Greetings and HAPPY HOLIDAYS! I hope all is well with you. I'm STEADY!
Numerous supporters of Wrinkles Wallace: Knights of Night School have asked me about what happened in the gym before Wrinkles, Clumsy, and Grandma Wilbur arrived. Well, here is a detailed account from someone who experienced the event. Enjoy!
“Where am I?”
It was an important question, and I’d want an answer if I were him. I paused and remained as relaxed as ever before I said, “Sir, you’re in the back of an ambulance. I’m going to need you to stay calm.”
Instantly he tried to sit up, but the pain in his legs and chest tore through his body. Plus, the straps I put across his body to keep him secure to the stretcher were doing their job.
“What happened to me? Was I in some sort of car accident?” I saw his eyes darting around the ambulance, trying to figure out if he really believed he was lying down in the back of one.
I took a deep breath and told him, “Sir, you participated in a dodgeball game.”
“A dodgeball game,” I said.
He asked, “And I’m in the back of an ambulance because of it?”
“Yes. You don’t remember?”
The man with the jersey on paused for a second and then he spoke. “Yeah, I remember now. There was this kid who didn’t have a team of his own, so we were just playing around with him before the real game started.”
“So a kid did this to you?”
“He was no kid.”
“What, was he around 17? Could we consider him an adult?”
“No, he was more like ten, but you would never know by looking at him that he could throw like that.”
“He was ten years old? Did he have a beard and a mustache? I mean, I went to school with a kid who was ten and had a full beard and mustache.”
The man lying down on the stretcher looked at me and started speaking slower, as if he thought I couldn’t hear fast enough. “The kid was ten and he looked like he was ten.”
“Okay, so then what happened?”
“There were four of us there from my team and we were waiting on our friend Wrinkles to show up. Then, there was the kid who seemed like he just wanted to play around with the adults. So, we figured we’d warm up a little before our competition showed up and the game started. We had no clue he was the opposing team.”
“He was his own team?”
“Yeah, but we didn’t figure that out until later. We just started warming up with the little game of 5 Steps and Throw. We even let the kid start off with the ball because he was a kid. That was a mistake. Without even taking five steps to get closer to someone, the kid fired the ball at my best friend and caught him in the pit of his stomach.”
He paused and his eyes got as big as biscuits. I asked, “What happened?”
“The poor guy threw up breakfast from four days ago.”
“You mean he was hit so hard he vomited breakfast from four days ago?”
“Yes! Man, we speak the same language, but you’re not acting like it.”
“I’m sorry.” I said. “So what happened after that?”
“The rest of the guys on our team looked at each other and called a timeout. We moved our friend away from his breakfast and huddled up. That’s when we came up with a plan to try to get out of there alive.”
“Why didn’t anyone call the ambulance?”
“We didn’t have time to call an ambulance. Plus, we figured the three of us could quickly get the kid out, and then everything would be good. And, if everything went well, next week we would try to replace our friend Wrinkles with the kid, since Wrinkles isn’t really that good at dodgeball.”
“So what happened after that?” I asked.
“Once the timeout was finished we started with our plan.”
“The plan was simple. When one of us got the ball, we would take our five steps, and then purposely bounce the ball on the ground to pass the ball to one another and avoid getting out. Once we had him surrounded or cornered, we would get him out really quickly, and then just toss the ball softly at each other to hit one another and end the game.”
“That sounds like a good plan. What happened?”
“This happened!” He started looking at me crazy and his eyes rolled into the back of his head. Next, his body was twisted in pain. I couldn’t wait until more of the numbing medicine darted through his blood and did its job.
I tried to take his mind off the pain by asking, “How did it happen?”
“We started using the plan, and the kid started running around and dodging our throws by jumping and flipping like he was just in the gymnastics class that meets before the dodgeball game. It wasn’t too bad at first because we weren’t trying to hit him hard. I mean, we were playing with a kid, and in the back of our minds, maybe we thought his vomit-toss was just a lucky throw. So we were just trying to barely hit him with the ball.”
“And he kept dodging?”
“Yeah! He kept flipping and sliding and ducking and everything. It was like nothing we had ever seen before. We were chasing him around the gym, five steps at a time, and he was making us look bad. That’s when we got upset and started to get serious.”
“You were going to hit the kid as hard as you could?”
“We had to. He was too quick for our little tosses. Plus, all that running was catching up to us, and we needed to get the game over with. All that running is why my legs are hurting right now.”
“This doesn’t sound so good.”
“Ya think? So anyway, we finally had the kid surrounded in the corner and my teammate had the ball. He fired a rocket at the kid. The kid ducked out of the way and the ball bounced off the wall and hit my other teammate right in the nose. The kid took off running and laughing. My friend who got hit in the nose was knocked out cold because he didn’t expect to be hit. I mean, if this was wrestling or boxing, the referee could have counted to a million and he’d still be out.”
“So your friend in the other ambulance is in there because of what your other friend did, and not the kid?”
“Yeah, why do you think I’m in here?”
“Because of the kid?”
“Because of the kid?”
“Did he hit you with the ball too?”
“Yes and no.”
“What do you mean?” This was getting crazier and crazier by the minute.
“Stop interrupting me with questions and I’ll tell you.”
“So, I managed to get the ball while the kid ran to the other side of the gym. My friend and I would take our five steps and we bounced the ball to each other. When we got close to the kid, my friend had the ball and he was about to take his fifth step before he bounced the ball to me. Just then, the kid darted between us, and my friend, instead of bouncing the ball to me, he threw it at the kid.”
I nod my head to not interrupt and encouraged him to keep talking.
“That’s when he hit me.”
“The kid hit you when he ran by?”
“Stop interrupting! No, the kid didn’t hit me! My friend hit me in the chest with the ball and rocked my ribcage. Then I fell right where I stood. I was in so much pain, I could barely breathe. All I remember was lying on my back and seeing my teammate go and get the ball that had just stomped my sternum. He was so upset and angry at all the damage he had done to us that he put everything he had into taking the biggest five steps he could take before throwing the ball.”
That’s when he paused and didn’t say anything for a few seconds. I wanted to know what happened, but I didn’t dare interrupt. I kept nodding and made the listening noise that some people make when another person is talking.
Finally, he said, “So my buddy was trying to land his fifth step when he stepped into that breakfast from four days ago. The ball accidentally flew out of his hands while he was on his way to the ground. The kid caught the ball and my friend used the floor to stop the back of his head from going underground. He was knocked out instantly and the game was over. The kid won by only hitting one of us.”
“I’m as serious as a trip to the hospital!” He was getting angry and trying to get up from the stretcher.
“Sir, I’m going to need you to calm down and relax. We’ll be at the hospital in about thirty seconds. Please remain calm.”
We were the second ambulance to arrive at the hospital that day. We rushed our dodgeball player to our doctors and hoped they all would be okay. Then we went back to where they were having the real dodgeball game and waited in the parking lot.
We heard plenty of noises coming from inside the gym that sounded like screams and explosions. I believe I almost heard a woman screaming for a doctor, but I wasn’t sure, and nobody called 911 for us to go back in the gym to rescue anyone else.
When the real game was over, there were three people who came out looking like they could use some medical attention. The first was a lady with blood near the thigh area of her black and white checkered pants. She was smiling, so we figured she must have spilled ketchup from one of the hotdogs you could get at the concession stand on herself. The second was a guy who looked like the side of his wheelchair was hit by a truck. While he looked angry, his legs, instead of his arms, were doing the walking for the wheelchair. The last person was a guy who was holding his stomach and a fanny pack like he had a broken bellybutton. He climbed on the back of a loud motorcycle and sat behind a lady who was old enough to be his grandmother.
And the kid… Well, he looked in our direction, gave us a weird smile, and flashed two thumbs up. We blew our horn, started the ambulance, and drove to another location.