A bedtime story? Heh, kiddo, I don’t know. I promised your momma I wouldn’t tell you no more of them tales after wot you went and told her the one I told you last time. Damned if she didn’t near kick me outta the house a-fore I finished me plate of stew…Alright, alright. I’m a thinkin…

Oo-er…this was a funny one, Jack should remember it. ‘Member our debatin’ society? Warn’t that jess a real laugh? Alright, so there we was one day, bored out of our gourd, sittin’ them milk crates out back. And Tommy was talking fit to make us deaf, Vinny, where was Vinny? I s’pose he was off on one side, hacking away at one of them hunks of wood he was always carvin’ up.

Tommy was always a one for big talk, an’ he up and decided we was gonna use the ol’ barn as a meetin hall and hold debatin’ sessions. Charge ‘em to come in through them doors, he said, and I’ll be the treasurer guy wot holds all the money’. Well we warn’t dumb enough to fall for the “I’ll hold yer money” gig a third time but we was game to try an’ get this speech thingamabob goin’ on, Jack an me was, (‘member, Jack? Sure ya do).

So Vinny an’ Jack made up them signs an’ hammered ‘em to lamp-posts an’ trees all over town, an’ Tommy an’ me cleaned out that ol’ barn heap o’ junk an’ hauled us some old crates an’ boards and made some stacked chairs, whaddaya call em? Yeah, them bleach things, sorta. They wasn’t too strong but they wasn’t too bad, like they held up when Vinny put his sorry ass down on ‘em. So we figgered we was safe.

Tommy warn’t much for collab’ratin’ once we done got the seats set up, Gotta get me arguments ready, he kept sayin’. He had this little stack of papers and he was scribblin’ shit down whenever we saw him. Secon-hand smokin’, he said he was gonna rant about. But you’re don’t smoke, Tommy, is what Vinny said and we all laughed at his dumb ass and Tommy said that’s why he was gonna be the OH-fense side. Then I was wonderin’ who was gonna be the dee-fense, an’ I ask him, an’ he laughs an’ says he got ol’ Meany Pike to do it. S’gonna be fun, he said.

I dinna want to mess with no Meany Pike, who was meaner than he sounded and bigger than Vinny’s fat ass but when Tommy say somethin’, he mean it. But Tommy had other plans, ‘member Jack? He wern’t plannin’ on lettin’ nobody yoo…yoomiliate us, ah, no, not Tommy. Tommy had plans an’ what Vinny and Jack dinna know was we rigged them rafters an’ there was these planks an’ they was heaped with his ol’ sister’s powder, talcum and shit, an’ the whole dang thing was rigged, see? Tommy was gonna get me to make it all float down an’ shit for speshul effects. Right on., I tole him.

So it comes Sat’day and we done collected our big takin’s for the evenin’, about 30 measly bucks to split atween the four of us, an’ we hadda crowd of mebbe 20 people, and Meany Pike get up there first and start blabbin’ his big-ass about smokin’ an lungs an’ stuff wot we wasn’t really lissening to, on account I was watching Tommy fer the signal to knock over the powder stuff, and on account Vinny an’ Jack was out back countin’ the measly pickin’s again to make sure there wasn’t mebbe more this time they counted.

Meany finished his bit and then Tommy get up there for a ’buttal, he call it, and Meany Pike’s crowd start a hollerin’ and booin’ and makin’ a general ruckus an’ thass when Tommy slapped at his left thigh which I thought was me signal only me signal was the right thigh but I went and yanked on that rope an’ them boards slid over and the powder sorta come floatin’ down right onta Tommy an’ me an’ everybody. First they was all like Holy smackerel it’s dust and then one smart aleck sumbitch start’s a laughin’ but then the itchy started and Meany Pike started jumpin’ around like an ape what had his banana stolen an’ everbody doin’ this funky chicken dance, an’ it turned out you can never trust that Tommy because he done gone and an’ mixed in some of that sneaky itchin’ powder to the other stuff what was his sister’s who he was always tormentin’. ’Stead it turned on us when we wanted it for the illusionary tackticks.

So there was like some sort of massive movin’ around and we was all scratchin’ jumpin’ an’ the place was all fulla dust an’ shit, an’ then some Fred Astaire in the back row of them bleach thingies did some massive scary sorta leap an’ he jump up an’ the whole dang rows of ‘em come a crashin’ down and Tommy and me, well we caught the look on Meany’s face an’ we lit out an’ we didn’t come back to town for another month. So turns out Jack got to split the takin’s with Vinny, only when we got back they tole us that Meany beat them up an’ took it, only I know they’s lyin, coz Vinny tole me a year later wot he done with the money. (Piercin’s, Jack. I don’t wanna scare the boy too much.).

So that was that, kid. We had a debatin’ society what debated only one thing an’ we didn’ come up with any bright ideas for a long time after that. Man, we was young then. Sleep well kiddo. Next time I gonna tell you about that time Jack ‘n Vinny went to Vegas. Man, that’s a good one. I think yo’ momma’s home already.