Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Things to Do When You're Board

In the early autumn of 1987, my family relocated from sunny Huntsville, Alabama, home of the space shuttle to BFE, Michigan, home of the cow. During this tumultuous and anxiety laden change of culture, I made fast friends with Terry, my frequent co-conspirator and antagonist of at least one previous Bonez posting.

I managed to enter Terry's cadre of friends rather quickly, as we were all rather like-minded teenagers, confused, somewhat angry and full of a love for horror films and special effects. In fact, it is fair to say that our interest in these topics lay beyond just casual interest, to the point that all of us read books and watched videos on the creation and application of gore makeup.

Whereas most children of the day were concerned with the likes of Prince or Paula Abdul, we immersed ourselves in the teachings of the masters; Dick Smith, Rob Bottin, Greg Nicotero, Rick Baker, and the scareman of the board, Tom Savini.

Our lives were endlessly filled with Karo syrup, fake blood, latex appliances, spirit gum and all of the assorted fun that goes with the territory. And soon my parents had to adjust to the fact that their once quiet and timid cello player would now frequently arrive home with large gashes across his forehead, screaming bloody murder and then giggling uncontrollably.

I would say that it's not unreasonable to expect that, in the event of a fairly major catastrophe my parents would have been unlikely to believe that I was actually hurt due to my habit of arriving home with my friends, covered with oozing bite wounds and crying wolf.

Our reputation for the macabre grew with each passing week, until eventually other kids would want in on the action, asking for a gouged this or a torn that. Occasionally we would oblige such requests, but in general the fun was kept to ourselves.

There were a few times that our skills were used to nefarious ends, one of the better being at a Women's Club meeting being held at Terry's house. For some inexplicable reason, we were tasked with keeping an eye on the younger children at the house while the mothers gathered.

Within moments, of course, we had put together a plan on how exactly we would scare the holy hell out of all those kids. The answer was simple. I took them for a walk outside the house, in the dark, and Terry came tearing out from the woods, tackled me, then slashed my throat while I screamed and gurgled. For the record, that act does indeed scare the shit out of little kids.

But let me briefly tell you of my favorite moment involving our love for the grotesque...

When we moved into our home up north, the previous occupants had left behind a handful of items, mainly forgotten remnants. There was a single toy train engine, a bow and a stack of balsa 2x4's. And it was with those 2x4's that we launched our grand plan.

The idea was simple: We would rig the boards with blood squibs, so that if one were to take a 2x4 to the face, an explosion of blood would ensue. Seeing that the boards were balsa, they had no real weight to them, so a full on swing to the head or body caused no pain whatsoever.

We stood by the side of the road, boards in hand, and waited for cars to appear. As soon as they were within sight of us, we would commence pounding the hell out of each other with the 2x4's, wooden beams cracking against bone and spewing crimson with every hit.

So, after an hour or so of cars displaying little to no interest in two young men clubbing the hell out of each other a new car appeared on the horizon. Suspecting that this was going to be the one to stop and run shrieking from their vehicle, we began the fight.

This time Terry landed a spectacular blow to my head and I dropped to the ground, rolling around and screaming in pain and terror as he stood over me, continuously thrashing me with wild eyed concentration, rivulets streaming down my face and droplets flying through the sky with each upswing.

And we were right, as this car did, in fact, stop. Grinning to ourselves over whatever reaction was about to ensue, I managed to steal a glance at the vehicle. It was my mother's.

Terry turned to face the car with a frenzied glare in his eye as the window slowly rolled down. Once it was finished my mother had only this to say to her now comatose son and his bloodcrazed killer:

"I'm going to Wendy's. Do you want anything?"

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4 comments:

camillian said...

Ah, the days of youth.....We all do crazy things when we are kids to try and gain reaction from perfect strangers. The sad thing is, if you two had the chance to do it again, now older and wiser....there would be much, much more blood and body parts would be flying into the road. Kids! I love 'em!!

E said...

If I were to do it today it would involve CGI and a budget of at least $3 mil before we'd even begin.

And I have no idea what you're talking about. I never did a crazy thing in my childhood. Not a one.

GeologyJoe said...

it's funny how Moms can diffuse even the coolest gags with such ease.

E said...

She certainly was cool as a cucumber that time. I guess it just goes with the territory.

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