Lawrence – My Hometown
My Name’s Tucker and I’m a mean Mother F…..
By Richard E. Noble
I was casually strolling down Center St. heading towards Nell’s Variety, when these three little squirts came running out from the yard next to Jack Sheehy’s house. One of the little buggars tossed a rock at me. “Hey watch it you little punk or I’ll come over there and teach the whole bunch of you squirts a lesson.”
The little kids were about 6 or 7 years of age and I was about 10 or 12.
“Oh yeah? My big brother and his gang will kill you, man.”
“Oh really? Well I have a gang too and anytime your big brother and his dumb gang wants a fight, tell them to come on down to Nell’s Variety. And tell them to pack a lunch because it will be an all day affair.”
“Oh yeah! My brother is Danny Tucker and he is a mean mother f----r.”
“Well tell your brother Danny Tucker the mean mother f---r that Rich Noble thinks that Danny Tucker is an all day sucker.”
The kids went running off and I continued on down the road to Nell’s. When I got there several of the guys were sitting on the steps of the tenement adjacent to the store. “Any of you guys know some punk by the name of Tucker, Danny Tucker?”
“Danny Tucker? Yeah I know him. He hangs around up at Perrault’s Diner,” said Jack Sheehy.
Perrault’s Diner was a bad place. A lot of bad guys hung out there. It was second only to Frank’s Diner on Lawrence St. for having the meanest bunch of pre-adult potential murders, killers, thieves, drug addicts and homicidal maniacs in town. The real bad guys hung out at these diners. These type diners were where bad younger guys auditioned for their future membership at adult bad places like the Brass Rail and Pinky’s. Of course, compared to us guys at Nell’s everybody was mean and dangerous.
“I think I just made a big mistake. Some little kid threw a rock at me and I yelled at him and he said he was going to get his big brother after me. He said his brother was Danny Tucker the mean mother f----r.”
“Oh God, you did make a big mistake. I think Danny Tucker just got out of the Pen for raping his mother and sister after he killed and ate a neighbor’s pet bulldog. He is about 30 years old for criss sake. He’s dangerous. I think he is a druggie too. You are in big trouble Nobes,” explained my buddy Willie, laughing all the while.
“Well, I’m afraid there are more than just me in trouble. I also told the little shit that if his big brother, Danny Tucker the mean mother f---r, and his gang were looking for a fight they ought to come down to Nell’s. I said my gang could whip his brother’s gang and that his brother and his buddies better pack a lunch because it would be an all day affair.”
“WHAT! You are KIDDING? You didn’t say that. Tell me you didn’t say that?” petitioned my buddy Willie ... now a bit more concerned.
“No that’s pretty much what I said. I also said that I thought that Danny Tucker the mean mother f----r was really Danny Tucker the all day sucker.”
“I think we had better get the hell out of here,” offered Ray Dolan.
“What are we going to do?” Willie yelled.
“Hide man. We better find a place to hide and quick.”
“I wouldn’t really worry about it,” said Jack Sheehy reaching rather nervously into his shirt pocket for a pack of cigarettes.
“Why not?” asked Willie.
“Because those guys are way too big for us. I mean those guys are all like a hundred years old man. They all drive cars. Some of them are married and have kids who have already been in and out of prison.”
“Really, if they came down here and beat up us little guys they would be the laughing stock of the whole city. I mean what kind of big tough guys beat up a bunch of little kids? They ain’t goin’ to bother us,” Jack assured as he lit his cigarette.
“Why the hell is your hand shaking like that then?” I asked.
“My hand ain’t shaken’,” Jack said. “Look, I’m as steady as a rock.” He held his hand out in front of him and it was wiggling like a leaf in the wind. This was worse than any of us could imagine. Jack was the toughest one of our bunch. He lifted my 110 pound barbell set right up over his head on the first try. If Jack was scared, we were dead meat.
Well, there we were, we had Joe Lewis after us – we couldn’t run and we couldn’t hide. What should we do? We sat on the steps at Nell’s thinking seriously and wringing our hands until it started to get dark and the streetlight came on.
All of a sudden a hotrod pulled up and screeched to a halt right in front of Alma Meter’s house across the street from Nell’s. There were two older teenagers in the front seat. “You guys better run. The gang from Perrault’s is all riled up and they are on their way down here to kick the crap out of you guys.” The car then peeled out from in front of Alma Meter’s and then skidded around the corner at Hampshire Street. We were barely off our butts when cars filled with the Perrault’s gangsters began skidding around every corner. They were coming to get us from every direction. We didn’t have a chance but we all ran anyway. We had no exit strategy – a few of us headed up Exchange St, a couple headed towards the Arlington Club and me and Willie ran down Exchange St. towards St. Rita’s school.
Halfway down Exchange St., there was a field on the right. At the back of the field there was a tall chainlink fence with barbed wire on the top. We had cut through that field and climbed that barbed wire fence a million times. We knew just how to do it. I was in the lead and Willie was about five or ten yards behind me. I leaped up the chainlink fence, placed one foot onto the barbed wire and then leaped clear to the ground. I scrambled to my feet and I was off and running.
I didn’t get ten yards before I heard my buddy Willie screaming. “Nobes, Nobes! Help me I’m stuck.”
I turned around and there was my little chum hanging upside-down. He leaped but didn’t clear the barbed wire. He got one of the rolled up cuffs on his blue jeans hooked onto a barb. Twenty million times we leaped this fence with no problem, now when it counts, my pal screws up.
To be quit honest, I was mighty scared. These guys from Perrault’s were big and mean. They would like nothing better than to bust a few arms and legs – maybe worse than that.
Willie is trying like hell to get his cuff loose but he can’t. He is trying to twist himself like a pretzel and climb back up the fence, but no luck.
I make a move to run back to the fence and get my buddy unhooked. I take no more than two steps and a Perrault’s Diner car screeches and skids to a halt out on the road at Exchange St.
“There’s two of the little bastards, let’s get ‘em.”
All the doors on the car fly open and about six of the Perrault gang start running towards us – knuckles and chains dragging.
Willie is still upside-down but he can see them coming. He twists his head and looks at me cockeyed. I can still see the desperate look in his upside-down eyeballs to this day. He was scared out of his wits. I looked at the Perrault’s guys coming through the field. I looked at Willie hanging there helplessly. And instantly, without the slightest hesitation, I decided to do the right thing – the only thing.
I turned and started running away from Willie for my life. But just as I got boogieing on down that road toward abandonment of “the Willie,” I heard him cry out. His wail reminded me of a cow being bludgeoned to death on the cement slab of a slaughter house floor. It was horrifying. I looked at him hanging there upside-down and I just started laughing.
“Stop laughing you butthead and get me off this fence,” he screamed, humorlessly.
I scurried back to the fence, grabbed Willie around the middle and heaved him up and down until I ripped his pant leg loose. The bad guys were right there. They were RIGHT THERE! Two of them made a running leap up the other side of the fence. Me and Willie were off and running for our lives.
I’m running and I’m scared to death but I can’t stop laughing. Willie is running next to me and he starts laughing because he is listening to me laugh. But we are both still running like crazy. I take a quick gander over my shoulder and there’s two of the Perrault guys hanging upside-down with their pant legs tangled in the barbed wire and the rest of them are still on the wrong side of the fence peeling their bananas and hooting, grunting and scratching under their armpits.
Willie and I stopped to catch our breath and then we got brave.
“You big dumb screw-ups. Don’t you even know how to get over a barbed wire fence? All you clowns should be back in jail where you belong; you’re too stupid to be free.”
“Yeah right! You’re a bunch of clowns and you’re all stupid. If brains were an elevator, you dopes couldn’t get out of the basement and …”
“We better get truckin’ before one of them boneheads gets loose.”
We were off and running for our lives once again. We cut through several yards and over a few garbage can sheds and eventually worked our way to safety. We stopped under a streetlight up on Arlington St.
“What the hell were you laughing at?” Willie panted while bent over and leaning on his thighs.
“I saw you hanging there upside-down and you looked so funny.”
“But the funniest part was, here come the bad guys and I looked at you and I said to myself, ‘Screw him. When the Perrault guys get him they will all start beating him up and I can get enough time to get away.’”
“Nobes, that is not funny. That is not something to laugh about. You could have got me killed.”
“Yeah, but I would have got away.”
“Well, my God, you’re a good buddy.”
“What do you mean, I came back and got you didn’t I?”
“Yeah but you had to think about it.”
“I know. That’s what was so funny. I had to think about it.”
“Well, I hope you have thought about it enough this time so that if there is a next time you will know exactly what to do.”
“I have. I definitely know what to do next time. Next time you are going to be left hanging on the damn fence and I am going to get away clean. Did you see how close those guys were? Man, I almost got myself killed tryin’ to save your dumb butt. I must have been delirious or something.”
“You’re delirious all right, pal. Take it from me, delirious has nothing on you.”
Richard Edward Noble is a freelance writer and columnist. His local column, the Eastpointer, won the first place 2007 humor award from the Florida Press Association. He has published several books. All of his books can be viewed and purchased on Amazon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for bookstore discounts and volume sales.
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