FRIDAY THE 13TH: A naked grandma & why I dislike sports & video games (short story)

I'm aware that short stories are not a part of my brand... However, creativity and sharing our path to who we are, and how we develop the lens we view the world in. So yes, this is definitely a part of my development. 


Ok… They had a meat slicer. I’d only seen one of those in action at an Arby’s in Iowa. Slicing up the iridescent “pieces parts” meat for my roast beef sandwich. Now, I like to describe my meats as “local”, “organic”, or “the cow was named Gandhi and had a polyamorous relationship with two other tantric cows, Shakti and Hope. They roamed free, and died by way of their souls left their bodies during a cow passing ceremony. It was peaceful, and they were in choice to be of service to nourish our bodies”.  That’s what some need to hear, because cutting it’s throat and letting it bleed out is too  much to swallow before you put it in your mouth, chew, and swallow… But back in Iowa, my little 7 year old ass just wanted to know if I could have two.


This meat slicer was on their counter, just there. Still dirty.  This was a house of men. Well, a tough southern man and his two scrappy boys.  Inside the home, it was brown, burgundy, leather, kind of dirty, some plaid for a little texture. This house was made in the 70’s, for the 70’s, and now it’s the 80’s. So the only remods were more bad ideas.  Make it darker, maybe more douchey, more cluttered, or country.  I’m a country theme myself. I love a comfy southern home, but let’s be clear… There are two types of “country.”  Were were in the, "Engine parts, a dirty meat slicer, beer posters, and neon lights to pay respect to your favorite beverage" type of “country."  


The Feng Shui was overcompensation and a lashing out. It seemed that they just chose a theme and doubled down on it.  Very similar to the school I’d just left in Iowa. For our school pictures, they gave us a choice of themes for the back ground, for example:

Sports: a helmet, bat, balls or something 

Graduation: just a giant ring behind you (I was in the 2nd grade…) 

Neon Shockwaves: just in case any of us were thinking about becoming cocaine dealers in FL. Maybe the one that chose this grew up to be Vanilla Ice, or perhaps they were tagged, put on a list, and checked in on regularly. Just in case they’re budding into drug dealers or even worse… making bad music 


I, of course, chose, and will most likely always choose…


“Country barn scene”: an authentic backdrop of a barn wall, pitchfork, hay bails, and a wagon wheel. My Members Only jacket just happened to be the exact color of everything in that backdrop. I looked like a floating head smiling ear to ear on a hay bail with pockets and epaulettes.


These guys were sports guys, meat guys, beer guys. Their favorite holiday was Super Bowl Sunday and Mardi Gras. I’d name the theme they chose “The Divorce is Final” or “Everything that bitch didn’t support”, or just “brown” 

The house had brown fake wood panel walls, brown carpet, brown counter tops. For color, posters, neon lights, and pennants of their favorite teams. Their teams were, LSU, LSU, and the SAINTS. They loved New Orleans and all things from there, other than the art. I’m a fan of the place too.  More now than my teens, I had no opinions of this place in the 3rd grade.  

New Orleans is beautiful, but really dark for me. It represents:

  • Party culture to the tune of “never ending until it ends horribly” 
  • Cops that are completely sick of humans
  • The Best Homes, when I can, I will buy one
  • Wrap around porches, spanish moss
  • Crime, danger, scam artists
  • Drugs everywhere, but hey, ain’t that America
  • Great southern people
  • Other people
  • Potholes and poverty
  • Toxic oil companies destroying the Delta
  • A service industry that has it’s own subculture after 2 am… it gets intense.
  • Washed up blues players in a battle in the quarter to play a better version of stormy monday, so tourists feel they’re in an authentic place.
  • Then there are the amazing musicians.

The food is great too. It’s like a kids menu for adults. Fried everything, with cheese, and fat, and… well, when they nail it, it’s pretty damn amazing.  Amazing in the “it’ll kill you” way. 


It’s a place of true dichotomy, I’ve grown to really appreciate it.  


To be a true manly home there must be a Big zone allotted for TV, which was why I was there that night.  I was in the 3rd grade, and just moved to Pensacola, FL from Iowa. These kids were different. The FL panhandle is it’s own part of the country. These kids were cool, they could do anything. Folks from the panhandle are kind of tough. These kids hunt, surf, skate, played contact team sports, they had muscles.  Don’t get me wrong, Iowa farm kids are about the strongest around, but the only difference was the panhandle had the standard kids doing hard work vibe, but also had the military influence, and the ocean. 


The football, baseball, and team sports fanaticism just wasn’t my thing. I was really into Karate, Judo, and listening to records… still am. Why would I ever change that. Due to the nature of Iowa wrestling I related to this more than team activities. So the bonding moments at recess were spent with the girls at the swings, or tether ball. None of that throw, catch, run shit.  


Just so happened though, on this night, I was invited over to this house to watch horror movies… it was Friday the 13th… Love it!!! I’m in.  The second I showed up… as I said earlier. I’m already a little isolated due to a couple things: 


I do not understand how you could ever give the smallest of shits about any sport. I still don’t, I’ve been to a million games. My dad was actually an announcer for NFL, then broke off to USFL, NBA, CBA, I’ve even performed martial arts for half time. I’ve never wanted to see a superbowl, and no… I care even less about watching it for the commercials.

Strike 1!

I can’t catch… I can get out of the way of the ball, or flinch thus protecting me from being struck in a vital area by the ball.  That’s about it, thus I’m not in the yard trying to get a game going, I’m avoiding it by staying inside hoping we can get that meat slicer going.

Strike 2!

I’m not a shit talker due to the fact that in the martial arts world, it’s best you keep your mouth shut.  You can’t blame your loss on poor team effort, it’s all you, and losing hurts worse if you were talking shit before hand… if you win, it’s about respect. This mindset is poising me to be made fun of, bullied, and called out into a fight, thus I’m inside… umm… meat slicer??? help.

Strike 3!

I don’t have a favorite college, usually these kids liked the one that their dads went to.  My dad was an ex Navy Seal, no college, lied about his age to go to the Korean War, and that life kept him busy for a while. My mother was  coal miner’s daughter from West Virginia, and I think later on she took some courses at night for business or something, so perhaps I could try and research to see if Charlotte’s night business adult school had a team… GOOOO Charlatans!!! (that’s a bad name for a team from Charlotte)… The only college I was familiar with was the one in Animal House.  So I was familiar with more of the party scene, and the boobs I’d get to see, not the long standing rivalries of the southern conference…



When night fell, I was good.  I can’t catch, run, throw, or care, but I can watch some horror flicks.  American Gothic, Nightmare on Elm St., Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (TCM to me, but now it means Traditional Chinese Medicine, but back then… it meant hot chicks running from a psycho with a chainsaw) so good!!!  We’re set up on pillows on the floor, the cooler kids up on the couch, and one chair is empty… We have popcorn, pizza hut, still no sliced meats, and the 2 liter of coke has just been opened. I keep thinking though. Why is no one in that chair next to me?


Then the Grandma comes in being walked in by Dad. She sits down in THAT chair, right next to me. She’s been in the back room all day watching TV. This is the first time I’ve heard the term “senile” via, “That’s grandma, she’s senile…” Maybe Alzheimers, dementia, I don’t know.  I do know she’s 2 feet to my left, and I’m a little nervous. I can tell that she’s in her own world.  She can’t see me, and that’s kinda freakin’ me out. Talking to herself, with gusto. A full conversation with something that isn’t there. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched so many horror movies. Aren’t these moments in horror movies? Thank god Pet Cemetery hadn’t come out yet, by the way, I can’t watch that one.


There were obviously at least 4 rooms down the hall.  Maybe more. A key feature to an 80’s family is the older sibling that never leaves their room. They’re super cool, legendary even. Every now and then, you may get to  peak in to see some posters. The rule is simple, DON’T COME IN MY ROOM!!!  This makes the older brother even more tough and mysterious… What’s he doing in there?  Listening to music? Making out?  It was the 80’s so it was either, making out, music, or on the phone setting up a time to make out with someone.  Once I got older, I realized that this time was also a time where guys would get together and “Air Guitar.” So now I just imagine some thick neck jock in his room with a tennis racquet bouncing around wishing he was Randy Rhodes.   


We finally started the movie, and it was going great, then right about the time of the scene where she finds Jason’s “sleeping quarters”, a small shack with a head on a white cloth, a little disturbing. Someone has to go to the bathroom… “Pause it!!!”


This breaks the focus of the group.  Talk of sports begins, I recall the name Dr. J being used… I’m out. Apparently everyone needs to get up. They go into one of the back rooms. I stay put due to catching wind that they’re going in the back room to cue up a basketball video game for later on the computer. You know the kind, the 80’s graphics where Dr. J will be represented by a rectangle with a different color rectangle at the bottom, to represent that Dr. J. is wearing regulation team shorts. Whoever the opponent is will have obviously different colored rectangle shorts.  Exciting.  


As the boys are in the back taking a breather, I’m still on the floor waiting to get back to seeing some campers get killed.  This was my moment to scrounge up snacks for the big ending.  Grandma was still behind me, and the blanket that was so innocently being used to cover her knees is now being used as, I assume… A child?  Maybe a cat?  Either way, her face is buried in it and she’s whispering loudly.  I go back to searching for my cup to refill with some Coke before it goes flat. It already did. I then notice grandma is turning her head side to side rather quickly.  Well, that’s because she’s rubbing her teeth on the blanket.  An old blanket, old teeth, and a new type of discomfort for me. 


I’m hoping her mind isn’t in a universe where it’s ok to rub your teeth on a child, or cat. Given that’s what her mind has made this 50 year old powder blue situation into. Blankets provide so much more than just warmth. Blankets comfort you as a child and stimulate the imagination as you read under it with a flash light. They give you, your family, and guests warmth.  Her blanket, however, is like an absorbent giving tree that now harbors enough bacteria to even make ole’ Jason Voorhees ill. Thus having to take a break from killing counselors having premarital sex, to go nurse a cold. You can’t sneak up on campers while you’re busy sneezing into your mask. He’d be held up in the first aid cabin, swigging on some 70’s Nyquil which probably has an illegal amount of Codeine by today’s FDA standards. Next thing you know, Jason’s lost his edge. It’s Friday the 13th… That doesn’t last all year.  There’s work to do…  (Dayquil will not be invented for another 15 years.)


The head moving has stopped…  It’s quiet, the blanket has hit the floor.  I see her feet are planted in the gap between the chair and ottoman.  Is she getting up?  I hope she can walk on her own. I look out of the corner of my eye. Now she’s staring across the room. Far past the limits of the architecture. Grand Canyon far… Topless. I mean, TOPLESS!!!  I’m alone, and have one of three things to focus on right now, other than the backs of my eyelids. Either: 1. A dirty meat slicer surrounded by pizza hut boxes and red solo cups.  2. A paused blurry tv screen featuring a severed head on a box covered in a white sheet in an abandoned shack used for storing “victims”. or 3. A topless Grandma that has put down her cat-baby-blanket and seems to have traveled back to her 20’s and she’s at Mardi Gras… 

F!?K!!! This is just one more reason why I don’t like sports or video games.


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