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.
… 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