SOLOMON QUICK by Solomon Quick written by Charlie Fox Chapter Six

LUCINDA, JACK-O, CONRAD AND MICK

The Poison Oak and Swimmer’s Ear Camp for Wayward and Delinquent Youths is located in the Middle of Nowhere.  I mean, absolutely nowhere.  They didn’t have to blind fold us to get us there, we never would have found our way out of that woody prison setting.

Marion and Arnold had driven me to a parking lot of an A&W Root Beer stand in Stevens Point where we were to be met by a bus containing a few other apparently rabid children, just waiting to be healed by the magical powers of fresh air and fun activities.  We were sentenced to be there a full week.

Even I knew that was nowhere near long enough.

While we were waiting, another car pulled up and a woman got out with a girl about my age, twelve.  It was summer between sixth and seventh grade.  Apparently a few people(adults)thought I needed a little more structure in my life.

Me:  “They can’t be waiting for the same bus can they?  That girl doesn’t look like she’s a problem.”

The girl was frail-looking and she had her fiery red hair in pig-tails.  She had big, round, black glasses stuck to her face.

Marion:  “That’s Lucinda……..oh, I can’t think of her last name.”

Me:  “You know her?”

Marion:  “Well, I recognize her mother and I’ve heard a few things about Lucinda.”

Me:  “Like what?”

Marion:  “This spring she burned down their shed.”

Me:  “So she actually started a fire on purpose?  Jesus, at least mine was accidental.”

Marion:  “About two weeks ago her parents woke up in the middle of the night and Lucinda was outside pouring gasoline around their house.  They stopped her before she could light the fire to the house.  It was nothing.”

Me:  “NOTHING!?  You’re sending me away to camp with an arsonist?”

Just then the bus arrived and Arnold and Marion pulled me out of the car and shoved me towards the bus.  Lucinda was getting on the bus in front of me and I sniffed her back to see if I could smell any odors of an incendiary nature.  Just before I got to the top step I looked back and all I saw was black rubber and dark smoke coming from the pavement where Arnold and Lucinda’s mother sped off.

I swear the bus driver drove around in circles to try to confuse us.  When we finally arrived and exited the bus we were met by a stiff wind and pouring rain.  It was cold as Hell.  I guess Hell isn’t cold.  Anyway, something smelled like a nearby sewer had backed up.

They separated us into boys/girls.  The boys went into one old rickety building and the girls strolled into another.  I noticed there seemed to be a lot more wayward, needy boys than girls since we outnumbered them 23 to 4.

Our building consisted of a large room with twenty bunk beds and a bathroom with showers and crappers.  As soon as we walked in one kid, Mick said, “It smells like shit in here!”  It actually kind of did.

Suddenly–appearing seemingly out of nowhere–our Camp Counselor was there.  He bobbed up and down on his toes as he talked and said, “Welcome to Camp!  I’m Jack-O!”  He opened up his arms like he wanted a huge Group Hug.  We just stared at him.  We were Malcontents, after all.  Any sign of affection, especially coming from a creepy guy who I’m guessing was a Mickey Mouse Club reject, was met with horror.  He was wearing a pure white t-shirt that had the word CAMP in red letters with a Smiley Face above it.  Because, after all, camp is a Happy Place.

We ignored him and quickly ran to pick out our beds.  The largest kid there(he was huge)shoved a little guy out of the way and said, “This is my bed, creep.”  We found out later he called himself  Mac, as in Mac Truck.

Jack-O was barely twenty years old and had a haircut that looked like his mother put a strainer on his head and clipped everything that was sticking out.  He was very giggly and too excited to be in our building and I thought maybe he would have been more comfortable in the girls’ dormitory.  I know I would have been happier there.

Jack-O started bouncing and clapping his hands.  “All right boys!  Get your things put away quickly!  Dinner is being served soon!”

We just tossed our things on our beds and went to the door until Jack-O informed us that we had to line up and walk out single file to the “Dining Hall.”

We did as commanded, with Mick making wise cracks about Jack-O the whole way in the cold rain.  Once in the comfort and luxury of the Dining Hall we discovered what the obnoxious smell had been–dinner.

Two portly women who looked as if they were forced to be there as well were plopping stuff onto our plates as each of us walked by.  They were wearing hair nets, even though one of them didn’t really need one.  Well, maybe for her arms.  Something they called Vegetable Soup had been deposited into bowls.  After placing my bowl on my tray I noticed that I could see right down to the bottom of the bowl, if I looked past the little slice of carrot bobbing up and down, trying to flee.  The Entrée was a piece of succulent chicken, glazed in a Black Lard Sauce, served with a side of Rocky Mountain Mashed Potatoes and a generous slice of crumbly bread.

I sat next to Mick.  I had a feeling he and I were going to get along.  We watched and laughed as two girls and three boys had to run out of the Dining Hall to be sick.

Mick:  “Weaklings.”

Me:  “Really.”  Then I took a large bite and happily crunched away on my potatoes.  Mick and I both knew they weren’t going to break us with these tactics.  If they thought we were going to crack this early, they had a fight on their hands.

I happened to look over at the table next to us and saw Mac dump s glob of potatoes onto the same little guy’s lap.

After dinner, some old guy with a little hair on the sides of his head stood up.  He was wearing a CAMP t-shirt, too, but his seemed to be a lot smaller than Jack-O’s.

Old Bald Guy:  “Hello boys and girls.  Welcome to a fun week of Summer Camp!”

I get uncomfortable when they try to force you to have fun.  I noticed a few other people donned in CAMP t-shirts, especially the hot babe who was sitting at the table with the girls.  She was about Jack-O’s age and she looked like she stepped out of the pages of a Playboy magazine; except she was wearing clothes, unfortunately.  I found out later her name was Ursula.

She had her light brown hair pulled back and she filled out her t-shirt very nicely.  I think her Smiley Face was grinning more than the others.  Mick and I had been drooling into our soup bowls.

Old Bald Guy Again:  “And later tonight we’re going to have a campfire and sing-along!”

I looked over at Little Lucinda and she had a crazy look in her eyes.  It creeped me out.  I had told Mick about her and he said, “Wow, a crazy chick. Keep her away from me.”  In the seven days I spent with Mick, not once was I ever jeaous of his extensive vocabulary.

After the dining experience we went back to the cell block to unpack.  Jack-O had entered and read with way too much glee the week’s activities.  We were to be subjected to swimming, fishing, campfire sing-alongs, and survival techniques.  All of which I could have done had I remained home since we live a half mile away from Moon Lake.  Jack-O also had to tell us that his name is a combination of his first name, Jack, and his last name, O’Malley.  We didn’t really care.

Campfire Fun Time arrived and Mick and I were in a hurry to see Ursula.  She looked radiant against the fire, seductively twirling her marshmallow covered stick over the flames.  Little Lucinda kept burning her marshmallow and holding it up in the air, grinning.

We had to take turns and tell everyone our names and where we were from.  I said my name was Bobby Darrin and I was from Madison and I was there because I stole a car and drove it to California and met Cary Grant.

Ursula:  “Wow!  He used to be president!”

Okay, so Ursula was not the brightest ember in the fire.  She still had a smokin’ hot body.

Later that night I had to get up to pee and I looked out the window and saw Little Lucinda sitting by the still smoldering fire, a look of ecstasy smeared all over her face.  I figured I’d better make efforts to befriend her or else I might end up a Crispy Critter.  So I went out and had a very informative conversation with the petite Firebug.

Every day was the same.  We started with a cold breakfast followed by jumping into old wooden boats and trying to fish.  Nothing was caught since all of the fish had died and were floating along the beach.  After a cheese sandwich lunch we went swimming in the green, algae-infested lake.  Everybody came out of the lake covered in slime and smelling like rotten cabbage.

In the afternoons we had to sit in on lectures by Old Bald Guy about how to be better citizens and more productive individuals.  Why they thought we would start becoming more productive individuals at that time was a mystery to me.

Every night Mick confided in me his plans for getting together with Ursula.  I never told him, but his schemes were rather dim-witted.  He fell out of a boat one time, hoping Usula would dive in after him.  She just looked disgusted and avoided him since he looked and smelled like one of the dead fish.  Then he pretended to twist his ankle while hiking and Jack-O quickly ran over and put his arms around Mick and escorted him back to our dorm; Mick screaming the entire way.

The only extraordinary event took place at the campfire two nights before our parole.  Big Mac had continued to pick on the same little kid, Conrad.  Apparently Conrad was at camp because he actually stole a car.  Mac had Conrad in a headlock and was rubbing his knuckles on his head, giving him a Noogie.  Jack-O jumped up, ran over to Mac, grabbed him by one arm and flung him over his hip onto the ground.  Then Jack-O twisted Mac’s arm behind him and had him in an arm lock.  He stood him up and marched him to our dormitory, yelling, “We can call the police, Mac!  Start behaving!  You get inside and stay there!”  He shoved Mac, who was now crying, into the dorm and slammed the door.

Mick and I just stared at each other with our mouths open.  “Holy Crap,” said the Ace Verbalist Mick.

When our bus arrived back at the A&W Root beer stand, Arnold and Marion were waiting.  I can’t say they appeared anxious to see me.

On the way home, Arnold asked, “Did you learn anything?”

I thought.  I actually did.  From Mick I learned how to pick a lock using a couple of hair pins.  From Lucinda I learned how to start a fire with two sticks.  From Conrad I learned how to hotwire a car.  And from Jack-O I learned that it doesn’t matter what your name is or how goofy your hair looks, if you stick up for little guys like Conrad you can earn a lot of respect.  I know Jack-O earned my respect.

But in response to Arnold’s question I said, “No, not much.  What’s for dinner?”

 

SOLOMON QUICK by Solomon Quick written by Charlie Fox Chapter Five

MRS. SMITH

(Arnold told me once:  “Solomon, whatever you do, don’t upset the womenfolk.”)

Mrs. Smith is not her real name.  I mean, the “Mrs.” part is right.  But her real last name is Saytakhmetov.  She married some guy named Yegor with that last name.  She was my sixth grade teacher.  The school authorities probably had a big meeting and decided we were all too stupid to be able to pronounce her last name, so to make it easier for us they concluded that we should call her Mrs. Smith.  They were right.

Mrs. Smith:  “Solomon, would you like to give us your answer to Question Number Seven?”

Me:  “No.  But thanks for asking.”

I should probably concentrate on listening to Arnold more often.

Mrs. Smith is tall, thin and she has fiery red hair and scalding blue eyes.  She always wears long dresses that almost drag on the floor.  Many times I wondered how she was able to keep from tripping, especially all the times when she was escorting me to the principal’s office.

To say that Mrs. Smith and I didn’t get along would be an understatement.  I’m not going to say it was her fault, even though most of it was.  I tried, but I was the Victim of Unfortunate Circumstances beginning at eleven-and-a-half years old.

The First Calamity occurred almost as soon as the sixth grade session began.  Had I known that was going to be the norm instead of a freak occurrence, I would have done a Tom Sawyer and floated aimlessly down the Mississippi River.

Our school building was one of those ancient things, constructed with brick and old wood.  The window sills were made of oak and they were huge.  You could land a plane on them.  September of 1964 was hot and there were tons of flies who must have believed they’d get to the Promised Land by dying on the window sills.  No matter how often Old Mister Gray, the janitor, cleaned the sills, flies kept dying there.  (Mister Gray’s last name was something else, also, but we had to refer to him as Mister Gray.  I guess the Moon Lake School Board really thought they had a bunch of idiots on their hands).

Cora Lee Brantley was one of those kids who got sick really easily at the slightest provocation.  Just seeing a dead gopher on the playground once caused her to choke and gag.  But she had never thrown up.  I changed that, though.

Some students took the hot lunch in the cafeteria and some of us–like me–brought our lunches and stayed in the classroom to devour the delicacies our mothers had packed for us.  I always used the same old brown paper bag to carry my lunch.  The one I was using this particular day was the one I’d used during the entire fifth grade.  By this time it was rather worn and very wrinkly.  Marion had packed an egg sandwich, two cookies that were way too small, an apple, and a box of raisins.

Cora Lee was sitting across the room from me.  My seat was next to the Fly Cemetary.  I palmed some raisins and said, “Hey, Cora Lee, look, I’m eating flies.”  Then I pretended to pick up a dead fly, tossing a raisin in the air and catching it in my mouth.  After only the second one I saw that Cora Lee was beginning to gag.  Then she retched a little.  Then a little more.  Then she spewed out her bologna sandwich and probably parts of her breakfast.

I learned that some people are VIP’s-Visually Induced Pukers.  They’re the folks that vomit upon seeing others doing the same.  I learned that Billy Watson is a VIP.  So is Linda Crawford.  And Mike O’ Reilly.  Oh yeah, so is Cathy Gibson.  It was one right after the other, like Vomit Dominos.  I just stood there with a handful of raisins.  Then I decided I’d better destroy the evidence so I crammed the remaining sweet morsels into my mouth.  I was also quick-witted enough to go to the waste basket next to Mrs. Smith’s desk and toss in the raisin box.  I had just returned to my desk when Mrs. Smith returned from the cafeteria.

I also learned that day that Mrs. Smith is a VIP.

As soon as she observed her puke covered classroom she ran to her waste basket and quickly got rid of her recently devoured lunch.

I learned that the Lunch Room Offering for that day was salmon loaf covered in creamed peas, a nice tossed salad, buttered boiled potatoes with just a whisper of parsley, and for dessert a slice of either cherry pie or cherry crunch.  It was a little difficult to discern exactly which.

Right away Little Eddie McNeely yelled, “It was Solomon, Mrs. Smith!  He was eating dead flies!”  I learned that Little Eddie McNeely was a tattle-tale who would rat out his own mother if it made him look good.

Mrs. Smith quickly walked over to me, grabbed me by my left elbow, and hustled me out of the classroom.  I knew away right where we were going:  Mrs. Lawson’s Office.  Mrs. Lawson was the Moon Lake Grade School principal.

Mrs. Smith was walking very fast, dragging me next to her.  “You don’t have to pull me,” I said.  “I think I know the way.”

Mrs. Lawson and I were well acquainted with each other.

“Just shut up Young Man!” said Mrs. Smith.  That’s right, the Young Man thing again.  It’s never good.

I was going to inform her that she still had some of her lunch on her chin, but if she believed Silence was in order at that moment, I wasn’t going to argue with her.

Mrs. Smith deposited me on a bench in the hallway outside the Interrogation Room known fondly as the Principal’s Office.  Some of the old ladies in the office saw me sitting on the hot seat and looked at me and just shook their heads.

Mrs. Smith came back to fetch me and we entered Mrs. Lawson’s office.  Mrs. Smith took up a position behind Mrs. Lawson, just to her right.  Her arms were folded in front of her.  I noticed her chin was now clean.  Good Ol’ Mrs. Lawson must have told her to clean up.

Mrs. Lawson is one hundred and fifty years old if she’s a day.  Her face is brown and wrinkly, not unlike my lunch bag.  I was sitting in a cold metal chair in front of Mrs. Lawson.  She always put her elbows on her desk with her hands folded in front of her mouth.  She tries to hide the fact that her false teeth keep dropping out of her mouth when she talks; especially when she yells. I get that a lot.

Mrs. Lawson:  “Well, what do you have to say for yourself, Young Man?”

What kind of a question is that?

Me:  “It was an accident.”

Mrs. Lawson:  “Were you eating flies?”

Me:  “Of course not.  They were raisins.”

Then I realized I’d eaten the evidence that could acquit me and the box was in Mrs. Smith’s waste basket, bathing in salmon loaf and creamed peas.

My penance for causing the Regurgitation Rally was to write on Mrs. Smith’s blackboard, “I will not make people puke again” fifty times.  And I was to do this every recess for the next week.

When the Principal Experience ended, Mrs. Smith dragged me back to the classroom.  By the time we returned Old Mr. Gray had placed a piece of tape across the doorway and wouldn’t allow anyone in the Crime Scene until he was finished cleaning up.  I peeked in and saw him, donned in overalls, big rubber boots, mask, and huge gloves; like he was mopping up a radioactive spill.  He was using a snow shovel and scooping up the mess and dumping it into a big garbage can.  I guess you can’t be a VIP and a janitor.  I imagine at the interview for the janitor position the interviewers have a few people puke and see if the applicant tosses their cookies.  If so, they give them a job mowing the lawn or something.

The remainder of the class day was spent outside in the shade of  a big oak tree, a fact that I never received one tiny bit of thanks for.  I was in sixth grade with a bunch of ungrateful urchins.  But I learned a lot that day.

Several months later, as the school year was drawing to a glorious termination, I was home after school and Arnold had just arrived from the paper mill.  He picked up a Popular Mechanicis  magazine so I was watching him read.  He moves his lips when he reads and I try to see if I know what he’s reading.  That skill may come in useful someday.  Marion walked up with her fists on her hips and fire in her eyes.  “What have you got to say for yourself, Young Man?”  Everyone knew who she was talking to.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but it was probably an accident,” I said.

“I got a call from Mrs. Lawson, your principal.”  As if I didn’t know who Mrs. Lawson was.  Hell, I saw her more than I saw Marion.  I knew Mrs. Lawson had not called to congratulate Marion for having such a bright student as her son.  But for the life of me I didn’t have any idea what I had done.

Then Marion said, “She said you started a fire in Mrs. Smith’s class.”

Oh yeah, that.

“It was an accident.”

It really was.  Again, it was partly Mrs. Smith’s fault.  I mean, who gives matches to a bunch of goofy sixth graders?  She didn’t know what else to do with us during an art class so she had us make candles from beeswax.  Rather juvenile, but at least we got to play with matches in class.  I had constructed a very nice yellow candle, one I was going to give to Arnold since yellow is his favorite color.  Jimmy Stafford, Karl Morris and I were standing in the back of the room with our candles lit.  Stafford nudged me and said, “Hey, let’s pretend our candles are flaming swords.”  Then he knocked my candle with his and mine felI into a waste basket next to me.  Normally, the candle would have extinguished before doing any damage.  But not this one.

Flames immediately leapt from the basket.  “Fire!” yelled Little Eddie McNeely.  Mrs. Smith ran into the hallway and grabbed a fire extinguisher and came in and doused the flames.  “It was Solomon,” squealed Little Eddie McNeely.  “He dropped his candle in the waste basket.”

I still need to strangle Eddie McNeely at least twice for ratting me out.

Mrs. Smith and I repeated our “Dance to the Principal’s Office.”  She tossed me on the bench again.  Now I noticed a sign made out of red construction paper that was placed above the seat outside Mrs. Lawson’s office which read:  Reserved for Solomon Quick.

I was beckoned into her office again and Mrs. Smith took up her regular position behind Mrs. Lawson with her arms folded in front of her under her bosom.  She was breathing quite heavily.  This caused her chest to heave up and down.  I’d never really noticed Mrs. Smith’s breasts up until that time.  It looked like Boob Trampoline.  I was rather transfixed by the event.  So much so I wasn’t listening to Mrs. Lawson until she said, “Well, do you, Young Man?”

I couldn’t really tell her that I wasn’t listening to her because I was hypnotized by Mrs. Smith’s undulating breasts.  So I had to guess what the question was. I guessed that she had asked me if I felt sorry for what I did.  “Oh, yes.  Very much so,” I replied with a smile.

Well, I’d guessed wrong.  The question had been, “Do you intend to burn down the entire school?”

Mrs. Smith’s hands went down to her sides as she gasped and Mrs. Lawson’s hands slapped her desk as she pushed herself backwards in her chair, her teeth dropping out onto her lap.

Me:  “Shit.”

I knew then that my punishment was going to be more severe than simply writing on a blackboard.  I had to apologize to Mrs. Smith and also to the rest of the class.  I was also going to spend the next two weeks after school performing various chores around the school.  Arnold was going to have to drive to the school after work to pick me up since I would be missing my bus home.  It was five miles out of his way.

My apology to the class:  “Dear Students of Mrs. Smith’s sixth grade class:  I apologize for accidentally dropping my candle into a waste basket, causing a small fire which some believe put your lives in danger.”  Here I rolled my eyes for effect.  “However, had I not made such a perfect candle it would have extinguished before ever hitting the waste basket.  The construction of which I believe I should have afforded me a grade of A instead of the F I received.”  I saw a few students nodding their heads in approval.  I continued:  “I think we should thank Mrs. Smith for her quick actions in putting out the fire.  I also think we should all be trained in fire prevention and we should learn how to use fire extinguishers.  Now, all those in favor of us practicing with fire extinguishers during recess, raise your hands.”

Mrs. Smith ordered me to sit down after that.  But for the remaining four weeks of the school year, at least once a week a student would ask if we could spray fire extinguishers around outside.

Arnold:  “I told you, don’t upset the womenfolk.”

I was very happy when the sixth grade year ended.  I thought all my problems were behind me.

Then Marion and Arnold informed me there was something called, “Summer Camp.”

SOLOMON QUICK by Solomon Quick written by Charlie Fox Chapter Four

KENNY THE CAT

Don’t ever let your kids name your pets.

Kenny is the biggest cat ever created. He never used to be that way and no one really knows how it happened. It seemed like it was an Overnight Sensation.  One day he was Normal, then suddenly he was….well….not.

Arnold was apathetic about it, Marion concerned, and Gamma thought it was a Miracle.

He looks like a hairy bowling ball.  If Gamma described Marion’s hair as “dishwater blonde” then she’d have to say Kenny’s hair is “toilet water brown.”

Most days, Kenny just rolls around the house, not moving very fast at all.  He’ll come to you when you call, but you have to start beckoning him at least an hour before you actually want him to arrive at your location.  But he can really move if he wants.  If you drop a toothbrush, pen or even money on the floor you won’t see him.  But drop a piece of salami or bologna and he’s all over that like a Pit Bull on a bloody Chihuahua.

Twice a year Marion gives Kenny a flea bath.  It’s an event that no one looks forward to, especially Kenny.  He always seems to know when it’s going to happen.  When he gets excited or scared he’ll let out a scream like he’s just seen a mouse.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Kenny screams when he sees a mouse.  He won’t stop screaming until one of us finds and disposes of the rodent.

It’s normally not too difficult to find Kenny.  It’s like not being able to find our refrigerator.  But when Flea Bath Day arrives Kenny seems to blend into the surroundings like a Kitty Chameleon.  Marion used to mark it on the calendar and then she got this creepy idea that Kenny could actually read the calendar and know when to hide.  So she stopped doing that.  But the dimwit always hides in the same place, behind the sofa.  How he gets back there is a mystery.  Gamma calls it a Miracle.  There’s a lot of Miracles in her life.

It takes the entire family to get Kenny out from behind the sofa.  One person pulls the sofa away from the wall and one person stands at each end and Kenny tries to run out but ends up running into one of us.

Marion had a brainiac idea one time. She saw on television that they cover a horse’s eyes when a stable is on fire to lead the horses away from the flames.  So she thought we could cover Kenny’s eyes and lead him into the bath tub.  Yeah, that was a brilliant scheme.  After all, most cats just stand there, waiting for someone to cover their eyes. Of course, Arnold was in charge of holding Kenny while Marion tried to wrap a sock around Kenny’s eyes.  By the time the bloodbath ended, Arnold looked like Jack the Ripper had played Tic-Tac-Toe on his arms.

We all have to lift Kenny up and carry him into the bath tub.  People with normal cats can give them baths in a sink but we need the tub.  Now Arnold wears these big leather gloves like he’s waiting for a falcon to land on his arm.  Kenny puts up a fight for a while, then realizes the inevitable and lets out a big sigh.  By that time Marion has soaped up his face and a huge bubble appears over his mouth.  Good thing Gamma isn’t around for that.  She’d probably see The Virgin Mary in the bubble and have another Miracle on her hands.

Every Halloween we set Kenny out on the front porch and folks think he’s our Jack-O-Lantern.  That was my idea.  When the little kids come up to the door, Kenny will let out one of his screams and the little beggars run away crying.  It’s pretty funny. I think so, anyway.

About two months ago we took Kenny to a vet in Stevens Point.  We used to take him to the vet here in Moon Lake but they banned us.  Well, not us, just Kenny.  Since there’s no reason to go there without Kenny, we switched vets.  So we drove the twelve miles to Doctor Carson’s office.  Normal cat carriers are too small so Marion found an old orange crate and we crammed Kenny into that.  He pushed his face against the side and started to scream.  I was not happy being the one to ride in the back seat with the crated Kenny.

By the time we got to the vet’s he’d settled down a little bit.  Arnold and I carried the crate in and sat down.  Soon a woman with a Yellow Labrador came and sat next to us.  She kept staring and finally asked, “What kind of animal is that?”  She said “animal” like she was disgusted.  So I said, “It used to be a Yellow Labrador, but we had him here last week and Doctor Carson gave him some shots and look what happened.”

Her eyes got big and she inhaled sharply.

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

Soon we were called and Arnold and I lugged Kenny and the crate back to the exam room.  Doctor Carson was a pudgy, red-faced little man.  I noticed six framed diplomas on the wall.  We extricated Kenny from the crate and Carson began his exam.  After a few minutes he was able to locate Kenny’s backside and he rammed a thermometer in Kenny’s butt.  It even made me squirm a little bit.

After listening to Kenny with a stethoscope and finally removing the thermometer from its unwanted location, Doctor Carson came to fantastic conclusion:  “Kenny is grossly overweight.”

Arnold, Marion and I just looked at each other.  After a silence that was not at all uncomfortable I said, “So you had to go to six different colleges before you finally figured out how to be a vet?  Because we never would have guessed Kenny was grossly overweight.  We just thought every other cat in the universe was grossly underweight.  Thanks for the brilliant diagnosis, Doctor.”

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

Doctor Carson:  “What are you feeding Kenny?”

Marion:  “Just cat food, and not that much.”

Doctor Carson:  “Are you giving him table scraps?”

Marion:  “No.”

Arnold:  “No.”

Then they looked at me.

Me:  “So Doc, anything else wrong with Kenny besides being a little overweight?”  I learned early on that changing the subject would get me out of a lot of things. Not everything, but a lot of things.

Doctor Carson:  “I think being him overweight is enough, Young Man.”

God, I hate the “Young Man” thing.

“If this continues, your cat will die at a very young age,” the Six-Diploma-Vet said.

Marion:  “He’s sixteen.”

Doctor Carson: “Oh.”

We left without Doctor Carson coming up with any more spectacular conclusions about Kenny’s health, or lack of it.

On the way home Marion said to Arnold, “Oh, we need to stop at the butcher’s and get some pig’s feet for dinner tonight.”

I can’t be sure, but I think Kenny plastered his face up against the crate and gave me a wink.

I was two years old when Arnold and Marion shoved this little ball of fur in my face.  “Look, Solomon.  Look what we got you!”

They were excited as Hell for some idiotic reason.  I guess I was supposed to giggle and smile and wet my pants because they got a kitten for me to play with.  I didn’t recall expressing any interest at all in spending my free time with a goofy kitten.  “We got you a kitten!”  Great.

Then the morons wanted me to name it.  Did they even realize that I was only two?  I mean, I’m sure I exhibited signs indicating I was on my way to becoming a Child Protegé and breaking the record for the highest IQ of any two-year-old in history.  But really.

Arnold:  “Look, he’s trying to pet it!”

No, Arnold, I was trying to squeeze its little head. I was only two!

Marion:  “Go ahead, Solomon, name him.  Give him a name.”

The only names I knew at that time were Arnold, Marion, Gamma and Kitten.

I was trying to tell them I didn’t want to name the thing but all that came out was “kitten, kitten,  kitten”

Arnold:  “What did he say?”

Marion:  “I think he said Kenny.”  He wants to name him Kenny.”

Me:  “Oh for the Love of God, no.”

Arnold:  “Okay, that’s it then.  His name is Kenny.”

Don’t ever let your kids name your pets.

 

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..