October 2008 / Volume 8 / Issue Three
Jason Floyd Williams
1st love, or the soccer field.

I overheard a student, in
a class I was observing, talk
about a recent soccer game.

This caused an elephant stampede
of memories to come
thumping back to me:
Annie Loman was in my
6th grade class & even though
she had red hair—no,
Halloween orange hair w/ streaks
of forest-fire red, deteriorating
bricks red, emergency siren red—
nobody called her
Lil Orphan Annie.

We knew better.

I would say she was
the Runaway Orphan Annie w/
rail-car bruises, splinters under
fingernails & a mean hobo disposition,
but I knew better too.

Annie Loman was as tough as
the screws I used to pick up
in a roofing, warehouse
parking-lot.
One characteristic that helped
perpetuate her toughness
was her right eye—
it was glass.
A wandering mad marble,
an eyeball constantly moving
in a key-hole, one eye,
amongst thousands, staring
out of a fish aquarium
full of dirty film from
all the minnows w/
short-term stir-crazy.

Some kid, when she was in
the 1st grade, stabbed her
in the eyeball w/
a sharpened pencil.

She beat the hell outta
the kid w/ the yellow pencil
still stuck in her
eye.

Her parents brought her
to my school 5-yrs later.

It was rumored that she
couldn’t be disciplined—
the glass eye made her nuts,
like a feral child raised
by coyotes.

In addition to the red hair &
glass eye, Annie had
the biggest freckles I
had ever seen—
they were like red Risk
pieces crawling all over
South America.

If it wasn’t for her
difficult origin story, we would
have been picking on her
every day.

This immunity made her cocky.
She didn’t hang around too many girls.
In fact, my very 1st girlfriend, Lynn,
was her closest friend.
Lynn was the tallest girl &
could beat-up most of
the boys, so Lynn &
Annie balanced each
other out.
They established a peace treaty
w/ one another.

Annie had been bugging us
for days at the soccer field—
calling us pussies & wimps
if we made mistakes.
She was sore because we didn’t
allow girls to play.

That was our rule & we
weren’t breaking it for
a Cyclops, no matter
how tough she was.

So after 4 days of
continual chirping, constant yelling,
minute-by-minute analysis of our
errors, Annie took more
aggressive actions.

She took the soccer ball.

It was my ball.
A Christmas gift from
my grandmother.

It was up to me
to get it back.
Everybody backed up.
For several seconds, it was
just me & Annie.
I told her to give it back
& to stop being a jerk.

This upset her & she kicked it
as hard as she could—
it hit me in the balls.
I fell over, holding myself.
That was the worst pain
I ever felt.
And Annie kept laughing & laughing—
like Annie Oakley gone nuts
w/ rifle smoke.
It was more than I could take.
I pulled myself together,
stood up, barely, walked over
to her & punched her out.

One hit. A right hook.

I felt pretty good about that one.
She was supposed to be tough,
after all.

And while I was glowing from
my victory over this poor victim
turned maniac bully, Lynn
sucker-punched me from
behind.
She hit me so hard that I was
eating grass for many
long minutes.

Through the blades of grass,
I saw a couple ladybugs, a grasshopper,
& I watched Lynn, my beloved Amazon,
help Annie up & they walked across
the field together.

They never turned around.
But some kid near me said:
“You never hit girls, man.”
RETURN to OCTOBER 2008