Fun at Fred'sA Story by T. L. O'Neal
This is how a trip to the beach can get all screwed up. True story.
Fun at Fred’s
Written by T. L. O’Neal
Uncle Fred was a pretty nice and decent guy. He was married to Dad’s sister, that’s why we called him uncle I guess but he wasn’t really any blood kin though. Like I said he was a good guy, always laughing and carrying on but he did have a problem with the bottle. Aunt Jean did too for that matter, she had a hell of a lot more issues than he ever would; a marriage made in a bottle you could say. Her first husband did too, but he died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 29 I think it was. Anyways, even with all of that and him not being a blood relative and all, I really did like him. He was a funny and straight-up type of guy. They later moved down to the coast and I never got to see them much more after that.
On one of those rare occasions, Dad asked me if I wanted to go down to Uncle Fred’s with him and Dad’s then girlfriend for the weekend; they later did get married… to each other of course. I thought that it might be fun to go see them, plus Dad never did have that much to do with me anyhow… so I jumped at the chance. The trip down was uneventful as any drive to the beach can be, boring as all get out to a fourteen year old with no one to talk to.
Well, after we got there that evening, things started as I thought they would, everyone starting to drink; except me of course because I was only fourteen. It was a hobby for Dad’s side of the family I guess you could say and it would probably be a vocation if you could get paid for such a thing. Anyways, Aunt Jean looked like she started drinking at breakfast and she probably did too. They had cooked seafood as best as I can remember and everyone got s**t-faced drunk; except me of course… I just watched TV. The real fun didn’t start till the next day.
The next day started off like any other for them, they were all hung-over. About lunchtime or around there I was out in the backyard just goofing around with nothing much to do. Dad and Uncle Fred went to the beach and Dad’s girlfriend was lying down for a nap. Then Aunt Jean came out and asked me if I wanted to see something. It sounded like a loaded question but I was bored and said sure. She told me to follow her to the barn out back, and dumb a*s me did.
She got to the barn and pulled out this big box and it was full of porn magazines and books. I’m not just talking about Playboy mess either; this was the hardcore stuff. It was probably illegal in the 48 continental states with Alaska and Hawaii thrown in to boot. I thought to myself, why in the world is she showing me this for? Well sir, she had this look in her eye that made my skin pure crawl and I have to admit I was a bit scared too. She started going through that box like it was Christmas and handing me magazines of people doing things that I didn’t know people did even to this day. She told me to look at them all I wanted to but not to mention it to anyone. Like gee wiz, who in the hell am I going to tell this too, no one would believe it anyhow. Hell, I didn’t believe it and I was right there. Then she said if I had any questions or wanted to see the real things that I saw in those books to come inside and ask her. She said at the moment she would be alone by herself in the house.
Well, that’s good I guess, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China I thought. I was a little slow and naïve in those days, so it took me a little while for what she said for me to catch on. After she went in and I stopped throwing up from realizing what the hell she was talking about, I thought to myself again. I did that a lot back in the day… thinking to myself that is.
I thought, you know I don’t know what she thinks a kid would want to look at those things for, but it was pretty obvious by how many they had that she sure enjoyed looking at them herself… the magazines and books that is.
I don’t know what it was about a short, skinny, boy that hadn’t even hit puberty yet (I was a late bloomer, OK), was so damn appealing to a thirty something, drunk, out of shape, half brain dead from drinking, woman was. But it seemed to be what she was looking for at the moment because I sure did seem to catch her eye. Geez, makes me want to throw-up every time I think about it now, it did then too come to think about it. Well, she just stood there in all her glory telling me this and that, like I was going to be interested in her or something, damn. And then I thought about this, what and the hell was wrong with Uncle Fred? He was a nice guy and I was pretty sure that he would do her; they were married after all.
I didn’t know much back then but I knew enough to know that the woman had some issues, and drinking probably was the least of these. I did stay out in the yard till Dad came back, because I wasn’t about to go in that house with her. I did wish he’d gotten back sooner; I damn near got cooked in the sun waiting for him. There is one thing that I have thought about over the years, I’m sure glad that I never went to one of those family reunions. I don’t even want to imagine what they were like.
Well, later that afternoon they cooked seafood and had some boiled shrimp too. It went very well with me since I looked like a broiled lobster after waiting for Dad all day. Anyways, I’ve never had boiled shrimp before and it was mighty good; so good in fact that I ate two pounds of it and got as sick as a dog. I guess that compulsion ran in the family because they were drinking like I was eating boiled shrimp. Whatever the case, it all ended up the same… sick as hell.
After they were all liquored up I guess you can say, one of them, Uncle Fred or Dad had this brilliant idea. The idea was to race a motorcycle around the block and time it and see who was the fastest. I could see were they would think this was a good idea. Especially since neither one of them was hardly able to stand up, much less trying to drive a motorcycle at a high rate of speed. These two masters of the bottle and highway got to the road and prepared to race with their woman looking on, and I suppose cheer the two idiots on too. And they were big time drunk as well; it goes without saying. Me, I was still a little sick from the boiled shrimp.
Uncle Fred went first on the motorcycle and he was making good time as he went around the large block. We could hear him going as the sound came through the woods. Finally he got back and through blurry eyes Dad took the time for Uncle Fred’s run. It was Dad’s turn next and not one to be out done; took off as fast as he could with the bike weaving back and forth, and his feet dragging behind the bike. His girlfriend at the time cheered his drunken a*s on and I was still nauseous as hell, you know… from the shrimp.
He sounded like he was going at a pretty good rate of speed too, but one thing that Dad or any of us knew was that Uncle Fred forgot to mention something. That something was that the block wasn’t a complete circle; it had a T in it with a stop sign. Now Dad in his state; I’ll call it a state for lack of a better word, didn’t have enough sense either due to the drinking or just the excitement of this race to think that if it was a complete circle, how and the hell did he drive there in the first place?
Like I said, he was going at a good rate when we heard him come to that T and by the sound of it he didn’t see it till right at the end. We heard a loud and long screech and then a crash with crunching metal. At this point we couldn’t see what was going on due to all the trees and the bend in the road, so Uncle Fred ran down the road a ways to look and hollered back that Dad done gone and killed himself. After this whatever time Dad had on the stopwatch really didn’t matter much anymore. Anyways, with this Dad’s girlfriend sobered up right quick and then fell to pieces right before my very eyes. Aunt Jean pretty much looked like she always did and me, well I was still sick because of the shrimp.
So Uncle Fred and me ran down there, I didn’t really know what to expect but the worse I guess. We got down to the wreck scene and there was Dad, trying to straighten the handlebars out on a now totally destroyed bike and brushing off his pants… a real Kodak moment I tell ya. Hell, it didn’t even look like a motorcycle anymore. He was staggering around, more from the booze than the wreck without a care in the world. Across from the ditch that he hit was a trench, one his body made when he went flying through the air upside down. He dug all 20 feet of it with his shoulders, after flying about 30 feet through the air to get to that point before he started plowing that field. This was another one of those proud moments I have of him, and if you believe that you’re more foolish than he was. You know; if you’re so drunk that you can’t stand up, why would you think you could drive a damn motorcycle. I guess God looks after fools on motorcycles too.
When Dad’s girlfriend found out that he was ok and that Uncle Fred was lying; I’m still not sure if he said it as a joke or not… he did joke around a lot. Anyhow, she was madder than a wet hen and wanted to go back home right then. This did pose a problem being that “back home” was over a two-hour drive and her nerves were shot plus they were both drunk as coots.
So here we go trying to get home, Dad drunker now than before the wreck and she was driving and not doing a very good job at it. I suspect it was more nerves than the booze or anything else for that matter, and the fact that she was cussing Dad every mile didn’t help none either. I just tried to stay out of the way which was hard to do, being we were in a truck and I was sitting in the middle. She was running off the road and cussing and Dad just didn’t care; he was in his own world… wherever that was at the moment. After a little while she decided that she couldn’t drive, I could of told her that if she would of asked me but I didn’t particularly want to be yelled at either.
She then came up with the bright idea that I should drive. There sure were a lot of those going around that night… bright ideas that is. Now I have never driven anything before other than a bicycle in my whole life and this wasn’t anything close to being like that at all. We were stuck out in the middle of nowhere at this point and it was too dark now so I did as she said. So she gave me a quick lesson in the fundamentals of driving, as well as anyone could really that was drunk and a nervous wreck at the same time and then we were off. My stomach starting hurting again but now this time it was nerves and not the shrimp.
At this time in my life I was still very short for my age and couldn’t hardly even see over the steering wheel. I was driving as best that I could even though I didn’t have a clue on what I was doing. They would have done a better job of driving than me, even with them both being drunk out of their skulls. So I was driving slower than cold molasses and still running off the road worse than she was and it was a pretty safe bet that my nerves were shot more than hers too. It didn’t help me either that she was still bitching at him while I was trying to drive. After running off the road more than several more times and crossing the centerline more than was safe for anyone, she decided to my delight to find a motel room as soon as one came along. Dad didn’t give a s**t either way; he was still in his own little world somewhere.
We finally found a motel and got a room and she continued to b***h at him and complain about her nerves. Their nerves should be fine with how much they drank; mine weren’t so good because all I had was bad shrimp in my belly that day. Anyways, Dad seemed to be just fine, we poured him into the bed and he was out like a light. She finally got to sleep and I was left up wondering how and the hell did I get into this mess. I did that a lot growing up and still do at times. Well, I do it a lot but it doesn’t seem to help that much.
I guess you’ve heard the expression, “feeling no pain.” Well that was Dad that night; the next morning was a different story. Between his hangover and his body hurting like hell from playing Evil Knievel, he was in bad shape. I would like to say I felt sorry for him but under the circumstances… I didn’t. He was sore for a month or better and was black and blue all over. Hell, his legs were a blackish-purple from his hips to his toes from where the handlebars snagged them before he was catapulted through the air. Him being so drunk on his a*s was probably the only thing that saved his life but he still didn’t learn a damn thing from it. After all that, I always wondered why she still married him but I guess love overrides sense every time. I did learn not to get around a drunken, horny aunt for one thing and it was a while before they went back to Uncle Fred’s; me… I never went back. After that go around with my aunt, I never wanted to see her again.
Any person with a lick of sense growing up with such mess as I did with him, you would of thought that I would have learned something about drinking. Well, I didn’t, I had to learn it the hard way too. At least it didn’t take me as long as it did him. Life certainly is better without it and a lot sweeter too.
© 2010 T. L. O'Neal
Added on February 18, 2008
Last Updated on October 24, 2010
T. L. O'Neal
In the sticks, NC
AboutI started writing as a way to work out my feelings and found that I enjoyed it very much. I enjoy humor and feel that you can find it in most things, even though it may be hard to find at the moment. .. more..