I was shocked today when I picked up the local paper and read that my old best buddy from 7th grade had just been found dead . He had no health problems, other than bad eyesight. Apparently his heart just stopped beating some time during the previous night. I thought of Manny now, his goofy, nervous smile and that funky musky odor that always hung over him from wearing the same clothes for a week. He lived almost 2 miles diagonally across from me through the forest in an old beat up trailer with his folks, twin sister and little brother. Manny was geeky, but interesting and smart. Kind of like a southern version of Encyclopedia Brown, always building something or tinkering with an old motor somewhere. He had the coolest tree house some thirty feet off the ground in an old oak tree, it even had the electricity (don't ask me how me he managed that, they were poor as church mice ). It was in that tree house at age 13, that I saw my very real "live" pussy. His sister, Jen decided she was going to escort me into manhood by taking all her clothes off and rubbing her furry red bush all over me. I have to say right now, it didn't do a thing for me. She let me look at her pussy up close after I asked and laid down in the bed to spread her skinny white legs wide open for my inspection. I remember thinking that her cooter looked like Carl Buddig luncheon meat (virginia ham).
Manny's mother was old and white-haired, probably in her early 60's, whereas my own mother was still in her early 30's at the time. I started out liking his mother thinking that she looked kindly and sweet, grandmotherly. But that quickly changed the first time she opened her mouth in front of me and started screaming and swearing at us like a drunken sailor for eating the last of the Fruit Loops. Well, she was just downright nasty too. She wouldn't flush the toilet after using it (to save water,she claimed). I ran from their bombed-out bathroom many times, coughing and gagging. Sweet, grandmother-type, my ass. I hated her after that and avoided her like the plague. Surely, she was the first to teach me the lesson that people are not always as they appear on the outside. Poor Manny was never able to get a driver's license because of the genetic eye disease all the males in his family had. It started in the teen years and usually by the time they were in their 50's, they'd be completely blind and living off disability. This didn't stop Many from living, he got himself a moped (since you don't need an actual driver's license to operate one on the road) and off he went. Over the year after high school when I'd come back to NC to visit my folks, I'd see Manny zooming around town on his moped and always throw up my hand to him in a salute to that year we spent together in the 7th grade.