Monthly Archives: October 2015

SOLOMON QUICK by Solomon Quick written by Charlie Fox Chapter Three

ARNOLD QUICK

Arnold Egbert Quick was born on July 5, 1924 in Monroe, Wisconsin, son of Ephriam and Helena Quick.

He was the youngest of three children the Quicks produced:  Eric, born in 1919 and Agatha, born in 1922 and Arnold.

The Quicks learned early that Arnold was quite mechanical when, at the age of four, he crept into Eric’s room and assembled an entire working crane with Eric’s Erector Set.  Their joy was short-lived when they discovered that Arnold had used that same crane to pick up, then subsequently drop one of Agatha’s porcelain dolls out of an attic window, sending it crashing onto the sidewalk below; scaring a neighbor’s dog which ran squealing across the street to the Edison residence; which startled Little Billy Edison, causing him to ride his bicycle into the street; compelling Frank Bagely to swerve his Ford Model A carrying five Girl Scouts into an oak tree; inducing some cuts and bruises to three of the Little Troopers.

They tried not to let him out of their sight after that.  It wasn’t that easy.

It took some time for Arnold to settle down.  When he was eight he built a glider out of old cardboard boxes and flew it off the roof of their second story house.  Helena was furious, but Ephriam was quite impressed.  “But Darling,” he explained to Arnold’s mother, “he made it all the way to the Jackson house.”  The Jacksons lived four houses away.

Arnold graduated Summa Cum Laude from Mount Freely High School.  Mount Freely, a small town in southern Wisconsin and having only 609 residents, barely qualified to have its own high school.  Arnold’s graduating class had a whopping 43 students in it.  That doesn’t diminish the Arnold’s accomplishment.  He was and still is very smart.  Marion says he’s too smart.

I don’t want to be like Arnold and be too smart.  Just ask any of my teachers.

In 1942 Arnold joined the United States Army.  He never made it out of the U.S., being stationed in Fort Bragg.  Actually, he was scheduled to go overseas, but because of a major screw-up he ended up in the brig.

See, Arnold wanted to use his desire to take things apart and put them back together again.  But of course, the Army-with its wisdom-saw things differently and decided to make Arnold an MP, in charge of guarding the tanks.  The night before a huge military exercise was to take place Arnold was on duty.  Even President Roosevelt was going to be in attendance to observe America’s great military strength.  The urge struck Arnold, so the goofball decided he could quickly disassemble and reassemble one of the tanks.  Bad decision.

He had taken one tank partly apart and then thought he could switch parts and make the first one perform better, so he took another tank apart; then another.  In his haste to reassemble them he made a few errors.

During the military exercise the steering mechanisms were so screwed up, tanks were driving into one another.  It wouldn’t have been that bad but one of them headed right towards the grandstand were the general and FDR were perched.  Four soldiers picked up the President and got him the Hell out of there.  The General was demoted and Arnold ended up in the brig.

But at least he didn’t have to go fight in the war.  We’re all safer because of that.

Upon graduating with honors from UW-Platteville, Arnold tried to get a job as a mechanical engineer with the GM car factory in Janesville.  However, due to the fact that his father, Ephriam, had worked there and was caught stealing over $4,000 in parts, the management thought it wise not to hire Arnold.

I’ve only seen Grandpa Quick once in my life. That’s because the prison in Green Bay really gives me the creeps.

Arnold is always fixing stuff around the house; whether it needs it or not.  He still likes to take stuff apart and put it back together again.  One time he had this big black box sitting on our kitchen table.  He was plugging tubes from our Philco television set into it and flicking switches, watching the tubes light up.

“What are you doing, Arnold I asked?”

“Call me ‘Dad’ or ‘Father’.”

“So, what are you doing?”

“I’m testing the tubes from the television set.”

“Don’t you think they’d work better if they were actually in the television?”

“Don’t be a smart-ass, Solomon.”

He wears a bow tie and pocket protector all the time.  Even when he’s not at work.  Kind of like Andy Taylor from the Andy Griffith Show always wearing his sheriff’s uniform even when he’s home.  That’s pretty dopey.  I think the only time I’d wear my work clothes around the house is if I got a job where I wear my pajamas.  That would be cool. I gotta get a job like that.

Arnold doesn’t yell at me too much, even though there may have been a few times when he could have.  He usually tells me not to do something.  He doesn’t tell me to do things much, mainly not to things.  I think I must be doing a lot of bad stuff and not even know it.

Arnold is almost as tall as Marion.  He always keeps his hair pretty short, in a crew cut.  His favorite color is anything that resembles yellow.  He wears yellow shirts and light brown bow ties and tan pants.  He bought white socks and had Marion dye them yellow.  This pleased the Hell out of her since it made her feel like she was making something crafty.

In Miss Connor’s 5th grade class we had a “Father’s Day” where we brought our fathers and they got up and told the class what they did for a living.  I tried faking illness, running away, smothering Arnold with a pillow; anything I could think of to not bring him to school.

The Horrible Day arrived.  A few fathers got up and I was hoping we wouldn’t have time for Arnold.  He was sitting next to me with his bow tie and pocket protector.  When it was his turn to get up and talk I just put my head on my desk.

Arnold said he was a mechanical engineer at the Barclay Paper Mill, fixing machines and designing safety guards.  Robbie Tiller-a real dope-asked Arnold if it was fun driving a train.

Arnold: “I’m not that kind of engineer.”

Robbie: “Are you the conductor then?”

Arnold: “No, I don’t have anything to do with trains.”

Julie Sanders(normally the smartest kid in our class):  “Did you drive your train to school today.”

Arnold:  “I don’t drive a train.”

Me:  “Yeah, they put down tracks outside the school just so he could come to school today.”  A couple of the idiots actually looked out the window.

Arnold:  “Don’t be a smart-ass, Solomon.”

Miss Connor: “Mister Quick, please don’t use that language.”

Me:  “He’s always calling me a smart-ass, Miss Connor.”

Miss Connor:  “Solomon!”

Arnold:  “I’m not always calling you a smart-ass.”

Miss Connor:  “Mister Quick!”

Me:  “I’m smart, but I don’t think I’m a smart-ass.”

Miss Connor:  “Solomon!”

Arnold:  “Oh yeah, you’re a smart-ass.”

Miss Connor:  “Mister Quick!”

Me:  “See, he called me a smart-ass again!”

Miss Connor:  “Solomon!”

I tried to keep that up for as long as I could.  Finally Miss Connor told Arnold he was through and he left.  Robbie Tiller said to me, “Wow, that’s pretty cool having a father that drives a train!”

I put my head back down on my desk again.  Arnold was not the least favorite father of the day.  That belonged to Eddie Lawson’s dad.  He’s the local dentist in Moon Lake.  When Doctor Lawson asked if anyone had any questions, we all just looked down at our desks.  Nobody wanted to open their mouths.

I was about thirteen when Arnold wanted me to help him hang up some new eaves on the house.  We borrowed a ladder from the Martins and Arnold got up on our ladder and I climbed up the other one.  Already I was trying to think of way to get out of it.  “My foot hurts,” I said. That didn’t work.

Arnold was holding one end of the eave and I was holding the other.  “Just hang onto it with both hands until I get this end attached.  Don’t drop it!” he said.

I didn’t mean to drop it.  I just suddenly got a terrible itch in an unmentionable area.  So I let go with one hand to scratch.  When my end fell, Arnold dropped his end and it bonked him right on the head, knocking him off the ladder and sending him head first into a nice, attractive rock garden that Marion had constructed.

I jumped down from the ladder and went over to Arnold who was lying face up with his eyes closed.  I thought he may have been dead. I nudged him with my foot and he didn’t move.  I have to admit, instead of considering rendering first aid, my first response was to think how I could wipe my fingerprints off the eave, and then in which direction to run.  I thought I could try to steal a car and drive to California.

Marion then came running out of the house.  “Arnie!” she screamed.  She called him Arnie when they were making googly eyes at each other or when she was mad at him. Poor guy; he never  knew if he was going to get a kiss or get yelled at.

“Solomon!  What did you do?”

That’s it, blame the guy that’s still alive.

“It was an accident,” I said.  A phrase I used a lot.

Just then Arnold came back to life.  “Solomon!  What did you do?”

“It was an accident.”  See what I mean.

“I told you not to drop your end!”

“It was an accident.”

Marion grabbed Arnold around the waist and she helped him limp into the house.  Quite dramatic, I thought.  Just then I saw Arnold’s hand reach down and squeeze Marion’s ass.

Sometimes when I think Arnold has no common sense, he pulls something like that.

What a guy.

SOLOMON QUICK by Solomon Quick written by Charlie Fox Chapter Two

MARION QUICK

Marion Quick was born Marion Apolonia Gronski on February 19, 1927  in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.  The Gronski Clan would not have settled in Wisconsin in the first place, but Marion’s grandfather, my great-grandfather, Barnabas Gronski, was…well….let’s just say he was an idiot.

In 1890 he was “leading” his family from Buffalo, New York to Iowa to join the Amana Colonies. When they reached the Illinois River, particularly the Upper Peoria Lake, the moron thought it was the Mississippi River and so he crossed it and turned the clan north.

He knew after the first two days that he screwed up, but he was not about to tell my great-grandmother, Olenka Gronski.  At least he was smart enough to know that.  She would have killed him, eaten him, then found the Amana Colonies herself.  So he plodded on.

He was on the ball enough to know that if he kept going they’d eventually reach Canada and Olenka would skin him along with the squirrels they were eating.  So he stopped.  He had no idea where.  Olenka looked around and asked, in Polish of course, “Where the Hell are the Amana Colonies?”

With a shrug of his broad shoulders Barnabas replied, “They must have moved again.”

So the Gronskis settled in Wisconsin.  How Barnabas was able to keep it from his wife that they were actually in Wisconsin and not Iowa was talked about for decades.  Olenka passed away in 1910, still believing that she was in Iowa.  And he was revered for keeping it a secret. The fact that if he’d not been so ignorant they never would have settled in Wisconsin seemed to have escaped the story-tellers.  Once, when Marion was repeating the story for the umpteenth time, I said, “But wasn’t he quite the dope for getting them lost in the first place?”

Arnold said, “Don’t be such a smart ass, Solomon.”  I hear that a lot from him.

Barnabas and Olenka Gronski begat Roman Gronski. Roman and Sabina Gronski begat Marion Gronski.  Of course, there were others begotten along the way.  There was a lot of begatting going on in the Gronski Clan.  But Marion is the most important since she and Arnold begat me.

Marion attended Saint Francis Blessed Catholic High School in Stevens Point.  Just before  graduating, her Senior classmates voted her “Most Likely to Succeed.”  Of course, in 1945-for a woman-“to succeed” meant you marry a rich man.  Marion decided to go against The Oracle and eventually marry Arnold.

She took a job as a secretary at the Barclay Paper Mill in Stevens Point.  It was there that she met Arnold who was working as a mechanical engineer.  It wasn’t love at first sight by any means.  Guys sporting a bow tie and a plastic pocket protector just don’t attract the ladies.

It wasn’t until one of the company’s Christmas parties that Arnold and Marion got together.  Even that was by accident.  Marion was following Edward Pringel into a back office at the paper mill to seduce him.  Instead, when Pringel turned right to go to the bathroom, Marion mistakenly veered left into a dark office where Arnold was preparing to sleep off the one hot toddy he’d consumed.  Marion jumped his bones thinking he was Pringel.  She couldn’t believe Pringel was such a good kisser.  That’s what she thought, anyway.

The Gronski Wrong-Way Gene lived on.  Marion decided Arnold wasn’t that bad of a guy after all.  I’m not complaining about the ignorance of the Gronskis because, after all, without those mistakes I’d never be here.  And what a shame that would be.

Marion is tall and thin.  Of course, most people are tall as far as I’m concerned since I’m a squirt.  I don’t think I ever saw her when her hair wasn’t pulled back into a little pony tail.  Her blonde hair(Gamma calls it “dishwater blonde”)just comes down a little past her ears and she barely has enough to pull back.  Marion uses anything she can find to tie her hair back; rubber bands, paper clips, duct tape.  One time she used a huge clothes pin and it was sticking out from the side of her head.  She looked like Pebbles Flintstone.

I don’t know why, but her favorite thing to prepare for dinner is pig’s feet and sauerkraut.  The sauerkraut I don’t mind, except for the odor.  It’s the same smell when Gamma is over and she takes her shoes off.  I told Marion that once and she got pissed.  “Don’t ever say that again!”  She yelled, and Marion hardly ever yells; well, at me anyway.  She yells at Arnold a lot.

And Arnold knows the kraut smells like Gamma, too.  He’ll come home, smell the kraut and say to Marion, “Is Gamma here?”

She’ll look puzzled and say, “No, why?”

Then Arnold will recover quickly and say, “Oh, no reason. Just wondering.”

But the pig’s feet.  Who would serve that to a kid?  Pigs walk around in their own poo and I’m supposed to eat their feet?  I don’t think so.  I just feed it to Kenny, our cat.  Arnold and Marion are always so wrapped up in talking during dinner they never notice me dropping meat to Kenny.  And Kenny eats anything.  Even feet that have been walking around in poo.

Marion is very religious.  Thank God she doesn’t make Arnold and me go to mass as often as she and Gamma do.  And the first Sunday of the month they actually have the mass in Latin.  Marion makes me go to that one every time.  I don’t know what the Hell they’re saying.  But everyone else seems to know, because the priest will say something in Latin and everyone responds back in Latin; even Marion and Gamma.  All of a sudden they know Latin?  They never speak it at home, just at church.  What the Hell is that all about?

Marion always smells like soap.  We all take baths(not together)using the same soap, but Arnold and I don’t smell like soap, only Marion.  Arnold smells like Old Spice all the time.  Marion smells like soap and Arnold smells like Old Spice.  I guess I’d rather have it that way than the other way around.

I think Marion is very good-looking.  For a mom, that is.  Arnold, not so much.  It’s a wonder I turned out as handsome as I did.  I mean, I’ve got girls in school passing me love notes.  Not the girls I want to pass me love notes.  No.  Just the goofy ones.  Go figure.

Marion’s eyes are really blue.  Arnold calls her “My Blue-Eyed Baby.”  What a dope.  I mean, if he wants to call her that in private, fine.  But not in front of me for cryin’ out loud.  And Marion’s eyes are not always blue.  When she gets really mad, which I’ve only seen a few times, her eyes turn red.  One time, I think they were actually on fire.  Maybe I just imagined it because I was so scared.  Especially since I was the one that made her that mad.  I’m rather perfect most of the time, but even I make mistakes sometimes.  I might tell you about that later.  Christ, I’m sweating just thinking about it now.  I should go soap myself up.

And Marion is pretty smart.  Actually, I have to say she’s  not as smart as Arnold.  Book Smart, I mean.  Arnold graduated from UW-Platteville with a degree in engineering.  Marion went straight from high school to working at the paper mill.  She has more common sense than Arnold.  Hell, I think even Kenny the cat has more common sense than Arnold.  Except for the fact that they both eat pig’s feet.

Marion is a crafty person.  I don’t mean crafty in a sly way.  I mean our house in Moon Lake is always filled with crafty crap.  There’s always doilies and goofy stuff lying around.  Most of the junk we don’t even use.  She made a little house from Popsicle sticks.  Christ, we did that in third grade.

Every Saturday she’s got to watch this television show, Krafts with Karen, on one of the four stations we get.  Pretty damn clever how they spelled ‘crafts’ with a ‘K.”  Quite the witty people working there at Channel 9.  It’s this older woman about 40, Karen, who shows ladies how to make more crafty crap.  Gamma would describe Karen as being “big-boned.”  Marion sits there and takes notes for Christ’s sake.  I mean, I don’t even take notes in History class and here’s Marion taking notes on a goofy craft show.  Karen talks so damn fast!  I think she gets paid by the word.  Good thing Marion took shorthand.  She’s writing just as fast as Karen is blabbering.

I watched it one time and they were making snowflake coasters out of yarn.  And different colored snowflakes for Christmas; like green and red ones, too.  Who’s ever seen a red or green snowflake?  Jesus, what a dopey show.  We never even used the coasters.  Marion made a stuffed monkey one time that looked scary as hell.  Kenny the cat started humping it like it was his own personal Love Doll.  When he was done with it Marion tossed it in the trash.  I kind of felt sorry for Kenny.       

I’ve only seen Marion cry once.  That was when Grampa Gronski died.  I was only six years old and I was at home when Marion got the call from Gamma.  Marion started crying right away and I didn’t know why but I figured it couldn’t be good.  I didn’t think anyone had died or anything.  After all, I was only six years old.  I knew enough to give Marion a hug.  I saw her hug Gamma once when Gamma was crying because one of their goldfish had died.  We didn’t even have any goldfish so I knew it couldn’t be that.  I hugged Marion anyway.  She smelled like soap.

Actually, Marion cried at Grampa Gronski’s funeral, too.  Gamma didn’t cry that much then.  I thought it rather peculiar that Gamma cried about the goldfish but not Grampa Gronski.  I still think it’s rather peculiar.  I suppose Death affects everyone differently.

That poor goldfish.

SOLOMON QUICK by Solomon Quick, written by Charlie Fox Chapter One

SOLOMON QUICK

I was born at Mile Marker 8, State Highway 51, in Portage County, Wisconsin.  It’s actually Arnold’s fault that we didn’t make it to Saint Holy Redeemer of the Virginal Queen of Apostles Reverent Savior Catholic  Hospital and Bingo Hall in Stevens Point.  Marion has told me the story many times, never lacking in facial expressions that demonstrate her then frustration with Arnold.  Apparently Arnold was always more than adequately prepared for almost any type of calamity or festivity.  He even made his famous cheese balls days ahead of the New Year’s Eve Gala at the Bosko’s.  I guess babies are little more difficult than cheese balls.

The back seat of the 1952 Pontiac Chieftan was first covered in plastic, then with fluffy cotton towels.  Marion’s overnight bag was packed and placed on the floor, within easy reach in case she needed to put on lipstick or rouge or some other unneccesary item while being in painful labor.  Yeah, Arnold knew exactly what to do.

So when that cold winter Sunday arrived at 9:30AM Arnold pushed Marion into the back seat.  Before she knew it she was flat on her back, reminding her of the exact time this little Nugget of Joy was conceived.  Oddly enough, she was not in the mood this time.

As we waited for Arnold, Marion heard him rummaging through the house.  I was probably just laying there with my arms folded impatiently tapping my foot on the closest thing to me, which was more than likely Marion’s belly.  “Hurry, Arnold!” she screamed.

“I’m looking for the God Damn keys!”

Of course, I didn’t hear this since I was all alone in a dark, damp cavern with nothing to do.  If Marion would have at least swallowed a small flashlight or something it would have been nice.  I know expectant  mothers have a lot to think about, but it was a little selfish on her part.

Then, according to Marion’s version of this Blessed Event, she yelled, “Arnold, the keys are in the ignition!” I’m sure I thought, “Great, this Moron is going to raise me?”

We wasted at least fifteen minutes on Arnold’s fumbling.  We made it as far as Mile Marker 8 when Marion(calmly, I’m sure)informed Arnold that she wasn’t going to make it and their Beautiful Dream Child was about to enter their world.  Arnold yanked the Pontiac over to the shoulder and scrambled out and opened the passenger’s door.  He pulled the seat forward and peeked in.  “He’s coming out!” Marion said.  As my little, perfect head emerged from Marion’s… uhm…her…well…womb, Arnold took one look, turned, and vomitted in the snowy ditch.  Not what I was hoping for as my first Vote of Confidence from Arnold.  He regained enough energy to guide me from Marion’s womb muscles which had a death grip on my body.  He tossed me on her belly, threw a blanket on top of us, and sped to the ordained healing center.

After making sure we were going to be okay, a Big White Covered Nurse separated me from Marion and put me in a room cluttered with a bunch of unruly malcontents, screaming their little heads off.  Now I just spent nine months in Solitary Confinement.  That’s like a misdemeanor Theft sentence in the Portage County Jail.  My first breath of freedom and I’m subjected to this?  I saw Marion and Arnold in the window.  I tried to motion for them to come and get me out of there.  They just smiled and thought I was cute.  Well, I really was cute, but that’s beside the point.  So I just started crying like all the other brats in there.

Soon I was cradled in Marion’s bosom.  In fact, I was actually sucking on Marion’s left bosom which I found to be quite comforting.  My beautiful eyes were closed and I heard muffled conversation from above.  I opened one eye-you know, just to take a peek to see who was admiring me-and what I saw I will haunt me forever.  There was this old lady peering down at me making googly noises, spittle dripping down from her bright red lips.  Now both eyes were wide open.  I tried to scream,  but have you ever tried to yell with a boob in your mouth?  Try it sometime, it’s not that easy.  Maybe fun, but definitely not easy.  I discovered much later that the horrifying face belonged to Gamma, Marion’s mother, my grandmother.  Years later Marion could never understand why, on every Halloween I would want to dress up like Gamma.

Arnold, Marion, Gamma; could it get any worse?

Yes.

I think I slept a lot then, a habit I would strive to continue well into and past my teenage years.  I woke up and knew I was being carried into another room.  Maybe one with more breasts?  I could only hope.  I saw a few people standing around with masks over their faces.  Some guy whose face and head were completely covered said, “Don’t worry little guy, this will only hurt for a little while.”  How about not hurting at all?  Try that.  A woman who was also hiding her identity was holding me as the old guy grabbed some bright, silver instrument and grabbed my little penis.  Well, it was little then.  The pain was indescribeable.  I think I passed out, or maybe I went back to sleep.  At that age I couldn’t tell the difference.  I awoke to see Arnold’s face peering down at my with a big grin.  “How are ya doin’ Little Fella?”  I made myself a promise then.:  As soon as I was old enough I was going to take a hedge clippers to Arnold’s weiner.

A few days later we were gathered as a Family Unit in what I guessed was our kitchen.  Initially I believed the wonderful smells were coming from me since, after all, everything else I’d done up to that point in my life was revered by everyone around me.  I could see Arnold eating what I would find out much later was solid food.  Next to Arnold was Gamma.  I looked up and Marion was shoveling solid food into her mouth, also.  Okay, the breast milk was good, but really.  I began to kick and wave my perfect little arms about, trying to get their attention.  How about passing some of that roast beef over here, Gamma?

Then I saw what would soon be a regular face in our house, our neighbor Lucille Bosko.  “Marion, you never told me what you named this little bundle of cuteness.”   I really liked Lucille.  “Well,” Marion began.  I learned later in life that when Marion began a sentence with “well” it was never good.  But at that time I didn’t know any better.  So I kept sucking and cooing.  Cutely, of course.  “Arnold wanted to name him ‘Mark’  with just a middle initail of ‘R’ because he was born at a mile marker and it would be ‘Mark R’ like ‘marker.'”

Of all the dumbass ideas, I thought.  The hedge clippers idea was looking better and better.

“Well,”(Oh Shit)I changed his mind.”  Thank you Lord Jesus and Mother Mary.  At least Marion had a smidgen of common sense.  That’s what I thought.  “I told him that was a dumb idea and so I named him ‘Solomon’.  Because Solomon is my favorite book in the Bible.  It’s actually a love song.  The Song of Solomon.”

NOOOOOOOO!  Just what every boy wants, to be named after a Love Song.  Just name me “Some Enchanted Evening” and then kill me.  Then it got worse. Marion said, “My favorite verse in the Bible is Song of Solomon Chapter Seven, Verse Six.”  And then she sang, “How fair and how pleasant you are, O love, with your delights.”

That was it.  I spat the nipple out of my mouth like a major league baseball player expectorating a wad of chew.  Then the waving of the arms and crying began.  Just to add a little more emphasis I dropped a load in my diapers and as an exclamation point, I regurgitated warm breast milk all over Marion’s arm.  If I had to suffer the rest of my life then she could at least handle that.

It was then that I knew-for Solomon Arnold Quick, born January 25, 1953 at Mile Marker 8, Wisconsin State Highway 51, Portage County Wisconsin, Beloved Son of Arnold and Marion Quick- Life was going to be a Bitch.

Consider Me Blogged

Yeah, I did it.  I started a blog.  Now I know how my mom felt when I showed her how to program her Beta VCR.  I think she forgot soon afterwards.  I hope I have better success.

I’ll be posting some of my experiences with my travels and also chapters from some stories I’ll be writing.  I feel rahter vain doing this, like who gives A Shit what I’m doing; I mean, most of the time even don’t give A Shit what I’m doing.

But hey, I started a blog.  What’s next?  Selfies?

Stay tuned, I guess..