When I was just a little tike, I would often times badger,…I mean, ask my parents for a little brother. And my parents would often times assure me that it wasn’t gonna happen. So I decided to turn to a higher power and ask Santa Claus for one. When he suggested I just settle for a football or candy bar, I figured I would bust out the biggest guns I knew. If my so-called parents and an out of work actor with clinical halitosis in a Santa suit couldn’t get me what I wanted, surely God could. I didn’t really understand all the mechanics of praying but I’d heard enough people in my family yell out God’s name as they asked for something crazy. So one day, I rode my busted little Huffy to the top of a hill, sat Indian style under a tree, folded my grimy little hands closed one of my eyes and asked the biggest of big guys for my own little brother. And believe it or not….NOTHING HAPPENED!! The wind didn’t move, the clouds didn’t start to whirl and the stork didn’t crash into my house!
We did however move from my hometown of Pennsylvania to North Carolina. And on the day that we moved in, the family that lived next door came over and introduced themselves to us. They called themselves “The Dickens” and were really nice people despite the fact that they talked kinda like cartoon characters. I was a seven-year old from Pennsylvania. I’d never heard a southern accent outside of Yosemite Sam or Baloo or some other random Disney animal. Any hoo, this funny sounding group of folks had a little boy of their own. And when I say little I’m talking Mario BEFORE he eats the mushroom, little. Guy was resting his chin on my knee and I barely stood at sea level. But despite his itty-bitty, little witty stature, I instantly liked him. His name was Brian(I called him BD for short) and before the end of the day we were closer than butt-cheeks. If I was Batman, he was Robin. If I was peanut-butter, he was jelly. And if I was the big brother, he was the little one. This tiny-tubby was the answer to the prayer I sloppily made on the hill a few years earlier.
Since I was the bigger brother, we both ASSUMED I was the smarter of the two. Which means any bonehead, dumb-ass, sure-to fail scheme or plan I concocted, BD followed like Sancho Panza on a quest with Don Quixote. One such “Windmill” adventure was when I thought it would be a high quality idea to ride our skateboards down the runoff gutters next to the street. They were kinda these long running half-pipe thingies that went down at a slope from BD’s house to mine. Oddly enough, our skateboards fit in them perfectly. The only hiccup was that at the end of this canal of fun resided a very long, tight and dark tunnel that ran under my driveway. Plus there were some rats that lived in the tunnel. But I was a professional skateboarder. I’d seen Tony Hawk on television at least three times and had all his moves down pact.
And if Tony could do it, I could. And if I could, BD could. Or he’d at least severely injure himself trying to try. Besides, that big, scary tunnel was all the way at the end of our kick-ass skate path. And the rats usually only bit girls. So what could possibly go wrong!?! Other than damn near everything.
As I clumsily positioned myself at the top of the canal, BD carefully put on his skate helmet and tried to figure out exactly what we were doing and why we were doing it. “Are you sure you saw Tony Hawk do this?” he asked.
I laughed at my little brother’s stupid innocence. “Have I ever NOT been sure of anything?!”
“That time at the pool when you dove in off the lifeguard tower and landed on….”
“Yeah, I know who I landed on, BD. I was there, remember? And she’s mostly fine now.” I then assured my little bro, who I now realize SHOULD have been the brains of our outfit, that his goofy looking skate helmet was cutting off the thinking to his brain and that this was gonna be more fun than anything else we’d ever done before…ever!
And without another sensible thought, I got a running start and blazed off down the canal. I easily made it 7 feet before I flew off the board like ribs from a grill during a cookout at a family reunion. But sweet lord of Haagen-Dazs extra chunky rocky road ice cream, was it fun!
“Can I try?!” asked my plucky young sidekick.
“You’re wearing that stupid-ass helmet, aren’t ya!?!?”
And like Jumping Jack Flash, BD took off down the canal like bacon grease on a hungry tongue! And he made it even further than I did before he flew one way and the board flew in every other way.
We indulged in our little sewer made carnival for another hour or so. And although it was even more fun than I had planned, we had yet to skate the entire length of the canal. We’d either fall off before we got to the end or REALLY fall off. So I decided that I was gonna make it to the end. No matter what, I was gonna do it. I was gonna skate right up to the very tip of the tunnel and then I’d zoom out of the canal at the last-minute before entering it. Just like Tony Hawk would do! And who’d know more about doing what Tony Hawk would do than me?!
“Hey BD?!” I yelled. “Stop bleeding for a sec and watch this!!” I took off down the skate canal with all the grace and skill of Jackie Chan in a bar room brawl! Me and the board were one. I was doing it! I was skating the canal like Blackbeard skated the high seas. I was making Tony Hawk proud! Nothing was going to go wrong! I had made it! I was all the way at the end of the skate canal and….and I couldn’t stop!! Not sure why this surprised me. I had no control of myself when I was going slow at the top of the hill and crashing. Now that I was at the bottom and actually had some real speed, I was in a whole new rainbow of screwed!!
“Jump!!” yelled BD. And for the first time, I decided to listen to him. Not hours ago like I should’ve! But now! I mustered every last striation of muscle tendon I had and ejected from my board. And by some random act of the cosmos, I made it off safely. Apparently God really does love babies and fools! As I got up and used my hands to carefully place my heart back in its chest, I realized that my trusty, kick-ass skateboard wasn’t around. I also remembered that my skateboard was very expensive and my mama told me not to lose, damage, scratch, or even hurt it. And that if I did lose, damage, scratch or hurt my skateboard she would do all the above to me….A LOT!
“Where’s the skateboard, BD?! You see it?!”
Brian slowly raised a single finger and pointed at the deep, dark, dingy, dank tunnel of doom. “There.” he said. “It’s in there.”
“DDDDAAAAAAMMMMMMMMNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I casually remarked.
To be continued…**CLICK HERE FOR PART 2** https://manmademurphy.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/tunnel-of-doom-part-2-the-idiots-strike-back/