One of the other times that Buzz had a mid-life crisis was that summer when his first hair grew out of his chin. You would have thought that he was Fu Man Choo or somethin’.
He’s tellin’ me he ain’t decided if he’s gonna let it grow into a full beard, or trim it using his Paw’s old razor. The one his Paw left him before he ran away with the dancer.
“Now that I’m grown and a man,” that’s what he said to me, with a straight face – a face with one hair growin’ out of it.
“Now that I’m a man, I’m gonna look after my Maw. Keep her good, in her old age.”
Well you know me and peeing myself, I had to run behind a bush before I wet ma pants good.
What he was tellin’ me, was that he was ready for a career as a matinée idol – that’s his very words and I’m not sure if Buzz knew what they meant.
So the time had come that he’d have to look after his face on account it was gonna be his main source of income. He said he wasn’t sure if it was fair to let a face like that be blown up big in a movie theater ‘cause everyone would pass out.
Of course when he’s tellin’ me this I’m still behind the bush just in case I need to go again, real fast.
That was why Buzz had a mid-life crisis over the weekend and decided he was too old and too pretty to play football at school and that was when Mr Fairbanks, suggested he should join the school soccer team, instead.
“It’ll save your good-lookin’ face, Buzz,” said Mr Fairbanks, who then nudged another teacher and they both walked off as if they were gonna pee themselves too.
Of course just playin’ soccer wasn’t good enough for Buzz, he had to be a
‘strike……er’ – now, the reason I’ve said it that way is because that’s the way that Buzz said it. I thought I could hear a funny accent in there but I assumed Buzz was practisin’ for his movies.
I didn’t see Buzz until two days later and by then he was talkin’ real funny like. I’m thinkin’ to myself, I’ve heard this funny talk before and sure enough I remember – right in the middle of the night, I shout out, ‘Mary Poppins’. Buzz sounded like Dick Van Dyke in that movie.
Buzz has decided that if he’s gonna be any good at soccer he had to talk with an English accent. Since Buzz ain’t ever heard one except in movies and stuff, I’ve got to say he wasn’t that good.
When our teacher said ‘Good mornin’ class’, instead of sayin’ good morning back, Buzz said, ‘All right, guv’nor and a fine mornin’ it be’.
I didn’t know whether to just give up and pee myself there and then or run to the restroom.
“Shall I see you, little urchin at dinner time as I’m looking forward to me pie and chips, guv’nor.” That’s what he said to me with his one hair chinned face.
“I’m playin’ me soccer game this afternoon, me old mate. Will you be comin’ to see me?”
They had to take me to the nurse’s room – I kid you not – as I had gone into hysterical collapse, least ways that’s what the doctor said. Apparently I had a real bad shock.
Buzz never ever got a game of soccer, they picked Alexander as the striker and she was a girl.
“Stupid game,” said Buzz – all American, like.
Buzz always wanted to be a movie star and so from a real young age, he got to practising. Not with anything sensible like acting, that would have been too clever, no – he got practising with signing his autograph.
“You got to start somewhere” was what he told me.
When people on Main Street saw Buzz coming their way they used to cross over just to avoid him. Buzz put it down to folks being overwhelmed with his natural good looks.
If ya didn’t avoid him, before you knew it, Buzz would be staring into your face and asking if you wanted his autograph. Everyone and I mean everyone in town, had several copies of Buzz’s signature.
I remember seeing the minister walking to church one Sunday morning with Buzz’s writing on that white bit of the collar they wear. How Buzz got it there, God only knows (and he probably does).
“I’m a good-looking kid and if they don’t want me to act in their movies, then they don’t know what they’re missing.”
One Saturday Buzz decided he’d do just that – show them what they were missing, that is. That weekend the weather was real toasting and Buzz got me to borrow (borrow without askin’) my granddaddy’s movie camera.
“I kinda see myself as a cowboy, don’t ya think?” I just nodded, hell it was best to just go along with anything Buzz said.
I ain’t sure where Buzz got the gun from, but I do remember a story a while back about Buzz’s uncle Joshua who was thrown in jail for holding up a burger joint. Somehow the store owner convinced his uncle Joshua to take some French fries and a soda rather than the contents of the money drawer. Still, he went to jail all the same. I don’t remember any gun being used but I guess that’s where Buzz got it.
Buzz wanted me to be the baddy and the plan was for me to walk down Main Street and pretend to call him out; cussing and saying he was a coward. Then Buzz would come out of the saloon (it was really Mrs Bat’s Craft Shop) and challenge me to a shoot out in the street.
I was the one that was to get shot; Buzz felt that a man about to make his mark in the movies shouldn’t take the bullet.
I guess you should really check if a gun is loaded or not.
I’m just saying, as it would have saved a lot of trouble. I’ve never seen a grown man being shot in the bee-hind before but Samuel Brooks hollered and screamed like the world was coming to an end. It was only a bullet in the butt, what was the big problem?
Mrs Brooks wanted to hang Buzz right there and then, the way they did with her Daddy years back. I guess two people don’t make a lynch mob, but it scared the hell out of me all the same.
Buzz was hauled in front of Judge Pickering and folks were telling me that Buzz would probably get the electric chair or something. At the time (I was young then) I thought giving someone an electric chair was a real strange thing to do. Where would ya keep it?
Anyway a lot of people were saying that Buzz came from a real bad family, didn’t he have an uncle who’d stolen diamonds?
Funny, how French fries get exaggerated like that.
Anyways, I had filmed the whole thing and we were allowed to show it in court. The judge said it was okay to show a movie. Some folks brought in popcorn. From the movie, you could see that as Buzz was pulling the trigger, he shut his eyes and didn’t really mean to hit anyone. At the end of the movie some of Buzz’s family started clapping – so Buzz got up and took a bow. Which I have to say was pretty cool. Buzz started waving, movie star like, to the folks upstairs in the gallery.
As I left the courthouse that day, I saw Buzz up at the bench giving Judge Pickering his autograph.
bobby stevenson 2017