(Approximate reading time: 4 minutes)
By NV Lee
It began on a day when like so many other summer days all the kids in our area had gathered together in the wide-open back pasture that was Cody Taylors dads’ horse pasture. There weren’t any horses in the pasture then because his dad was away on rodeo, and so the pasture of sun-bleached dried grass, scraggly weeds and spilled, yellow hay was all ours for play’n in. We usually played war games, filing off into two or three teams and gathering chunks of the dry dirt that littered the pasture between the weeds and the wasting hay.
The biggest chunks of dry dirt clumped together like rough turds we called, “dirt clogs” and these we used for ammo. It was a lot like dodgeball only a lot fun’er because the dirt bombs explode on impact with a dull thump and a violent spray of grit. Sometimes they hit so hard against you, they busted straight in your face and invariably someone would fall down with rough shit in their eyes. It even got in our ears and under our shirts- hell sometimes – later you find it down your pants or even in your socks!
And so prepare’n for the worst, each team took old horse feed buckets to collect our stocks of dirt warfare – taking time to make a couple of runs through the pasture to find “good dirt clogs.” Finding a “good one” really meant finding a big, dry knot of dirt that when thrown would explode the hardest on impact with someone’s body – or better yet someone’s face! And so collecting a bunch of good ones we were making sure for a filthy afternoon of pegg’n each other in our soon to be dirty war! But that day, a whole ‘nother war was already started when James and Andrew interrupted our collecting “dirt clogs” to show us instead their stolen treasure – Dr.Dubbord’s flamingos.
No one knew how they had managed to do it, but they had done it – the Dawson brothers had gotten Dr.Dubbord’s florid-pink flamingos. Those “nasty-ass, pink-shit birds” as we all called them. It was an impossible feat of growing rancor that each of us envied. We had all wanted to get those cheap-ass, ugly flamingos all summer long. To see them now lamely fallen from their eternal stand with their Pepto Bismol colored bodies looking swollen and dumb, more like oblong blisters of sunburnt plastic- unable to resist our greedy fingers, was awesome!
We clustered around, stroked and petted their strange bodies; tracing along the long stiff legs that surprisingly weren’t pink at all, but, were painted dark red and up close we could see revealed a detail that the legs had been thickly repainted many times before. The red layers flaked away as we picked curiously at the scabs of paint, finally exposing long dark wires underneath.The wires twisted together to make the legs that had stood mocking us all summer long, until, James and Andrew had uprooted them. James and Andrew hated them the most I guess; they had always said, “That Florida shits gotta go! Yea, this ain’t fuck’n Florida!” They thought Dr.Dubbord was a real dumb ass, we all did really.
Dr.Grey Dubbord, or as we liked to call him Doc Dumber, was a greasy ex-doctor from Florida, who we were sure, had either been a vet or a plastic surgeon. Either way, whether he took the balls of dogs or put plastic titties in women didn’t matter – we were all sure he was a dumbass. He had moved up from Florida to escape the sun, but it was already too late, and he had a nasty rot of skin cancer on his nose.
And when he moved into the old Hayward’s place, he put up the five hot-pink plastic flamingos in his back yard, right next to the above ground pool he put in. He made the whole back yard look, “South Beach Tropicana” complete with a large floppy umbrella all white and blue striped, and long, waxy, white-wooden lounge chairs, the kind you see on t.v. at big fancy hotel pools. But none of that junk mattered except the flamingos. Just those damn hideous Barbie-pink flamingos standing perched in the dry grass around the pool. They were weird and ugly, and some of the boys had said, they even glowed in the dark.
James and Andrew were right! They really were, “fuck’n Florida shit”. And now, now we had them. The first P.O.Ws of our neighborhood war. Only, the question was, what were we gonna do with them?
(Image Credit: Pastiche made with Pixabay.Com)