I once shot a bitch.
You can save your righteous indignation. She definitely had it coming. And, besides, it was Sean Dudjak’s idea.
Sean was better known as The Dude. This was years before the Big Lebowski. And I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s the lone degree of separation between the Coen brothers and me.
The Dude was an older kid. So he was privy to secret wisdoms of which I could only dream. He taught me how to throw a punch and how to ride a wheelie on my bicycle. It’s thanks to him that I know the meaning of the word dildo.
He had a magnificent stash of nudie magazines. This made him a legend with the neighborhood kids. He had a talent for finding any discarded pornography within a ten-mile radius, like some kind of porn sniffing dog. And in those days, the sun-bleached image of a starlet’s unkempt seventies bush was more than enough to earn my allegiance.
One day, while playing video games, The Dude suggested that I call Shirley Ziegler and tell her to come over to his house.
The Ziegler clan was the scourge of our neighborhood, and Shirley was the worst of them. It would be easy to label me shallow for saying so. She was an ogress of sturdy build, and she had a Gorbachev birthmark. It started at the corner of her mouth and ran down her chin like the aftermath of some horrific grape Kool-Aid incident.
But Shirley’s crimes against humanity went well beyond being homely. Her specialty was emasculating the boys on our block. She used her considerable size advantage to systematically beat the crap out of us. And just because she was fat didn’t mean you could escape her wrath. Attempts to outrun her were met with rapid-fire loogies to the back of your head and neck.
Poor Cliffy Thompson got the worst of it. He was a smallish kid with the fine bone structure of a ballerina. But the only dancing he did was with his fingers across the keys of a piano. He was a bona fide musical prodigy. Local news outlets documented this fact on more than one occasion.
After multiple beatings, he finally stood up to Shirley. During the mayhem, he wormed his finger into the purple corner of her mouth and started to pull at her cheek. Her eyes widened with surprise. We cheered him on, emboldened by his success. But the savage was far too wily to fall for his fishhook strategy. She responded by biting through his index finger and severing a tendon. This effectively snuffed out the bright star of little Cliffy’s future.
After that, she stalked the streets of our neighborhood like a nightmare. She preyed on our fears and weaknesses. Rumors started to swirl that she was the human bride of Satan.
I’d have sooner crawled into a cage with a hungry bear than invite her over.
“No way!” I said.
The Dude shook his head. “Look, just call her. I’ve got a plan.”
“She won’t come.”
“Sure she will. Tell her you want to be her boyfriend.”
I wanted precisely none of that. Dating Shirley was something that not even The Dude could coax me into. Nobody held that kind of sway over me, so I stood up. “I’m going home.”
The Dude laughed with his nonchalant cool kid laugh. “You’re not really going to be her boyfriend. We’re going to shoot her with BB guns.”
So I called her.
I professed my love. I told her that I lived for the beauty that hid just beneath her tough exterior. I begged for the honor of her presence at The Dude’s house. And the trap was set.
I was on The Dude’s roof when I spied her from my sniper position. She rounded the corner at Grand Prix speed. The frame of her Huffy Sweet Thunder bicycle strained to support her heft. Its pink banana seat was wedged deep between her colossal hams. The pedals whizzed beneath her, and she grinned like an idiot between labored breaths.
As she grew close, I took my aim. The barrel bounced around as I was overcome with fits of nervous laughter at the prospect of downing the beast.
She was already next-door. If I didn’t calm myself, I would miss the opportunity. And worse, she’d probably want to consummate our relationship with some kind of freak show kiss.
Then a moment of calm came over me. I suppose you could call it a communion with god. I stared down the barrel and drew a bead on the rutty thigh just below her jean shorts.
I exhaled and pulled the trigger.
The BB met Ziegler flesh with a thwack. The impact was followed by an anguished yelp as she careened off course. She wrecked her bicycle into the yard, sending a tsunami of sweaty blubber crashing in all directions.
She sat up and inspected the welt on her leg, spitting grass and venom as she did so. Then she responded to the sight of our merriment on the roof. “You’re gonna die, fuckers!”
So The Dude shot her again.
That ended it. With this simple act of vigilante justice, we unknowingly shifted the balance of power in our neighborhood to our favor.
*This is a repost from several months ago, making it centuries old in Internet time. It wasn't my best post of 2009, but it was the one I had the most fun writing. So, whether it's new to you or not, I hope you enjoy.
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