Charlie Evans's House
November 13, 2004
While my entries are in this reminiscence theme, allow me to spin you another tale of childhood. I guess most of us had that summer or two of childhood where we were old enough to run wild, but not quite old enough to drive or be tied down by a summer job of any consequence. When I was of that age, we lived in a subdivision in Little Rock with tons of other kids of my age. We spent every minute between waking up and curfew roaming the neighborhood in packs.
We played basketball, went to the pool, and spent hours and hours at someone's house watching MTV. This was in the days of that network where the moon man was a current commercial, and veejays talked briefly between music videos.
We did most of our video watching at Charlie Evans's house. His was the place of preference because his parents worked late, because his dad had a really large collection of Playboys (three stacks in his closet, and you could stumble on other issues if you would look deep in other magazine racks in the house), and because every summer he had two good looking female cousins come visit. I think Charlie was jealous that he was the only one of us who couldn't make up lies about all of the scoring we did with his cousins every summer.
The fun at Charlie's ended when his mom got home. In retrospect, she wasn't really that bad, but at the time she was the most feared force in the universe. She was a gigantic woman, who we always referred to as "lard-ass," or often just as "L.A." As a sideline, Lard Ass sold Avon, and she was occasionally could be persuaded to drop you a few bucks in exchange for leaving little baggied Avon catalogs on neighbors' doorknobs.
Lard Ass remains amusing to me to this day, because she was so loud when she would fly off the handle at Charlie or at his brother, which was pretty darned often. She was also far more profane than any other adult that I knew. One time, I was in their front yard making my way to the front door when I heard her yelling from 15 yards away from the house. And yes, all of the doors and windows were closed.
Charlie had a slightly older brother who was a chubby, quiet, and awkward guy. One afternoon, he was sitting in a director-style chair that Lard Ass won for selling so much makeup. (I think he was painting models of dragons, or something like that.) When Lard Ass got home that evening, that scene set her off.
"CURTIS!! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN MY DIRECTORS CHAIR!!! GET YOUR FAT ASS UP!! I DON'T NEED YOU BREAKING MY GODDAMNED CHAIR! WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU COULD SIT THERE!!!"
I know this seems like a horrible situation when you read about it, but you have to appreciate the comedy. I don't think Charlie or Curtis took her seriously when she went into a rage. We all laughed about it just about every day.
That poor old Curtis was some kind of nerd. When we had enough people, one of our pastimes was to stand around Curtis in a circle, and whoever he was facing away from would kick him in the butt. He would turn around to yell at the person who did it (since he was older, Curtis fancied himself the guy in charge and did his best to play the part), and then the next guy right behind him would kick him in the butt. The best thing about Curtis is that this could go on for 20 minutes before he would finally get pissed and lose his cool. I guess when you lived with Lard Ass, you made a point to keep calm so you wouldn't end up like that.
It's only fair that I share a Lard Ass story that doesn't revolve around her temper. I was eating dinner there one night when for some reason, Charlie's old man leaned over and kissed her at the table. She kissed back for a second and then started to squirm away, like a cat will do if you plant a kiss on its lips. Then she turned to us and had a great quote. Make sure you read this to yourself with a good, thick Arkansas accent.
"GOD DAMN Y'ALL, HE WAS TRYING TO FRENCH KISS ME WHILE I STILL HAD CORN IN MY MOUTH."