The Life and Death of Dick Nibbler
By Lucas Cox
Dick stared up at the bottom of the mattress that was supported by three flimsy boards only a foot above his face. It had been another night without sleep. He had to be at work by 7:00 AM and he was quietly waiting for the sound of country music to play from his alarm clock, signaling him that it was 5:30AM and he could give up the meaningless charade of silently lying in bed throughout the night in an attempt to convince others or perhaps himself that he was a normal person that was capable of sleep. Dick had not slept for longer than a three-hour stretch since the age of fourteen. He turned his head to look at the clock; it was 3:56AM.
Just as Dick looked at his alarm clock the mattress above his head began to rise. Dick closed his eyes and pretended to sleep as a way of avoiding the chance that his younger brother might see him awake. He heard his brother climb down the short ladder at the foot of the bunk bed and walk to the corner of the room. Dick knew that his brother was on the other side of the room because the thin floor of their single bedroom trailer home was rather creaky, which gives away an occupant’s location easily. Dick opened his eyes and watched. His brother, Bo Jackson, was facing away from him. Bo Jackson had lifted up the lid to the clothes hamper and was apparently urinating into it as if it were a toilet. Bo Jackson had a tendency to sleep walk and mistaking the clothes hamper for a toilet during his nocturnal strolls was a common occurrence; it happened at least twice a month. Dick realized that his morning work clothes were in the clothes hamper that his brother was currently relieving himself in, but he didn’t care. He remained silent and listened as his brother finished his business and climbed back up the ladder and nestled himself back into his position at the top of their bunk bed. Dick then resumed his staring at the bottom of the mattress.
After what seemed like an eternity, the voice of Toby Keith singing “Red Solo Cup” began to emit from Dick’s radio. Despite his deep love for country music, Dick absolutely hated this song. This song was a representation of the party lifestyle. A lifestyle that Dick had never lived, it was the lifestyle of the various bullies that had tormented him throughout his entire life. He let out a short sigh of relief, as he no longer had to pretend to sleep and then climbed out of bed. Despite being on the bottom level of the bunk bed it was still a bit of a climb down because Dick was only five feet and two inches tall.
He turned off the alarm clock and put on his glasses that he placed on top of the nightstand every night before bed. He was helpless without his glasses. The lenses of his glasses were more like mirrors rather than glasses that would bend light to aid in the focus of objects that were near or far. They wrapped around the sides of his eye sockets much like a pair of aviator goggles. Dick was born with a rare type of strabismus defined as constant exotropia of both eyes. In other words
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both of his eyes pointed outward; a sort of reversed crossed eyes. Dick had the lenses of his glasses permanently tinted to hide his embarrassment for his wonky eye alignment. He went about his daily routine of getting ready for work.
After a brief stretch Dick walked over to the clothes hamper where his younger brother had urinated onto his daily work clothes only an hour and a half earlier. These were his only suitable work clothes and he didn’t have time to wash his green polo shirt and kakis before having to arrive at work; besides, the washing machine caused his younger brother to panic. He reached into the clothes hamper and removed his polo and kakis that had been resting on top of the pile of clothes, making an easy target for his brother’s pee stream. Luckily his clothes only felt damp and not fully saturated with urine. Dick took his work clothes into the bathroom with him and hung them over the top of the shower door as he showered before work. Maybe the shower steam would remove some of the urine smell from his clothes. Meanwhile in the bedroom, Bo Jackson began to awake from the deep sleep that he achieved nightly with little to no effort. In fact, Bo Jackson could fall asleep anywhere.
Dick’s younger brother, Bo Jackson, was born with moderate mental retardation in the year 1985 and today was his twenty-seventh birthday. Twenty-seven years ago when Barry and Kathleen Nibbler asked their then fourteen-year-old son, Dick Nibbler, what he wanted to name his little brother, Dick proudly announced, “Bo Jackson!” At the time of Bo Jackson’s birth, the multi talented athlete Bo Jackson of the famous “Bo Knows…” advertising campaign had just won the coveted Heisman Trophy and both Dick and his father Barry Nibbler were huge college football fans. More importantly, Dick Nibbler had already suffered through fourteen years of harassment over being named Dick Nibbler and he felt that his baby brother could avoid such mental anguish by having a fine name like Bo Jackson Nibbler. Much to Dick’s surprise, his parents chose to go with Dick’s choice for his newborn baby brother’s name. Dick had never thought of the possibility that his brother would be declared mentally retarded by the age of three, or even worse that people would shorten his brother’s name to B.J. Giving him the title of Mr. B.J. Nibbler; which was on par or possibly worse than the title of Dick Nibbler. Dick had been named after his late grandfather on his mother’s side of the family, Dick Johnson. With a name like Dick Johnson Nibbler it was entirely unavoidable for Dick to escape ridicule whether he used his first or middle name for means of identification. He had tried to go by the name of John Nibbler but everyone already knew his name in the small town of Kearney, Nebraska.
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Dick finished his shower and dried off his short statured and overly hairy body. Dick had more hair on his back and shoulders than he did on his scalp. His hairline had begun its recession at the same time that his body had chosen to grow vast amounts of pubic hair, beginning at the age of sixteen. Dick was short, bald, overweight, hairy bodied, had eyes that appeared to constantly be staring at both of his shoulders, but he also had a sixth ailment that was far worse than all of the others. He was reminded of this disability multiple times per day, everyday. Every morning after his shower he was faced with the first reminder of his most horrible challenge as soon as he fastened the straps of his adult diaper around his waist. Dick had been born with a high lesion imperforate anus. Meaning that when Dick entered this world he was born without an anus. He was lucky enough to have not been born with any internal malformations and nothing more than the lack of an opening for his feces to exit his body. The doctors had immediately made an incision to give Dick the ability to remove excrement from his body and this action was enough to save him from an infantile death, but it also left him with no muscles to control his anal opening. When Dick had to address the proverbial “number two” he had no ability to control the timing of his release. The option of having a colostomy was always before him but he feared the expenses that and especially having to go under the knife. Dick fastened the diaper around his waist and reached for his dampened work clothes. He placed his green polo shirt under his nose to inspect the smell. The shower steam had managed to lighten the scent but it still smelled of urine. He put on his kaki pants, applied some deodorant under each arm, put on his polo and tucked it into his kakis, and walked into the six by eight foot kitchen area.
Bo Jackson was sitting at the small fold out card table in the kitchen that also doubled as the living room. Bo was eating a bowl of generic Cheerios and diligently watching a rerun of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Dick was a news junky that was often deprived of his morning news feast due to his mentally challenged brother’s need to watch the Disney Chanel every morning. This was the episode of Zack and Cody where a new kid joins the orchestra as a violinist and flirts with Zack’s girlfriend. They had seen this episode several times but that didn’t matter to Bo Jackson. Bo could witness a single episode of Zack and Cody a thousand times and every viewing experience would feel like the first.
Dick walked to the kitchen counter and removed a bowl from the cupboard. He saw that there were no clean spoons so he chose to eat with his fingers. He took his special cereal from the cupboard above the sink. His special cereal was anything full of fat and sugar while specifically lacking fiber. Eating healthy was not an option for Dick because a lifestyle of exercise and healthy foods made Dick regular while a life of junk food and laziness delayed his needs to use the restroom. Two decades of purposely eating a diet full of over processed fats and sugars had saved Dick from many messy and embarrassing accidents involving his bowels but had also caused him to become rather overweight and unshapely. His intentionally poor diet had also been the culprit behind him never having hit a growth spurt during his youth.
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Dick poured himself a bowl of generic brand Cookie Crisps and sat down next to his brother. Bo Jackson acknowledged him with a quick glance and a smile before continuing to watch and laugh at the Zack and Cody rerun he had already seen countless times.
Dick gazed at his bowl of cereal with his tired glazed over eyes that pointed towards opposite walls of the trailer home. He was tired of eating this garbage. Everyday he would tell himself that this was the day; the day that he would turn his life around. He would present the reasons in his head of why he should be courageous and take what he wants in this world because goddammit, his life was passing him by, and then one by one he would shoot those reasons down with what he presumed to be logic. He had been going through this daily mental pep talk and shoot-down for forty-one years now and yet he remained in the same living purgatory that he had placed himself in.
“Is there a toy?” Bo Jackson asked as he broke the silence and chewed his dry generic Cheerios loudly.
“What’s that Bo?” Dick said while shaking his head to wake himself from his trance.
“A toy. Is there a toy in your breakfast box?”
“No Bo. They don’t put toys in the cheap boxes of cereal. They only put them in the expensive boxes of Cookie Crisps.” Dick replied.
This news caused Bo Jackson to stare at his bowl of cereal for a moment with the slight hint of a frown on his face. After a second’s pause he resumed shoveling cheap cereal into his mouth and shifted his attention back to the television with a renewed smile on his face.
Dick pushed his bowl aside and placed his elbow onto the table and then rested his head in his open hand. He looked at his brother in awe. Bo Jackson was mentally challenged and had been given the name of B.J. Nibbler. Bo had suffered through the same amount of torment that Dick had agonized through during his childhood. And just like Dick, Bo had never experienced love in neither the emotional or physical sense. In fact, neither Dick nor B.J. had ever received the physical pleasures that Bo’s abbreviated name stood for, and they never would. The difference between Dick and Bo Jackson was that Dick was fully aware of their dire situation while Bo Jackson was able to live a happy life within his unintentional ignorant bliss. Dick loved his little brother more than anything in the world but on
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some small level, Dick was jealous of his younger brother because of this. To most individuals, intelligence is a gift. But to Dick, intelligence only meant that he must be fully aware of his dismal existence at all times while Bo’s stupidity allowed him to live with no comprehension of how pathetic the lives of him and his older brother really were. Ignorance is bliss, and Dick yearned for this bliss.
Dick slightly cocked his head to one side and looked at the time on his oversized digital watch. It was already 5:44AM.
“Five minute warning Bo. Finish your cereal because it’s time to go to work.” Dick said to his brother as he scooted away from the card table and walked towards his shabby blue winter coat hanging on the doorknob of the front door.
Bo began to eat his cereal at a ravenous pace while slowly moving away from the table. Dick had already put on his own worn out winter coat that he had worn every winter for the past twenty-one years and was holding Bo’s jacket in preparation to place it on his younger brother and zip it up for him. It was an unusually cold November in Nebraska and it was his duty to make sure his little brother avoided catching any kind of illness this winter. They couldn’t afford to pay any medical bills and neither one of them received any benefits from the grocery store where they were both currently and most likely permanently employed. They received a check in the mail from the government for Bo Jackson’s disability every month but after using it to pay for their much-needed DirecTV satellite, Xbox video games, and some groceries there was little if any leftover to pay for rent and other necessities. Dick was in charge of both his and Bo’s financial investments, and though he could be considered a penny-pincher by most, their parents had never given Dick any sort of financial education.
Dicks father, Barry Nibbler, was possibly the stingiest man that had ever lived in terms of spending money. Nearly all children that are born with an imperforate anus are immediately given a colostomy, in which an opening is made in their abdominal wall as an alternate exit for waste. Barry Nibbler had gone for the much cheaper option of cutting the membrane that covered Dick’s anal opening, knowing that Dick would never have control over his bowel movements. Barry
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chose this cheaper option because he felt that the purchasing of a new water heater was a higher priority than the future dignity of his newborn son.
When Dick was born, he and his parents lived in a small but adequate three-bedroom home. His mother, Kathleen Johnson-Nibbler, endured the never-ending task of cleaning up after Dick’s accidents. Due to the constant soaping and rinsing of the carpets throughout the house large amounts of mold had grown underneath the carpeting and between nearly every floorboard of their home. Mold is like cancer to a house and is highly dangerous to the people living within it. The Nibbler family was unaware of the lethal damage that the hidden mold within their home was performing on their respiratory systems for the fourteen years that they lived under its roof.
Two months after the birth of Bo Jackson, Kathleen Johnson-Nibbler continued to have severe uterine bleeding as a result of his birth. The problem should have been addressed earlier but Barry Nibbler refused to pay the hospital for anymore “bullshit procedures because the labor had cost him enough Goddamn money already”. So Kathleen avoided medical assistance as long as she could until one day while she was working her secretary job at Rocky River’s Real Estate office, the bleeding would not stop. Rocky River was the name of the real estate agent, and it was in fact his actual name. Quirky names are common in small towns like Kearney Nebraska. Rocky was quite fond of Kathleen and he felt that her husband treated her cruelly. Despite her arguments Rocky drove Kathleen to the hospital himself. It was determined by the doctor that Kathleen required a hysterectomy as soon as possible, and that was her only option.
The doctor had given this news to Kathleen on Tuesday, and at 6:00AM on the following Monday morning she found herself lying across an operation table. There were no complications and the operation was a success. However, during her anesthetized incapacitation a minor infection had set its course for destruction within her lungs.
Dick’s last happy memory of his mother was of him sitting on her hospital bed while she was holding his baby brother in her arms. Their father had gone downstairs to the hospital cafeteria to take advantage of the free dinner rolls, so Dick and Bo were alone with their loving mother. He remembered her hazel eyes looking at him through the lenses of his strange glasses. It was the only look of admiration that he had ever received in his life. And while sitting on her hospital bed that afternoon, he heard something that he would not hear again until the age of forty-one years. She said, “Dick, I love you.” He would carry those amazing words
from his mother with him and use them as a shield against every hateful remark
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from strangers and bullies that he would hear on a regular basis for the rest of his life.
A nurse had told Dick that his mother would only need to be hospitalized for two days, but she had developed a mild cough the day after the surgery. The cough quickly progressed into violent gurgling coughs and a fever of 102 degrees. The morning after the cough had begun, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. A doctor had told Barry that the lung infection seemed to have been present before she had even entered the hospital. He recommended that he check their home for signs of mold. Barry kept this recommendation to himself. He kissed his sleeping wife on the forehead and drove home with his children for the night. After Dick and Bo had fallen asleep, he used a box cutter to cut through a small portion of carpet in the living room and then peeled it back. Underneath it was a thick fuzzy yellow-green layer of mold that was growing between the padding and the wooden floor. Barry was furious.
The following morning Barry called a friend of his that was a carpenter to ask him for some advice on the situation. His friend told him that the mold had most likely been caused by the constant use of water on the carpeting to clean up after Dick’s uncontrollable and accidental bowel movements. He said that with the amount of mold that must be growing within their house, it would be easier and much cheaper for him to sell the house and buy a new one. This infuriated Barry Nibbler. Barry slammed the phone back into its hook and as soon as he turned away, the phone began to ring. He turned around and picked it up. “What now?” he growled into the phone.
“Is this Mr. Barry Nibbler that I’m speaking with?” asked the female voice on the other end of the line.
“Yep. This is Barry. Who’s this?”
“Um Mr. Nibbler, we need you to come to the Good Samaritan Hospital as soon as possible. This is concerning your wife.”
“Let me guess. You need to milk some more fucking money out of me. Look asshole, I’ll be at the hospital after I’ve run some errands. I’ve got more important shit to do rather than forking over all of my hard earned cash to some namby-pamby fucking doctors.”
“I’m sorry sir, but you need to come to the hospital right away. It’s very important.”
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“Alright then. I guess I’ll put all of my shit on hold and come to your fucking hospital.” Barry grumbled these last words in a sarcastic tone. He hung up the phone and called for his eldest son to hurry downstairs. Dick came rushing down with his baby brother in his arms.
“Get dressed, we’re going back to the hospital and I’m getting your mom out of that fucking place before they rob us of every penny we’ve got.”
Dick rushed back to his bedroom and put on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. He wrapped his baby brother in a clean blanket and accompanied his father in a slow paced car ride back to the hospital in their rusty outdated station wagon. Once they had arrived at the hospital and were checking in at the front desk, a doctor came out to greet them. The doctor acted pleased to see them but he had a very sorrowful demeanor. The doctor pulled Barry aside to talk to him in private. Dick held his baby brother while standing next to the front counter and watched the doctor converse with his father on the other side of the room, but he was unable to hear the conversation. The doctor said something to his father and then his father’s jaw dropped open. His father ran his fingers through his hair and then placed his hand over his mouth. He looked sad. After a few more words with the doctor, his father looked at Dick and motioned for him to come over to him. Dick did just that.
“What is it dad?” Dick asked in his sad childish voice.
“Dick. We’re going to go see your mother. And it isn’t good Dick. It isn’t good at all.”
“Mr. Nibbler. I’m sorry but it probably isn’t very appropriate for your…” The doctor was saying to Barry before he was interrupted.
“Shut your Goddamn mouth already! My son needs to see his mother one last time! He needs to see what’s happened, he needs to see what he’s done!” Barry Nibbler shouted at the doctor.
Barry had never fully understood why his father had said those words to the doctor, and his father had never given him an explanation either. This was the kindest thing that Barry would ever do for his son. The doctor had told Barry that his wife had passed away during the night due to complications from pneumonia. The doctor explained that they had determined that she had been exposed to some sort of airborne contaminant or possibly some kind of mold for a very long time. And this exposure had weakened her respiratory and immune system. The surgery was too much for her body to recover from and her weakened state had allowed the lung disease to wreck her body. As a result, her body had surrendered to the battle.
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Barry placed a firm hand on his son’s shoulder and led him upstairs through the elevator and to the door of his mother’s hospital room. Dick did not understand the unspoken tension and he was too nervous to ask his father because of the angry look on his face. They entered his mother’s room and there she was lying on her bed. The sounds of the machines that had previously been attached to her were still in the room, but now they were no longer attached to her and they were silent. Her eyes were closed and her mouth was slightly opened. She was wearing a blank but somehow peaceful expression on her face. Barry tightened his grip on his son’s shoulder.
“Your mother’s dead, Dick. Go over there and say your goodbyes.” Barry said to his son in a very straightforward and slightly strained voice.
Dick froze at the sound of those words. He looked at his mother, and then looked up at his father and then back at his mother. He handed his baby brother over to his father and very slowly approached his mother’s still body. He reached out and took her right hand into his own. It was ice cold. The warmth of his mother’s touch had been the only physical affection that Dick had ever known, and now it was gone. Dick looked closely at his mother’s lifeless face. Blood had crusted her nostrils and there were lines of dried tears streaming down her cheeks. It gave her face an expression of terror and unanswered concerns. He would always regret not being there for her in her final hours but in that same thought he hoped that it was him that his mother had been crying out for. Nobody could forget a sight as horrific as the aftermath of his or her mother’s tragic and lonely demise. Dick’s crooked eyes welled with tears and his bottom lip trembled. He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. Her cheek was cold to the touch and her face gave no response. Dick fully realized that the only person that ever held any concern for him was gone.
Dick would never know that the doctor had told Barry that it would be unwise for him to show the body of his recently deceased wife to his young teenage son. Barry was a cruel and selfish man however, and he believed that Dick was the reason that his precious Kathleen was dead. It was Dick’s accidents that had created the need to wash the carpets and it was the washing of the carpets that had caused the mold to grow. If Dick had never been born then Barry would still have his beautiful Kathleen. Instead he now had an ugly untalented teenage son and an infant that would later be diagnosed as being mentally challenged. Dick was the source of all of his miseries.
Fourteen-year-old Dick Nibbler found it nearly impossible to sleep that night, and he would not obtain a peaceful sleep until the time of his death.
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The morning after his mother had died, a man in coveralls knocked on the front door. Dick answered the door and the man explained that he was a carpenter that was friends with his father and he was there to inspect the house, so Dick let him in. Barry led the man around the house and the man peeled up corners of carpet and looked under every bit of furniture in every room of the house. Half an hour later, Barry shook the man’s hand and the carpenter left. As soon as Barry closed the door behind the man, Barry looked at Dick and said, “Well Dick, we’re getting the fuck out of this place.”
Two days later there was an open casket viewing of Kathleen Johnson-Nibbler’s body at the lesser known Homer-Liskey Funeral Home and Cremation Services building on the Northeastern edge of Kearney. The Homer-Liskey Funeral Home was open to visitors from 8:00AM to 7:30PM and Dick spent every moment he could of the two days before his mother’s cremation sitting next to her casket. He would begin his walk to the funeral home at 7:00AM and arrive at the front doors by 7:30. Jason Liskey, the eldest son of John Liskey, would arrive at 7:55AM and unlock the front door for Dick to enter. Jason felt sorry for the unusual looking boy and he had placed a metal folding chair next to his mother’s casket for him. The funeral home had pillows for elderly visitors to sit on when visiting their departed loved ones, and Jason had placed on of these pillows onto Dick’s chair for him. He knew that Dick would be sitting in that chair until he was asked to leave at 7:35PM. Dick showed up early on the third day and when Jason arrived to unlock the front door, Jason felt heartbroken at the sight of the boy. Jason took young Dick aside to tell him that his mother’s body had been cremated. Dick didn’t want to believe him and insisted that he be let inside to see for himself. Jason unlocked the door and held it open for Dick to enter. Dick walked into the visiting room and saw that an obese old man had taken his mother’s place in the casket. Jason patted the short teenage boy on the head and told him he was sorry. Very few visitors had come to view Kathleen’s body, and Barry Nibbler was not one of them. Dick would never comprehend how a woman as wonderful as his mother could be so ignored in both life and death. He walked home with his head down.
When Dick arrived home he saw that a moving truck was parked in front of their home. The front door was propped open with a brick. Dick walked inside and saw his father attempting to move the blue love seat in the living room on his own.
“Holy shit Dick! Where the hell have you been? Don’t just stand there like a lump on your ass, get the hell over here and help me with this couch!” Barry yelled at Dick as he strained to pick up the couch on his own.
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Dick immediately ran over to the opposing side of the couch and helped his father lift it. Dick began to ask questions as they carried the couch through the front door.
“What’s going on dad?”
“Like I said. We’re getting the hell out of here.”
“But where are we going?” Dick asked.
“I got us a nice little trailer over in East Lawn. Now that your mother’s gone, we won’t be needing a big old house like this. Its just going to be us men living together and roughing it from now on.” Barry answered.
Barry was attempting to sound like a caring father that was teaching his son how to be a man, but Dick had just returned from the funeral home where his father had ordered for his mother’s cremation without informing him about it first. Dick didn’t understand his father’s thought process but he hated him now nonetheless.
After helping his father fill the medium sized moving truck with furniture and clothing for a laborious three hours, Barry drove Dick and an infant Bo Jackson towards their new home. They parked the truck in the alley behind the Salvation Army to drop off most of his mother’s clothes and belongings in the donation area that resembled a small landfill. Dick was bewildered when he witnessed his father forcefully shoving his mother’s wedding dress into the donation dumpster but he continued to pile the boxes of his mother’s belongings in fear that his father would yell at him for not following his orders.
Dick sat in the passenger seat of the bumpy moving truck as it drove towards their new home, holding his brother in his lap. They entered the front gates of East Lawn and Dick looked out the window at his new neighborhood. The trailer park was filled with old rusty trailer homes and very small unkempt lawns with various children’s toys strewed about. It seemed that in the driveway of each trailer home was a pick-up truck or a Monte Carlo that appeared to be twice as nice and more expensive than the trailer home itself, and on the other side of each trailer home was a ridiculously oversized barbeque grill. Dick was not pleased with this neighborhood.
Barry then unexpectedly turned the truck into the driveway of the second smallest trailer home in the neighborhood and stopped the truck.
“Here it is boys. We’re home!” Barry said with a phony happy expression.
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Dick grunted and exited the vehicle. After inspecting their new single bedroom trailer home Dick was holding back tears. He wanted to go home. He wanted his old bedroom. He wanted his mother.
“Sorry Dick, but you’re going to have to sleep in the living room with your baby brother until you get a job to help pay for a bigger place.” Barry told his son as he stacked boxes of his own belongings in the single bedroom.
Dick was fourteen and was about to begin high school in less than a month. He had never held a job before.
Dick attended North Kearney High School that following month of August. He was greeted with nothing but awkward stares and random insults as he took his first walk through the hallway towards his assigned locker. Dick never met any meaningful friends during his high school career. During his high school days, he considered someone a friend if they refrained themselves from verbally harassing him while standing amongst a crowd of jocks that were berating him much like a pack of wolves feasting on the wounded. School was a living hell for Dick and he found no solace within his home either. His father had taken a factory job at Baldwin Filters that required him to work seventy hours per week. When his father wasn’t working he was spending his free time with fellow coworkers at Chug A’ Lug’s bar. After school Dick was stuck at home caring for his little brother. They would be awakened while sleeping in the living room when their father would come bursting through the front door at two in the morning, dragging a random trailer trash whore to the bedroom with him. Fowl words and sounds of sexual pleasures would escape his father’s room for half an hour after that, and then he and Bo Jackson would be able to fall back to sleep.
High school was a never-ending battle of mental endurance for Dick Nibbler, and he surrendered to the enemy halfway through his junior year. Dick dropped out of high school and chose to rely on his part time job as a stock and bag boy at the Econo-Foods supermarket on top of the hill on 39th and 2nd Avenue. Despite the different owners and name changes of this grocery store, Dick would remain an employee there for the rest of his life.
Four years after Dick had entered high school and one year after he had dropped out, he came home from work one evening to find his brother sitting on the floor of a bare living room. He gently grilled his incompetent younger brother for details but never came to a reasonable explanation of what had happened. All that Dick knew is that their father had taken all of his belongings and had left them the single bedroom trailer. Dick was more frightened than angry.
Dick learned through an unwanted crash course on how to pay monthly bills and care for himself and his disabled brother, but he never quite got the hang of it. Every month he obtained some new level of credit debt or late payment warnings. He hated his life and the only thing that prevented him from making an exit was his fear of death. He avoided taking risks in life so that he could safely make it to death. He saw the lack of logic in this common way of thinking but he didn’t know how to break the mental chain.
“Dick. Dick! I need my mittens!” Bo Jackson shouted at Dick to wake him from his daydream.
“Yeah Bo, I know.” Dick said as he pulled Bo’s slightly too small pair of Pac-Man winter mittens from the pockets of his winter coat. Bo held out his hands and Dick put them on for him. He then pulled the hood of Bo’s winter coat over his head to keep his little brother’s ears warm.
“Okay Bo, let’s go.” Dick said as he patted his brother’s hooded head.
Dick and Bo had to walk to work every morning. Dick could not afford the current gas prices let alone afford a car. They made the nearly one hour trek across town every morning whether snow or rain, and they were never late for work. Dick and Bo were seen as being the strange idiots that everyone had witnessed walking on the sidewalk at one time or another, but nobody knew of their true past. Rumors abound about their true history. Children would be playing in their front yards, only to run inside their homes at the sight of Dick and Bo’s approach. Dick knew the children were watching them pass by while they peeked through blinds and cracked doors but he kept his face down and stared at the sidewalk. Dick and Bo Jackson were the freaks of Kearney Nebraska. They were ostracized from the very community that they served and lived in.
Dick hated his life. Most men like Dick would simply fade away. No one would ever know of his death; they would only realize they no longer saw him walking the streets on occasion. Most men like Dick would disappear like the flame of a candle in the wind, but Dick’s life was about to become much more important. Unbeknownst to Dick or anyone else for that matter, this was the last day of Dick’s life. Dick’s final breath would not be wasted on a cowardly whimper, it would be belted out with a heroic roar.