Someone Who Got Me In Trouble

Jimmy never got me in trouble. But Jimmy was trouble. Big time. An 8 year old on more medication than a pharmacy had in stock, he was my first introduction into mental illness and family dysfunction. I met him when living in Stoneham. I was about 8 or 9 at the time. His grandparents lived behind us. One day his grandmother came by the fence to introduce herself. She mentioned her grandson and how we should play together, when he would visit. They called her Mima. They seemed rather strange looking back. I wonder if there was inbreeding in their family line.


Jimmy seemed normal at first. He was maybe a little hyper, but no more than an average 8 year old. He loved playing Doom. This probably should have been a warning sign. We learned that he had two dads. Not in that way. No, he had his actual father, and a stepfather. Who was who, I still don’t know. His mother was named Karen. She was the first actual set of boobs I ever saw. Slow down. She didn’t specifically show them. She just had a poorly fitting bathing suit one summer day. I was 9, how did I not look? Again, these probably should have been huge red flags going off. Just a giant red siren, ala a Chuck Jones cartoon. Then things started becoming more apparent.


About a year after hanging out with him, we learned how he was on Ritalin and “Claudian” (Klonopin). Around this time it became apparent as to why the little bastard needed the drugs. He would get angry. But not just angry…It was the most intense rage I had ever seen. I don’t think I have ever seen a child with such wrath in his eyes since this kid. And that anger would lead to violence. The first instance happened with a Christmas party at his grandmother’s office. She decided to pick us up and bring us, because “Santa” was there and giving out gifts. Well, we drove there and we were too late. The office was closed. The party had ended. That Christmas, one of Jimmy’s dads gave him a knife. This was apparently a thing between him and his “dad. Model Dad, huh? Give the kid on anti-psychotics free reign to sharp, pointy, stabby knives. Father of the year, Carl…Father of the Year.


The drive home was…interesting. A 9 year old who is low on his anti-psychotic medication, in possession of a switch blade, having a violent outburst. It was rather strange. I probably shouldn’t have been as relaxed as I was in the back seat of the car on the way home. Yet, all I could think was “Wow, this kids fuckin nuts!” It was like a strange sort of amusement. There was a side of me that almost knew for certain that nothing was going to happen as he kicked the air conditioning vents in the Toyota we were driving in.  It suffices to say that we got home in one piece. After telling the story to my parents, they told his grandparents and mom that under no condition would he be allowed near us again. The more fun version of this conversation has me convinced that I could hear the three of them collectively pissing their pants on the other end of the phone. Have you ever heard the conversation that ensues when you mess with the children of a stressed out, hard working guido? It’s quite breathtaking. Tolkien has nothing on inventing fascinating language  as my father was able to conjure in terms of cussing these people out. Point Dad.


A few months later, my parents being the good people that they are allowed us to reconcile with Jimmy. Things started ok. Then the outbursts started again: violent, angry, and enough rage t make Satan blush like a vestal virgin. It culminated with a run-in between my brother and the sharp end of an ax. Jimmy’s grandfather had a workshop in the garage filled with all sorts of tools neatly arranged on peg board. Well, one day my brother must have crossed Jimmy in some way. Perhaps he said something triggering like “Hi how was your day.” Boom. Naga-fucking-Saki. Out comes a hatchet. I remember Jimmy trembling with the ax in his hand, about an inch away from my brother’s forehead. My brother was laughing, in a sort of panicked way, but still knowing he was ok, and I was just staring confused. What the eff was wrong with this friggin’ kid? Like, honestly? It’s a blur now, but we got out of that situation pretty cleanly. I don’t think we told our parents what happened that time, as my father would have probably murdered the kid and the whole family. I mean they were N-V-T-S, Nuts! We stopped associating ourselves with him for a long time after that.


Slowly, we started to re-associate ourselves with him from through the fence that divided our houses. We let him play outfield for wiffle ball games between my brother and I. But that was about it. That was the extent of it. Until one day the following summer. It was around Easter. I was about 10. We were going to some event. My brother and I were dressed alike, which was customary at the time. We went over to play on a tire swing the three of us had built together. During our playing I remember having gotten of the swing, which was right next to the fence. I was nervous that I might have dirtied my clothes. My mother would have killed me. She matched those outfits perfectly. My next memory is of him throwing a large lump of dirt in my eye. I was in screaming pain. He claims that I told him that I was going to throw a rock at him if I got dirty. I personally don’t remember that, but perhaps I can be wrong. It’s about 16 years ago, so who the hell knows what was said. This was the last straw though.  My parents immediately made it a point that under NO circumstances would we be allowed anywhere near this little sumbitch. Fine by me. Have you ever had dirt thrown in your eye? It sucks. And to add insult to injury, my goddamned clothes wound up dirty after all of this!


Not soon after, we wound up moving out of the Stoneham house. It’s interesting to think of what might became of this kid, after all these years. Looking back, you realize how many demons this kid had and wonder if he was able to deal with all the issues he had. There’s a side of me that almost has pity for him. I mean, he was just a kid and his whole life was totally messed up by this point. Between the pills, the anger, and the weird family, you could understand why he was off his rocker. On one hand I assume that he wound up in a ditch with a needle in his harm and a lack of a heart beat, or in prison for something he most certainly was guilty of- a byproduct of his uncontrolled rage. Most likely he joined the Hare-Krishna’s and is living in a Pueblo somewhere in New Mexico.

Antonio MerolaComment