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Papa Joe  ~  Telling Tales

Johnny, I'm On The First Step © 1996 by Papa Joe

My brother Johnny, was always in trouble. My mother used to break the paddles on him. She would spank him so much. It didn't help though.

He would do the strangest things. He is a big tease. We never knew what to expect. Like...

Johnny loved liver. Many kids like liver? Johnny loved liver so much, that he would even eat it raw. Sometimes, he would take raw liver to school and slurp it down at lunch to make the other kids sick. Like I told you, Johnny was a big tease.

One day, Johnny was trying to behave. That was not easy for him. But he was trying and my mother was always glad to help him try. This day, she had an idea that she was sure would work.

"Johnny, I'd like you to take this dollars and run down to the store and buy some liver for supper."

Since Johnny loved liver, my mom was sure he would do this chore right.

Johnny took the dollar, stuck it in his pocket, and headed down the street. The store wasn't far, but between our house and the store was a baseball field. Ya know! I think the only thing Johnny liked better than liver, was baseball.

There were kids playing in the field as Johnny walked by.

"Johnny. Come pitch for us."

Johnny was trying to be good. He wanted to buy that liver. But he loved to play baseball.

"Okay, guys. But just one inning."

The one inning turned into two, then three, then a game, then more games... until the mothers were calling the others home for supper. That's when Johnny remembered the liver.

He ran to the store, but it was too late. The store was closed. Now Johnny was upset. Instead of being good, he had done it again. He didn't care about being spanked. He didn't think it hurt. But he had been trying so hard to be good. Now what could he do.

As he turned to go home, he saw the funeral home. It was right across the street from the store. It was called Blakes and they fixed up the bodies down in the cellar. That was when Johnny got the idea.

He went behind the store and found some butcher's paper in the trash. He carefully straightened out the wrinkles and quietly slipped across the street, around the back of the funeral home, down the cellar stairs...

No one was around, but the dead bodies. Quickly and quietly, Johnny found the freshest body. Quickly and quietly, he found it's liver. Quickly and quietly, he wrapped that liver up in the butcher's paper and slipped out of that cellar.

A short time later, he handed the liver to my mother. He kept the dollar, of course.

That was the only time I ever saw Johnny pass up liver. He said he didn't feel good and everyone believed him for once. He must have felt sick. Why else would Johnny pass up liver.

Me? Oh, no. I didn't eat liver back then. I was really young. I didn't like mashed potatoes either.

Now I need to tell you about my family. We had ten kids and only three bedrooms. Three of my sisters slept in the far room, the other three slept in the middle room, and all four boys slept in the near room, at the top of the stairs. My parents slept downstairs on a folded away sofa.

That night, when we had all gone to sleep, Johnny was still awake. He was always the last to fall asleep. I think it was because his conscience bothered him so much. Anyways, it was really late and he was just drifting off when he heard a noise.

Slap Slap! Slap Slap! It sounded like bare feet on the walkway outside. Slap Slap! Slap Slap!

Then he heard the voice. "Johnny. Johnny. I'm at your front door. I want my liver."

At first, Johnny just though he was dreaming. But then... he heard the front door open. "Johnny. Johnny. I'm in your house. I want my liver."

Now Johnny wasn't afraid of much. That was one of the reasons he was always in trouble. But he wasn't feeling very brave as he heard: Slap Slap! Slap Slap! The foot steps crossing the bare wooden floor.

"Johnny. Johnny. I'm on the first step. I want my liver."

Johnny pulled his covers over his head. Slap Slap! Slap Slap! Slap Slap!

"Johnny. Johnny. I'm on the seventh step. I want my liver."

There were thirteen steps to our stairs. Slap Slap! Slap Slap! Slap Slap!

"Johnny. Johnny. I'm on the top step. I want my liver."

Now Johnny was scared. He was shaking so badly, he slipped down to the bottom of the bed. Slap Slap! He was shaking so badly, he slipped right out the bottom of the bed and onto the floor. Slap Slap! Slap Slap!

"Johnny. Johnny. I'm in the hallway. I want my liver."

Johnny raced across the floor and hid in the closet. Slap Slap! Slap Slap! The voice was getting loud.

"Johnny. Johnny. I'm at your door. I want my liver."

Me? No, I didn't hear anything. I was fast asleep.

The bedroom door creaked open. Johnny was shaking so bad the clothes were dancing on their hangers. Slap Slap! Slap Slap!

"Johnny. Johnny. I'm in your bedroom. I want my liver."

Johnny was shaking so bad the clothes fell off the hangers and buried him under a pile. Slap Slap! Slap Slap!

"Johnny. Johnny. I'm at the closet door. I want my liver."

Johnny was shaking so bad the top shelf broke and all our shoes fell down on top of the clothes. The shoes were doing a tap dance on his back. He heard the closet door open... Slap Slap!

"Johnny. Johnny." Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Papa Joe ~ Telling Tales

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