Here's a little something I wrote recently. I don't know where the idea came from. Perhaps I saw a kid playing with a paddle ball and a bus rambled on by.
I don't know.
Enjoy. The story is called Herschel.
“Herschel, quite playing with your balls on the bus.”
Smack! Smack! Smack!
“It’s irritating. Honestly, you could poke someone’s eye out with those things and that wood you’re holding, just leave it be!”
Mother seemed angered this morning. Herschel tried not to notice.
She was sounding a bit more gruff now.
“Herschel Lieberwitz! Are you paying attention to me or not?”
Herschel now knew Mother meant business.
“Yes. I hear you. Stop batting my balls and put my paddle away.”
Mother looked down at Herschel sitting beside her on the Southbound A-43 Bus. She was obviously a little puzzled by what she heard.
“Paddle! I am putting my paddle away!”
“That’s a new one. Your Father- God rest his soul, nevah called it that but call it what you will Herschel, just put it away.”
Herschel did. He rammed it into his sack by mistake as the bus hit a bump. It hurt a bit. He had meant to put it in his backpack.
“What now Herschel?”
“Nothin’. I just rammed my wooden paddle into my private place. I meant to put it into my backpack!”
Mother looked more severe. Mrs. Ottoman was sitting opposite them on the Southbound A-43 Bus and she hoped to Heaven she hadn’t heard what this son of her’s just said.
“What kind of filthy remark is that? The words you use Herschel Leiberwitz. Sometimes I think I should was your mouth out with Oxydol.”
“Gee, my teeth would sure be white- wouldn’t they?”
“Very funny Herschel. Very funny. Now just sit up straight and be respectable.”
Herschel reached into his backpack and pulled out an all day sucker he had bought at Anderson’s Confectionary a couple of days before. He started to slurp and suck and slurp real hard.
“Herschel didn’t know what to say so he said-
“What is that sticking out of your mouth young man?”
“It’s my all day sucker.”
“A sucker? You are sucking on a sucker on the Southbound A-43? Hershel you are making so much noise somebody is gonna think you are sucking on something big! That’s what somebody is going to think. Slurping and smacking and slurping!”
“Maw, I can’t believe you said that. Mrs. Ottoman is starring right over here from across the aisle.”
Mrs. Ottoman was a bit red in the face but she was indeed starring.
“Whatszamattuh Flo, ain’t you nevuh seen a kid sucking on a big one before? Hershel! Stop sucking while I’m talking-do yuh hear me?... because I can hardly hear what I am saying to Mrs.Ottoman across the aisle here!”
He took one last big slurp just for good measure. Then, he stopped and stuck the sucker onto a piece of wax paper and shoved it roughly into his backpack.
“Just like your fucking father. I say no and he has to have one more slurp. That man was nevah satisfied. Do you hear me Herschel? Nevah. He was neveah satisfied!
“Allright. Allright. I heard you and now so has the entire Southbound A-43 including Mrs. Ottoman.”
“Why I oughta smack you right in your gezeldagoint. Try getting a girl to look at you twice with a swollen gezeldagoint! It won’t be easy Herschel!”
“Maw. Lower your voice. You’re getting upset over nothing. It was just a sucker. Nothing more!”
Mother folded her arms across her ample bosums.
“Well you were working that sucker like a pro. Let me tell you that much Herschel. Like a pro!”
“Maw, this is our stop. You still want to stop by Mr. Dressler’s Deli to buy those cow balls, don’t you?”
Mother looked at Mrs. Ottoman.
“You try all you can to bring ‘em up proper like and this is what you get- A potty mouth!”
She turns to Herschel and cuffs him behind the ears.
“Owww Maw.What did ya do that for?”
“Herschel. Mr. Smartypants they are not balls they are referred to as sweatmeats and I’ll have you respect that young man. What are we doing here? Riding the gutter bus to Krackatoah East of Java? Get up!”
She turns to Mrs. Ottoman.
“Have a nice day Ida.”
She steps down from the bus into the glorious June sunshine. Herschel follows a few steps behind her with his hands down the front of his pants.
The doors close and the Southbound A-43 continues along.