Bastard Flud Talley Gets His
Mahatma Ghandi, that great proponent of peace and wearer of man-diapers once declared,
"Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier
than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man."
While that sentiment might sound good, I'd be willing to bet you ol' Mahatma never
crossed paths with Flud Talley.
grew up in a tiny little town on the Ohio River in southern Indiana. When I say
tiny, I mean if you farted on one end of town, somebody on the other end would
yell, "Jaysus, Watts! Enough with the chili already!" and start hissing
Glade Pine Forest Medley into the air.
you grow up in small town America you get used to seeing violence. It's everywhere
-- like gun racks or Baptists. From hunting mishaps to tractor rollovers, life
in the country is like one continuous slasher film. Growing up in this perilous
environment, I learned that if I was ever going to live to see to marrying age
(nine if by free choice, three if pre-arranged) I had to honor two very simple
rules. First, never pee on an electric fence. (I know this might seem obvious,
but some hillbilly from French Lick did it on a bet and blew off both his McNuggets
-- swear to God). And rule two, never, under any circumstances, get into a fistfight
with Flud Talley.
Talley! Even after all these years when I hear that name my palms start sweating
and my bowels loosen.
neighborhood has one, a kid that elevates meanness to an art form. While most
nine-year-olds were busy undercooking muffins in their Kenner Easy-Bake Ovens,
or cross-dressing G.I. Joe in Barbie clothes, Flud was ripping the wings off butterflies,
setting fire to snapping turtles, and jamming M80's up the poop shoots of woodchucks.
He was a regular Dr. Moreau in Toughskin Jeans.
The Talley yard always
seemed eerily devoid of life. No birds dared fly above, no moles dared tunnel
below, even brainless insects somehow knew enough to keep the hell away. Nature
feared Flud Talley and rightfully so.
inherent problem with a kid like Flud was that, at some point, the torture of
bunny rabbits and crawdads wouldn't be enough to keep him satisfied. In time,
like a parched vampire, his blood lust would demand larger and more challenging
prey -- namely human kids! I know this for a fact, dear reader, because
one day, Flud Talley came after me. But before I get to that life-changing
moment -- allow me to first paint a better picture of Flud.
had the body of a crack addict, long, skinny -- unpredictable. In a fight he was
all elbows and knees -- right angles of pain. Kids dumb enough to face off with
him emerged from the encounter looking as if they'd been thrown into a cement
Flud possessed in barbarity he totally lacked in fashion sense. In all the years
I knew him, he never once wore a pair of pants that fit. The waists were okay,
but for some reason, the inseams were always ridiculously short. It was as if
his mother was grooming him for a career in clam digging. You don't have to be
a rocket scientist to figure out how Flud got his name -- High water = Flood/Flud
= Flood? Do the math, people.
Flud was built like a tent pole, he had the biggest thumb knuckles I've
ever seen on a person. From the appropriate angle, his thumbs looked like a couple
of queen snakes choking on croquet balls. While most of us would be ashamed to
have wielded such doorknobs for thumbs, Flud embraced them, "What the fuck?
They're good for eye gougin'."
on the subject of eyes, Flud had not one, but two lazy eyes. This ocular
malfunction not only caused him to stare at the world like an un-medicated mental
patient, but also required him to wear the single most butt-ugly pair of prescription
glasses ever fashioned. Forged from Kevlar, Flud's glasses were as indestructible
as they were repugnant. I overheard him tell our bus driver once, "If I wanted
to, I could weld in these cock suckers."
you can see, Flud had many "interesting" personal attributes, but I
have saved his most "interesting" for last. Flud Talley had no hair.
That's right, you heard me. Due to some unholy medical condition Flud was as bald
as a balloon -- no eyebrows, no eyelashes, no nothing. Here was a nine-year-old
kid forced to wander the road of life looking like a skinny-assed, google-eyed
Telly Savalas with over-sized thumbs.
not easy being bald. Throughout history, many great men have suffered the devastating
side effects of hair loss; two of the more famous examples I can think of are
Samson from the Bible and Curly from The Three Stooges. Now, imagine having
to shoulder that burden if you're just a nine-year-old kid. I bet you'd think
that was pretty awful, wouldn't you? But wait, it gets worse.
everyone in town knew that Flud was bald, no living human had actually ever seen
his hairless head. Because instead of simply taking his lumps, Flud had chosen
to conceal his "condition" with a wig that looked something like a cross
between a beaver pelt and a bathmat. Nature had been exceptionally cruel to Flud
Talley and somebody was going to pay. One hot day in the August of my ninth year,
that somebody -- was me!
are only two places cooler than Indiana during the month of August. The first
is the surface of the Sun and the second is Satan's asshole the morning after
a five-alarm chili festival. In addition to the punishing heat, Indiana summers
are notorious for their humidity -- or as the old timers call it "liquid
air." I remember one summer it got so incredibly humid that all the fish
drowned because when they came up for air there wasn't any. It was on one
of those liquid-air days that I collided head-on with Flud Talley. Here's how
it went down.
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