By Bruce Mastracchio
The nurse just left. I have to stay close to home til tomorrow when I go back to the doctor and find out what the next chapter in this saga is going to be. I am still upbeat and hopeful that all will work out. I have been informed that a St. Luke’s prayer group has included me in their prayers. Thank you.
Without going into too many details, as I review the upcoming story of The Paper Gun, I see it was put out in 2007 after another one of my bouts with injury and hospitals. This one concerned a broken femur, the hardest bone to break, but somehow I managed it.
I was in Las Vegas, and when my neighbors asked what happened I told them that I was trying to be the oldest wide receivers in Patriots history, and that Rodney Harrison took exception and hit me with a cheap shot, breaking my femur, which now has a plate and 19 screws holding it together.
If they seemed to doubt that story, I told them that I was breaking a wild horse for a friend of mine, and, after I rode the bucking bronco to a standstill and was getting off, the mean pony lasked out with a kick, breaking my leg.
When the listeners still seemed skeptical, I told them that I was getting dressed, slipped on the highly polished floor, and fell breaking my leg.
Which story do you think is the truth?
Now for a real truthful story, that seems more fiction than those above, but which is, perhaps, more true and real than truth and reality themselves.
I give you: Guy, Crackers and the Paper Gun!
Back in the day, in old East Greenwich, before TV and video games, and the advent of all we have today to entertain us, people had to find their own amusements. Many times these came in the way of games, card games, carnivals, musters, parades and religious festivals.
They also came in the way of practical jokes. In the past I have written of some of them. There was “The Funeral of Sam Shanty,” where the town’s overachiever in total inebriation (how’s that for a euphemism?) was found in his elevated state and laid out on a funeral bier at the local undertaker’s parlor.
Then the time The Baltimore Sport was tricked into going to a love interest’s home and calling out for her, only to have an “enraged brother” come to the door with a shotgun, and chasing the BS out of town, and scaring him half to death.
Or, the time the I-Tie boys climbed up on a roof with buckets of water and drenched the rival Mickey’s gang, who were singing some of their country’s sad ballads, below them. Cleaning up the town they called it. Drowning the Irish sorrows and their awful singing.
In almost all these adventures, a guy named Guy played a part. He really loved practical jokes, which brings us to today’s story.
Having nothing to do on a particular day and, laying out his plans well in advance, Guy was sitting in front of the Fire Station #1 on Main Street, playing with what looked a real gun.
He was waiting for the Town Banker to show up on his post-lunchtime walk, and he wanted to show this guy, who was something of a blowhard, his “marksmanship” skills.
It wasn’t long before Georges P. (the P. stood for Phineas) Saltines showed up. This being East Greenwich, and Saltines being an unusual name, it was not unusual for that moniker to attract a nickname. Ergo (which means, therefore) Mr. Georges P. Saltines, was called “Crackers” (get it? Saltine crackers – those guys back then were a real hoot).
As I said, Mr. Saltines was kind of a blowhard and, definitely, a know-it-all. Guy was specifically targeting him, and setting him up for a fall.
Little did Mr. Saltines know what was in store for him. He had finished his morning’s work at the bank – Second Industrial Trust – down there next to the Methodist Church. He had sauntered down to Jigger’s Diner for a little lunch (cost about $1.50 back in the day) and was going to trek on down to the fire station after for a little banter with “the boys” before going back to finish his day at SIT, which would be over at 3 p.m. ( banker’s hours, you know 9-3 with an hour for lunch), at which time he would revisit the station before heading home for supper with Mrs. Saltines, his “little lady” as he called her.
Guy cared not a whit about all that. He was waiting for Saltines, as a cat waits for a mouse. It was his turn now and he was going to “play.” He was the cat. The mouse was the victim. The victim was one Georges P. Saltines!
End Part One.
Bruce Mastracchio grew up in East Greenwich, where he experienced those 28-hour days and 8-day weeks, which contained the magic that made his hometown so special. Included in all that were the numerous characters that added color to the local life and produced many of Bruce’s remarkable stories.