Nothing beats the summer. With school just about to be let out for the 3 month vacation, I was feeling pretty good one Saturday afternoon. About as good as a nine year old could I guess. After watching some Saturday morning cartoons, I decided to take my weekly allowance money and ride on my bike to the Baskin Robbin's Ice Cream shop about 5 blocks away. Traveling with me was my trusty dog, Pepper. A black Lab of the female variety.
As it is with most kids, my dog was my best friend. I remember the day my mother brought her home. I don't know where she got her from, but for me, it was love at first sight. And when my mother said she was all mine, I jumped for joy. Funny thing is, Pepper was never trained. But as the days, weeks and months passed, she and I had developed this unique understanding. I could whistle some commands like sit, stay, and things like that, but if I tried to get her to do parlor tricks, she would simply turn her head from me like she was sending me a message. I soon picked up on that message and realized, she wasn't going to shake her paw or do flips or stupid stuff like that. Only the basics of necessity.
So there we were, sitting out front of the store with our chocolate mint ice cream. Pepper sitting next to me and just looking out at traffic. I took a few licks and then offered up a lick for Pepper. She turned her head and took a couple licks and then back to me. And we shared it down to the cone where I ate half and then gave her the rest. Then it was time to head home.
With a week or two of school left, I began to notice more and more of my friends roaming about. One in-particular was Troy. He was kind of like me in the sense that we were both ornery and always up to something no good. I got into more trouble with him than any other friend I ever had. I guess that's because neither of us was a leader or a follower. We were both always on the same page. if we saw something that looked interesting and ran the risk of us getting into trouble, we just knew it instantly and would often times look over at each other and grin and nod. We knew what we were doing.
Anyhow, I am riding my bike with Pepper trailing behind me as I came up on Troy and two other boys. One was Eric, a classmate of ours, the other boy was his 14 year old brother, Jason. Erick was often times the recipient of many pranks performed by Troy and I. LOL Approaching troy from behind, I noticed that something was amiss. Eric and Jason were standing in front of him and they didn't look too happy. I stopped and stood while Pepper took a seat in a yard off the sidewalk. "Hey, troy." I said.
He turned slightly and this is when I could tell that Jason had his hand on Troy's shirt. "Hey, Carroll."
"So," I replied. "What's going on?"
Jason looked over Troy's left shoulder at me. "None of your business, punk. Just keep moving."
I almost didn't know what to make of that response. "Maybe I want to make it my business." I told him. Trying to be cool like I always do. Which often leads to me getting a butt-kicking. This time was no different.
"Scram, toddler." Jason commanded. This is when I brought my kick-stand down and got off the bike. I walked to a street sign and leaned against it. "I think I'll watch." I said.
Eric looked at me. "It's none of your business, Carroll, this is just payback for what Troy did to me the other day."
"Payback?' I countered. "Well, if it's between you and troy then why is your brother fighting your battles?"
Jason yelled out. "Because nobody throws a tomato at my little brother and gets away with it!"
Troy was looking mighty scared and nervous. I did one of my famous grins and chuckle. "That was funny." I mentioned. "It hit you right in the back of your head real good." i said to Eric.
"Shut up, Carroll!" He sorely spilled. "Or your turn will be next."
"Okay," I sounded off, "I'll wait for my turn then." I was always such a bad ass. LOL I was so James Dean. "But I don’t know why you are picking on Troy." I told them. "I was the one who threw it at you." I lied.
"What?" Jason was surprised by my admission. "But three people said that Troy threw it."
"Well, they lied." I said. "I threw it. So if you have a problem with it, here I am."
Now, there was a reason why I was so bold with this kid who was 5 years older than me. I can be quite crafty when I wanna be. Jason released his grip and pushed Troy to the ground. "Wait there." he told him, looking at, and then walking over to me. "Maybe I will just kick both of your asses." he suggested.
"Yeah," I giggled, "as if."
"What did you say you little punk?" Jason was now foaming at the mouth. He walked up to my face.
"I wouldn't if I was you." I warned.
"Why?" Jason wanted to know. "You know karate or something?"
"Yes," I told him, "but that's not the reason."
"Well, I know karate too." Jason informed me. I pushed myself off the sign and stood in the middle of the sidewalk.
"If you knew what was best for you, you would walk away right now while you can." I was such a bad ass I tell you. LOL
Jason stared down at me. "Oh, yeah? Maybe I'll give you a punch in the stomach. That'll teach you to mess with my brother."
"I'm telling you," I again warned, "I wouldn't do that if I was you."
"Well, you're not me." Jason replied. Then he reared back and landed a punch in my stomach. Man, did it hurt. I keeled over and dropped to the ground. And just about that time, Pepper got into the fray. She was very good at protecting me. I knew she wouldn't bother if he had hit troy, she only protects me.
She leaped to her feet and she was all over Jason. Mostly, she just snaps and barks and growls or what but she will slip in a small bite or two in the process. And poor Jason, he backed out onto the street yelling and screaming and crying, "Get your dog off me!"
Eric was watching the incident, crying for his brother. I got to my feet and punched Eric on the side of his face. He went to the ground. "Mess with the bull, you get the horns." I told him. I then turned to Pepper. "Pepper, stop!" I yelled. She backed down and walked over to my feet and sat down. Jason was screaming. "Your dog bit me!"
"You better go before I sic her on you again." I told him and Eric. Even though, Pepper wouldn't attack if I tried to get her to. She only attacked when somebody hurt me and nothing more. I told you, she didn't do parlor tricks. But Jason and Eric sure got the message. They ran lickity-split. "And may that be a lesson to ya's." I cried out then turned to troy. "Hey, wanna go egg some houses?"
He looked up and smiled. "Okay!"