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The Disappearance of Eddie Harrington: A True Story In One Act

The Disappearance of Eddie Harrington: A True Story In One Act


In the sixth grade I rode my bike two-and-a-half miles each morning. For what? To go to school. Merry fucking Christmas. Childhood independence begins when you get your first reliable bike. I had a reliable bike, so I’d I’d made an appointment to hang out at Vu’s house after school one random SoCal day, because FUCK homework.


Vu Tran was a bright and kooky Vietnamese kid. He was more American than Vietnamese, and was a real original whom I wanted to emulate because of his unique style and infectious behaviors. He’d yell DEE-FENSE! for any accomplishment, athletic, academic or otherwise. When he ran around the kickball field he’d hold his arms stiffly to the side to prevent them from swinging. Why? Because it looked funny. He knew all the state capitals. He sometimes wore a lab coat. He loved MacGyver. He was a freak and a weirdo.


The plan was for me to show up at Vu’s so we could watch TV, play video games and kick it. He was the first kid I knew with an IBM-PC brand computer and I was amped to check out those sexy 8-bit color graphics he could conjure on that ancient box. I longed to dip my beak in science and technology but back in the late 80s, science and technology had just been invented so any opportunity was rare. His parents weren’t home, so we pretty much had the run of things.


Vu and I were watching Robotech when the doorbell rang. Eric Glassman had shown up uninvited, but he was welcome. A cool kid as well, Eric was a year older, smart, witty, creative and definitely more of a risk-taker than I was. He was alleged to have become a full-fledged stoner as early as the 7th grade, so obviously he was also very ambitious. We’d collaborated a year earlier on a comedy cassette tape where we made fun of Hare Krishnas. We performed fake interviews and gave fake lectures and Eric performed a parody song done in the style of Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown.”


Vu invited Eric inside, and a few seconds later we’d noticed that someone had tagged along with him. It was Eddie Harrington, the older, smelly, fat kid with the really shitty attitude. Eddie had two noteworthy features:

    (1) Eddie often wore a Members Only jacket or tied it around his waist and
    (2) The surface of Eddie’s tongue was yellow and cracked. I’ve never seen a tongue with as many cracks in it as Eddie’s.

Vu hated Eddie, come to think of it, everybody hated Eddie, but for the sake of harmony, Vu allowed Eddie to come inside. If we had any real bullies in our ritzy elementary school, Eddie was it. He was the guy who might have put you in an unprovoked headlock, but he wasn’t so oppressive that you couldn’t wrangle your way out and push his fat-ass off of you. Vu was taller than Eddie, so I doubt he ever got the physical treatment that I did, as a shorter kid. Vu must have hated Eddie simply for Eddie’s insistence upon being a cunt.


Eric and Vu shot the shit for a while. Eddie tried to entertain himself by poking around the house in a bored way, sticking his chubby nose in whatever business he could find. I was just chillin’ on the couch. Vu kept a close watch on Eddie’s sight-seeing because he was a known shoplifter and he couldn’t be trusted.


A half-hour in, Eddie had manhandled every bloody tchotchke in the house, making a mess of everything and almost deliberately relocating everything he touched. Vu’s 12 year-old patience eroded and he confronted Eddie in the living room.

    “Hey man I think it’s time for you to leave.”
    “You’ve got to leave.”
    “What are you talking about?”
    “I think you should leave.”
    “I came here with Eric.”
    “I don’t want you here.”
    “So you’ve got to leave.”
    “How come he gets to stay but I have to leave?”
    “Because he’s my friend.”
    “I don’t want to leave.”
    “You have to leave.”
    “No. I’m not leaving.”
    “Dude, you have to leave.”
    “Forget it! I’m not leaving.”
    “I want you to go!”

Eddie casually put his hand on a large survival knife that sat on the bookshelf. I tensed up. “I’m not going anywhere,” Eddie maintained.
“You’ve got to leave.”
Eddie wrapped his fingers around the knife and clenched his teeth. “I’m not leaving.”
“You have to go!”
Eddie gripped the knife and brought his hand down to his leg. “No.”
“Get out of my fucking house!”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
“Get out of my fucking house!”
“Make me!” Eddie gestured in such a way as to make it clear that as long as he held that survival knife he wasn’t going to leave.
“Get out of my house!”


Fuming, Vu bolted out of the living room. Eddie activated the servo motor that controlled the smirk on his rotund face. Holding that survival knife, Eddie figured he was in charge and there was little Vu could do.


Until Vu came back.


Vu stood in the doorway with his hand behind his back and said, “I want you to leave my fucking house!”
“Get out of my fucking house!”
“No! What the fuck are you going to do about it?”


Vu’s hand whipped out cleanly from behind his back. Clenched in his lean fist was a blue steel 9mm automatic pistol. He aimed the piece straight at Harrington’s husky face. Eddie’s jaw dropped in terror and his yellowed, cracked tongue nearly fell out of his head.


Vu confidently racked the slide on the handgun like a sixth-grade Mafioso, and pointed it directly at Eddie’s neanderthal brow ridge, Vu’s finger poised assertively on the trigger.


“GET,” Vu said, “THE…FUCK,” he continued, “OUT…OF…MY…HOUSE, YOU MOTHERFUCKER!!”


Eddie, scared out of his goddamn mind, but still mindful of his dignity, put that chickenshit knife back on the fucking bookshelf where it belonged, quickly ran his fat ass out of the house, and that was the last that anybody ever saw of, or talked about, Eddie Harrington.



[c] 2006 Russ of America