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BY Davey H

10/01 Direct Link

And surely, as fate would have it, a horrible event occurred one snowy day. And trouble looked like it was headed Dodd's way.

Ironically, no piss tests were given to school bus drivers in that era, or if they were, they could be administered in a very lax fashion. Moreover, nobody had security or surveillance cameras all over the place.

So when a little girls' body turned up in a snowbank on a weekday, outraged parents, and indeed, most EVERYONE in that quaint little working class neighborhood became highly suspicious of the school bus drivers.

Davey, shuddering, thought of Dodd.

10/02 Direct Link
Oh, what pathetic and sullied sot!
For poor Dodd, 'twas a standard feature;
most days a malaise was as good as it got,
poor Dodd, such a hapless creature!

By dint of sheer fate, this fellow named Dodd
who had at times contemplated;
had he run that child over, oh grace of God?
No, he was exonerated.

The tires from Dodd's bus were sent to an FBI crime lab in Washington, D.C. for examination and eventually came back listed as 'inconclusive'. But going by the book, [as some folks were likely to think], this wouldn't let him off the hook.

10/03 Direct Link

Davey wondered out loud how Dodd could not only keep his job whilst of obviously driving under the influence, but why, after he had been doing it for so long, none of his superiors caught on.

In retrospect, or whatever 'spect' Davey could at this point toss into the mix, this phenomenon most likely called into play the difficulty of finding persons to fill school bus driver positions – particularly for the younger set of kids that tended to be the most challenging. So Dodd was in like flint no matter how bad his behavior was.

To this day Davey wonders.

10/04 Direct Link

At this point, the inquisitive reader of this quixotic, quirky essay – should such a reader exist – may be wondering aloud why Davey didn't sound the alarm bell when he KNEW damn well what was going on.

Yes, he knew, but wouldn't say;
that was saved for Dodd for a better day.
And it was, by God, HIS ball in play,
and none that Davey could inveigh.

Davey kept his personal suspicions to himself, for better or worse, and was never called as a witness in the case; after all, it appeared no witnesses were at the scene of that tragedy.

10/05 Direct Link

Yes, nobody had SEEN that poor child meet her fate, so likewise no eyeball could verify even that it had been a school bus, not a UPS truck or oil delivery truck that had run her over.

Davey doesn't recall how heavy the snowfall was, but it is likely that it would have been substantial and perhaps unexpected; moreover, during near-blizzard conditions, visibility is squelched considerably and folks tend to stay indoors more.

Still, to this day, in Davey's dappled mind, the stark possibility of Dodd's culpability does exist.

How many UPS or oil truck drivers drink in the daytime?

10/06 Direct Link

Davey's deep, simmering, yet unconfirmed suspicion of Dodd's guilt remained for years throughout their lasting friendship, and quite frankly continues to this day, though he hasn't seen Dodd for nearly two decades.

He MUST have done it! Dodd was so numb by 2:30 in the afternoon that he could have run over a black bear and mistaken it for a snowbank.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dodd did celebrate a little once the test results came back from the FBI lab, and he even got a little cocky in an interview which was published in the local paper, calling the investigation “a crock”.

10/07 Direct Link

Yeah, it was a 'crock' alright, but even to the oft-intoxicated Davey, so was the LIE Dodd was living.
Davey couldn't and wouldn't argue morality with Dodd; he wasn't in any position to, but neither was Davey behind the wheel of a vehicle that contained young, vibrant lives.

To be fair, Dodd needed to be exonerated, had he indeed been not guilty, but if he HAD done it – even legitimately under the auspices of what could be termed “accidentally” – and had an inkling that he DID do it, then he should have come clean.

Enough preaching and screeching for now.

10/08 Direct Link

Now, nearly twenty years hence, Davey has not seen hide nor whisker of either Jerry or Dodd, but has heard tell that the years have not been kind to Dodd in particular.

According to Dodd's son Fran, Dodd has type 2 diabetes and had his driver's license yanked several years ago. “Bad driving record,” Fran had mentioned in a message.
Additionally, Davey can assume Dodd still smokes cigarettes and whatever other recreational combustibles he can get his mitts on.

As of this writing, Davey has just dusted off a high school reunion, one at which Dodd was not in attendance.

10/09 Direct Link

As to how many decades it has been since Davey walked away from that soon-to-be ostensible graduation, well, that shall, for the purposes of this collection of indiscriminately collated memoirs, remain nebulous.

Suffice to say it has been some decades since that spring season when Davey responded to a flush of irresponsibility and simply stopped going to school.
Oh, it was 12th grade alright, and all he would have had to do was scrawl out some kind of text that could be assembled into what at the time was loosely termed a 'term paper'.

Nowadays, Davey would consider that FUN!

10/10 Direct Link

At the recent reunion event, Davey was surprised at how OLD some of his peers looked! Actually, within the crowd, it ran the gamut; some folks had really kept their shape and taken care of themselves, and it obviously showed. Surprisingly, some of the locals – who really would have no excuse for missing the bash – did not show up. Hopefully it wasn't due to grudges held or other ill will.

Davey took the time to visit the old school and peruse that line of trees out front – the ones that bore headstones in memory of those long-deceased classmates.
So sad!

10/11 Direct Link

It only takes an event like a high school reunion to drive the point home that we're ALL getting' old. And how old we FEEL is the issue to contend with, of course within reason.

But in the end – and not necessarily the bitter end – we'll all be staring bankruptcy in the face, should we fall into the clutches of a nursing home or other tentacle of our voracious sick-care system.

And all along the way, opportunistic sick-care parasites will be hovering, just waiting to siphon portions of our assets before we do finally kick the bucket.
And that SUCKS!

10/12 Direct Link

At Davey’s reunion, none of his old-fogy classmates could dwell on the aging issue, as they were too busy slurping whatever adult beverages were available – and by gawd, the taps were flowing!
But to the bar with a 'hardy-har-har'
Davey H was not going.

Yes, Davey's lack of tippling did not
in the least cramp his style,
and he carried on with the socialization
utilizing his imagination,
and that was done with a smile.

And consequently, after a while,
you may wonder what Davey did think
when somebody queried
not if Davey was married
but rather, “Davey, where's your drink?”

10/13 Direct Link

They were packed into that second floor lounge like freekin' sardines, those old students were, and of course the cacophony was deafening.
Davey had a set of earplugs stuffed into both ears – a precaution he scrupulously takes in such situations – and to his stunned surprise, nobody noticed.
Or if they did, they didn't let on.

Oh, that earplug thing. Yeah, one of Davey's many quirks, one could suppose. But take a moment to think about this fact: When ethanol impacts the human body in its multifarious meanderings, one of the first things to get numbed up is one's auditory capabilities.

10/14 Direct Link

In other words, the characteristically routine act of getting ineb­riated – even mildly – means that the tippler experiences a decidedly decreased acuity of hearing, though it is generally not noticed by said tippler.
Hence, the volume level in an active saloon, tavern, bar – or whatever adjective you wish to paste on it – will rise consistently and commensurately with the intake of ethanol-based beverages.

So here at Harvey's Tavern, nearing the middle of the night,
the age-old crowd was a tipsy sight!
But Davey stayed dry as a stack o' paper towels,
with all his might and with p's, q's and vowels.

10/15 Direct Link

Rita the guitarist – who still played regularly after all these years – was happily in attendance, and Davey reminisced with a dash of schmooze how she had 'kicked his ass' during tryouts for the 'Jazz Creators', the high school improvisational band.

Davey recalled that scene all too clearly:
He showed up to the audition with long hair and his black Ibanez Les Paul copy with the single-core humbucker pickups that he had purchased from Joe Bletter the year before.
He should have known that a big red 'X' would be on his chest as soon as he got in the door!

10/16 Direct Link

Rita, on the other hand, appeared dapper in sensible, non-flashy attire of the era and sporting a wholly appropriate axe for the genre: her gorgeous Gibson L-5 f-hole hollow body.

Since Mr. Burnbak was seeking a 'blues' riff [the specifics of which escape faulty memory], Davey thought it best to attempt his ripoff of a favorite Jeff Beck solo, which of course fell flat.

After this gaffe, Davey retreated to the bench and watched Rita deftly cruise through the requisite guitar parts the teacher sought.

What Davey came for, he sullenly thought
would not have worked if he had fought.

10/17 Direct Link

That memory, whilst vivid indeed,
did not make for an enduring screed.
So needless to say
on this night, not the day
that Rita and Davey
however he squirms
were now well behaved
and on excellent terms.

Davey didn't hold that decades-old comeuppance against Rita;
she had won that round fair and square.
And he knew he could never defeat huh
and now he would definitely not dare!

Now, here, while cruising past his old school,
Davey, without fear,
could still feel like a fool,
as memories flipped and dipped and swayed;
and for not very long they verily stayed.

10/18 Direct Link

Awash, yes, in memories that flow,
those memories with relish
Davey would have you know.
But he wouldn't embellish
this dull essay, though,
as some eras were hellish,
and others just show.

During the day leading up to that Harvey's tavern bash, Davey and his ebullient spouse cruised through his old neighborhood as Davey spouted tidbits of decidedly outdated yet semi-useful information regarding who lived in such-and-such domicile and how others' garish, elaborate landscaping plans had completely eliminated the former gaping passages through which he and those of his ilk would cut through on their way to the old school.

10/19 Direct Link

One could, under such circumstances, be heard to bellow this age-old hackneyed phrase:
“My, how times have changed!” Or, barring that, perhaps they would otherwise utter:
“Change, how times have my!” But that would be a little too dimwitted, so in this instance, spousester and Davey just uttered stuff like:
“Dayum, look at how high those silver maples are!” And of course, just for kicks: “Holy Sh** – those folks sure have thrown MONEY at that old stack 'o bricks!”

Davey had been unable to convince Dad to stay in the old Flintzer Hills neighborhood before Mom & Dad moved south.

10/20 Direct Link

But that is a tidbit of personal history that perhaps fits in sideways to Davey's ongoing high school chronicles.

Dad in particular was in favor of this location to settle the simmering brood of which Davey was a senior member, and having school situated so conveniently meant the kids would not need to rumble daily aboard one of those detestable, exhaust belching yellow cram-vans en route to an education. No, this would save serious gasoline, too, though the family car with its doors so ajar would easily fit half the crew.

So the family remained semi-satisfactorily ensconced @ Flintzer Hills.

10/21 Direct Link
Dad had been heard to quip
“you'd need to go pretty far back to find any semblance of stability.”
Indeed; much dissension had been extant among the siblings at that location before most of them – except the grate Davey H – went to college. Davey could assert with a fair degree of accuracy that most, if not all working class kids also went to Beannacht High.
The rich kids and any children of the lone state senator most likely went to an expensive private school, one of the half a dozen or so within a 50 mile radius.

But did Davey?
10/22 Direct Link

Well, here's where things got a bit dicey: despite the idyllic appearances of the Flintzer Hills community, many a wayward youth did in fact materialize. And perhaps unsurprisingly, in 7th grade, Davey had become such a discipline problem as to warrant his enrollment in a local private school.

Bylit school, which was situated on who knows how many pastoral acres off Mount Pebbleton Road, had its own indoor swimming pool and several athletic fields. The school boasted the smallest classes available at the time, which was 12 or 13 kids to a class.

And that was where much trouble began.

10/23 Direct Link

Reminiscing on just how obnoxious things became during those largely wasted years, Davey will fart and manage a serious chuckle.
Oh, the torture he and his fellow cur-ups put those poor teachers through!

Mr. Burkins was a semi-dapper curly haired Englishman who, perhaps unsurprisingly, taught English. Of course, with Davey and Donald Hamlacher ruthlessly teasing the diminutive Roy Ridder, Perkins had his proverbial 'work cut out for him.' And since Ritter was a special needs student with a peculiar deformity of his left hand, it made Davey and Hamlacher look like the cretins they were turning out to truly be.

10/24 Direct Link

Roy Ridder was an affable, even angelic young lad with an easy smile and goofy laugh. He always stood out as different, however, as his left hand terminated in a claw-like mass rather than a normal hand. It made you feel creepy to look at it for too long – particularly after seeing other people with 'normal' hands.
Roy's 'claw' was usable for pinching motions, as one side resembled a thumb and the other, a short forefinger. Both sides of the claw had 'fingernails' of ghastly shape, which only served to add to the anomaly.
Was Roy Ridder a thalidomide victim?

10/25 Direct Link

The fact that Ridder actually accepted Davey and eventually befriended him is a testimonial to Ridder's character and high tolerance level.
Although on the one hand, during all those high-intensity teasing sessions, perhaps Ridder had developed a perverse liking for all the attention being showered on him.
Either way, Ridder maintained a congenially goofy, bubbly persona throughout.

And as one of the most vulnerable 'special needs' students at Bylit, Ridder was kept off the football field, for sure.
Incidentally, when he ran on the track, it was an interesting sight: his whole body twisted in an almost feminine dance pattern.

10/26 Direct Link

It dawned on Davey whilst watching Ridder running so wavy that the 'Ridder twist' was totally scientific: it was a manifestation of his hands' dissimilar weighting and the body's attempt to compensate for this during accelerated forward locomotion. It would not have seemed so dire in terms of weight; at least his left arm had SOMETHING at the end of it, but just that little bit of weight differential had such a huge effect on his balance and rhythm.
Of course Ridder didn't have such pronounced motion when he was walking, though he did have a kind of natural waddle.

10/27 Direct Link

During the two boys' Bylit years – and their commensurate unlikely friendship – it happened as a naturally evolving matter of course that Davey and Dad would go over to visit at the Ridder's.

Roy's Dad just so happened to have an interest in amateur radio – a hobby which for Davey was on the wane.

The Ridder's basement was fit for the finest of pack rats, with a veritable hodgepodge of 'stuff' stacked floor to ceiling.
But what a trove it was!
Davey verily drooled over the stacks of old 'QSL' magazines with their rich, tailored content geared to amateur radio operators.

10/28 Direct Link

Now Davey doesn't recall what political, social, or work-related topics Dad and the senior Ridder may have discussed, but the two men shared a scientific background and contemporary employment with a local chemical corporation by the name of Swablr®.
This of course may come as a surprise to many a reader – this 'Swablr' thing – but names must be changed to protect the guilty. And in this case, Swablr corporation wasn't always exactly an environmental sweetheart; in fact, quite the contrary.
Many were the violations and products later found defective, though the firm had never created or maintained any Superfund sites.

10/29 Direct Link

While Dad and Mr. Ridder talked politics or work or whatever, Davey and Roy shot the sh** in similar fashion. Bereft of his bully pulpit,
Davey had a completely different take on Roy, and fortunately that spilled over into daily banalities at Bylit school where both Davey and Roy eventually completed two years.

Other 'bullees' in Davey's cross-hairs included Bobby Doans, who had a pronounced speech impediment and Coke bottle-thick glasses.
The teasing got so strident at times – especially in Mr. Burkins' classes – that classroom operations were nearly rendered moot.

Mr. Burkins could only take so much of this garbage.

10/30 Direct Link

One day, after Davey had bullied Bobby Doans into a corner, and Davey had voiced yet again his far too accurate Mr. Burkins imitation, Burkins took matters into his own hands – and those hands made fists. The fists, in turn, were meant for business.

Perkins grabbed Davey by the shirt collar and ushered him not so gently into the private study cube at the back of the classroom.

“If you keep up with this nonsense, you little shit, I swear I'll KILL you!” Perkins huffed between clenched teeth.
The two were pressed into the little study behind the closed door.

10/31 Direct Link

Burkins pressed his fist onto Davey's right cheek [facial cheek, of course] as he seethed in hushed tones more stern warnings to the suddenly scared Davey, who had never thought of Burkins as anything but a wimpy Englishman. Now he was getting a taste of a rage so deep as to defy explanation. In short, Davey was truly petrified at this point.

Finally, Burkins loosed his grip on Davey's shirt and shoulders and the two men emerged into the classroom. Or should we say one man and one overgrown boy who felt verbally sodomized.

Davey was white as a sheet.