Chapter 23 1963 - I, Spike, Isaac and Osgood

I and his three friends were together on the playground. I faced them and shouted, “Alright, you guys, line up! You're in the army now!”

Spike glared at him, “Army?! Just a minute! This is recess. We're supposed to be pickin’ teams for playin' basketball or somethin'.”

Osgood suggested, “Why don't we play hopscotch or jump rope?”

I played the drill sergeant and got right up in his face, “Shut up, sissy, and get in line! We're gonna march now.”

Isaac complained, “I don't want to march. My stomach hurts.”

“You'll march or your head's gonna hurt,” I threatened.

Spike turned to Isaac and Osgood, “I don't like the idea of this at all. He's always giving orders. Man, I think we really are in the army.”

The tight discipline that I was trying to enforce began to fall apart. Isaac looked around and spotted a cute girl, “Hey, look at that girl over there!”

Spike took notice, too. “Man, is she stacked! Must be one of those sixth graders.”

While Isaac and Spike ogled their object of attention, Osgood observed, “You guys are always looking at those girls. I don't see anything good about them.”

I was fed up that the other guys aren’t paying attention to him and shouted, “You guys quit chattering back there!”

Osgood, just barely beneath his breath complains “Boy, what a bully.”

I turned around angrily, “What did you say?!”

Osgood hung his head, slightly embarrassed as he struggled to find and excuse. “Uh,” he stammered, “I said lunch made me full.”

I warned him, “You shouldn't eat so much. That's probably why your stomach hurts.”

Osgood tried to correct his observation, “But it doesn't hurt, Isaac's does.”

I goaded him, “You do everything else he does, so you must have a sore stomach, too.”

Spike was getting annoyed, “Let's go play basketball, instead.”

“I'd rather go smoke behind the backstop.” Isaac suggested. “I took a pack of cigarettes from my mom,” as he flashed them from his coat pocket.

I maintained the drill sergeant role. “There's no smoking during march practice. Now get going! Hup, two, three, four. Hup, two, three, four.”

Surprisingly, the other boys fell into line and started marching with I across the playground.

“Hey! Hey! Get outta my way. I just got back from the U.S.A.!” they chanted as they marched.

Isaac stumbled and yelled “Ow! I stubbed my toe!”

“I'm going to cut off your leg if you don't shut up!” I angrily retorted.

Spike had finally had enough, “Whady'a say we take a break?”

I insisted on being in charge, “I say when we stop.” He paused briefly, then “O.K., let's take a break.”

Spike was giving up on him, “I'm going over to play basketball.”

Isaac and Osgood had tired of it as well. “Me, too” Isaac agreed.

“Me, three.” Osgood echoed.

I’s anger broke out, “ You!” indicating Spike, “Shut up!” and turning his attention to Isaac and Osgood “You!” he pointed, “Sit down!”

“I’m in charge here,” he continued, “and don’t you forget it. I’m giving the orders, and you will listen to my demands. If you want to do something, then you’d better ask my permission first. Even if you need to talk, walk or breathe. You’d better ask!”

Spike quickly attempted to reverse the roles and faced off with I, “Look, man, we’re done with you. We’ve made up our minds to play someplace else, and maybe it’s you who needs to be asking our permission to stay. I’m so pissed right now, you just might be facing a knuckle sandwich,” he paused to let it sink in. “Or worse!” he threatened.

“So are you gonna stay, or run away like a sissy?” Spike demanded.

I was in a state of shock as the other began to walk away with Spike.

“Hey, where are you going? Get back here!” he tried to demand to no effect.

Spike called back, “Aw, g'wan, get lost! You ain't part of this group no more.”

I tried to assert himself again, “Whady'a mean? You can't leave. Only I can say when you leave!”

But it was obvious that he had lost his tight control on the group, “Only you can stuff it! Let's go, guys.” Spike replied, as he turned his attention to the basketball court on the other side of the playground.

I relented, “O.K., we'll play basketball. But I'm captain.”

Isaac, bolstered by Spike’s retorts, called back. “Forget you! You're not playing at all.”

Even meek Osgood got in his shot, “That's right, you bully. You ain't playing.”

I was stunned, he’d always had his way, and this was not his way.