Every small town has its oddballs, but I swear we have more than our share. My town has had the USA “Characters Welcome” slogan sign up for decades. Let me introduce you to a couple that come to mind.
There was this one guy from years ago that might have been related to Floyd on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Not that he was a barber, but on the personality level. I don’t remember exactly what he did other than a little handwork on his mother’s house, but he spent a lot of time popping up and about town. Russ had a small dog named Pepe that accompanied him everywhere, and every afternoon Russ and Pepe would stop by the local bar for a nip or two.
Russ liked Pepe a lot more than the locals did, and insisted on showing everyone how talented the dog was. The dog wasn’t crazy about the barroom atmosphere and always had his leash stretched to the limit in the direction of the front door. Of course every thirsty patron dragging in after a hard day’s work had to dance around the mangy little yap dog.
Russ would usually remind the bartender he could only stay for “one”, and by the time he was pretty well oiled, he would ask everyone if they had seen Pepe’s latest trick. Amid the moans and groans of the crowd, Russ would proceed to entertain anyone who would watch.
Russ and Pepe had their own language. Russ would say something like “Tss tss Pepi! Tss tss Pepi!” We’d all look at each other wondering what trick Pepe would come up with, and Pepe would tip his head to one side right along with us. Then Russ would reach down and pat Pepe on the head and say “Assa goog og!” There was always one fool in the audience who would jump off the barstool, hoot and holler, clap and high-five Russ, which would make his day.
His name was Lenny. Lenny and another pal (who shall remain nameless) spent an entire summer at the docks, living on lobster bodies the fishermen had discarded. A good meal also included raw green tomatoes clipped from someone’s garden. As it happens, Lenny’s photo can be seen in a photo previously published with my “Bonnie and Clyde” article. He’s the one on the end who didn’t need a costume.
Lenny. Where to start. He was a little squirt through high school who finally reached full size around the age of 20. He became sort of a mascot to the hoods in town because there was nothing this guy wouldn’t do. He was sensitive about his late stage of development, and it was decided that Lenny needed to get…er…shall we say educated.
Lenny’s Mrs. Robinson lived down the street from the crash pad. He was given a tutorial by a couple of master’s of the art, and sent on his way late one night, to become a man. About an hour or so later, there was a loud banging on the door followed by sobs and gut wrenching cries of forgiveness. One of the hoodlums opened the door. There stood Lenny, blubbering “I killed her! I killed her!”
Turns out Lenny, in his fervor, and after a jug of home brew, had scooped up Mrs. Robinson in a moment of passion and tried to carry her into the bedroom. Due in great part to his diminutive size, however, he dropped her. There lay Mrs. Robinson, half dressed and out cold. A plan was devised.
They would wait ’til morning and get a newspaper to find out if she was dead (Yeah, these guys weren’t all that bright either), and they did just that. The paper said nothing. The door opened and in staggered Mrs. Robinson with a rather large bandage on her head. Naturally, nosy customers asked her what had happened to her. She replied with her usual deadpan, and to the delight of the curious, “Oh just a little overzealous love-making”.
I guess the relief of the man-table was almost audible, but you could have heard a pin drop when Mrs. Robinson stopped by on her way out and whispered in Lenny’s ear, “Stoppin’ by tonight Studley? “