The Flurch

November 3, 2008
By Randy Hatfield, Lake Forest Park, WA

The Flurch

It was a warm summer afternoon in a small suburb outside a big city, one of those days that bring back feelings of nostalgia and early childhood. I was looking through some of my old things, pictures, letters, toys, and then I found it, a box rather large in size, beat up from age. It was a box of things I had made with my friends from my childhood. It’s contents consisted of my old baseball bat, my friend Jon Burke’s baseball mitt, a small tin lunch box that was chock full of baseball cards and various trinkets, that came from my friend Tim Robbins. Memories began to flood back into my mind of all the things we used to do. I remembered when we played baseball in the middle of the road, the manhole cover was home base, and our friend Tom Worden, the nerd of the group, would stand on the sidewalk to make sure no cars were coming. I remembered the day I stepped up to the plate and sent a baseball right through my bedroom window.

I looked in the box again, and I found a small green box with a tag on it that read “pictures”. For some reason I couldn’t remember this particular box, so I opened it to find a small pile of pictures and my old Kodak Brownie Starflex camera sitting neatly beside them. The first picture in the pile was a picture of my friends and me; I was in the middle holding a baseball bat and wearing a helmet. To my left was Jon Burke, with his mitt and a baseball in hand. On his left was Tim Robbins giving Jon “bunny ears”. Finally to my right was Tom Worden wearing binoculars around his neck and holding a copy of the book 1984. The next picture was of an old man, whose mouth was wide open and his eyes displayed his fury. I remembered who he was, and I was instantly rocketed back to a memory of my past.

It was a hot summer morning, and I had just gotten up, today was another day to play baseball and loiter in the neighborhood woods. I slipped on my good jeans and put a green shirt on, and ran down to the kitchen to get some Cheerios. Jon knocked on the door and motioned for me to come outside.
“Hey Eli, bring a ball, Tim doesn’t have one today!” said Jon
“Alright, just let me dig it out of the closet.” I replied
“See you in a bit!” Jon answered as he ran over to the usual place.

I literally chugged down my Cheerios from the bowl and dropped it in the sink, ran out through the kitchen door and ran into my little brother.
“Get out of my way Steve!” I yelled at him

I ran up the stairs to my room as Steve started to bawl and roll around on the rug. I grabbed the baseball in the closet, got my baseball bat, and charged out the door down the stairs, where I met my father at the door.
“Apologize to your brother,” My father said sternly
“What did I do?” I protested
“You know what you did.” He said, “and you’re not going anywhere until you apologize.”
“Uuunnnghh” I groaned with discontent. “Fine”.
“I am deeply sorry, dear brother Steve.”
“May I go now, dear father.”
“You may go, but don’t push it…”

I ran, grabbed my camera off the dining room table, and went out the door. I met all my friends there, on the “field”, waiting for me. They already had the bases set up and everything, I threw the ball to Tim and ran to home base. I slipped my baseball cap on, got ready for the first pitch, and hit the ball, which fouled onto the patio of the house across the street. Tim ran off to go get it when Tom quickly stopped him.
“Do you know whose house that is?” Tom warned him “That’s the Flurch’s house!”
“The Flurch?” Tim repeated in disbelief “Seriously, the Flurch?”
“You heard me right!” Tom shouted, “That’s the Flurch’s house!”
“I know! But what kind of name is that?” Tim retorted
“No one knows his name, but he’s an old crazy man who practically worships his lawn!” Tom said, “I called him that because he’s weird, and Flurch is a weird name, don’t you think?”
“It is a weird name, alright.” Tim agreed.

I ran over to find out what was going on, and why I hadn’t gotten a homerun yet.
“Hey what’s the hold up?” I asked
“Forget it dude, it’s on the Flurch’s property, it’s hopeless” Tim said
“That’s nonsense, I’m going to get it,” I said as I ran onto the lawn of “The Flurch”, carelessly stepped on some flowers, ran across the yard, until I heard a scream of terror from inside the house. I stopped instantly and heard footsteps stamping against wood flooring from inside the house.
“MY PETUNIAS!” shouted the gaunt old man. “GET OFF MY LAWN, YOU ROTTEN KID!” He yelled at the top of his lungs when he saw me.

I quickly got out of his yard and, although still a little shocked, I was able to grab my camera and take a picture of him. He was not pleased about that, and I remember that he was mumbling and swearing. And then, we all watched as “The Flurch” picked up my baseball, walked into his house and slammed the door shut.
“I told you”, taunted Tim.

I scowled at him and threw a rock at the old man’s house.
“Forget it, no more ball.” I grumbled

We all went home, without even getting to loiter in the woods, and ended up reading old comic books in our rooms.

Later that night, I heard a small rock hitting my newly replaced bedroom window, I looked out and Jon was outside.
“Hey Eli!” he said quietly, “Would you like to do something about your lost baseball? It is payback time!”
“What time is it?” I grumbled sleepily.
“Doesn’t matter.” He replied, “All it matters is that I have a carton of eggs and a shovel; get down here!”

I shuffled quietly downstairs and out the door to meet him outside. We ran across the street to the Flurch’s domain, where we were going to vandalize his house.
“Okay now… first we dig up his precious flowers, then we dig up a few holes on his precious lawn, and finally we egg his house.” Jon said as he gave me the shovel.

With adrenaline rushing through my whole body, I started digging out the flowers and tossing them on to the walkway to the old man’s front door. Once we were done, we started destroying the lawn; we threw chunks of grass and dirt onto the Flurch’s patio and his driveway. Finally we quickly let loose on the eggs; we threw them all over the front of his house, his doorway, his windows and then on his patio. At that time a light inside was turned on. We ran really fast towards my house. It was a mixture of fear and pleasure; we looked at each other and started snickering. “Yes! Victory!” I said.

The next day we all got together, talked about what happened the night before, laughed, and felt avenged, and then we played baseball as usual. We kept our eyes on the old man’s house, but we did not see or hear anything. In fact, if I remember correctly, we never saw the Flurch again. His house stayed in a state of disrepair and his yard became infested with weeds. One day we got close to the house and felt a terrible odor of rot, maybe the eggs… We didn’t think much of that; we were children at the time. We just forgot about it and moved on with our lives.

Returning from my reverie I realized how inconsiderate I was to vandalize the Flurch’s home. I realized that he most likely was a very lonely man, a mourner of his lost spouse. Who would know? Perhaps he wasted away because of his own misery, and because he was misunderstood. I did not feel victorious at all, and I could think of it no longer. A tear ran down my cheek and I set the photo back in the box, and the box away in the attic.

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