…not tasty at all
Hey, look, a brand new Doclopedia theme that starts with a sequel to a very old one!
The Doclopedia #1,327
It Happened One Night: Return Of The Hi Bouncy Ball
It was July 3rd of 1972 and the Hamblin family, of Goldvale, California, had traveled to New York City to visit Mrs. Hamblin’s sister Dotty, who was 45, single and lived with her best friend, Maggie, who looked kind of like a man.
Eldest son Andy was not along, having graduated from high school a month earlier and opting to spend his pre-college summer “Screwing around with his idiot friends”, as Mt. Hamblin put it. Andy called it “avoiding the car trip from Hell”.
The sun was near to setting when the Hamblins and Dotty made it to the 86th floor Observation Deck of the Empire State Building with the final tour group of the day. Youngest son Teddy was getting bored with looking off the top of a tall building, even though this was as high in the air as he’d ever been. He was also a little pissed off that Doc Savage did not seem to have his headquarters on the 86th floor. He stood off from the group bouncing his brand new Super Size Hi Bouncy Ball. This one was the size of a softball and had a cool skull inside it that glowed in the dark. Dad had bought it for him in Denver “in order to shut him the hell up and get him to stop bugging his sisters”.
Just before the tour guide told everyone to have one last look to the north at some boring thing, Teddy bounced the ball one final time and a bit too hard. The Hi Bouncy Ball went up and over the security fence. As the crowd, including his family, turned back to leave, Teddy wisely decided not to mention what had just happened, especially since Dad was telling him to get his ass in gear so they could make their reservation at the Italian restaurant.
The Ball plummeted downward and hit a terminal velocity of about 80 miles per hour. Down on the sidewalk, foot traffic was pretty light because it was near dinner time and it was 94 degrees out and, as Mr. Hamblin had put it, “as humid and sticky as the devil’s nutsack”.
On that sidewalk, walking briskly to her home, was Mistress Paloma, a woman of rather tenuous sanity, who did business as a psychic because the voices in her head told her to. She had just finished her last consultation for the day, during which she told Mrs. Ungerson that she was being stalked by a demon and had better for the love of God go get exorcised.
When the Hi Bouncy Ball hit the sidewalk, it was at a point right in front on Mistress Paloma. The time between impact and rebound was about a second, but that meant she saw a glowing skull pass before her eyes twice in that time. This pretty much kicked her remaining sanity to the curb and started off a veritable choir of voices in her head. She ran off down the street screaming that the Ungerson demon was after her now. It is typically New York that almost nobody gave this any notice. Except for Mrs. Ungerson, who was waiting for a bus and felt quite relieved that her demon was gone so easily. She decided then and there to go home and cook up a fine dinner for herself and her husband, Olaf.
Rebounding, the Hi Bouncy Ball (henceforth known as the HBB) shot 80 feet into the air, but due to the slight tilt in the sidewalk, was aimed east and so took off on a long bounce down East 33rd Street. During that series of bounces, it caused two traffic accidents, one of which barely saved the life of one Manny Shrevens, a fellow who was contemplating suicide, but upon realizing how close he came to being killed by that cab whose windshield suddenly imploded, decided to sell his failing shoe store and use the money to travel the world. The BGG kept bouncing until it came to intersection of Madison Avenue, where a speeding truck knocked it north while also increasing it’s velocity.
Causing four more accidents and foiling a mugging along the way, the BBG bounced up the street until it came to 42nd Street, where a fortuitous bus impact sent it careening west toward Broadway. It’s bounces now rather badly off a straight path, it knocked a pile of books from the hands of Debbie Jackson, a student at NYU who was just leaving the New York Library. Fortunately, young Adam Chavez, also a student at NYU, was there to help her pick them up and then, in as bold a move as the young chemical engineering student had ever made, asked her out for coffee. Today, they live in California and have 4 children and 9 grandchildren.
About half a block from Times Square, the HBB bounced off yet another traffic accident and onto the head of one Rocco “The Tiger” Mancelli, an enforcer for the ruling crime family. Rocco had been on his way to put a painful lesson on one Sammy Pannelli, known locally as Sammy Pans. It seems that Sammy Pans was getting ready to abscond with several million dollars in Mob money. That, of course, was a no-no. But since Rocco was busy bleeding out from the very bad head wound that he had received from the BGG, Sammy went ahead with his plans to disappear. He died 40 years later of old age in his home in Australia.
Remember Mistress Paloma, from a few paragraphs above? Well, it turns out that she grabbed a cab to head to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for an emergency exorcism. However, that very cab was hit by the HBB at 43rd Street and Fifth Avenue. Seeing the face of the demon crash into the windshield caused Mistress Paloma to flee the cab screaming. Fortunately, she was also accompanied by a young Haitian immigrant named Joseph DuMont who had been warned by the girlfriend he left behind that she would sic the Devil on him for abandoning her. Seeing the devil attack his cab was proof enough for Joseph that both the girlfriend and the raving white lady he had picked up were right. As they ran, he pulled away from Mistress Paloma pretty quickly, which is why, as he turned down an alley toward 42nd Street, he ran into Larry Andrews, late of Poke Springs, Arkansas, who was running away from seeing a devil head kill some Italian guy. Both were knocked out by the impact.
Awakening from their collision a few minutes later, Larry and Joseph could hear the sounds of car crashes, mass hysteria and an explosion coming from the direction of Times Square. No sooner did Joseph say “The Devil is after me!” and Larry say “And I think the Lord is destroying this wicked city!”, than Mistress Paloma turned down the same alley screaming “It is prophecy! The forces of Hell are loose!” That caused all three of them to start running northeast toward the Queensboro Bridge and escape from Manhattan Island.
About that crisis in Times Square. It was indeed caused by the HBB bouncing off cars and buildings and people. Within 5 minutes it had resulted in half a million dollars in property damage, 14 fistfights, 9 conversions to various religions, 2 gang wars, 3 eventual pregnancies, and the election of 3 new City Council members and a US Senator. The HBB eventually bounced into a passing pickup truck full of lawn clippings and leaves and did not bounce again.
While the police and firemen were trying to calm things down in Times Square, the pickup truck, which belonged to Mr. Aldo Luponi of 903 Baxter Street, apartment 4, was heading home to Little Italy. Aldo, who was a huge Yankees fan and slightly hard of hearing, was listening to the game on his radio and, due to the volume being pretty loud, did not hear the trouble in Times Square. He didn’t see much of it, either, because he was hellbent on getting home. It had been a long day of landscaping and Lena was cooking steaks for dinner.
Turning down Grand Street, he had to slam on his brakes for a bike messenger at the intersection of Grand and Mulberry. This was enough to cause the HBB to roll off the lawn clippings pile and onto the sidewalk, where it mostly rolled down the street until it bumped into Teddy Hamblin, who had just gotten out of a cab with his family. Looking down, he gasped when he saw his ball. He had just picked it up when his dad told him to “put that goddamn thing in your pocked”, which he did. Then they all went into the restaurant to eat Italian food.
Returning for a moment to Larry, Joseph and Mistress Paloma, you’ll be glad to know that, some days later, Larry returned home to Arkansas and became a preacher. Joseph went home, but found his ex-girlfriend had taken up with his friend James. Figuring he was off the curse hook, Joseph again left Haiti, but this time went to San Francisco. Mistress Paloma was picked up by the police, taken to Bellevue Hospital for psychiatric evaluation and, after a long period of treatment and proper medication, went on to lead a pretty normal life.
Teddy Hamblin and his family left the New York area, which his dad called “the craziest place I’ve ever been and I’ve been to both San Francisco and Los Angeles”, and started their drive back to California. Having washed the blood, grass stains, street grime, pigeon shit and what looked like snot off of the HBB, Teddy spent most of the trip wondering what the ball had been up to while they were separated.
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