I was in sixth grade when my mother nearly got me killed. After school, I was followed home by Tammy Kelly and her posse of dirty blond delinquents almost every day. My mom worked at the post office right next to where the school bus dropped us off and she usually didn’t get home until around 4:30, which gave me plenty of time to regroup after the tough girls chased me home.
My mom didn’t work Wednesdays though, and this particular Wednesday she happened to be watching out our front room window while Tammy and her bigger-boned best friend Charlotte West taunted me all the way to the carport.
“Hey, lard ass, you gonna go home and lick your plate clean tonight? I bet you lick everybody’s plate dont’cha?” Tammy yelled. “Yeah, I bet you eat all the scraps they feed the dog,” Charlotte said laughing. She was a real Carol Burnett.
I naturally countered this with silence. I wasn’t about to dignify their crude remarks with an answer. Someone of my superior intellect who was in the highest level reading group wasn’t about to stoop to their level. Besides, I never came up with a response until I was alone at night in bed, eyes staring up at the wire mesh bottom on my sister’s top bunk. “Yeah, well at least I have a home to go to. At least we get supper. At least I’m not a bastard like you. At least I have a dog. At least my parents make sure I have a winter coat. That’s right.”
This particular Wednesday I was glad to see my mother opening the front door as I was coming down the driveway to safety. She’d come out and tell those girls off. She’d call the police the next time they bothered me. She’d call their parents and be sure they got sent to reform school for harassing me. I felt like the drowning man who’d been tossed a life jacket.
“Hey you girls,” my mom yelled out to them as she came out the front door. “Which one of youse wants to fight first?”
Wow, I thought, she’s actually going to kick their asses.
Tammy and Charlotte looked at each other and didn’t answer.
“Get over here,” my mom motioned me over. I walked over, not in a hurry exactly. “This is the last goddamn time these girls chase you home,” she said under her breath.
“Which one of youse is going first? Connie here is ready to fight yas right here and now. Right in the front yard. Come on girls, who’s it gonna be?” my fearless mother asked.
Tammy and Charlotte looked at each other, looked at my mother like she was crazy, and then looked back at each other again.
“Oh, I get it,” my mom said. “You girls are too scared to fight. You’re all talk. Tell you what, next time you want to fight you come right on over and Connie here will fight you right in this front yard. She’ll be glad to and she’ll kick both your asses one at a time. Now get the hell outta here and I don’t want see you around here again unless you plan on fightin’.”
Oh my God. She was serious. I don’t know who I was more afraid of, the two girls or my own mother.
Apparently Tammy and Charlotte were scared of her too because they took off down the street.
“Now get your ass in the house,” my mom said to me. “That’s how you get rid of a bully.”
Switzerland is a place where people don't like to fight, so they get people to do their fighting for them while they ski and eat chocolate. - Larry David