THE BIG STICKY
It was three weeks before Christmas. She was hugging me so tightly. Oh, I felt good. I said to her, “I have a sack of goodies for you and I’m coming down your chimney. Right….NOW!”
Mrs. Befana Natale giggled and, Oh, I felt so good and then she gasped and then I awoke and my pajamas crotch was wet and sticky. I was eight years old. I was horrified. I thought I had peed in my bed.
With dutiful humiliation I got out of bed and I walked into my parents’ bedroom and confessed, “I peed in my bed.”
My mom sat up on her arm and gestured for me to approach. She examined my pajamas crotch and touched it. She then turned to my dad and mumbled something. I thought I heard my dad say something about ‘The Big Sticky’. My mom slapped his arm.
They both started laughing.
I started to cry and my mom took my hand and said, “You did not pee. This is something that happens to every little boy.”
I wiped my eyes and asked skeptically, “Really?”
My mom answered, “Yes, really. It means you are growing up normally. Your dad will talk to you in the morning, OK, sweetie? There is nothing wrong. I mean it.”
In the morning my dad came into my room and told me, “Pip,” he always called me Pip because that was some boy in a book that he liked, called Great Expectorations I thought. It was weird but he said the word with such affection that it was OK with me when he said, “Pip, as a boy is becoming a man he changes. Remember how you were afraid when you started to get your hair…down there?”
I grinned sheepishly and said, “I tried to cut them off.”
My dad said wryly, “Yes, with my nail scissors.”
I said, “You told me you used them to trim your nose hairs.”
We both laughed.
My dad thought a moment and then he asked me, “Do you remember what you were dreaming about when this happened?”
I said matter-of-factly, “Mrs. Befana Natale.”
My dad nodded and I thought I heard him say, “I’ve had that dream, too,” but when I asked him what he had said he told me, “Nothing, nothing. Anyway, when a boy is becoming a man,” and then I could tell he was reciting, “God has a great plan for mommies and daddies to make babies. He designed them differently so they fit together like a puzzle. The sperm comes out of a daddy’s penis and swims inside the mommy’s body till it reaches the egg.”
I must have looked puzzled because my dad then said, “When a boy is growing up sometimes the sperm comes out too soon, at night, when you are dreaming.”
I asked, “Did your sperms ever come out too soon?”
My dad laughed, “Oh, yeah. And mommies are not too happy about that, either.”
I asked, “But you said it was alright…”
My dad realized the repercussions of his little private joke and he amended quickly, “Everything is OK. Don’t you worry about anything. This will be our own family business, OK, Pip?”
I wasn’t sure what I was agreeing to but at least I wasn’t in trouble.
The beautiful Mrs. Befana Natale was one of our neighbors. She was the mom of my friend Guy and his sister Karol. And also she was the Den Mother of our neighborhood Cub Scout Den of six boys.
Mrs. Befana Natale’s husband was at home bedridden with cancer. At the time I only knew what my mom had told me: Mr. Natale was ill. One time I went to the bathroom at her house and I passed the bedroom where Mr. Natale was lying in his bed. His eyes were closed. He looked like the molded effigy that was lying on the tomb of the Black Prince in Canterbury Cathedral that I saw on the History Channel.
I remember one day my mom was fuming over an article in the local paper that showed Mrs. Befana Natale swinging a bat at a little league game and my mom was reading out loud about what a good mom Mrs. Befana Natale was. My mom thought it was scandalous because Mrs. Befana Natale’s two children, Guy and his sister Karol, often came over to my house and asked me to invite them for lunch because their mom was not at home. My mom was certain that Mrs. Befana Natale was having an affair with the fellow who wrote the newspaper article.
Our Cub Scout Den met on weekends at either the United Methodist Church (my dad was raised Methodist, or at least sat in a Methodist church) or the Christian Science Church (my mom was raised Christian Scientist, a feminist take on Christianity ahead of its time) or at Mrs. Befana Natale’s home in the evening. We all preferred Mrs. Befana Natale’s house because she made real Italian spaghetti for all of us.
Mrs. Befana Natale would wink at us and say, “I make it with wine.”
It was three weeks before Christmas and our Cub Scout Den which we called The Spirit Bears was supposed to come up with some charity event of our Den’s own choosing.
Standing before us in her dining room as we slurped the last of our spaghetti, Mrs. Befana Natale held up the Merit Badge Series booklet and she was saying with enthusiasm, “Here is the Cub Scout Citizenship in the Community merit badge that you all will be eligible for.”
The merit badge was a round stitch-work patch that depicted a squat silver building with a black door between two black windows and with a tall pointy roof and that made it all look to me like a cartoon clown-face with hat but it was supposed to be a church.
Guy snickered behind me, “It looks like a boner.”
The church was between two square buildings with black doors and no windows and red roofs.
And there was no cross on the pointy building that was supposed to be a church.
Mrs. Befana Natale asked of us, “Boys, gentlemen. As we talked about last week, our Cub Scout Pack 555 is going to hold a charity event at the Mall. All Dens will participate. What ideas did you all think of to help a charity?”
Phil said, “We can collect cans of kosher food for poor Jews.”
Travis tisked, “Phil, there aren’t any poor Jews, you yutz! Mrs. Natale, how about selling wrought-iron Christmas lamps? My dad can get them really cheap in Tijuana. We could put those colored Catholic candles in them.”
Michael said confidently, “My band could play and attract donations.”
Guy said, “Yeah. Someone could donate some talent to your band.”
Ricky, who was the singer in Michael’s band, was also the Den diplomat and he interceded saying, “Spirit Bears! Let everyone have their ideas without criticizing. Maybe we can do more than one person’s idea for the event.”
Mrs. Befana Natale said, “That’s all…good. But what else? What can we do to make people say ‘Those Spirit Bears really shine!’?”
My friend Guy nudged me and said to everyone, “Poop has a great idea (he called me Poop for a while after he heard my dad call me Pip).”
Mrs. Befana Natale said firmly with a disapproving scowl, “Guy Gianni Natale, not nice. I’ve told you.”
I hissed, “Knock it off!”
Guy continued, saying, “Poop told me that we could charge admission to his Rocket Ship.”
My Rocket Ship.
My Uncle Donald had been a fighter pilot. After his war he became an aerospace engineer (there is no such thing as a “rocket scientist”). He stayed with us while he was in college. He used to tease my mom and ask her to cook his two eggs in two separate pans.
For fun he built me this cool Rocket Ship in our backyard out of plywood and scrap boards. It was a big cylinder on its side that you could enter into and stand up if you hunched over a little bit and it had wooden “seats” for six passengers (you sat on your butt on the floor with a wooden backrest and your legs outstretched). But there was also a bulkhead divider and a pointed cockpit nosecone for two people. There was a curvy door that opened and closed in the side so you could get in but the only window was cut out on the “pilot’s” side. Inside it could get really dark and my uncle built a holder in the cockpit for a disc player and it played a disc that he recorded that played jet engine sounds and electronic noises. It was really cool. We played in it a lot, all of us. It was my ticket to friendship in the neighborhood.
I protested, saying, “There is no way we can get my Rocket Ship to the Mall.”
Mrs. Befana Natale was like Superwoman. She could get anything done that she wanted to get done. She always found some man who was willing to help her.
My dad agreed with the plan, reminding my mom that it was Christmas and that it was for the Cub Scouts and that it was for charity.
My Rocket Ship got raised and carried on a flat-bed by a tow-truck driver who was a friend of Mrs. Befana Natale. They placed my Rocket Ship in the big Mall center, conspicuously in the middle of the big hub where the different Mall hallways met.
Mike said, “What a great place to get our band noticed.”
Mrs. Befana Natale would only allow Ricky and Mike to perform as a duo (since they were the only members of their band The Fedz who were in the Cub Scouts) and they could only perform with acoustic guitars.
Mrs. Befana Natale had given Mike and Ricky a final admonishment, “Sing only Christmas Carols or songs of the Spirit Bears. Do not sing any of your, your… songs I’ve overheard like Shit Pâté.”
Guy laughed and said to Mike and Ricky, “What are you going to call yourselves now? You can’t still call yourselves The Fedz. The Fedz is a rap-rock band.”
Travis sneered, “You can call yourselves The Bear Asses.”
Phil laughed, “No. The Two Bear Ass Cheeks.”
Mrs. Befana Natale clapped her hand and announced, “You are all going to recite The Scout Promise!” and Mrs. Befana Natale lead us all fervently:
On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
Then Mrs. Befana Natale called out, “What is the Scout Law?” and she prompted us saying, “We are all…”
Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.
And while we were all reciting, Guy was murmuring alongside me so I could hear him as he tried to make me crack up:
Lazy, Horny, Noisy, Rude, Greedy, Smelly…
My Rocket Ship was a big hit at the charity event. All the kids oohed-and-ahhed. We charged 50 cents per “ride”.
There was a rival Den of Cub Scouts led by Mr. Kooty. Mr. Kooty was a parole officer and he had formed a Den with troubled kids. The Den called themselves The Chupacabras. We all were afraid of The Chupacabras. Because we all were afraid of them we all hated them. We secretly called them The Kooties. But no one made fun of Mr. Kooty’s name where he could hear of it.
Toward the end of the day The Chupacabras came over to my Rocket Ship.
One of the The Chupacabras said to us, “You turkeys did OK. Can we check out your Rocket Ship?”
We couldn’t refuse and anyway they were just pushing past us already to go inside.
After their “ride” they said, “Thanks, turkeys,” and they hustled away smirking and laughing to themselves.
When I looked inside my Rocket Ship I saw that two of the seats had been broken flat and there was a gash kicked into one side of the fuselage.
My eyes filled with tears and I turned around and there was Mrs. Befana Natale.
I started to bawl intensely, “Those fuckers wrecked my Rocket Ship!”
Mrs. Befana Natale glanced inside the Rocket Ship and then as I cried shamelessly she said to me, “Oh, no. Don’t cry. I’m going to take this to Mr. Kooty. Those brats are toast. Don’t cry.”
Then Mrs. Santina Kurtz was hugging me tightly. My face was between her breasts. She was so soft. She smelled so good. She felt so firm against my crotch. Oh, I felt so good.
Oh, no, NO!
Mrs. Santina Kurtz suddenly held me at arm’s length away by my shoulders . She looked down quickly at my crotch.
Then Mrs. Santina Kurtz covered her mouth to keep herself from laughing out loud.
In memory of Mrs. Gina Beck.
Thanks for EVERYTHING.
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