Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Steve Miller Band 'Greatest Hits 1974-1978'
I was asked last night about what I was going to write about today… I told Kristina that I have nothing in my little notebook. Everything has been exhausted.
But after a good long and deep sleep… The first idea that popped into my head was yet another story from the Adventures of Dan & Eugene.
Sometime in the late 70’s, all the men folk in my Dad’s family converged and built my Grandmother a house in Union, West Virginia. A modest dwelling for a one-woman pack-ratting machine… And I mean that in the most loving sense because I too have packrat tendencies.
With Dan and myself being the oldest of the grandchildren, we were put to work as well. They didn’t trust us with machinery or tools… Because quite frankly… We weren’t good with them and we would eventually turn on them to gain control. So we were put in charge of keeping the site clean of trash and debris. We were also “gofers” when it came to bringing tools, hoisting up more shingles to the roof, and fetching water to the dads and uncles.
Dan and I would often find some down time… Not a very good thing when it came to us because we would find creative ways to amuse ourselves.
That particular summer, Dan found a recipe for making our own fake blood. Making fake blood purchases from the Johnson Smith Company was getting too expensive and besides, we had to wait 2 to 4 weeks for delivery. Just not cool.
By using Karo light corn syrup, red food coloring, along with a hint of brown food coloring for that added touch of realism… We made some great fake blood. AND we could make a quart of it for a few dollars. It was way more economical than sending off a buck per 3 ounce tube of Vampire Blood.
It was indeed the summer of faux blood.
Since we could make profuse amounts of the stuff… We used it for every conceivable and disturbed thought we had.
When the whole family got together for a cook out… The watermelon was left unattended. We stalked it like a couple of wolves until we were in the clear. Dan then stuck a knife in it with the hilt sticking upright and we poured our blood concoction around the blade and down the sides of the melon for that added grisly touch.
I would put some fake blood on the younger kids’ knees, elbows, and faces. I did it to make their parents think that they had been playing hard or fighting with the others. But I couldn’t keep the kids from eating it. Whenever I would turn my back, they were drinking the fake blood.
Dan and I would do Chevy Chase like pratfalls where we would get up and dust ourselves off as if we were feeling no pain with a small amount of fake blood dribbling down our chins. Of course, all the parents were wise to our antics and generally left us alone to corrupt the minds of the younger family members. It’s not that they didn’t care… It’s just that they knew that we were harmless for the most part.
I remember being proud of the job we did with the watermelon. It was a bit of a disappointment when Aunt Betty took the knife from the melon and simply said with a heavy sigh… “That Dan and Eugene.” She just brushed it off.
For some reason, I fully expected her to go with the “yelling the full names” route. Dan and I knew we were in BIG trouble whenever we heard “Daniel Malcolm Lively… Eugene Byrl Sims” echoing off the West Virginia hillsides. And during our summer reigns of slightly irritating terror… We heard it a lot.
Our shining moment with the fake blood occurred during the construction of Grandma Clarkson’s house. And like I previously stated, we had some down time.
Grandma’s old house was on Highway 3 just on the outskirts of Union. It was a fairly busy road with local and distant passer-bys. So Dan and I decided to stage a fake fist fight beside the road. We figured that we had seen enough fist fights on television and movies to recreate our own. And since we loved attracting attention to ourselves, the highway provided a constant flow of spectators.
We practiced our “miss” punching to where we had our swinging fists just under an inch away from contact. We practiced our head jerks to make it look like a connection occurred. We could pull it off and quite possibly make people believe that we were beating the crap out of each other.
So within ten or so feet of the road… We started our fake blood fist fight for the first lucky car going by. There was fist swinging and gut punching action. One of us would have a mouthful of faux blood so that when we “took a punch” to the jaw, we could let it loose as we swung our heads back. We would even hit the dirt and gravel for added realism. Sure we got a little scraped up and bled for real from our hands, but we didn’t care. We were bleeding for our craft and ultimately… The joke.
Most of the vehicles passing by gave little or no interest as to what we were doing. The dads and uncles working on the house didn’t care what we were doing as long as it didn’t make for extra work on them… In other words… They ignored us.
Dan and I were giving it our all for every car, truck, or tractor that went by. We weren’t getting the desired effect until a carload of old folks drove by…
I remember four of them… Two old ladies in the back with the gentlemen in the front seats. They slowed down to a crawl to witness our show. Dan and I had to keep from laughing when we saw one overly concerned lady in the passenger’s rear seat with her mouth agape. All four of them were staring and pointing. We had blood coming from our eyebrows. Blood flowing from our noses and mouths. We even covered our knuckles with the stuff for added effect.
Then they sped off down the hill towards the heart of Union. We could only imagine what they were thinking as they saw two teenage boys beating each other senseless while a group of uncaring men built a house behind them.
I’d like to think that they were fooled, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they got wise to our shenanigans. The one thing… I’m sure that all who witnessed it, at the very least, talked about it at the supper table.