"El Creepo"

I don’t look more disgusting or smell any worse, not to my knowledge, but all of a sudden on October 23rd I, Stewie Marx, am re-named El Creepo.

Sprawled across our couch on the fourth floor, I can feel it in my teeth how vicious the winds are roaring off the ocean, rattling our windows. Is it something I might’ve did?

All’s I can think, all’s I want, is to be Ronnie Fine for one measly day, but that being highly unlikely, I’m okay coiling up with a bag of Cheez Doodles, a straw and a nice jumbo bottle of Pepsi, watching Mighty Mouse careen across the screen, dispensing retribution with his pint-sized fists of iron.

Mom’s got different ideas.

“You, young man, are making me smoke,” she says, hovering like the Hindenburg just before it ignites. She takes a last noxious puff, blows it by my face and stubs her Parliament out so hard in the cut glass ashtray that its filter splits. “Listen to me: enough with the moanings and groanings.”

“Ma,” I say, coughing, waving at the bluish fumes, “come on, will you? Give me a break. Cigarettes make me nauseous and I’m no young man yet, not even close.”

“Get up, you!” she says. “And quit that whimpering act.”

“Act? If you knew the splitting headache I got.”

What, again?” She starts cursing me out, in these old country words she knows I don’t understand.

“Wait, wait,” I tell her. “See how mixed up you get me? Stomach, I meant stomach ache.”

“Stomach ache, my foot!” She bends over and pries open one of my eyes. “You look fine, you’re strong as an ox.”

“What, all of a sudden you’re a doctor?”

“My poor baby, you’re not skipping school again. Period! End of story.”

“It’s bad this time, I swear.”

“So? Go get the Pepto-Bismol.”

“Yuk! That makes it worse.”

“Okay, Thomashefsky, do you know what I went through to get this job? They fire you on the spot if you’re late, so get your school clothes on. Now,” she says, pinching my ear, and that, as they say, is that. Except for ducking into the toilet to chuck my guts up. “And, take a hat, damn it!” she calls through the door.

I trudge six sulking blocks into that boisterous wind storm, cursing my bum luck, and then huddle bare-headed against the springy schoolyard fence in the corner by 6th Street, as far from everyone else as could be, just me, myself, and this corroded-looking face of mine full of monstrous pimply welts. I keep kicking the fence, carrying on under my breath about why aren’t I popular, and why’s everyone on my case, and how come nobody calls for me no more, while that dopey ass Ronnie, who’s just two floors down in my building, the one we’ve lived in since I’m three, struts around like he owns the joint. Why am I the one, how come I’m El Creepo?

Mr. Perfect, he don’t look worked up at all the day previous when I prove in black and white newsprint how we’re all getting blown to bits soon. His feet don’t touch the ground, nothing gets to him.

I feel like waving the headlines in his face. “You stupid tool, you! You don’t realize them Commies are about to drop an A-bomb on Brighton Beach and obliviate us all? Dummkopf! You even know what a fallout shelter is?”

“Stewie, bay-bay,” he goes, “you’re losing your cool, man. Best believe, that Daily News, it’ll rot your mind.”

“Excuse me?” I say. “At least I got one.”

At which point I snap out of my pathetic revenge daydream, face school, and who do I see barreling towards me but the arch-enemy himself, swaying like some drunken tailor, his wimpy arms slunk around the shoulders of the two most stuck up snobs in our whole 6th-grade class. Karen Mandell and Nedda Schoenfeld, it figures, sporting identical shiny yellow rain slickers. Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee, making twin-engine airplane noises, giggling their asinine heads off. The second Nedda sees it’s me in the corner, she scrunches her eyes, and my pulse starts thudding.

Eww,” she says, gagging, “look out, Ronald! We’re about to crash land into El Creepo. S.O.S!”

“El what?” I shout, stalking off towards the handball courts like I got urgent business to attend to. Then, I twist back around to give the hysterical threesome an unobstructed view of me kissing them off with my raised middle finger. “Think you’re funny? Last time I heard that I fell off my pet dinosaur.” The sad truth being, last time is yesterday, hurrying through the schoolyard.