Get Barbara Jackson
by Mervin Gilbert
GET BARBARA JACKSON!
It was a gusty, weak-sunned day and Melvin Grossman and me were scrunched up in a vestibule, scared shit. We had seen her ranging down Surf Avenue, her face set upon some hellish mission, her dirty-blond hair frizzing out from under an angry red wool cap. Yeah, she was only thirteen, but she had sharp fists, and she beat the crap out of us on Monday at school on a dare from Donny White and fat John Gabagogli. And she promised sheíd do it again if she saw us any time soon.
"Think she saw us?"
"Shhhhh..." Both of us had just been walking, and shpritzing, wearing wool pants and hats with fuzzy brown earflaps, rabbinically discussing Robert Heinlein, faraway solar systems, and robots, when, we saw her, sailing like a buzzard, eating up the sidewalk in front of her. A gravity pit opened at the bottom of my kishkas and started drawing my innards down. So we ran up the nearest stoop and hid. Totally frightened, I passed the time studying the hexagonal little marble tiles that made up the pale floor in the enclosure.
"You fuckin' bastards trying to hide from me?" she thundered in all her awesome ferocity. And there she was, leering down at us, our worst nightmare. Red hat, red cheekbones from the cold, some freckles, she loomed , arms wide like a big swastika, in a dark pea coat,a rust colored dress sticking out from the bottom of it. I quailed "Please donít hit me, Please, please, I just ate."
And what was that on her face: triumph? Redemption? Maybe this was the only place she could tame her demons, by subjugating two soft boys her own age. I looked at her and saw she was really starting to relish this moment.
"You just ate, you fat bastard?" She let fly a phalanx of knuckles right into my oversated gut, and I turned around, partly out of cowardice, but mostly to protect my precious treasure: the cold chicken and chaleh that I had pleasurably stuffed myself with just a half hour before. She pummeled at my ribs and back, then turned on Melvin and gave him a what for. And part of me, then, was screaming, in an analytical way, "How could this be -- What's wrong with this picture?" I mean, weíre two fairly healthy boys, and weíre drowning in a vomitory of shame, humiliation, fear, adrenaline, anger. As she walloped us, she cursed and laughed.
Barbara Jackson was a good looking girl. She was slim, rangy, very focused. Why, I thought, couldnít I just be like Donny White? He once undid his fly in Miss Keegan's room when she wasnít there, and showed off his enormous penis. And he had a deep voice. Him and Frank could handle Barbara Jackson, they were all denizens of the same pond. "We see Paris, We see France! We see Barbara's bloody underpants!" they would chant at her, and she would get furious, turn around and see me, or Melvin, or both of us, and we'd get it. And of course, Donny White and Frank would think that was a bonus of funny.
After a while, she stopped. Our responses weren't changing. She got bored with her victory. I guess she thought: What more can I get from these poor shmucks?
And she flew away. We werenít too hurt physically, but inside, we were wrecked, deflated, defeated, done. Barbara Jackson had beat some of our boyhood out of us. Robert Heinlein couldnít help us now.
In Physics, recently, they came up with this concept, probably having to do with String Theory, or something: While sending a laser beam to some exact destination and waiting for it to bounce back, they took note that the light came back faster than it was supposed to. This means, I suppose, that in the workings of the universe, if something is inevitable, like the light returning to its source, then the laws of speed can be compromised. After all, the results would be the same if the reflex took a nanosecond, or twenty light years. Time was unnecessary.
Do I feel the anguish of my former self, little Hermie Pippick that I was? Yes! I feel it still even with fifty years of tree rings encasing my soul. Could I reach back and give this poor young shmeggeggi some wisdom, some skill, some strategic sechel, some shit in his blood? Could I merge my now with my then? Is there a God?
The first thing I felt after the transformation was the smell of the street, of the salt in the air from the nearby tame ocean; the sweet, fried aromas wafting from the amusement area; then the chuffle of an emerald green and cream streamlined trolley coursing up Surf Avenue, clacking heavily on the flush-with-the-pavement tracks, its pole swishing and crackling as it stroked the overhead wires.
I was home! I looked over at Melvin. Yep, skinny, four-eyes, kinky hair, a little drool on his protruding lips. And he was scared. And I felt the fright juicing in my own boyish body. A supple but fat body. My knees felt fine, and my youthful flat feet hurt.
Wow! I wanted to think on it, to wonder, to relish. But, there was no time. There, filling the hall with her friggin, feral presence, was Barbara Jackson! But it was so different.
She looked smaller, like a tinted photo blown-up to almost lifesize, and just as cardboardy cutout.The grown-up Hermanís anima was now in control, and I could sense little Hermie, still there, still aquaver, but steadily watching from behind a shoulder bone. Shrieking, and even her screech sounded like it was coming across the Zenith table radio in the kitchen, she comes for us. She sends a punch. But now behind my youthful, chubby face crouches a very dangerous, sixty-five year old monster who, from an extensive menu of defenses, easily guides her little girl fist into a lock, spinning her around, my other arm pinning her throat, but lightly. Sheís trapped. It dawns on her, and she gives a lurch. Her carriage transmits its essence of planar pelvis and hips to my groin, pleasurably, I note. The arm that I bend behind her is made up of thin avian bones. She struggles. A simple twist and she freezes. Fear shows in her eyes as I lean over her neck. Should I take a bite? Nah, thatís too grown-up. Better stay thirteen. But I pull her closer to me, just to feel the motions of her bones, her muscles, her flesh against my thirteen year old self.
All the while, Melvin's mouth is hanging open. If there was a hole in the hall wall tesserae, he would've disappeared into it. "Wha," he stammers out, "Don't hurt her...Are you goin' to hurt her?"
Barbara Jackson tries to scream against her inhales. I apply a small bit of pressure and whisper in her ear "Be quiet or I'll snap your arm off." My nose can smell her hair; it's clean, she has a mother after all. Her skin is perfumed only by Ivory soap and the salt wind from the street. Now it's sinking in: Iíve won! Sheís helpless. But what did I want to feel? I think to myself, and in this strange hiatus, I feel the network of the event start to fall inward. I canít help it, it's the position. I lower my lips around her neck, nuzzle, and bite, wetly. Now she stiffens. She is really frightened. Something is happening that she never expected. Her skin tastes not the best, it is slightly acrid. Too many strings and sinews underneath.
But my now mind is running.
"Melvin," I rasp. "Melvin!" Melvin is in a daze. To him, the world has stopped. "Melvin -- open her blouse."
"N-N-No, Hermie...she'll kill us."
"Do what I say. Go ahead, do it." With a surge, Barbara Jackson tries to kick out at Melvin, but she works herself further into the bone lock and pain.
"Open her blouse!" I repeat, growling. Melvin moves slowly. Heís worrying about retribution. His arm unfolds tentatively from his body and fumbles with buttons. "Use both your hands!" I order. He does, but oh so fearfully, his future is filled with her inevitable revenge. I observe from behind my prisoner as Melvin pulls her white-collared blouse open, revealing a teddy sort of thing. I urge him to pull it up and he does. There, in all their adolescent flatness are the boobs of the hated and feared Barbara Jackson.
"Now, kiss her tit, Melvin...Go ahead, you can do it." Ah, dear Melvin, what a study in cross purposes he is. His blood is both boiling and freezing, but the draw of those milk paps is overwhelming. He lightly touches her ribcage, then deliberatively pouts his enormous lips and surrounds a nipple with them. In full contact with my captiveís body, I feel a surge of electricity as Barbaraís subconscious releases an army of hormones. She is responding. But I stay all business. I have to. Letís go for broke.
"OK, Melvin, now undo her skirt and pull it down along with her panties. Letís see her bush." Oh, my, does Barbara struggle, but I have crossed one leg over her kneecaps, and she is totally immobile. It takes some bickering with Melvin before he complies with my instructions, and we have a sighting of Barbara Jacksonís little brillo pad on her crotch.
"Now, Melvin, bend down and smell it. Go on, take a whiff. Then pull your shlong out and stick it in her."
"No Hermie, NO! I donít want to."
Uh-oh. Melvin was shutting down, just like this thin little girl I held from behind.
"You will, someday. You will," I snort. Whoops. Shouldnít have said that. And just like that, the scene starts to slip away, as if the connection got broke; things start to change. Barbara Jackson has gone limp in my grasp; her eyes are rolled up and only white shows in their slits. It was time to end. This was my first transference, "donít be greedy" my old self advises.
"Iím going to let you go, Barbara, but the next time I see you, Iím going to catch you, pull your clothes off, and fuck you right in the street." I donít know if that declaration was for her, for me, or for the whole world. It didnít matter anyway.
What followed was very blurry, out of focus. Rearranging her clothes, she backed away, the molecules of what just happened dissapating on the wind down Twenty-Third Street away from the shore. Soon, she was just another girl in a pea coat disappearing down the avenue.
Melvin turned like a zombie, the experience leaking out of him. He moved as if I was not there. A hitch came into his gait as he trundled down the stoop and diminished into the cold,grey light.
I couldnít smell the air anymore.
And I was back at my kitchen table.
But now I know how to do it. And I swear, all of you that gave Hermie Pippick a bad time when he was thirteen, Iíll get you.
Time is nothing; it doesnít exist. If something is going to happen, it will, no matter when. Buster Terragrossa, who outed me to Miss Keegan for calling him a "catolick bastid," and I had to go around the concrete schoolyard and apologize to all the students. Was I ever humiliated! Well, Buster Terragrossa, youíre next, you little rabbit-toothed squirt. And Stanley Foss, my once good friend who grew overly handsome as he added years to his teens, and punched me on the staircase when we were changing classes. He won, then, but this time, Stanley, you are definitely going to lose...and fat Johnny Garbage Roll, who actually humped me from behind in PE class. Well, Mr Warshauer did kick his ass for that. But, I am coming back, fat Johnny, and Iím going to break your nose. And the asshole who wiped his hotdog mustard on my arm, and him and his retinue of shmucks and shmuckettes laughed. You might get that mustard on me again, but this time, you and your horde are in for a great deal of hurt. Iím going to wipe the street with all of you.
Yes, Iím making a list. You all know who you are.
You can run, but you canít hide.
Text copyright © 2005 Herman Vandan
Herman Vandan is the psuedonym of a writer who lives on the north coast of California.