Sometimes we dressed a straw man up to look like a kid. and placed the straw man on the road side with one of our bicycles. People would screech to a stop and the women would cry "oh my lord that poor baby" and then the man would get out and walk over to find it was made of straw. And the men would curse. Not loud because they did not want the women to hear. They would turn to the lady passenger and tell them it was prank and the women would get so mad.
The women would holler into the night "The devil you kids, the devil. You will be sorry one day for the pranks you play."
We would laugh and laugh and laugh. One time Billy fell out of the tree we was hiding in because he was laughing so hard.
Broke both his legs and he was never ever allowed to come out any more on account he had to use crutches and his legs were in braces.
We would run past his house and holler late at night. Sometimes we would go to his window with our straw man and tell him about the people that stopped. He laughed at the stories, we all thought that it made him happy but I think he cried allot after we left.
One time we found a car on the road in front of an old house that was forever vacant. The keys were in the ignition. We had all driven our daddies’ trucks on country roads and the house was suppose to be empty, we thought they were up to no good and we would just barrow the car for a few hours maybe even bring the car back. Maybe they would never know.
So we got into the car and let out the gear and brake and pushed the car down the road.
When we thought we were safe we all got in and started the car up. Man the car backfired and we jumped. Jimmy jammed down on the gas peddle and we took off like a mule that had been stung.
We road around town, we took turns driving. We pretended to be big deal football players after the Friday night game. We waved at some girls and we almost stopped at the drive in. But bobby's brother was there. Bobby ducked and we sped past the drive in.
It was getting late and we thought we should be getting back home. We talked about dropping the car off. Johnny said that we could turn the car off and coast to the house and jump out before anybody was the wiser.
We turned off FM1960 onto jack rabbit road just as we passed coyote corner the car
Sputtered and jerked like when I had the influenza last year and threw up. The car darn near threw us out.
Jimmy looked at the dash and said "damn!" we looked at him and he said "we are out of gas" we laughed and laughed because jimmy's dad is the preacher. And it is always funny to hear jimmy blaspheme.
We got out and started to walk back home. We got about three feet from the car and a pair of headlights cut the night and then a third cut through right on us and we knew it was Sheriff Thompson. Man I was glad it was not sheriff Jones 'cause Jones was real mean to the kids. Bobby's brother said he had to be mean just because he was just out of high school and allot of us folks knew him as a kid so he had to "set the tone".
Hey what are you boys doing?
Nothing sir we were just walking home from the drive in.
Really I did not see you all there.
We all had shakes didn't we guys
We all nodded.
Sheriff gets out of his car, hey what is that back there. Do you boys know anything about that car?
“Ah well you see”, He touches the hood and says "well the engine is hot, not warm so I would say the car was just turned off" "What do you know about this car boys?"
We just barrowed it Jimmy said honest.
It was parked at old Gunther farm house and we just barrowed it.
Get in the car boys
We all got into the police car and sheriff drove us to the Gunther house road.
he let us out and he radioed Tommy Jones. "Tom I need you to get here to the old Gunther house road now"
“Yes sir” crackled Tommy’s voice
Sheriff looked to us and said, “You boys get home. It is late I know your parents are looking for you all.
What is up sheriff?
Are there bank robbers down there?
No Timmy you just go home. Or I will tell you daddy's how we all got together to night.
We said ok sheriff and we left running down the dirt road towards home.
Once we were out of the light of the moon and in the shade of the big oak we stopped.
Do you think they are going to arrest some gangsters?
“Maybe the sheriff knows the car is stolen.” we looked at bobby, “No stolen before us and it was used in a bank heist.”
With out saying a word we turned into the field and headed to old Gunther's house.
We got there to the back side just in time to see two men yelling at each other and shining flash lights around the side of the house.
At first we did not see it but there was another man and a woman on the back stoop looking into the night. I thought for sure they had seen our shadows in the field from the darn moon. But they said nothing.
We heard the two sheriffs’ cars rolling down the road but the two men with flash lights were making too much noise yelling to hear or see the cars.
They just yelled and cursed then one of the cars ran over a branch and the crack was huge.
Everybody stopped and looked at the road now they saw the cars and they ran to the house.
The two cars turned on their head lights and spot light and gunned the black and white cars down the road. The sheriff cars slid to a stop the dust being shown in the lights like brown fog.
Sherriff Thompson jumped out of his car and lifted the mike to his mouth, "you in the house come out with your hands up." booms out of the front grill of his cruiser.
Tommy had his gun out and was pointing it towards the house. A front window broke and then a flash and then a gun shot rang and one of Tommy’s headlights goes out.
Tommy is flat on the ground
Sherriff drops behind his door.
Two men come out the back door and run around the side of the house.
Tommy pokes his head up and begins to fire his pistol at the house.
There is more flashed from the window. And all but one head light is now broken
Sheriff Thompson fires his gun and Tommy unlocks his shotgun from the dash.
The two men out side step around the corner and begin to fire on the cops and the cops fire back.
Sheriff Thompson falls down and so does one of the two men. Tommy screams “Sheriff you all right?”
No answer and the lone gunman begins to fire on Tommy and Tommy shoots the man with the shotgun. The man just sort of totters there like when Bobby's mom drinks too much cider. And then falls.
Tommy runs in a crouch to the sheriff’s car and bends over the sheriff. Tommy puts the mike to his mouth.
Come out with your hands up.
And two figures come out of the front door with their hands up.
One has a rifle over his head.
The woman is behind the man with the rifle.
Tommy gets up with the shotgun and starts to walk to the couple.
About 10 feet away from each other they both jump and fire at each other and the women is still standing. Then the woman falls and the man hits the ground at the same time Tommy hits the ground.
Neither one of the three gets up or moves. Then we see Tommy start to roll around.
We look and see no-one else moving. Tommy starts to drag himself to the sheriffs’ car.
We come out of the bushes and run to Tommy.
What are you boys ding here??
We heard the gun shots and we got curious.
Help me get to sheriff Thompson’s car.
We helped him up. In the near light I could see the wet spot on Tommy’s leg and shoulder.
He leaned on Timmy as we went to Sheriff Thompson’s car.
Sherriff Thompson was laying back with his mouth open and a wet spot on his forehead and a bunch of wet spots on his chest.
Tommy grabbed the mike and turned some knobs and spoke into the mike
This is deputy Springfield. I am at the old Gunther's house. Sherriff Thompson is dead and I have been shot. I need an ambulance right way"
State troopers asked us again and again why we were there and asked Tommy how they knew the Tennant gang was hold up in the house.
Tommy said he did not know it was the Tennant that sheriff Thompson found a car up on Jackrabbit road and told him to come with him to old Gunther’s house.
They showed up and everybody started shooting.
If it wasn't for these boys he would probably be dead.
The troopers thanked us and gave us ride s to our houses. They told our parents what had happened.
Later that month the mayor had a parade and thanked us for being heroes.
We did not feel like heroes but we said, “Thank you sir” anyway.
Tommy gave up sheriffing and got himself a job milking cows at the Johnson dairy.
We still played pranks on our neighbors. And we still enjoyed the rest of our summers.
One of our neighbors was blind. He was an old black man who played the harmonica all day.
He would sit on the porch and play and play. At sometimes at night on a dare we would sneak onto his porch and knock. When he answered the door we would just stand there as quite as a mouse.
He would say “who is there?” and “Hello”. The sternly announce, “I know you are there.”
“Is this funny to you?”
Oh yeah it was.
And then he would go back inside and another of us would do it again.
We would all take turns until one of us made a noise or we had completed the mission.
Often Bobby would chicken out and run away when the old man swung his cane about the porch looking for the person that knocked on his door.
One day I was at the store buying a Coke and the old black man stepped in line behind me. He sniffed and he sniffed.
Finally as I moved forward towards the cashier he said “Stop coming by my house.”
I said nothing. He said “That’s right, you chicken bastard, just shut your mouth and not ever set your foot on my porch again. I know what each of you smell like and I swear I am going to make you pay for your pranks.”
Well that sounded like a dare to me. So that night me, Bobby, Timmy, and Jimmy all went over to the old man’s house.
We played rock paper scissors to decide who would be first. Jimmy lost. He went up to the porch and as his foot touched the second step the old man burst out the door screaming and swing an axe.
“You kids have to leave me alone!”
The axe swung past Jimmy’s face. And he wet his pants. I swear to god his pants were wet and pee ran down his leg into his Keds.
He ducked and ran away and the old man just screamed after him, “That’s right you chicken bastard run!”
Finally the old man turned to go back into the house and Bobby broke for home. The old man heard the foot steps beating down the road.
He started to laugh a crazy laugh. He dropped the axe he laughed so hard.
He yelled a challenge to me and Timmy
“You want some of this old man then come on up here. Other wise I will get my gun and start shooting.”
There ain’t nothing scarier than a blind man with a gun.
We never bothered old ray again after that.
Yeah we played pranks but didn’t everybody?
Like A Monkey With A Handgun
By Rev. J. Sleestaxx
Release date: By 3 December, 2007