Fish, Fin and I had just got up from our 20 minute hiatus on a snow bank on Libel Street, Fish was still basking in his ability to play opossum and exact the type of revenge upon a friend that we all knew would elevate him to legendary status in our respective neighborhoods. We were all in good moods. Laughing, smiling, joking. Trying to perform round-house kicks and screaming like Shao-Lin warriors in the heat of battle. We were happy.
Then Fin did something stupid.
He made another snowball. A nice big, solid, well packed ball of ice. I can only assume he had been working on it since we had sat down after his face-wash by Fish. He was pretty proud of it too. "Look at this guys." he said. And we looked. We gathered up in a huddle and stared at the frozen ball of perfection. The ball was a little larger than a baseball and was packed so tight that when Fin placed it in my open hand I could feel its perfect weight pushing my hand down towards the ground. "This thing has some serious meat to it." I said.
Fish reached out with his hand "Let me get ahold of it Skip." and I handed it to him. "Wow, this thing is perfect Fin." he exclaimed. "Nice packing, not too big or small, smooth and round and the weight is unreal."
"Thanks." Fin stated. "Can I have it back?" as he reached out to grab his masterpiece of snowmanship.
Fish just stood there staring at Fin and holding the snowball in his right hand, cupped like a prize catch and then placed his left hand over the top of the snowball. I looked at Fin and then back at Fish. I felt like I was standing in the middle of one of the westerns we often got together to watch. You know, where the White hat and the Black hat meet for the first time and just sort of stare into each others eyes. Sizing each other up for future reference, usually 80 minutes or so later in celluloid terms.
"Sure Fin, here you go." Fish said and handed it back to Fin with a bit of reluctance in his voice and jealousy in his eyes. "Watcha gonna do with it?" he asked.
"Dunno." Fin replied "Maybe just keep it. Maybe save it for one of Skips sisters. I know Debbie sure has it coming to her after getting those 7th graders to pound me right before Thanksgiving."
"Hey Fin, you were telling everyone she stuffed her bra." I said half-heartedly and tried to defend my sister as best as I could. I really didn't want to because, well, to be honest with you, she didn't deserve it. She was always instigating things with me and my friends and when one of my buddies showed any interest in her she would then get some older guys from the neighborhood or at school to kick their ass. Mine too at times and became her MO almost all the way through High School. Well that is until I went to live with my father but that is a story for another time. (YES, I WILL WRITE ABOUT THAT IN THE FUTURE!)
"Why not? She deserves it. But don't worry, I would never waste a perfect snow-ball on her. She aint worth it." Fish retorted all of a sudden on Fin's side of things.
"Hey Cats, you both know I have to defend her, she is my sister after all and you're both right, she does deserve to be creamed for all the crap she puts us through but if we are gonna do something to her we have to go BIG. Not just a snow-ball even if it is the perfect snow-ball." I said.
Fish stood there nodding while the steam from his breath enveloped his head. Fin grumbled under his breath something about us not letting him have any fun and then said "Fish, you got any smokes left?"
"Sure man, I copped a whole pack from the old man's dresser. Shit, he has 4 open cartons in there so he wont miss anything." He said as he reached in his leather coat pocket and produced the red and white pack of Marlboro's and commenced to try and open the flip top box with his gloves.
"Hey Dipshit" Fin said while trying to stifle his laughter "you gotta take your gloves off. "
"Fuck you tampon breath." Fish retorted.
"Guys, stop yankin each others chain, cars are coming and I want a smoke." I said. Which was true. While we had been standing there several cars had come down Libel street. Slowing down when they saw us standing under the street lamp like the group of juvenile delinquents that we were. "I think one of 'em is a cop car." I warned.
"Ok, ok, here. Christ, cops aint gonna do nothin to us." Fish stated. "There's got to be at least 4 or 5 accidents they got to be at." We always listened to Fish when it came to the cops. Hi dad after all was a truck driver and knew how to talk CB language and also had the only Harley Davidson in either of our neighborhoods. It was sweet too. Candy apple red white custom hand painted pin stripes, side saddle bags, extra lights everywhere and more chrome than imaginable.
When Fish's dad drove her down the street you could hear her coming 4 blocks away and when you looked up to see the bike you were practically blinded by the reflecting sunlight off of almost all of her surfaces. Fish was always bragging how one day he would get the bike when his old man passed away or bought a new one. We secretly hated him when he started talking about that bike. But we were also jealous of him too. Especially when Fish's dad would bring Fish to school on the back of it.
All the kids on the playground or just coming off the bus would stop whatever it was they were doing when they heard that bike approaching. We would all stand around looking at this gleaming beast of a machine approach us at a speed that was most definitely not posted for safety. Old Man Minnow would pull up right next to the front doors of the school where NO ONE was allowed to pull up and as Fish would hop off the back of the coolest vehicle ever to come out of Milwaukee Iron Works with his leather coat, unzipped, flapping open. Fish would then pull off his helmet and attach it to the side of the bike on the helmet holder, say something to his old man and turn to us and we all wished we were him at that moment. Then, just as quick as he got there, Old Man Fish was gone in a thunderous rumble of twin cylinder glory that haunts me to this day.
Fish got his gloves off an handed out the cancer sticks we thought were so cool at the time. Then he pulled out a zippo and we all puffed up. A car honked at us as it passed and Fish flipped it off. "Screw you!" he yelled in false bravado as the car continued down the street.
Then Fin says "Next asshole that honks at us I am gonna toss this snowball at."
"You wont hit it." I said. "They go to fast. If you want to hit a car you have to throw the snow-ball at it before it gets to you. Sort of like a softball pitch."
"What do you know about it?" Fish inquired.
"Not much I guess, just what we learned in scouts about trajectories and hunting and stuff like that." I replied.
"So underhanded not overhanded and before the car gets to us?" Fin asked
HHHHHOOOOOONNNNKKKK HOOOOOONNNNKKK HOOONNNKKK
Opportunity knocks, well in this case honks and just about scared us stupid.
We turned an looked down Libel and we saw a set of headlight approaching fast. "I'm gonna do it!" Fin shouted "Wait for the right moment." Fish yelled. "Crap." was all I could say.
We could also hear the motor revving up, cranking up the rpm's and the driver started to lay on the horn some more as the car started to fishtail. The headlights lit us up and we stood there, frozen in place like a deer getting ready to be hit on a country road. I could tell it was a "muscle" car. Something with a super charged engine and mag rims. Something HOT!
As it approached Fish yells "NOW! FIN, NOW!" And Fin did, he tossed the perfect snowball in a gentle and amazingly perfect arc, the light of the street lamp and the headlamps of the car gleamed off of it and shot out flashes of light like lasers in all different directions. All three of us stood there watching this snowball fly gently threw the air with the car speeding towards the inevitable impact.
It hit. It hit dead center on the windshield and blew apart like, well, like a snowball being plowed into by a speeding car. But that was not all. We all saw what was happening right after the snowball and car collided. The windshield started to crack and speckle in a million little pieces. The driver slammed on the brakes and the horn started blaring.
"Oh shit." Fin said.
"Fuck" Fish replied
"We're screwed." I stated.
That is just about the time that we all noticed the car proper. It was not just any car. It was "BANDIT'S" car. C'mon, you know the car, a candy black 1977 Pontiac Trans Am with gold pin striping, t-top roof, a gold Firebird painted on the hood with mag rims. Powerful, sexy, smooth and a total babe magnet! We had all seen Smokey and the Bandit, heck we all went to the theatre together and watched it. Ate too much popcorn and drank too much soda pop. Then when we got home afterwards we tried to learn all the CB talk we could. Which meant we bugged Fish's dad so much he threatened to not just disembowel us but also rip us limb from limb.
"YOU FUCKING LITTLE BASTARDS!!! IAMGONNAFUCKINGKILLYOU!!!!"
"RUN!!!!!!!" I think Fish yelled or it could have been me. We were panicked and I can't really recall but someone yelled it and I don't think it was Fin cause he was already setting out as fast as his snow boots could carry him. We lit out after him as fast as we could.
"COME BACK HERE YOU LITTLE SHITS! YOUR FUCKING DEAD!"
We ran, and ran and ran. When Fin turned left onto Memory Court we followed. As we approached the shortcut to the park behind the Court Fish and I had caught up to Fin and the Trans Am was barreling down toward us with its horn blaring loud and long. Lights from the houses around us were starting to turn on and people were starting to come out of their houses.
"We gotta split up." I yelled at my criminal partners.
"Fin, you head to the dugouts, I'll head towards the ice rink. Skip you head for the school." Fish ordered.
"Got it, meet you at your house soon." I yelled and headed for the school
Fin ran right and Fish turned left. I kept on straight. By the time I got up to the school I could see several of the people from the neighborhood out in the ball fields and hockey rinks with flashlights. An occasional incomprehensible shout or yell would drift up to me on the winds of the frigid Wisconsin breeze. When I got to the school I set out for Fish's house and on the way there I saw two of Green Bay's finest patrol cars rolling up and down the streets with their spotlights on and casting beams of light into neighbors yards, driveways and alleys. Every time I saw one of the cruisers I ducked behind a car, trash can or evergreen tree.
I made it to Fish's house and went right down to the basement. Fish and Fin were there smoking cigarettes and Fish had even been so bold as to pull out a can of Old Style beer from his folks refrigerator. Fin was sipping on it. "Bout time you showed up. We thought they caught you."
"Shut up dumbass and gimme a drink of that and a smoke." I retorted as I sat down and started to laugh.