Another Tale of Terror from Nichols’ Barn
Old Mr. and Mrs. Nichols had a grandson named Eddie that lived in Newnan, Georgia. Eddie was about a year older than me and twice as strong – strong as an ox. He was also mentally challenged. He often sucked or slobbered on the back of one of his hands.
Eddie and his older sister came to visit their grandparents voften and even had permanent bedrooms in the big house.
On one of their visits I was trailing along after the local rough bunch. They were a couple years older than I was. This local rough bunch mostly cursed a lot, smoked, resented authority, and they all were always constantly wise-cracking. My wannabes.
The boys were pretty useless but mostly harmless. I remember one of them was named Jack. In school one time he sat behind me for a while and kept me giggling over his wise-cracks. It never occurred to me he was in my class because he already failed two grades. He quit as soon as he legally could, at age 16 – so did the rest of this bunch.
One evening before dark I was hanging around with them in the yard of the Rich (that was their name) family on the corner of Manget and Glover Streets. Somehow the mental challenged Eddie wandered by. They called him over.
They asked him questions and he gave them the only answers his mind could draw up which kept them laughing. In other words, they were making fun of him.
I don’t remember how it started, but for kicks they thought it would be neat to see the two Eddie’s fight. They kept telling Eddie I was saying bad things about him. Then they pushed us into each other and Eddie begin swinging his fist at me.
I say ‘fist’ because the other fist was in his mouth. It is hard to swing and guard with one fist. He missed me with his wild fist and I socked him in nose. Blood went everywhere.
Eddie ran to his grandparents house crying.
Later that evening Eddie’s sister came up to the group of boys and wanted to know who broke her brother’s nose – she was going to have me arrested. When she found it was me, the son of the Chief of Police, she changed her mind (I heard this later from Jack).
Months later, Eddie was visiting again and apparently didn’t remember or had no ill-fillings about our fight. We went up in the loft of his grandfather’s old barn and were looking around.
The loft had rafters. The flooring of the loft was not nailed down, just boards and sheets of plywood were held to the rafters by balance and gravity.
I don’t remember what was stored in the old loft… old farm tools and things no longer needed.
One of my so-called friends reminded Eddie of me breaking his nose. He pounced on me and started choking me. He hands were like a vice on my neck. I was pretty sure I was going to die in the next minute or so… I could not breath and could not even holler out.
What we didn’t realize when Eddie leaped on me we rolled to and end of a long plank balanced only by the rafters. After our movements the plank lost what hold it had on the rafters and tilted like a see-saw and emptied us like a dump truck onto the ground floor of the barn. We fell five or six feed but I was lucky enough to land on my feet and I ran home like a scared rabbit.
On the other hand, I heard the fall knocked the breath out of Eddie.
I do not remember what happened to the plank that slid me to safety. I suppose if fell a fraction of a second after we did. I only remember two things: (1) my life has been spared and (2) I was out of there!
Someday somebody will probably remind Eddie (if he is still living) that I threw him out of the loft and reminded him how bad it hurt. And he will come looking for me.
Just like old times.