Of that ingenious heroine who travelled to the end of the street and ruined the Kool-Aid of David J. and his sibs, sing Heavenly Muse. Sing, O Muse, also of the one who ended the fight, the one who did not throw like a girl but like Achilles hurling the arrows of death from his silver bow.
In fifteen minutes, David J. and his minions had assembled at the south end of the dirt service road behind our houses. We ourselves gathered near the water tank. The rules were clear: get the rocks, continue the name-calling, and then start throwing. Silence reigned in the woods as both sides gathered rocks in preparation for the battle to come. After a few minutes we had our piles of rocks at the ready.
Because Bobbie had done our bidding with the dog-doo, she was allowed the honor of the first epithet.
The silence of the woods was immediately rent by the bitter, malicious names we hurled at each other.
"Wait!" Beth turned to the kid. "You can't call them 'puppy breath.' Puppy breath is nice. It smells really cute, like the puppies. You've been over to see Lulu's puppies at the Jennings's, haven't you? Didn't you smell their breath? It's nice!"
"Hey, you wanna go over to the Jennings's and see the puppies? We could smell their breath! Hey, Kenny, can we go pet Lulu's puppies and smell their breath?"
"Pay attention, you guys! Get some rocks! You can see the puppies after the battle."
"Well, what can I call those creeps? They just called me 'booger brain.' What are my options for a retort?"
"Anything but 'puppy breath.' How about 'fatty' or some other term that describes what they look like?"
Someone from David J.'s side threw a piece of tuff. The battle was joined.
Throwing tuff is a lot like throwing potato chips: you can do it, but the rock lacks sufficient heft to go very far or inflict much damage. After five minutes, a cairn began to grow between the two armies. We continued to hurl tuff and insults. It was easy to dodge the rocks that did make it to our lines, because they fluttered and whiffled and piffed like dying knuckleballs. At this rate, the rock fight could go on for days and not injure a soul.
I had to take action. I left the lines and ran behind the water tank. Hiding myself behind the trees and circling through the woods, I was soon even with David J.'s line. From behind a tree I picked up a heavy piece of rhyolite, stepped out, and let it fly. It bounced off Paul's head. He started crying, and David and his minions raced toward home. We won! We marched in triumph down the road from the water tank to the street.
Someone decided that we should rub a little salt in David J.'s wounds, so we headed down the street to gloat. When we got just past the Kirkpatricks' house, we saw David and his sibs standing in the front yard. They saw us. Paul immediately fell to the grass, and Jackie began pouring water on his head. "You knocked him out!" she bellowed in her deep, guttural voice. David looked around for an avenue of escape. The fir tree! He'd climb up and hide in it. Assuming a position like the Russian letter Ж, he leaped up and grabbed a low branch. He swung for a moment and then dropped to the grass beside his brother.
It was pitiful, just pitiful. They weren't worth gloating over. They were a pack of sissies. We turned and went back up the street. Kenny said, "You wanna go see the puppies? We can smell their breath!"