Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Frickert's Folly; a little something for David and Barb

Now Old Man Frickert was about the sourest person you were ever likely to meet. His back was bent from years of farming and his scraggly grey beard was shot with tobacco stains. His eyes were always set at a perpetual squint and his face looked as if he was trying to digest a meal of corn cobs. If he ever said a kind word, no one ever heard him or was willing to tell the tale.

Old Man Frickert only liked three things on God's green earth: his farm, his money, and Mrs. Frickert. He was especially proud of his apple orchard. He had cultivated some prize winning trees that, year after year, produced like no other in the county. Every fall, he'd set up his little stand by the roadside and peddle his pumpkins, squash, and other such victuals as he thought he could sell to the city people who traveled the main road. The highlight of goods was the apples though. They were are big as melons, fire engine red, and as sweet as a first kiss.

It was no mystery to the local kids as to where to find these scrumptious treats, but Old Man Frickert kept a watchful eye out for looters and was not afraid to fire off a few blasts from his old pumpgun to discourage would-be thieves. The local kids felt somewhat entitled to a share of Frickert's apples as they were just kids and had yet to learn that no one ever just hands you something and you gotta work for it. Their frustration culminated to the point that they felt obliged to inconvenience Old Man Frickert if they could. Well they could and did. Every year at Halloween time they would overturn his outhouse in the middle of the night and race off giggling at the mischief that they had managed.

This became a tradition to the point that the holiday could never really be said to have been celebrated unless the Frickert privy had been up ended. Every year, Old Man Frickert would go out to relieve himself in the morning only to find his outhouse on it's side, or some years, hole side up. He would cuss and swear to the point the hens wouldn't lay eggs for a week.

Well after years of suffering at the hands of the local kids, Old Man Frickert decided that he had had enough. This year, he was going to put a stop to it. This year he was going to hide out in the outhouse and use his old pumpgun loaded with rock salt to put the fear of God into the local hooligans. So the week of Halloween, he fixed himself a thermos of coffee, put two plugs of chewing tobacco into his hunting coat and camped in the outhouse every night, waiting for the local miscreants to arrive. He was determined to teach them a lesson.

Anyone who has spent a few nights outside in late October can tell you, it gets a little nippy. Sure, the days are still warm with the fall sunshine, but the nights can get downright cold. Old Man Frickert learned early on that his whopper sized apples were good for more than just pies and sauce. Every year, a certain portion of his harvest went into cider, and with a little nurturing, it became stiffer than a new broom. After the first night of his vigil, he knew he needed a little something besides coffee to chase away the cold and to loosen up muscles that weren't used to sitting in such a confined place for so long. So he brought along a jug of his home brew and it seemed to answer the need well. The deeper into the jug he got, the less he noticed the dropping temperature and the more acute his smoldering anger became. He would sit and mutter about how the younger generation had lost all respect for decency, their elders, and the country in general. "This current batch is going to flood the jails and sink to the depths of depravity that will make them ancient Greek fellers look like church deacons! They will rob, steal, and kill, and if they ain't stopped soon, they will fornicate in the streets to breed more of their poisonous ilk!" he would swear as he had another swig. Then he would check the shotgun one more time to make sure it was loaded and smile a cruel, devilish smile.

Old Man Frickert had spent his life going to bed with the chickens and getting up with the rooster to spend the day at hard labor to keep his farm going. It is very hard for a man of these kind of habits to turn his internal clock completely around. Add to the mix Old Man Frickert's potent cider and the end result won't be much of a surprise to anyone.

There is something to be said for the flintiness and urgency of youth. Especially if you are a freshman joining a mostly senior high school football team. Even more so if you have had more than your fair share of a purloined bottle of gin from some dad's stock. It is enough to make you risk life and limb over something that in a week's time won't mean anything. But you are young and are gifted with the sense that you are bulletproof and fearless. Such was the nature of the husky teenagers who snuck up on Old Man Frickert.

They were smart enough to choose the wee hours of the morning for their prank. They creeped up as silently as their sneakers and soft giggles would allow. They surveyed the target in much the same way an artist decides where to strike the first blow on a block of marble. They put their collective shoulders against the side and exerted all of their strength.

The outhouse and Old Man Frickert never stood a chance. One of them must have been paying some attention in physics class as the best approach for maximum damage was to push the little shed down hill. Well down hill it went, end over end, with all the gusto of a torpedo bound for it's intent.

Needless to say, this was enough to wake Old Man Frickert up. As he found himself tumbling, he tried to scream swear words at the kids but found that he had fallen asleep with a rather large chew of tobacco in his mouth that became lodged in his throat as he fell. In his fury, he began to empty the pumpgun into the walls of his privy as it skipped down the hill in the vain hope that he would wound one of his would-be attackers. He succeeded in creating fist sized holes throughout the structure and his only score of the night was when he fired through the crapper and managed to wing a drunken lineman in the heel. The wound was to keep him away from one practice but didn't hinder him from winning an MVP in the state finals for sacking the opposing quarterback a record of six times. As an adult, he would brag to his kids that he received the wound in the war, even though his flat feet kept him from service. His wife later told them the truth, much to his chagrin.

Old Man Frickert gave up trying to save his outhouse and accepted the fact that kids will steal apples and overturn sheds of necessity. It became an accepted ritual of fall. While he never staid up looking for tippers ever again, Old Man Frickert could never bring himself to patch the holes he had blasted through his privy. Years later, after his death, Mrs. Frickert admitted that she enjoyed spending a few quiet moments in the morning seated and overlooking the town as she planned her day.



  1. LOL!! Great story! Too bad stuff like that now will get the state police called.

  2. ::smacks lips:: now THAT was tasty!!

    "It is enough to make you risk life and limb over something that in a week's time won't mean anything." Verrrry Zen, Grasshopper! This line wouldn't be at least partially autobiographic, would it??

    "This current batch is going to flood the jails and sink to the depths of depravity that will make them ancient Greek fellers look like church deacons! They will rob, steal, and kill, and if they ain't stopped soon, they will fornicate in the streets to breed more of their poisonous ilk!" Uncle Ralph coudln't have put it better!! What's more, I recently bought a zip up, Mr Rogers cardigan sweater, so I think I'll have to borrow your cane, sit in the park downtown and loudly mutter this epithet over and over again as those damned kids go lumpin' on by with their teeny jukeboxes plugged into their heads...

  3. Sweet! Thanks, Doc!

    Is it wrong that I actually rather like Old Man Frickert? I was so worried that he was going to meet his demise as he went ass over tea kettle down the hill in the shitter. Thank you for keeping him safe, and for blessing him with an epiphany.


Write your beer-fueled ravings here...