Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nerd Therapy Session: Full Frontal

Warning: this one may or may not contain nudity.It’s still the summer of 1977, I am six years old and having a pretty great time despite the “No TV” clause mandated by my parents.

My previously mentioned best friend Neil lived two doors down and was always up for something (he was often described as “hyperactive” by neighbours but I don’t remember him like that) so life was good. Our neighborhood was mostly retirees or people with grown children, so it was  quiet and very well kept.

Except every street has one of “those” houses.

That house with the scary dead lawn (and even scarier dead tree) and the requisite half hanging patio door with the screen ripped wide open? Yeah, that was the Dorval house (name changed for dislike of getting punched in the head) and it stuck out like it was that “one of these things do not belong” scenario.

The whole place was something of a “Lord of the Flies” situation, there were four boys living there, all of them well older than us. They were probably no older than 17 but to me they looked 37, shaggy with bad skin and worse moustaches, they wore work boots and lumberjack jackets (the Canadian bully uniform) and listened loudly to Zepplin and Rush. The sound of Rush still gives me the creeps.

The mom seemed to be a career person, always in suits with a professional appearance but she left early and came home very late. The father seemed to work “up north” a great deal, gone for months at a time; he looked older than his years. The boys lived with a housekeeper who looked kind of like this:

She spoke absolutely no English.

To use Planet of the Apes vernacular, their house was “The Forbidden Zone” for me. The Dorval boys hated my mom something fierce as she was a stay at home type who didn’t put up with their crap. I remember my dad putting fear of God into them a few times, they had no respect for women  but they were scared of my old man.

So I was surprised one evening to see Neil talking to the youngest Dorval brother in the middle of the street. I went over and Neil turned to me and said “Hey man, Angus is going to show us a naked lady, let’s go”.

That extra year in age always came through in Neil, especially when it came to the ladies, he would set me up on my disastrous, first date a few years later. I have to admit though, female nudity was high on my “would like to see” list at the time, it was entirely scientific though.

I looked around to make sure my mom wasn’t observing this on the balcony  and well, she must have been sick or something because it was the one time where she wasn’t around to catch me. The balcony's sole purpose was to act as a crow's nest to find me. I followed blindly.

That last statement is something that haunted me through childhood, I was never a bad kid and certainly never lead the pack during mischief but I always present.

We got to the Dorval living room and I had never seen anything like it, it was an awful mess with broken furniture, a crap TV, junk food wrappers and three “Six Million Dollar Man” board games strewn about the room for some reason. We sat there for a few minutes while Angus told his older brothers what he was going to do, they gave out creepy laughter and they all stared at me.

That’s when I walked, as big as the curiosity was to see a woman’s “boobies”, the bigger mystery was to see life behind the broken screen door. Well, mission accomplished and it was kind of gross and sad.

 I did not follow Neil up to Angus’s bedroom to see his playboy calendar; I believe one of the brothers did the “bawk bawk bawk” as I left. I should mention that Angus was likely 13 years old and had a playboy calendar hanging on his wall.

I sat on my balcony watching the house intently waiting for Neil to exit. It seemed like an eternity until he emerged. My mind began to wander as to what they were doing to him. As dusk rolled in, he came skipping out and spied me immediately, shouting at the top of his lungs “Hey! I saw a naked woman! They’ve got red things on the end of their boobs just like we do!”

Well, my mum’s radar was back online because  she came out and grilled me about what exactly I had been doing this fine afternoon. I folded like a house of cards but my actions sort of made a right into a wrong and I didn’t get in any trouble. I think Neil's mom got a call too, nobody was particularly keen on the Dorvals on my block.

A year or so later I would watch “Logan’s Run” in French and Jenny Agutter would unexpectedly make a man out of me. Glad I waited, I have a Logan's Run poster on my wall now BTW.

Next week we have our first guest submission to NTS, keep em coming!


Dancin' Homer said...

love these posts, you have a great talent for remembering the details that make the stories relatable to all of us. we all had "that family" (or families, in my case) in the neighborhood, and our brushes with badness. keep up the great work!

Neal P said...

I had one of those houses in my neighborhood too. The back yard was full of old dishwashers and hot water heaters. The father always drove gray Plymouths that looked like they were decommissioned police cruisers. They had five kids who were strange but not really dangerous. The whole place reminded me of the Moose Miller comic strip.

jimm said...

Another gem thanks. That housekeeper resembles Perini Scleroso by the way :)


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