A Story of True Friendship by Buddy Fenster
A Story of True Friendship
by Buddy Fenster, with illustrations by the author
When I was 13, there was a boy who lived down the street in a yellow house named Lewis Mowry. He was a retard. Not in the same sense that my dad sometimes calls me a retard, and maybe yours does, too. But retarded in the sense that his eyes were crossed and he had a big chin and he went to a special school, and in the winter he wore those rubber boots with the big black buckles that they make for special people. Although his name was Lewis, everybody called him Screwy Louie just so he wouldn’t forget how special he was.
I met him when I was in seventh grade. I remember the day because it was the day before final exams, and the guidance guy said that the only chance I had of passing was if I went home and spent the rest of the day studying. So that afternoon I was out in the woods throwing golf balls at chipmunks. I’ve always been a nature lover. Sometimes I like to go off by myself and see the glory of nature that God has created, and try to hit it in the head with a golf ball.
So I was doing that, and all of a sudden Lewis Mowry came walking down the path. He was like, “What are you doing?”, and I was like, “Throwing golf balls at chipmunks,” and he was like, “Watch this.”
There was a really cute chipmunk just down the path, and I was just about to bust its head open, but Lewis took a peanut out of his pocket and squatted down. He held the peanut out and made a chip-chip-chip-chip noise with his mouth, which sounded a little like “CHIP-CHIP-CHIP-CHIP!”
Pretty soon the chipmunk came over and took the peanut and put it in one of its cheeks, and then Lewis gave it another peanut and it put it in one of its other cheeks. It was really cool to see, and I have to give Lewis credit, because that was the first time I realized that you didn’t have to make nature suffer in order to enjoy it, at least not every time.
We got to be really good friends, and we always hung out in the woods because I didn’t want to be seen with him. We played a bunch of games. Lewis made most of them up, so a lot of them were stupid and didn’t have a point. There was one game called “Greenstick.” We had to each run into the woods and find a dead stick and bring it back. Then we had to go chop off a stick from a live tree, and when we brought it back we had to yell “Greenstick, greenstick!”, and whoever yelled it first was the winner, and whoever yelled it last came in second. But a lot of the other games were pretty dumb.
Then one day me and Louie were in the woods, and two of my normal friends came walking along, which were Chuckie Norton and Fritz Pomeroy. They saw us and Chuckie went, “Well, well, so this is why we haven’t seen much of you lately. You’ve been sneaking out to the woods to make out with your new girlfriend!”
That made me mad, because Lewis was definitely not a girl.
Then Chuckie went, “I always thought you were pretty cool, but here you are hanging around with a D-double-U-M-Y. Maybe you’re not as cool as I thought.”
Fritz went, “Yeah,” and he twirled his finger around his ear which signifies cuckoo. Even though that was pretty mean, I still had to laugh, because Fritz has a fantastic sense of humor. I wouldn’t be surprised if he grew up and turned into that guy who took over the Tonight Show from Conan O’Brien after Conan took it over from Jay Leno.
Then Chuckie went, “We’re going to McDonald’s to make fun of girls who won’t go out with us. We were gonna ask you to come, but it looks like you’re too busy with your new pal.”
I looked at Lewis and he had a nice, trusting smile on his face. Then I looked at Chuckie, and he had kind of a mean sneer. For some reason, his sneer made me even madder, so I went, “Look, maybe he’s not as intelligent as us, but Lewis is a really nice guy. Maybe if you took the time to try to get to know people, you would understand that.”
Chuckie gave me a weird look and went, “What are you babbling about, Fenster? I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to Lewis.”
Well, I was so surprised that you probably could have knocked me over if you’d hit me in the head with a baseball bat, if my head was a Wiffle ball.
Lewis laughed and started walking over to Chuckie and Fritz. Then he looked back at me and said, “He only wins at Greenstick about half the time.” He twirled his finger around his ear in the cuckoo sign, so I guess maybe Lewis will host the Tonight Show someday, too.
Well, those three guys laughed and started walking away, and the only intelligent thing I could say at that point was to take a golf ball out of my pocket and throw it at them, which I did. But I missed them and hit a chipmunk instead, so I guess you could say that things had come full circle. The chipmunk got his, and it was like the kind of poetic justice you see at the end of one of those movies with a message that stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Well, I couldn’t stay mad at any of those guys for very long, because I knew they were my true friends, and would stay that way at least until the next time they beat me up, and then again for a while after that, until they beat me up again.
So me and Chuckie and Fritz and Lewis went to McDonald’s and made fun of all the girls who wouldn’t go out with us, which was all of them. And then Fritz demonstrated some of his breakdancing moves. He did pretty good until he did the one where you try to jump over your own leg, and he fell and shattered his kneecap, and then dislocated it, and was laying there screaming.
An ambulance came and bandaged his kneecap and then took it to the hospital, and it was pretty much a perfect ending to a perfect day.