. smile…. tongue…. wink…. smile... tongue.” Over and over again. Now every time I close my eyes, old Mrs. Bradley is there staring down at me from that window with one eyebrow raised erotically. And you know that dream you always had as a child where you show up to school naked. Well, I’m having it again, and it’s always my old second grade classroom, and she’s always there, dressed exactly as she was in that window, beckoning me toward her. And the frightening thing is I don’t know if it is a nightmare or not. And I awake thinking, If only that old geezer didn’t have a gun, I just might go knocking on that door. But then I realize that’s only the dream speaking. At least I think it is.
So, to get back to my original purpose in relating this, my therapist thinks I need to change my Superbowl routine next year to encourage the healing. I won’t be watching it at the Walmart next time. I think I’ll head on over to Best Buy.
This has been an excerpt from the Holiday section of Uncle Sid's Guide to Homeschool Your Hellions, available at Amazon for kindle, and composed by me, Lactose the Intolerant. If you enjoyed this, check it out. It's only $5.99, and all the proceeds go to charity.