I’m sittin’ here writin’ and thinkin’ ‘bout all of the stupid, stupidest things that Buzz has ever done in his life and I gotta tell you folks, I’m kinda spoiled for choice. There weren’t a day that went by, that Buzz didn’t show us all how far you could go in the stupid stakes. The great thing about him was that he never, ever cared nor worried what folks thought of him, and why should he? Everyone, and I mean everyone, has got too much to hide when it comes to being stupid.
This particular story started way back in the spring of Buzz’ fourteenth year on this planet. There was the usual troubles with the Halfpenny Gang who lived on the other side of the tracks – those kids were real mean and it took someone like me and Buzz to kinda put things right and show those guys the error of their ways.
But one Saturday morning Beccy Foreplane had just walked out of Crazy Joe’s Candy Store with a sack full of the sweetest candy you ever did taste (gotta say, Crazy Joe made the bestest candy in the world) when all of a sudden some masked kid runs up to her and snatches the candy from right under her nose (and I mean literally – Beccy had a habit of tryin’ to shove candy up her nose – but I’ll leave that particular story for another day).
Well, I kid you not, I could hear Beccy’s squealin’ from the other side of town – she was that loud. When Beccy’s Pa heard the story, he put up a reward of a ride on his horse and a shot from his pistol. I know, it’s kinda crazy like, but they were different times back then, and I gotta say a ride on a horse and a shot at an old tin can were pretty fancy stuff to us kids.
No one found the culprit. Some said he was six feet tall and some said he was three feet tall. No one was real sure if it was a boy or a girl on account that the culprit was wearin’ a Charlie Chaplin mask.
Nothin’ much happened until the following week, when Chastity Tompkins got her chocolate candy bar stole from right out her pocket. Same description – he was either real tall or real small and he looked like Charlie Chaplin. This time Crazy Joe put up a reward of all the candy you could eat for a week (except for the chocolate covered ones – he drew a line at that). Things were getting’ real messy down at this store and he wanted to do somethin’ about it.
That was when Buzz had this real stupid idea. He was excited about the rewards being offered – the free candy, the horse and the shot and stuff and decided he’d catch the candy thief.I knew it was real stupid to ask him how he was gonna do it, but I did and sure enough he told me. So I’m tellin’ you now.
Buzz decided that the crook only stole candy from girls – so they weren’t no use us buying candy and leaving Crazy Joe’s. So Buzz decided that one of us (that being me) would dress up as a girl and leave the store with a sack full of the stuff.
When I went into the store, Buzz said I was to talk in a real high voice. I thought I was doin’ okay until Crazy Joe said, ‘Mornin’ boy – what can I get you?’
He didn’t even ask why I was dressed as a girl, and I ain’t sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Anyhoo, I stood outside the store talkin’ in a real high way, sayin’ things like, ‘Mmm, this is sure some real tasty candy’, and all I could hear was Buzz (who was hiding behind a bush) shoutin’ ‘make it louder’.
“Well I do declare, little ol’ me is sure gonna enjoy this candy.”
Nothin’ happened, except my Ma walked passed me and wish me a good mornin’. Now was she talkin’ to me? You know I worried about that for a long time.
After about an hour or so, and folks comin’ and goin’ and wishin’ me well and even sayin’ my name, I kinda thought that enough was enough.
Buzz said that I was too ugly to be a girl and that him, with his good looks, would probably pass better as a girl. So we swapped the dress and Buzz (who did look a bit like Beccy) walked out of Crazy Joe’s sayin’ that he was all alone and carryin’ a bag of candy.
Nothin’ happened again. Well when I say nothin’, somethin’ did happen. Buzz’s Ma was walking on the other side of Main Street and Buzz just shot his hand up and shouted ‘Hi Ma’.
That was when Buzz’s Ma kinda went crazy and walked into the middle of the street and got hit by a horse. Turns out she wasn’t that badly hurt, but there she was lying in the middle of the street and her eldest, bestest son was tryin’ to bring her around, dressed as a girl.
I remember I saw Mrs Sloan walking passed and sayin’ somethin’ about how that family had real problems since their daddy left.
We never caught the culprit and we never got no reward and Buzz had to do a lot of explaining to his Ma.
I still wonder, to this day, if my Ma knew it was me.
bobby stevenson 2017