72. DESTROY NOT
One cool thing was this Warren Gustin
fellow, with whom I was working for
milk and meat at one period, had an
older sister named Neva. If he was 38
then, she much have been maybe 44-45.
I only met her twice, but I thought she
had the coolest name. One time I
asked Warren about it, and he said
she was named after a river in Russia,
near St. Petersburg. The Neva River.
I wasn't even aware they were Russian,
but I guess they were, or part or
something. I ended up just thinking
it was a unique and nicely curious
name. I guess like being called
Hudson or something. Other than
that, actually, I'd have to say there
were no particular distinguishing
characteristics about him or his
family. His wife's name was Barbara.
All his kids names started with 'D'.
Maybe that was unique : Debbie,
Diane, David, and Dennis.
It seems here I maybe have run
on a bit too much, about things.
To the extent that here in this
grouping of tales being related,
I'm not always sure if I'm just
not repeating something I've
already related. These stories of
real-life occurrences still mostly
have enough vividness in them
to sometimes hit me yet as having
just occurred. It's a funny feeling.
This entire part of my life, now, in
retrospect, represents in years less
than half of the life I've lived after
it. So what's that tell you? It tells
me scary! Like physical scars on
a beaten up body now covered with
tattoos about all other things, no
one really wants to look, but I keep
showing. Well, that's how I feel.
This Jim Watkins fellow I've
mentioned. Borderline nut case,
fragmented fellow - he came to
know me early on, like a stalker
knows a prey. Just always going on,
weird blue eyes, recently released
from the nuthouse-rehab place up
by Towanda. Little did I know, and
less did I know what I should have
known. He was a bit cloying, always
finding a way in to get my interest or
attention - Baseball coach? Wrong
muscles on farmer kids for baseball?
Huh? Anyway, one time I did let it
go too far. My wife was in the Towanda
Hospital for an operation. My young
son was being watched at Verna
Beeman's home some ways up the
road, for the week. Verna was good
that way, and ran a sort of day-care
by need. Finding out my place was
just me, Jim stupidly came by to ask
if, since I had all that room, he and
his friends could use it for a birthday
party for some girl. I should have,
I should have, I should have, thrown
him off my front porch that instant,
though he'd probably have clocked
me anyway. He had that certain
craziness in and behind his eyes.
(If I were to name him, looking back,
he'd be called 'Never' - named by
me after the Never River). I'll skip
most of the gory details, but it all
went bad. A bunch of wild girls
came over, the birthday one bringing
her own birthday cake. She was dressed
like some German milk-maiden or
something, and the rest of the girls,
maybe 5 or 6 of them, were dressed as
various things, whores and hookers
among them. The guys who arrived
were all dressed as vicious wolves.
They came as themselves, so to say.
Just add alcohol. It all went bad. As
it turned out, a madly drunk, and
excruciatingly angry Jim Watkins,
reacting to my protestations and
demands that they leave - please get
dressed first, ladies, and leave -
turned on me, flipped a few chairs
around and over, made a real shambles
of the room, and belted me around
pretty good too. All before leaving.
Once they were all gone, I checked
around, making sure of things like
teeth, eyelids and all still being in
order, cleaned up my mess (I
considered it all my own doing, the
entire stupid episode), and learned
my lesson but good. Never saw Jim
again, never saw any of the girls.
I did see Lloyd Perry and a few of
his hacks a couple of times later on.
But I didn't ever understand their
language. I don't speak Grunt.
Would I have any reason, any
reason beyond a doubt to call others
out on any of this? I think not. This
was another way of life. I was there,
and I either accept the consequences
of that sort of living or kindly get
lost. There certainly were no covens
of intellectuals or artist-types or
deep-thinkers around. I'm not sure
if there was a library, I don't think
I ever saw one. I was on my own
and with that story of my own too.
Destroy not, lest ye be destroyed.
Know what I mean?