For Chad

My best pal Chad was always trying to keep me down as a kid.  He was a chauvinist little boy bastard.  Chad’s mom used to watch me while my parents were at work, so I was over at his house quite a lot.  Chad had the newest and best toys and games and was forever getting more stuff.  G.I. Joe, He-Man, Transformers, Thundercats, Ghostbusters, and for some odd reason, My Little Pony…as you can see, this kid had it all. 

Chad and I are fairly close in age; he’s about nine months older than I am.  Chad has a younger brother, Jeff, and he is three years younger than us.  The story I’m going to tell takes place in 1986–the height of Ghostbuster mania. 

As mentioned before, Chad had the latest and greatest little kid gear and Ghostbusters paraphernalia was no exception.  He and Jeff had the action figures, the Ghostbusting mobile, the backpacks, and the ghost catcher.  It was like a mini version of the movie, starring six and three year olds.  Everytime I came over during that fateful year, we played Ghostbusters.  No–let me rephrase that:  Chad and Jeff played.  I was always forced to play the secretary.  It never failed.  Nevermind that they had four of everything, so it wasn’t an issue of not having enough equipment to go around.  No…they just didn’t want me to play with them.  Chad would have none of that.  Jerk.

So, while Chad and Jeff were busy suiting up, donning the backpacks and looking amazing, ready to kick some supernatural ass.  Me?  Chad would dig out his old Fisher Price cash register and telephone and leave me alone in his room.  The basic premise of our version was that while Chad and Jeff got their supplies in order, a client would call me and be all scared and worried about some sort of ghost infestation.  I’d calm the person down, take down the info needed, and assure them that the suave and debonair ghostbusting team of the Holle Brothers would come and save the day.  I’d relay the message to Chad and Jeff, who would immediately hop to action.  The first few minutes they were gone, I’d do some secretary things…file papers and whatnot.  I didn’t mind being left alone because I knew that in a few minutes the boys would come back from their job and then tell me that their mom had our snacks ready. 

However, later on as the story lines got more involved, Chad and Jeff would be gone for much longer amounts of time and there is only so much a kid can organize in a fake office.  Eventually, I’d ditch my post, something I was told explicitly not to do under any circumstances, and grab a handful of My Little Ponies, a few action figures, a remote control Godzilla, and a dump truck.  I’d go into the living room, sit down on the couch and go to town.  My play time was WAY cooler thatn Chad and Jeff’s.  I would pretend that G.I. Joe and Skeletor had a My Little Pony ranch, but Godzilla would attack the herd, so Joe and Skullface would get in the dump truck and run Godzilla over with it.  Then, they’d load up the dead body and bury it out in the pony pasture.  Much better than stupid ghosts.

I’d be sitting on the floor, playing along, when I’d sense a dark, ominous shadow looming over me. 

Chad.

He had come back to check to see if there were any more jobs and found me gone.  He stood over me, arms crossed over his defiant little boy chest, ghost pack still strapped to his shoulders and asked me just what I thought I was doing.  Without looking up, I’d tell him that I closed the shop because I was on my lunch break.  He’d yell at me for abandoning my post and for missing job opportunities for him and Jeff.  Then, he’d fire me, take off his backpack, and play with My Little Ponies.

Jeff would come toddling in a few minutes later, his chubby 3 year old face streaked with dirt and tears.  Chad had left him outside by himself.  He looked so hurt and rejected, but would instantly cheer up when Chad would hand him the remote control for Godzilla.  So there were the three of us, maintaining a pony farm and trying to keep a horrible Japanese monster from eating our herd.  Life was never so good.

Now, twenty years later, I still constantly remind Chad of his piggish ways and that he still owes me a game of Ghostbusters where I can be part of the team.  Sadly, after two decades, he’s still an ass and won’t let me, but that’s ok.  I like to tell people about his My Little Pony collection and how magnificent it was.

Take that, Chad.  Take that.

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