Short, Short Stories – The Facts of Life

By Chip Walter

I remember the day Johnny McDermott told me and Mickey and Larry the facts of life. It was a summer afternoon, the papers had been delivered and we had finished playing a little basketball at the light pole on Linda Drive.

Johnny was a touch older than us. Handsome, dark, square-jawed but almost petite, built like a jockey, which may be why he hung out with us younger kids. He shocked us one day when he said he had seen Art and Sue “do it” the night before in the bushes over by the rail road tracks, not far from the trestle above Horning Road.

“Do it? “I asked.

“Yeah, you know, DO it!” He said in a hoarse whisper. “I mean REALLY! Bang, bang, bang! I was there, watching!”  Then he went on to explain the precise meaning of “do” and “it” in great and lavish detail. Johnny had a way with words, and generally we hung on every one of them.

“No way!” I said, when he had finished. “No way did St. Joseph and Mary do that on Christmas Eve in the stable.” 

I had apparently not yet figured out the finer points of coital timing in relation to the gestation period required for human birth.

Johnny just gave me a wry and all-knowing smile as if to say, “You know they did.” (I guess he hadn’t worked out all the timing kinks either.)

I got up in a huff and said, “Well no way in the stable. And definitely no way my mom and dad did that … ever!”

And then I stomped across the Shuey’s front lawn and home with Johnny’s big, unanswered question ringing in my ears. “Well then where do you think YOU came from? The stork!?”

I thought of asking my dad if Johnny could possibly have this right. But I never did. I was afraid he might say it was all true.


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