Life is But a Theme
From 2013-2016, 'Life is But a Theme' shed light on Frank's life, loves, and his world of play.
This section will be periodically updated.
This section will be periodically updated.
n honor of the 84th Annual Major League Baseball All Star Game's completion, I give you this valuable lesson that took place on the evening of the 58th Annual All Star Game. . .
It had been decided between 'Osha' and myself (going by the Osha given name, 'Iss') that Tuesday July 14th, 1987 would be an all baseball night. There would be the All Star Game. There would be Stratomatic. There would be epic baseball card trading. That last part most likely would involve me getting hornswoggled in some ridiculous exchange that would not matter years later because nobody who was a child of the 1980's would have their baseball cards thrown out, as their grandparents had done to their fathers (or mothers), thus diluting the cards' worth to the point that you still to this very day wonder why you spent your paperboy earnings on things such as an Eric Davis Donruss Rookie Card.
It was a stormy night - as in the epic kind of summer thunderstorm - thunder, lightning, rain, witches on a heath, wind, naked Lear roaming the village streets - anything was possible.
Osha was two years older than me, so he already had the Greg Brady seminal moment of moving his bedroom up into the attic of his house. In retrospect, it was probably a gutted oversized walk in closet, but his bedroom was in an attic! His baseball card collection were on shelves outside his room in the hallway! He had access to his own hallway!!! He also had a television in his room.
The game was afoot.
No one scored for the first 12 innings.
Now, when all of the best players in professional baseball gather in one stadium, you inflate your expectations slightly. I mean, these are the guys that will make your baseball card collection worth millions (present day note: there were twelve Hall of Famers on the field that night). And when no team scores for twelve innings, even the best of the best young baseball fans in the world get bored. And when you get bored, your mind starts playing tricks on you.
The attic was old. And creaky. The storm was raging. And there were two very bored chickens in the henhouse.
Noises started to come to the forefront. Slams. Bangs. Forceful. Interspersed with thunderclaps. From the 7th inning on all I could think was this was the very reason why I never saw Friday the 13th, Halloween, or A Nightmare on Elm Street - especially when there was an Elm Street in our neighborhood.
9th inning - still no score.
Osha made an executive decision. We would head downstairs to investigate. I didn't see any real need for this. I thought barricading the door was the better idea. What I'm sure Osha was thinking was actually my second thought - if his parents were aware, then we could carry on with our lives.
...Unless his parents had been slashed by a hockey masked wolverine.
We made our way downstairs. The attic was actually the second floor of the house, but the first floor was massive - huge living room, a dining room you could play ping pong in (and we did), kitchen, master bedroom, television room (Osha's old room), and a huge porch wrapped with bay windows on three sides.
We made our way towards the porch. You could not have orchestrated the moment any better if you tried. The brightest white of lightning lit up the room like Gorbachev pushed the button. We both saw the same thing in that flash...
A window was cracked open.
There was no time to react as the richter scale thunderclap sent us into Scooby-Doo fear frozen poses. When that subsided, Osha and I confirmed what we had saw. And now, sadly, we had to find the intruder.
Slowly we made our way through the darkened rooms - living room, dining room... The master bedroom was still closed shut and I could tell Osha was under strict orders to never open that door. As we passed through each room, eliminating them as potential villainous liars, my feet started getting heavy. Osha was in the lead ahead of me as he made his way to the television room. He reached the doorway.
Another flash of lightning and I saw it from a distance.
Osha saw it right in front of his eyes.
Someone was sleeping on the couch!
I think we walked backwards all the way back up the attic stairs. We barricaded the doorway. The Expos' Tim Raines tripled to win the game for the National League in the 13th inning (or something like that). Osha kept speaking of the 'Skinny Neck' he saw sleeping on the couch.
Why we didn't think to run across the street to my house, I don't know. But I will tell you, moviegoers who get angry at horror movie characters running away from the villain by going back into the house and up the stairs...? Authentic. The brain causes you to retreat to whatever womb is available rather than into the great wide open.
The next morning 'Skinny Neck' was gone. Because there was no 'Skinny Neck'.
'Skinny Neck' was Osha's mother. His parents had been fighting.
I still don't watch horror movies. And I still prefer AC to having any windows open.
Even when I'm driving.