Chapter 21, Blog 2
By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang
Rockard stopped tugging junk out of the bottom of his linen closet and peered at me as if I were a true orphan. Sadly, he shook his head.
“Ya goofball. I’m tellin’ you I wouldn’t know what to do. I have no experience with that, zip, nada, zlich. I work with children, not old guys.”
“Thanks,” I said sarcastically. “Thanks a lot.”
“You know what I mean,” he said “With kids, you can run the piss out of ’em. You? Ya might need a specialist.”
I searched that craggy, bearded face. Indeed, he told the truth as he knew it. Dejected, I turned and shuffled my feet toward the door.
“You know what …” Rockard started.
I spun around.
“There’s, uh, well, uh, naaaaaaah. Jist forget it.”
“You know, I could come up there, too. I bet it could be a lot of fun. Gee, I haven’t fished since third grade. Do they still use worms?”
Fear jumped out of Rockard’s eye sockets.
“DAMN! All right, already. Uncle. There I said it.”
“Great, who is it?”
“There’s this guy. Gawd, please have mercy on my soul.”
“Who? Who is it? Do I know him?” I asked with all the patience of a kid on Christmas morning.
“I think, I think he’s, well, in a, uuuuummmm, nursing home? Over in Michigan City.
“A nursing home? Who the hell … ”
“As far as I know, said Rockard. “Truth be known, he could be dead by now.”
“Coach, I’ll take that chance.”
“Still has his mind, I think. Jist can’t take care of hisself. Know what I mean? Physically.
“Has his mind?” I asked. “Certainly a plus.”
“Shuddup, Fred. I don’t have to tell you nothing.”
“OK, OK, please continue.”
“Anyway, last time I heard, I think it was Mylar’s or Sylar’s. Something like that.”
“This guy – he coached during the sixties and seventies. You know. When you were a kid.”
“The sixties? He coached in the sixties, and he still has his mind. You sure?”
“Are you gonna lissen or not?”
“Go ahead. I’m listening.”
“Nurmi. His name’s Nurmi. Harry Nurmi. And, Fred, be careful. He’s a little different.”
“Never heard of him.”
“That’s because back then, nobody this side of Doc Counsilman, gave a shit who coached who,” said Rockard. “Anyway, I’m pretty sure Nurmi coached Carlos or Smith. You know, those guys who got kicked out in Mexico. Maybe both. I don’t remember for sure.”
I was stunned.
“You mean, THE John Carlos and Tommie Smith? Mexico City 1968?”
“Are there others?”
Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang