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And We Ran

McMullen Bio

Dave McMullen was my neighbor when I moved to town. He was older than me by about a year but our friendship was built on a shared level of immaturity we both enjoyed. He lived right across the street from me. We had choice real estate at the time. The house behind me belonged to the Morris's and their house was the hub for our group of friends. See there was never much to do in our town as it was full of rednecks, old people and old rednecks. We did all the normal stuff, played video games, hung out at each other's houses and all that stuff but for whatever reason - stupidity or boredom - eventually most of the later half of our teenage years could be considered one long string of felonies daisy chaining from one to another without discretion.

This one took place when Dave was in high school and I was in junior high. Over summer break Dave and Vogle were bored delivering newspapers one morning and started tinkering in Dave's garage. Their Frankenstein was “The Nailbat.” Dave and Vogle spent an entire morning gluing and nailing and fastening this miniature baseball bat. The Nailbat looked more like medieval mace when they were finished.

Before I go any further I have to describe McMullen. Dave was about 5' 7“, 250lbs and ginger. He was stocky, about as wide as he was tall and over all of the years that I knew him he had a large, overly popped pimple on the bridge of his nose. His voice was nasally and high pitched but he was an amazing singer. His face was continually a mixture of both the devil and angel that road on his shoulders at all times. Dave would wear Hawaiian t-shirts and sandles with cargo shorts all year. His hair was curly, even for a ginger. Dave wasn't shy at all. It wasn't uncommon for him to pull his balls through his fly and walk down the street shouting “Anal Sex. Anal Sex.”

During the second week of school Morris and I were walking home from the bus stop. I have no idea what the conversation was but I do remember Mike suddenly yelling “Hole Lee Shit.” And running full speed in to the street.

See, what Mike saw was Dave McMullen walking casually up the block, tapping The Nailbat in the palm of his hand like some kind of gangster, smiling like a shark. Morris had pissed off Dave in some way a week before summer break was over. Assuming the worst, and to Mike's credit Dave was crazy enough to at least try hitting him once with it, Mike ran.

Technically, Morris didn't get hit by a car. From this day and every day forward Mike always referred to this as the day when he got hit by the car. I was there. Mike hit the car, not the other way around. Though, again to Mike's credit, when he ran in to the side of the Lexus he was moving fast enough that as he fell his momentum did carry his leg enough to go underneath the passenger door and by the time the rear wheel had caught up it brought Mike down. Hard.

There wasn't any screaming. Actually it was more of a thud followed by the sound a car makes going over a speed bump and then another, softer “Holy Shit”, from me.

To this day I don't know why Dave didn't run. In fact, it didn't take longer for Dave to join me at the side of the road.

“Hahaha Dumbass.” Were the first words out of his mouth.

“His dad is going to killlllll you.” I said.

Mike didn't even respond. He was sitting down on the road rubbing his hands over his calf and wincing with amazing rhythm. The driver of the Lexus was getting out of the car now. She didn't acknowledge me or Dave and went straight to Mike.

“Are you OK?” She asked him.

“His dad is going to sueeee you.” I said.

The look on Dave's face slowly changed from its typical cherubic mischievousness to shock, guilt and then fear. Mike's dad was going to kill him. I don't remember the conversation this woman had with Mike, if any. I was busy watching Dave get scared.

The woman stood up and pulled out her cell phone. Dave's jaw was hanging open now.

“Hey, yeah it's me. I just hit a kid… Yeah. A kid… Ok”

There wasn't much time to enjoy Dave's turmoil as this strange woman suddenly picks Mike up, puts him in her car and drives away.

“What do we do!”

I was too busy laughing to answer Dave.

Sidebar for a quick description of Mr. Morris. To this day he is still referred to as Mr. Morris. Mike's dad used to work for local government. Then we introduced him to Team Fortress Classic. TFC was a computer game. You played as a type of soldier and ran around blowing up other people playing the game. Mr. Morris started taking sick days to play TFC and later the city downsized his job. He would stay home most days playing TFC. It was not uncommon for us to take our computers over to game only to later have Mike sent to bed while you were allowed to stay and game with Mr. Morris. He grew up in Bloomfield, the little Italy section of Pittsburgh. I guess it wasn't particularly rough but for as much fun as he was we knew what would happen to someone who “fucked with his kids.” One night while smoking a cigarette on his front porch he said to us

“Nobody fucks with your kids. Listen I can forgive anyone for just about anything. You man up, walk over and talk to me about it. Say you made a mistake. Say you made multiple mistakes, just explain to me how you messed up and I can forgive you. But fuck with my kids, I can't forgive that. Nah man, no one fucks with your kids. If someone ever hurt you or your brother or your sister they'd better pray that the cops get to 'em before I get to 'em. If I got aholda them first I would take them somewhere quiet, somewhere secluded. Somewhere we could be alone for a while. Then I'd tie them to a table, get a sledge hammer and I would work my way up from their feet. Slowly, I'd make it last because it would probably be the last thing I did as a free man.”

“You have to tell his dad.”

I was having none of that. It was clear to me that if Dave wasn't going to tell the Morris family what happened and he stuck me with it I'd made sure Mr. Morris knew all about how Dave had chased Mike up and down block begging for Dave to stop before Dave pushed him in to traffic. Dave, quickly realizing the benefits of being the one to deliver the message asked if I would return The Nailbat to his garage for him while he went to inform the Morris family.

So, luckily, when Dave went over Mike's mom was there and Mr. Morris was out. Dave told her that Mike had been hit by a car and that the lady had driven off with him. He didn't explain how or why Mike had been in the street. With her son wounded and at large she didn't waste any time interrogating Dave. She was in her car and halfway to the hospital in no time. As it turned out the lady Mike hit was the wife of a Doctor at the local hospital. So it kinda worked to Mike's advantage. His leg had been broken, the bone was almost snapped straight through. He wore a cast for a while and had to walk with crutches. Dave was banned from the Morris house for a while.


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