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When I was in high school ('78-'82), we were a pretty nasty buncha degenerates. Our high school had no sports teams (lack of interest, violent tendencies) and we had no extracurricular clubs or activities (lack of interest, violent tendencies).
credit given to original author if known
The only formal social activity was hazing the freshman. Unlike the overt, institutionalized hazing shown in films like _Dazed and Confused_, our Rites of Passage were more discreet and insidious.
Freshman boys had to appease the seniors by providing free marijuana or suffer clandestine beatings and humiliation. For the most part, "cool" freshman like me avoided the worst of the senior onslaught. I had long hair, access to marijuana, and enough brains to know when to avoid contact with seniors.
Not all freshman were that lucky. Two of them, in particular, were singled out for special treatment. One was Billy Hanes, an ineffectual mama's boy who did not survive past his sophomore year. He was yanked from the school when it seemed the entire school body was bent on his destruction.
The other boy, John Downie, was a fat, stupid dork who tried incessantly to "be part of the gang". His dismal failure to do so resulted in four long years of torture. First, as a freshman, the seniors routinely beat him and humiliated him by dunking him in the birdbath (a circular wash basin), shoving him into lockers, stripping his clothes and snapping his ass with his own pants, and pummeling him mercilessly with snowballs.
When Downie became a sophomore, he thought he was home free. Instead, his own class continued the torture where the seniors had left off. We taunted, teased, beat and humiliated him on a daily basis.
One day, during a barrage of snowballs, Downie made a break for his mother's car. I launched a nice high ice-ball, which soared into the open door of the car and nailed his *mother* right in the face. She screamed in agony. Downie plodded into the car and they sped off.
Even after this humiliation, Downie returned to school. Loathesome, witless, friendless and awkward, he stumbled on, trying his best to demonstrate that he could hang with the Bad Boys.
One day, he went to the back of his school bus and produced what he claimed was hashish that he was willing to smoke with his fellow burnouts. Upon inspection, it was determined that Downie's hash was indeed a clod of dirt. He was summarily beaten, flogged and ejected out the rear emergency exit of the bus.
Yet still he persisted. He made it to senior year alive, but the punishments continued. As the class electronic expert, I had rigged the PA system so I could listen to rooms surreptitiously, as well as make announcement to specific classrooms (all from the main office, where I was interning as the electronic wiz).
After my usual monitoring of the girls' locker room, I called down to welding class and announced "John Downie to the office. John Downie, please report to Mr. Popiak's office".
Realizing that John would actually show up, even though I used a silly voice, I waited for Downie in the hall. He showed up, and I told him to go back to class. He refused. "Mr. Popiak wants to see me. You're getting me in trouble. I'm going in!".
"No Downie, ya stupid fuck, it was me! It was just a joke! Go back to class!"
"No way, man," said the corpulent nincompoop, "I can't risk it. And you're a liar anyway!"
That was it. I had a cushy gig to protect. I grabbed Downie by the lapels and violently slammed him into a locker. "Go back to welding, ya dumb fuck!" I snarled through clenched teeth. He began to whine and blubber, so I smacked him across the face. "Go back!"
In a crying fit, he stumbled back to class, much to my relief.
That was my last contact with Downie before graduation. But I can assure you that he suffered similar pains from many others before escaping high school with his D average diploma.
After graduation, I joined the US Navy. Military life, I soon disacovered, was not for me. Within two years I was back on the streets of Jersey, selling pot and working as a cable-TV guy. Downie worked odd jobs on the north side of town. I heard stories of his continued wussiness, but I never really saw him much.
Apparently, Downie's older brother got into the habit of selling cocaine. He told John that some gas station attendant owed him $100, and that he was late in paying. Though his brother never asked Downie to intervene, Downie decided it was time to get tough and dish out some of the abuse he had absorbed lo those many years.
He walked up to the gas station, and inquired the attendant about the $100. The gas guy refused to pay. So Downie produced a .38 revolver and shot the teenager right in the heart, killing him almost instantly. An off-duty city detective heard the shot, and ran to the scene. He saw Downie escaping into some woods, and called out for him to stop. Instead of stopping, Downie squeezed off several rounds at the cop, who quickly returned fire.
The cop had missed, but he called for back-up and chased Downie into the woods. The cop found one of Downie's shoes, but could find no fat boy in the woods.
Back-up arrived, and the cops began a house-to-house search of the area. When they got to Downie's parents' house, they found several dollar bills scattered on the lawn. They surrounded the place, and knocked on the door. Downie surrendered with little resistance.
The case went to trial, and Downie was convicted of 1st degree aggravated murder, and was sentenced to die by lethal injection. (It's worth noting that a few of my classmates attended the trial, waving "Fry Downie!" placards in front of the court house. Now *that's* what I call "school spirit"!!!)
Downie, just 19 years old, still fat and still stupid, was sent to Death Row at the infamous Rahway state prison in New Jersey. (Ever seen "Scared Straight"? That's the place....)
After several years of appeals, Downie was taken off Death Row and given life with no possibility of parole. To this day, his ample white butt services the needs of dozens of horny black inmates.
What's my point, you ask?
The point is that smart folks can indeed commit murder and get away with it. I had no intention of killing that gas station attendant, but my actions did indirectly influence the chain of events which led to the boy's death, and Downie's subsequent imprisonment.
Most people would feel remorse about this, but since I've suffered from some beatings and humiliation myself, yet never killed anyone, I feel neither guilt nor a compunction to help foster a world where this kind of thing won't happen again.
Call me a bastard, call me a bitch.
At least I can smile as I write this.
- Citizen Ted
- still one helluva nice guy.