Chapter 4 - Legs eleven
I’ve probably had only a handful of times where I was as happy as I was in those months of training with Uncle Wilbur. When she could, Mrs Kimble would give me a shift at her bakery which meant I could throw Pa a few bucks ta help with groceries, and it made for a good excuse for being tired.
When I wasn’t helping out Mrs Kimble during the day, Pa was home and we’d hang out. I’d press him for tales about my Uncles. We didn’t have much money and I could see how much it ground at Pa that he couldn’t afford to send me ta college. It was ok. Unbeknown ta him, I was getting the education I wanted whilst he worked at Uncle Marv's tailor shop onna evening.
The first weeks Uncle Wilbur really pushed me hard. Push up after sit up after push up. It was hard, especially if I’d been kneading dough during the day. And the whole time Wilbur would ask me to reconsider, telling me all about the times he’d suffered concussions and broken ribs.
One of the things that was actually surprising was how nice and large his place was. From the stories Pa used ta tell me , he never actually ever made any money on account of him been caught all the time. I didn’t want to press that as he was helping me. But he had an actual mini lair which was cool. One of the things he taught me was how to take a hit. Showing me how to roll outta grapple holds and fall correctly. It reminded me of when he and Uncle Manuel helped me out with Gymnastics. It strangely made me miss Lori.
When Pa worked through the night I got chance to try the Suit on again and again. It did become quite infectious. I never ventured outside of our brownstone in Brooklyn, but I did make sour cream and salami bagels wearing it. It helped with the movement, which became easier every time I wore it. So much so that I could move around the kitchen quite freely. After a month I was whipping up a moussaka in the suit.
“The time has come Eugene. We can dance around in this lair until the cows come home, but you need experience on the streets. Tomorrow night we go on patrol”. The excitement washing over me was uncontrollable, which may be why I vomited.
That day seemed ta take forever and even hanging out with Pa seemed ta stretch on. But sure enough the time came and Pa left for work at Uncle Marv’s. Wilbur rocked up shortly after, wearing a long bulky trench coat and holding a large brown paper bag which he tossed ta me.
“What’s this?” I asked, “It’s your uniform to go patrolling tonight. You’re not ready for “the Suit” but the ski mask and boiler suit in there will do you fine. Now suit up” Uncle Wilbur responded.
I quickly changed and was ready. “What are you going ta wear Uncle Wilbur if I’m looking like the shadow of a Putty Patroller?”
“You should be honoured Eugene. Cause tonight you walk tall with the tantalising ‘STILT MAN’”
Whipping back his oversized trench coat, Uncle Wilbur revealed only what I had ever seen in the pages of the Bugle. It was quite a sight. He looked like a pimped up Tin Man from Oz. How is it that in all those pictures he was defeated, this is quite an intimidating sight ta look at.
‘Come ma boy, I have a tip on an MGH deal going down with some pushers over on 33rd lets go” Uncle Wilbur’s voice had changed , he spoke in a 50’s TV serial accent. He turned outta the house, and with one swift movement and the rattling sound of gears grinding, the tantalising Stilt Man’s legs rose high out of the court yard. With a single stride he was gone over the wall. I could hear the thump of his giant steps walking away with conviction. This truly was an amazing sight ta see.
There was only one problem. He was moving at 5 meters a stride. Impressive. What’s not impressive is that he’s left me standing still in the backyard of our brownstone and he’s already a block ahead..........