The Ones You Wonder About

The kids came over. Discussion turned to people they’d brought home with them over the course of the years. So many were memorable characters, and the reminiscing turned to pondering what happened to the ones we enjoyed who drifted out of our lives again. One such fellow came to mind for me. Big kid. Big smile. Bigger heart. Nicknamed him Big Country.

Brian. From Texarkana. A young man who’d never been off the wheat farm until he joined the Marine Corps. Lord help him, he wound up friends with my oldest son for the duration of their enlistment and was involved in several adventures. One in particular stands out.

This guy was known for quoting his father and his infinite wisdom. And after years of my kids rolling their eyes at all my suggestions, it had me taking Brian’s side in every argument. But Brian was easy to lead into new adventures while under the influence of Uncle Dickel. Uncle Dickel being the nickname they gave to George Dickel whiskey.

Several of the Marine Corps unit were taking turns riding someone’s motorcycle in a back alley off base, each trying to outdo the other with speed and feats of alcohol fueled daring-do. They tried to get Brian to ride the thing. He was quick to tell them all, “My Daddy said to never get on a motor-cicle! They’re nothing but dangerous! And my Daddy knows what he’s talking about!”  They razzed him pretty badly, but he stuck to his guns. At least temporarily.

Uncle Dickel got to talking in his head, and finally convinced him –with the help of several hooting buddies– that Dad didn’t know everything. With his manhood being bashed he finally agreed to try to ride a motorcycle for the first time. I knew it was a bad idea.

Somebody found him a helmet. It was too big and kept tilting over his eyebrows so badly he had to tip his head back to be able to see out from under it. They got him straddle of the machine and talked him through the mechanics. Key word here is ‘talked’. There was no actual training. He was taught left hand is the clutch; right hand is the gas. Somehow they entirely left out brake.

Buddies propping him and the bike up on both sides, he kept the clutch squeezed down and cranked back the throttle. Thought it was revved a little high, personally. But hey, who can reason with a bunch of Marines? Surely not the mom. I’m just the one left dancing around the fringes asking, “I really need to know here! Are you medicine cabinet hurt, or emergency room hurt?”

They encouraged Brian to keep the RPM’s up so he wouldn’t stall it out, and the bike was sitting there screaming like a scalded cat. Now should probably be the time to mention this was a racing bike. The clutch is specially designed not to slip. It grabs no matter what and slings the bike forward without any hesitation.

Jerry said, “Okay Brian. You loosen your hand on the clutch–”

Brian shot down the alley, wobbling, craning his head like a long-necked bird trying to see from beneath the helmet.

“–slowly,” my son finished too late. “Brakes! Brakes!” he started screaming as Brian picked up instant momentum. One of the guys thought to ask, “Who taught him brakes?” When no one could answer they turned as a unit, glum-faced. Something was going to get damaged. Bike or friend was left to see.

Physics took over. Brian, jerked back when the bike took off, lost the foot pegs. Without the pegs to stabilize him, he almost went feet first off the back of the bike. Instinct had him tightening his hands on the handlebars as his body slid backward on the slick leather bike seat. The further he slid back, the further the throttle opened up. His speed kept increasing until he was lying helpless, belly down on the bike. Vicious, vicious cycle.

There went Brian, hurtling down the alley, lying atop the tank of a screaming bike and hanging on for dear life. All I could think was how much the boy resembled a flying wasp or giant dirt dauber with his long legs dangling stretched out behind him, doing a little flutter-step every time his toes intermittently bounced off the pavement.

Thank heavens there was a huge metal Dipsey Dumpster at the end of the alley to catch him. (Said tongue in cheek.) He slammed the empty container head-on. Sounded like an explosion echoing through the alley with impact. Both bike and Brian fell over in a silent, motionless heap.

Everybody took off running toward the crash scene, expecting the worst. Just as they arrived Brian came to and jumped up, kicking and yelling, the helmet jammed so far down on his head he couldn’t get it off at first. It finally turned loose where it had swallowed his head and he slung it against the nearest wall.

The boy was full of righteous indignation. “Daddy said them motor-cicles was dangerous! Maybe now you’ll believe he knows what he’s talking about!”

Uncle Dickel offered comfort, and Brian came away with a new unit record. Not many guys can claim they dented a 500 pound garbage container with their head.

I really don’t expect him to be reading a romance writers blog, but I can always hope. Or maybe someone reading this knows him. At any rate, if Brian is anywhere out there: I still wonder about you. I’d love to see you again, young’un. I’ll even fry you chicken. You deserve it!

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7 Responses

  1. Oh Runere…I love your stories!

    I do believe this Brian probably still boasts about his unit record and if he has children, he probably passes on the great wisdom his father bestowed upon him (even if he managed to be talked out of it a time or a million). But at least he can say “I know what I’m talking about because I didn’t listen to my daddy so you should listen to me.”

    • I absolutely loved Big Country! Hubby took a shine to him too. Wish there was a way to track him down after all these years. So I could meet his father! lol Always wondered what HE was like!

  2. Love it and you really need to hunt that child down and feed him some chicken. He deserves it!

    • He watched me fry chicken from start to finish, taking copious notes! lol He called from California during sniper school to say he was a big hit with his single cooking skill!

      So I’d absolutely have to fry him his own personal batch!

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rebecca Zanetti, JIllian. JIllian said: The Ones You Wonder About: http://t.co/PFlh8TG […]

  4. The Ones You Wonder About « Southern Sizzle Romance…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

  5. Great Story!! You should consider writing some comedy for publication. I enjoy everyone so much!! RitaVF

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