It Grows on You

It was a Tuesday and very cold. The year was 1975, and I was sitting by the Cole stove when Mikey Johnson’s boy came barging in. His hair wind tossed and his eyes rolling like mad. The boy looked half out of his mind.

“Mr. Johnson, I came for my dad’s beer, but it’s… oh it’s horrible!”

The boy leaned against the store counter and started to cry. Great big sobs ripped from his chest. Sam Johnson, the owner of the store, put his arm around the boy and stared at me hard.

“Oh Mikey was a mean drunk! Anyone in the small town of San Mateo could tell you, and when he was well into his cups, you best leave him alone.”

Mikey worked as a foreman until he fell from a ladder one day and ruined his back so he was set for life on disability. His boy came in most days to get his case of beer and it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen Mikey in a few months.

“There there,” said Sam, “What’s the matter boy? Your dad been on a toot?”

For Sam’s father had been a drunker until he stepped out in front of a car in the summer of 47 and had been cut in two. No great loss.

“He’s been on a toot, but that’s not the worst!” said the boy.

Sam could see the boy was about to go into a fit and got him in the back room where a sandwich and soup could be made. I listened to them talk; the boy high and fast while Sam was cool and mellow.

About ten minutes later, Sam came out alone.

“We better bring Mikey his case,” he said and loaded up his little hand cart with Budweiser.

I’ll never forget that night, not if I live to be 200 (I am 98 years young now), but the chill factor could hurt a witches t*t that night and I got the story the boy told Sam while eating a decent meal.

Around March, Mikey had gotten a case of Coors’s and proceeded to drink at his normal rate.

“My God, that’s the worst beer I ever tasted!” Mikey said half way through the case. There was a grey slim around the lip of the can he was drinking.

Being a bear for his beer and not wanting to throw out a well spent three dollars (only in his mind), Jimmy polished off his case and turned on Johnny Carson.

The next day when his son came home from school, there was Mikey curled under the covers of his bed watching TV.

“What’s wrong, Pop?”

“I don’t feel like going out today boy. Go get me a case, here’s the money.”

When his son reached for the money, he saw Jimmy’s hand had gone blue as the Atlantic.

“Dad, I’m calling Doctor Albrecht”

“No! If you call that doctor I’ll touch you! And whatever I had will spread to you! Get out of here and get my case!”

And for a month that’s how things went. The boy would go to school and afterwards there would be money on the table for Mikey’s nightly case. The house started to stink for Mikey wasn’t what you would call a clean soul.

Mikey never left his bedroom. He always slipped the money for his beer under the door. Sometimes at night, the boy could hear his Dad laugh like a loon. Or he would cry until the TV went on too loud.

One day, the boy came home early from school and curious as to what his dad did during the day peeped into the bedroom.

The thing in the bed no longer looked like a human. It looked like a lump of blue play dough and it was eating something. It was the body of the girl who lived next door. The boy ran to Sam and told him everything.

We were at Jimmy’s apartment. Sam had brought his 357 with him and it was business end first.

“Jimmy?! It’s Sam Johnson and Mike Davis. We have your beer!”

A voice not at all Human more like a demon said,

“Where’s m’boy? I need m’boy.”

Sam sighed and said, “Let’s end this Jimmy.”

There was no sound for a long time, then the door flew off its hinges and out came Jimmy. He had dead body parts sticking out of him and it looked like he was smiling from what he was. A fat blue blob of death.

Sam fired twice before he was decapitated and I… I was touched.

I know live in Jimmy. The boy became a man who writes this story. Be aware when you’re in San Mateo. Drive far away and ignore the sound of what sounds like play dough. This may become you! Because Jimmy grows on you like a fungus.