My first Best Friend – Tard Boy.
So there I was, a young man…
I was six and I think for some reason we were on the run from my Dad … or that Dad didn’t know where we were living … or that he was away for a long time working or some such early 80s packed the kids into the car and driven off explanation.
It seemed that my Mum would haul us about to a series of single mothers dens, throughout Vancouver. These big haired women always seemed to be chain blazing smokes, with a glass of red wine in hand and harping on about some no good man, while us kids were shuttled outside to play – unsupervised- as the mothers ranted and cackled. By us kids I mean the forlorn, raised on peanut butter and wonderbread spazes that were left in a sort of confused suppressed grief over the “Wheres Daddy?, and Why is he such a bad man?” quandary.
One particular kid on one particular day sticks out in memory. I will never forget it. The stink of that day is in my bones. He was my first best friend. Why my mother though it was ok for her six year old to be taken care of by a nine year old retarded kid I will never know.
But that day changed me – my essence – profoundly.
I have no idea what this kids name was, but he was a retard. Not so retarded that he would just shit himself and drool- but still a retard. It was like he had no filters that made other normal kids scared or worried about getting into danger or trouble. He could talk and run about and had things going on in his life – he was by no means handicapped by his retardation.
I had no idea there was anything wrong with this kid.
I thought he had THE FIRE.
Now remember this is the 80s – if you were a retard you were a straight up retard. You weren’t “Special” or “mentally challenged” you were a fucking Mong.
There was no recourse to people who gave a fuck about your plight. You just had to harden up and become as cunning as a bastard to get by.
As soon as I was placed in Tard boys care, he took me to his room and from under his mattress he produced box after box of big chocolate covered almonds, which we fed on until almost sick.
Then in a chocolatley daze we went outside to the parking lot of the apartment, where he introduced me to an amazing game that he had invented. It was called Catch the Onion.
He had procured a sack of very large onions from some where and I was provided with a plastic crate. The type that holds a number of milk bottles. It has a grid like pattern of holders for the bottles and is composed of a grid like pattern, Im sure you know the type…
Anyway the game consisted of throwing the large onion as high as possible in the air for the other guy to catch.
The catch being that as you caught this onion, or as it hit the ground, it began to fragment and successive catches sprayed acrid onion juice into your face, making it progressively harder to catch and the game progressively harder to play. Now remember, this is the 80s and the onions back then were at least twice as acrid as today. Tard Boys slitted Mongoloid eyes gave him an unfair advantage in resisting the oniony juices burning spray and I collapsed first, gasping and unable to see or breath properly. He fed me more chocolate almonds to heal me and led me by the arm, blind and staggering down the road to a bowling alley.
The next thing I know, the lady behind the counter at the bowling alley is yelling at Tard Boy. She’s saying wheres the 14 dollars ? You haven’t been eating the almonds have you? You have to sell them to raise money for your brothers hockey trip you stupid little shit !”
He screamed his tarded innocence.
I had no idea if she could see the chocolate on our faces. Perhaps the onion spray had washed it off, I don’t know. But we hightailed it out of there and back to the parking lot for another game of his design, on dusk. Perfect time for his next game.
This one was called “Fire Bin.”
From the side of the apartment block he produced a long piece of bamboo, perhaps six meters in length. A plastic garbage bin was upended, emptied of its stinking trash, and placed on the end of the pole so it could be hoisted into the air, though not before Tard Boy in his infinite innovation, lit the edge with a lighter. The bin started to ignite and as it burned he lifted it skyward on the pole, to flare prettily in the evening. It dripped super heated molten plastic from the edge and by flicking the pole just right he could splatter this flaming plastic onto the parked cars or the lawn or the pavement or the side of the apartment building. I followed him screaming with a terrified glee, until the entire bin was aflame and started to SLIDE DOWN THE POLE. Quick as a flash Tard boy flung the entire flaming apparatus into the apartment complexes pool where it bobbed still burning for a bit, on the surface.
All this rampaging had made us hungry so we headed inside to demand food from our mothers. Seeing the chocolate, onion and soot spattered state of us, we were put into a hot bath.
While in there Tard boy introduced me to his masterwork. The crowning achievement of all his moronic games. An affirmation of freedom so reckless and unqualified, that it amounts to a total denial of every kind of restraint and limitation. This game went Full Retard.
He called it POTIONS.
And it was as brilliant as it was simple.
It consisted of emptying everything in the bathroom into the bath, starting with the closest containers and widening out in an expanding sphere until everything was in the bath with us. And every container had to be double rinsed to make sure we got it all.
We of course started by squeezing the soaps to mush, including his mums special soaps and bath gels. Then all of the shampoos and conditioners. Then the toothpaste and mouthwash. Then we sprayed out all the hair mouse into a huge foamy pile. Then two packets of scented bath salts went in.
All of his brothers hair gel and shaving cream. All of him mums facial products including lipsticks. Squeezing each lipstick into a mush before dropping it into the POTION.
At this point I kind of figured that we were probably being naughty. But he didn’t seem scared or worried. He seemed really happy. So I thought it must be ok…
Then in went all his mums make up, eyeliners, about ten bottles of nail polish plus nail polish remover, the eyelash stick weird thing with the black goo, and the makeup bag for good measure.
That was everything we could reach so we played in that for a bit, till he realized there was more stuff under the sink, so in went rolls and rolls of toilet paper, toilet cleaner, a thing of bathroom cleaning power and a bottle of bleach.
Stirred and stirred and stirred with the pooey toilet brush.
I started to get a bad feeling. I was sitting in a bath up to my chest of a thick multi colored goop. The smell started to hurt my eyes.
He got back in and we tried to play in the goop but we couldn’t stop coughing, and the burning of the eyes was making caching the sodden toilet rolls difficult, and the spray stung your eyes way worse than the onion.
Next thing I remember is feeling like my ass and little doodle was on fire and soon we were both screaming.
I can remember his mum coming in and screaming something at us and turning the shower on and pulling us out of the caustic soup. She tried to pull the plug of the bath but the goop was too thick with makeup and toilet paper to go down. I think she felt helpless so she just spanked the shit out of him, which was probably her answer to anything he did.
I never saw him again.
But I do still fondly remember Tard boy and one day plan to introduce my son to his game of Catch the Onion, which we will play in his honor.