I don’t know when Buzz noticed the thing on the end of his nose. I had seen it that morning but didn’t want to tell my pal on account that he thought he was the best lookin’ guy walkin’ on the face of this, here, Earth. I kid you not. So when Becky Walters said in her usual way:
“You got a big red spot on the end of your nose, Buzz,” he kinda took it real bad, which makes me think he didn’t know it was there. I’m thinking how could he have missed it, I mean that thing was so big, it had it’s own gravitational system.
Buzz said nuthin’ and walked off home. Becky Walters looked real pleased with herself and said, “Did I say somethin’ wrong?”. Becky knew she’d said somethin’ wrong, I mean that’s all she is good at, on account of her Mom tellin’ everyone in town that her Becky was a Princess and all.
The next morning, I see Buzz - well I didn’t actually see him, but I knew it was Buzz ‘cause he was wearin’ the same jeans and shoes as yesterday. He had a big brown paper bag over his head and two holes cut out for eyes so he didn’t get hit by cars.
I kinda thought the brown paper bag might look even weirder than a big thing on the end of your nose, but I wasn’t so sure of that fact that I could tell Buzz to go naked in the head department. Apparently Buzz’s Ma had tried to fix the spot by stickin’ a needle in it and it had made it worse. Buzz’s Ma wasn’t real good at doctor stuff but it didn’t stop her makin’ up her own cures for everythin’.
When Buzz had a fever, she had made him lie down in a darkroom with a brick on his head. Apparently it was a cure that had been passed down thru the family. I’m thinkin’ craziness was the only thing that was passed down in that family.
Buzz told me to go round the corner where there weren’t no people to see his nose and he lifted the bag to show me what was happenin’ under there.
“Wow!” Was all I said.
Buzz wanted to know if that was a good ‘wow’ and I told him it was but I had to cross my legs on account that I thought I’d pee myself, ‘cause I wanted to laugh so bad. Buzz had a tomato on the end of his nose – I mean, a big red bright tomato. No kiddin’.
We kinda tried to pretend everythin’ was all right and neither Buzz nor me mentioned the paper bag. Some folks would shout at Buzz callin’ him names and stuff, but the bag was so thick that Buzz couldn’t hear nuthin’.
I decided since Buzz was my bested friend in the whole wide world I would wear a bag on my head as well. It was kinda cool.
Buzz’ Ma kept trying her medicine on his nose and every day he’d show me it and it wasn’t getting’ any better. I wondered if his nose might not eventually fall off, but I didn’t want to tell my pal on account that it ain’t somethin’ you want to tell a buddy.
One mornin’ Becky Walters was standin’ on the corner being a princess when she spotted Buzz and me and our paper bags and I’m thinkin’ she’s gonna pee herself - but she didn’t.
“Why don’t ya paint a face on your bags,” she said and know what? I thought that was a great idea, too.
So Buzz and me went off to paint our bag faces but like everythin’ with Buzz it wasn’t straightforward. Next time I see him he’s dressed as a clown. Yep a big clown with big shoes and a white face and a big nose; I mean it was his own nose but it suited the clown face, I kid you not.
I thought the bag had been all right but I wasn’t following my pal down the clown face road.
It had been his Ma’s idea - she had thought why not just paint a face on her boy and be done with it, and maybe she had a point. At school I could see the teacher kinda lookin’ at him and shakin’ her head but she didn’t say nuthin’. She just went off and got all the other teachers in school to come to our class. And they all left, crossin’ their legs like they were gonna pee themselves, too.
Buzz’s Ma got arrested on the Friday for trying to cure the Sheriff’s daughter of her hiccups by making her stand on top of an auto-mobile. The Sheriff said she was just plain crazy and slung her in jail until the following Monday. The good thing about this was it let Buzz’s nose get a rest from his Ma and so it started to get better. By Monday, Buzz was ready to face the rest of town - just the way God had made him - and he went up to Becky Walters and gave her a big kiss, right there, on her lips.
She kinda giggled and swooned and I knew my Buzz was gonna be all right.
bobby stevenson 2016