FG-nose_milk

SCHNORTELING

I guess when Buzz first said that Schnorteling should be in the Olympics, I kinda found it hard to see. But Buzz is like Ma Hardy’s donkey, he can only carry one thing at a time and after a while I kinda had to agree with him.

When they write about Schnorteling, they’ll write about Mr Brewster’s Bakery and Gun Store – ‘cause really, that’s where it all started.

Me and Buzz were making short work of a couple of donuts and milkshakes at Mr Brewster’s. I was telling Buzz what I’d heard about Eddie Alabaster’s hair. Apparently after Eddie’s cat had set fire to the family’s wooden shack (at least that’s what Eddie said), his Ma had tried to put the flames out with a jug full of lemonade. While she was doing that, Eddie had tried to shave his own head. So when his Ma had finally let the shack burn to the ground, she’d come home to find Eddie looking like a kid who’d got his head caught in a door.

I could see Buzz had got real interested, ‘cause he’d stopped eating his donut midway.

“Well?” Asked Buzz.

Then I told him I met Eddie Alabaster at the pharmacy collecting his Ma’s nerve tablets and he was wearing one of his Ma’s wigs.

“Which one?” Asked Buzz, completely taken in by the story – so much so, that his mouth was open and I could see the other half of the donut.

I said the one she usually wore at Christmas. The one Eddie said she wore to keep Santa happy. There are lots of stories about Ma Alabaster and Santa, but that’ll keep for another day.

“You mean the one with the….no you say it,” he says to me, ‘cause Buzz wants to hear me say it.

“Eddie was wearing his Ma’s wig, with the…”.

“Not the blue one with the holly and ivy sticking out the top?”

Jumps in Buzz ‘cause he can’t wait to hear the rest of the story.

I tell him it was the very one but some of the holly had fallen out, so you could see Eddie’s bald head in parts.

And that’s when it happened – when Buzz, Schnorteled. The milk and donuts shot out of his nose. I swear on a stack of somethings that it’s all true. Honest injun.

Mr Brewster told me and Buzz that we weren’t welcome in his store no more, and that we should have a good think about we’d just done. What we’d done is invent a new Olympic sport and that was good enough for me and Buzz.

Buzz came back to my place and we tried to make the milk and donuts come out his nose again; him eating, and me telling him the story about Eddie and his Ma’s wig.

Would you believe it? Nothing. Okay, Buzz almost choked and my Ma had to slap him on the back a few time before the donut shot across the kitchen and stuck to our wall. But nothing in the nose area. I kid you not.

Something real serious had to be done, so I packed some donuts and milk and took Buzz to sit outside Ma Alabaster’s place and wait for the Christmas-topped kid to show up.

We waited and we waited, but there was no Eddie or his Ma. Around sunset I suggested that we mosey on home but Buzz wanted to stay. Just then one of the neighbor’s came out on account that we looked mighty suspicious and we told her we were waiting on our friend, Eddie.

“You haven’t heard then?” She asked us.

I said ‘heard what?’ and she told us that Eddie was in Brimstone’s hospital on account that he’d been attacked by some birds that had tried to eat his head.

Well, that was it. Buzz’s donuts and milk shot right down his nose and over the lady’s shoes.

She shouted after us that she was gonna call the cops, but we hid for a while and nothing happened.

No one could deny that Buzz had just Schnorteled a world record of three feet and the rest.

And I could see the possibilities of Schnorteling for future generations, except that the next day when I asked Buzz about it, he was already talking about BumFizz being a sport to replace football.

Sometimes, I find it real hard to keep up with my pal.

elvis

ELVIS

Buzz’s Ma would swear on a stack of Bibles that she knew Elvis Presley for real.  Perhaps it would take a sarsaparilla or two but soon she’d been tellin’ everyone how she and Elvis were as close as anyone could be.

Sometimes during one of her stories she’d just stop, look far away as if she was remembering something, have a chuckle to herself and then continue with the story.

I’d have given a week’s wages to know what she was thinking right there and then.

If you’ve been reading these little stories about me and Buzz, well you won’t need to walk too far to get to where I’m going with this one: yep, with all the talk Buzz decided that he was the love child of Elvis and his Ma.

“It makes sense. What with my good looks and talent and all. It’s the only explanation.”

Now I ain’t gonna rain on Buzz’s story and say he ain’t Elvis’ kid because nothin’ would surprise  me about Buzz and his family, all I’m sayin’ is that you gotta take things like that – real careful, otherwise you get in a whole heap of trouble.

Even when I was walking along Main Street with him, he’d just stop, sneer  then give out a ‘Uh-huh’ Elvis style  followed by a ‘Thank you, you’ve been a wonderful audience, you really have’, which was followed by another sneer. Then he would just continue talking as if the last two minutes hadn’t happened.

Buzz decided that he would make some money from his birthright by touring the county as ‘The Son of Elvis’ . Two things were real wrong with this – for a start, Buzz can’t sing ,note a note, not even if a Colt 45 was pointed at where his brain is supposed to live, and the other thing is, no one in the county wanted to annoy Elvis’ family (or more accurately get sued).

One day, he asked if I would be his Colonel Tom Parker and manage him.

“For what?”

“For pee-forming,” he said, as if it was the most natural thing in the world for him. “People need to know that there is a new, younger Elvis out there.”

“You?”

“Me.”

Now I swear, I didn’t say I would and I didn’t say I wouldn’t –  but some people take sayin’ nothin’ as if you’ve said you would. Next thing I know Buzz is tellin’ everyone in town that I’m his new hotshot manager and that I’m gonna make him a rock n’ roll star.

“Only a matter of time,” he’d say. “What with your brains and my good looks and talent, not to mention my daddy being….”

e’d learned to shut up about Elvis, just in case they took Buzz off to jail. Okay maybe it was me that said he’d go to prison if he kept claimin’ he was the son of Elvis but sometimes, I swear you gotta be cruel to be kind.

Still, it didn’t really stop Buzz. He’d sit talking to strangers and say to them that he couldn’t really tell them who his daddy was, then he’d put his fingers to his lips , say ‘shh’, sneer, and then he’d do that awful Elvis impersonation. I ain’t too sure that folks knew it was Elvis he was trying to impersonate, ‘cause I remember a couple walking away from Buzz and under his breath the man told his wife that Buzz was claiming to be the son of Bugs Bunny. Now that might not be too far from the truth, I tell ya.

At weekends, Buzz used to work as a bag boy at Winslow’s Grocery Store, the one that stands at the bottom of Creek Lane. He didn’t bag up like any normal person, oh no, what Buzz used to do was put everything in the bag while he stood in an Elvis pose: one knee bent , foot up with his toes touching the floor, and everything was placed in the bag with a full swing of the arm.

When he’d finished, he’d say ‘I thank you, my name is Buzz Presley and I’ll be here all week’. It used to scare some folks while it made others smile. Mrs Dalton gave him ten bucks ‘cause she thought he was touched. Her generation thought that a lot of people were touched. Hey, they might be right.

To be real honest, Mr Winslow was real pleased with Buzz and his packing ‘cause of the amount of extra folks that came for their groceries to his store. They all wanted their bags packed by the ‘crazy guy’.  Annie Black who had packed bags at the store since the war used to spend her  time just watching everyone queue up to get Buzz to do the packing. Mr
Winslow let her go the second week in February.

Just before Easter, I heard tell from the Reverend about some Elvis show  that was taking place two counties over.

“You know, I don’t approve of rock and rolly music,” said the Reverend. He always called it ‘rock and rolly’. “But it would be right and good if someone from this county went over there and whipped their asses.”

I was thinking that Reverends shouldn’t really talk like that but he did have a point. I just wasn’t sure if Buzz was the man to do it – that’s all.

“Where do I sign?” Asked Buzz when I told him.

“Don’t worry Buzz, I’ll take care of that, but what are you gonna sing?” I asked.

“Why, a song that my Daddy wrote for me,” said Buzz then went into a song that may or may not have been an Elvis song (or even just a song).

I filled out the form for him on account of the fact that Buzz was in hospital with something or other when Mrs Telford was teaching us all about writing and stuff.

“Name?”

“Buzz Presley”

I tried to talk him out of it, but he wasn’t having it and anyhoo maybe they wouldn’t put two and two together and make five, like Buzz had.

“Change that, I want Buzz Aaron Presley.”

“You can’t.”

“Can too.”

So that was what I put down on the entry form and just kept my fingers crossed that we wouldn’t get into trouble.

Me and Buzz hitched over to Ridge County with Buzz dressed as Elvis (like if Elvis had fallen out of an aeroplane). The last bus we caught from Hollington was full of Elvis impersonators and their carers.

Buzz loved it, he was jumping from seat to seat, talkin’ and singin’ (kinda) with other hopefuls and some had stories to tell about Elvis. One or two had seen him drive past them, others had heard him singin’ but mostly these folks on the bus were just out for a good time and they didn’t care who knew about it.

When we got into town there must have been about a couple of hundred Elvises, I kid you not: big ones, fat ones, skinny ones, girls dressed (and ladies) as the King. They way I looked at it, what harm were any of them doing?

The following day the contest started at noon and it sure was a long time of Elvis this and Elvis that – all dressed with the best of clothes. Then Buzz came up onstage, and the announcer said that this singer was all the way from Duchess County and his name was Buzz Aaron Presley.

That would have been okay if Buzz had mimed to the record, like we practiced, but he decided to do an introduction – how many times can you say to someone who there should be no introduction? – Anyway he told the crowd exactly what I  knew he was gonna say.

“I am the truly begotten son of Elvis Aaron Presley.”

Yep, I kid you not, that’s the way he said it alright, ‘the truly begotten son’ – what the h…, did that mean? There was a silence in the crowd as everyone’s jaws fell. Man, you could have heard a prison break twenty miles away. Then some kid at the back of the crowd shouted

‘I’m his son, too.’

“No you ain’t,” shouts Buzz.

“Sure am,” hollers back this kid.

“My Ma was real close to Elvis,” shouts Buzz.

“Well my Ma was Elvis.”

That’s what the weird kid at the back shouted. Everyone turned to look at him, then someone shouted ‘get him’ and the folks started chasing him. I took this opportunity to grab Buzz off the stage and force him to head for the bus station.

When we got back, Buzz’s Ma apologised and said she’d made a mistake it wasn’t Elvis Presley that she had been close to but Bob Hope.

Right there and then I could see a little light going on in Buzz’s head.

 

bobby stevenson 2016

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