• Mathura Hawley

idiot

Updated: Aug 2, 2021


My mother called him "The Village Idiot," because he would often stop while we played on the sidewalk to babble incoherently at us, or to my mother who was raking leaves or sweeping the driveway. "

A few blocks away lived an elderly man who was an angry alcoholic. He would walk down our street during hot summer days on his way to Bert's Bar on the far end. My mother called him "The Village Idiot," because he would often stop while we played on the sidewalk to babble incoherently at us, or to my mother who was raking leaves or sweeping the driveway. He was loud and made no sense when he spoke, stooped over, his cap askew, and he would yell "Whadya didya sonofabitch yastupid blah blah..," spit flying from his mouth, his feet crossing and struggling to find ground as he swayed and wavered. We would laugh and could say anything back to him as he could not comprehend a single word, especially on his way home from hours at the bar. For years, this is how we interacted, his words slurring in funny sounding spittle, our teasing responses lost on his intoxication. One day, I was playing alone outside and I saw him turn the corner of Helen Street. I was ready, and decided to let him have it first this time. "Hey, there's the Village Idiot!" I yelled at him. He stopped, his expression turned to pain, and his eyes saddened. "What a terrible name to call someone, little boy" he said, in a quietly sober and hurt voice. He shook his head, pulled his cap down and shuffled away.


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