The Book of the Three


Junie called the man Brother Paul. So we did too. His little hut was our clubhouse. We went out there most days after school in the regular year. What did you boys learn at school today? Paul would want to know. Paul liked to know things. So we told him. We learned Maria Espinosa wore pink panties because Billy Feeble was going with her and he said so at lunch. Also some nonsense about fractions. How when you times them you have got to do this that and the other. That was about it. Junior? Paul would then say. What about you? Junie would then talk in tongues: I learned every action has an equal and opposite reaction and that Pickett’s Charge was sheer folly and we are mostly made of water and two independent clauses are to be joined by a comma and a coordinating conjunction though in some cases a semicolon works too and for the purposes of art light comes from above and at an angle and two wrongs do not make a right and the best course of action is to just love your neighbor as you would want yourself to be loved. It sure is easy enough for you to love your neighbor, we would say. You get to sit next to Maria with her little pink panties all day. Even Brother Paul would laugh at that. Junie would just smile and go back to drawing in his peculiar two-fisted way. The years went by. It was a good life. Summers meant a steady stream of glory. We won Little League. We won Pony League. We won American Legion. We toured the state. We toured the whole region. We whipped everybody, everybody. Funny what you can do when you know you got a ringer on your side. We all got to be real good at what we were good at. What we were bad at did not seem to matter so much. Our ringer filled the gaps. We grew into our nearly man-shaped selves. All of us had been little boys who dreamed of digging a toe-hold into the batter’s box at Kyle F. Dimwiddy, Jr., Field. Kyle F. Dimwiddy, Jr., was a boy who once was a Cougar who died during the 1976 season. He got hit by a train. He was in an altered state at the time. So was his girlfriend. Everybody knew that. She lived but she lost a leg and never married. Kyle Jr., was the one who got the field named after him. You must die to get the field named after you. Losing a leg is not enough. That and Kyle, Jr.’s father, Kyle F. Dimwiddy, was a state legislator and also the pharmacist. That is how Kyle, Jr., was altered so much all the time. It was all the pills he could eat. Everybody knew that. None of that mattered. Not to us. We wanted to be on that field someday. Even if it did not have any name at all. We wanted to be Cougars, just like Kyle, Jr., had wanted to be a Cougar before us. Our dreams came true just like his did. The day came. We were all of us County High Cougars. And we had a ringer. There is no better drug.