I walked down the alley as I had so many times before noticing all of its unique elements. I waved at Mrs. Young who always seemed to cook onions with everything that she ate and has created in me a lifelong love for anything onion. I tried to avoid Mrs. Wood who always gave me chewing tobacco scented kisses on my cheek which seemed to stay in place for hours. I even had luck today catching a bumblebee in the odd flowers that grew out of Mr. Smith’s yard; this time without getting stung.
Today was different though; there was a puppy in the mean people’s yard. No body seemed to know their names; other than they were the mean people. Many stories circulated about those people; they ate their young and in their basement were the countless bleached bones of all who dared to cross their paths. They had a puppy and on a dare I moseyed into no man’s land. For the sake of the darling puppy and the dare, I decided to cross the barrier; to actually reach into the mean people’s yard and pet their dog.
While I was in the process of bonding with this dog who seemed to be very happy to see me; so happy that he actually left a small puddle near the gate, one of the mean people’s kids came out. You could tell that this was one of the mean people’s kids in that he came outside in his diaper; just his diaper. The good news was that today his diaper was clean so having been emboldened by the response I got from his dog that if I believed that I could even get a good response from this mongrel kid as well.
As I reached out to greet this diaper wearing kid there was an odd juxtaposition of all of creation. A breeze blew a speck of dust into the little kid’s eye just as I was reaching out to shake his little hand. Before I could apologize, Baby Brother came to the door, saw his Nephew crying and decided that Judgment Day had come.
I always had the ability to speak somewhat well so I decided to explain to Baby Brother who was in front of me now exactly what happened. I was seven and Baby Brother had to be in his late thirties but built like Adonis and seemingly was at least ten feet tall. As I opened my mouth to speak my adversary immediately shut me down with his well rehearsed pimp talk.
“You hit my Nephew”
“No, I merely…”
“Did I say you could speak?
Am I crazy?
Are you the man?
Am I a punk?
So you are grown“
This went on for a few minutes and unfortunately, Baby Brother believed in an eye for an eye. While I stood there I saw out of the corner of my eye a fist coming with its own jet stream attached. I found out that day that a hard hit can discombobulate your entire bodily system. First of all I found that I was able to teleport to the other side of the alley without even touching the ground. My eyes lost their ability to see in that everything went white. After a few minutes of furious blinking I was able to turn the snow blind state that my eyes were in to a series of bugs crawling in a tapestry of lights.
Wow. I survived a solid punch from Superman. I think that my brain went out also because I stated yelling at Baby Brother “You can’t knock me down…You can’t knock me down!”
My taunts threw Superman into a rage so ferocious that three men had to hold him back. I decided that it was a good idea to head home. As I made my way home I slowly began to look more and more like Popeye as my eye began to close shut. I wore that like a badge of honor having survived a hard hit from Baby Brother.
Everyone on their back porches saw the encounter and by the time I got home Dad had already gone for the cigar box. The cigar box contained his ultimate attitude adjuster which I was never allowed to see. Dad told me once that the cigar box was going to be in the front closet behind the hats but if I ever touched the box my hand would fall off. One day I decided to test that theory by having my sister touch the box. She touched it and I waited a full five minutes and her hand never fell off; maybe it was boy’s hands that would fall off. I decided to test that theory one day but so far that day has never come.
Dad headed down the alley and was joined by Ms. Young, Mr. Smith and even Ms. Woods who I assumed would hit Baby Brother with some well fermented tobacco spit. The kids followed behind feeling I guess responsible for issuing the original challenge. I never found out exactly what happened but from that day on, every time I went down the alley, Baby Brother would turn away and head back into the house. All I would have to do is look at him and away he went. I had super powers.
Well, through all of that I experienced my hardest hit which is actually one that I can still feel to this very day. I found out that with the loving support of those who know of your journey; life’s hard hits are bearable.