When I was 10 or 11, I remember finding a mat knife in the woods behind our house. I wasn’t allowed to have a knife, so I didn’t tell anyone I had it. I used it to do some whittling. I cut shavings off a stick, and the corner off my thumb. It didn’t bleed – instead the slice exposed rings like those on a tree. When I sat at dinner with the family, I kept my left hand under the table for weeks, in the hopes it wouldn’t be noticed. It never was. I still have the knife.
In sixth grade I was playing football during recess and put my tooth through my lip. I returned to my classroom after seeing the nurse. The director of the Senior Class play came by (our three 6th grade classes were in a wing of the high school) and asked if there were three kids who might like to be in Li’l Abner. There were only 3 of us there, and thus began my acting “career.”
I remember walking through snow in the woods, hiding among the trees and following snowmobile tracks left by the farmer up the street. I remember playing army in those same woods – I had a Johnny Seven OMA. Strangely, all those wargames never gave me an urge to gun down my classmates (or anyone else.)
Sometime during junior highschool, I remember riding my bike over the crest of a hill. I hit a bump and was thrown over the handlebars, and then the bicycle ran over me and continued down the hill. I chased it, and managed to catch up with it at the bottom before it fell over.
In tenth grade, I remember our 40-piece high school band playing at halftime of our Thanksgiving football game. It was snowing. We marched out onto the field, faced the stands, and started to play “America the Beautiful.” Halfway through, the instruments playing the melody all froze up. All that was left was the percussion section and a couple of horns playing background whole notes. My trombone was still fully functioning, and I almost adlibbed the melody, but I didn’t think our band director would appreciate it.
After high school graduation, I remember returning to Massachusetts two years after we moved away. I visited with a lot of friends, and discovered how true it is that you can’t go back. One of them had gone over to the dark side – he took me on a trek through the woods and into a corn field where he was hiding his pot plant (the basis of “Cannabis Alienus ‘alien dope’.”)
I remember being in a field playing boomerang with my son (what was he – eight years old.) He caught the boomerang on his nose and sliced it pretty good. Took him home caterwauling. MY SIGNIFICANT ONE was not amused.
I remember a bee flying in my ear. I never felt it come out.
I remember Katy – our eight-pound westie – standing in the corner of the room and distinctly saying “No, no, no!” (she was NOT barking – she SPOKE.) I wish I could remember what it was in reference to, and whether we took her advice (we probably should have.)
Anyone who was present at these events may not carry the same memories (memory is a fickle thing.) Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen exactly the way I said – does it? I think it was all real.
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William Mangieri’s writing has been published on Daily Science Fiction and The Arcanist. His ninety or so short stories and related collections can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
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