03 April 2009

Bag of Guts

This is a true story and it happened in a town near here and it wasn’t that long ago. My friend’s cousin told it to him, he told it to me, and I’m telling it to you and it is totally true.

There was this kid named Tommy or Timmy Guttman or Tony Guttbaum or Guttfreid or Gutt-some-goddamn-thing-or-another. The important thing is that this kid’s last name started with Gutt. Maybe his family was from Germany or something. Whatever it was, his name started with Gutt and he was fat. I mean this kid was really fat. A complete pig. Enormous. Huge. Fat.

So, naturally, when this kid started school, the other kids, the normal-sized kids sort of latched on to him and started teasing him about being so fat. It was one of these really small towns with only one school so everybody knew each other from kindergarten until senior year. They started teasing Tommy or Tony or Timmy. Probably even some of the other fat kids at school teased him because, standing there next to Gutt-whatever, they didn’t look so fat anymore. It was practically fate or destiny that the other kids teased him, picked on him, and made up names for him. He’d been born for it. They called him “Jelly Belly,” “Porky Pig,” “Fatso,” “Blimp,” and whatever popped into their heads. By third grade, though, everyone had pretty much settled on calling him “Bag of Guts” because of his last name. And that’s the way it stayed until even some of the teachers thought of this kid as “Bag of Guts” like it was his real name. Hardly anyone even remembered what his first name was, that he even had a real name beside “Bag of Guts.”

By the time he got to high school, Bag of Guts weighed in around 400, maybe 500 pounds and his life was hell. He had taken so much shit for so long that it was pretty clear what the rest of his life was going to be like. He could barely make it to school anyway, could barely walk even, so he just sort of dropped out of school and nobody really came looking for him, no guidance counselors or truant officers came by the Bag of Guts’ house looking to get him to come back or anything. It made everyone’s lives a little easier to just not have him around. A few of the meanest, the most sadistic kids really did miss him but they just shifted their attention to the next closest, the next weakest kids and made their lives miserable instead. And some of those kids really, really missed the old Bag of Guts.

A year passes, maybe two years, and everyone is getting ready to graduate. Some kids are going off to college, some kids are going off to the army, some kids are just going to get a job, get pregnant, settle down, and settle in. The usual shit. Somebody spray-painted “Class of 19-whatever Rules” on some rocks. Graduation, caps and gowns, pomp and circumstance, best friends forever, don’t ever change, blah blah blah.

There was one big party on the night of graduation, a bonfire out at the end of a dirt road into the woods, woods just like these, and about half the newly graduated seniors were out there going “woo hoo” and playing music on car stereos, drinking beer and wine coolers and peppermint schnapps.

All I know, all anyone knows, is that no one came home from that party. When the cops went out there the next morning to check, the fire was still smoldering and the cars were still there, maybe just running out of batteries and still playing party music. What the cops did find out there in the woods, woods just like these, and what freaked everyone out so badly, was a huge burlap sack, a huge burlap sack that someone had made by taking regular size burlap sacks and sewing them all together, an enormous burlap bag stuffed full of teenaged hearts and livers and intestines. One big, gigantic bag of guts and nobody has seen that Guttman, Guttbaum, Guttfreid kid since.

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