Nothing Like An Old Friend

Chapter 36, Blog 3

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


Soon I found my way to the locker room. There to greet me as I walked through the doors was my “friend” from the relays in Iowa. He now had a name: Franz  Genesee. Again, he refused to shake my hand. His stubbornness was starting to give me a complex. Was Franz a germaphobe or just an asshole?

I voted for asshole – a purple-faced, agitated asshole.

And me? Hung-over and annoyed, I shifted into trash-talking mode like a pro. The visualization process was good training for other things, too.

“Franz, you sad little boy. Did you miss me?”

I glared at his bulging, bloodshot eyeballs. A twisted string bean dressed in his green-and-black-striped body suit, Franz was the Riddler from a Batman comic. An old Riddler, that is. He must have been 28 or 29.

“I’m protesting,” he said. “You have no right to be here.”

… let him have it …

“Man up, Franz,” I said.  “I’m just here to kick your ass, that’s all.”

With that, I shoved the old Riddler into the locker-room door with a sick thud and looked for an empty locker.

“You’re not getting away with this, Thompson, you, you sick, old geezer.”

… Thompson? huh …

I stopped and turned around.

“Franz, I’m sorry, but everyone knows that’s redundant,” I said. “Geezer already means old. Anyway, would you mind pinning my bib for me?”

“Go to hell, freakin’ old man!”

“That’s better. You work on that,” I said and looked for a locker again.

“You don’t have a prayer,” yelled Franz.

I spun around.

“Listen, Dude.”

… Dude? Where did you get that …

“You’re making it personal,” I said in an even tone as if I were asking for directions to the library. “Now, I AM going to kick your ass.”

“You jist try, you old turd.”

I ignored him. Maturity 1, Old Stupidity 0.

Dressing, I pinned my own bib on front. It was a thing of beauty.






The back bib had the number 818. Seeing the two eights, I felt lucky. The Chinese consider the numeral eight good luck. Also, it was Harry’s superstition to attach the back bib, so I carried it out to the track where I happened to see the Bill Bowerman statue of the famous Oregon coach studying his stopwatch. He appeared amused, almost smiling.

… it seems everyone gets the joke except you …

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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