Little Billy Samuels’ head was bouncing back and forth between the fists of Taz and Tater, his tormenters. Billy, an otherwise inconspicuous youngster, seemed to have the kind of skull that drew fists the way metal is drawn to a magnet. His face was the flame and boots were the moths. His body was Paula Abdul and the beatings were MC Skat Kat. He got beat up a lot, is what I’m saying.
“C-c-c-cut it out, yous guys!” Billy managed to cry without cleaving his tongue in twain. “I ain’t done nuttin’!”
“We hate you because you are different!” the bullies cried in disconcerting unison, the way a heavy-handed short story from the 1950s would do to symbolize Communism. “You are gay or we think you are gay, or you are fa,t or you wear too much green, or you are poor or black or any of the other reasons bullies do their bullying!” said the future morning-show DJs.
Just then, a big fancy
car truck screeched up to the sidewalk. The window (decorated with a “Baby Baby” decal) slowly rolled down to reveal the taciturn face of a Grammy and CMA Award winner, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and a man who had seen just about enough.
“There a problem here, boys?”
“Gosh, it’s Vince Gill!” Billy cried the moment his head was no longer being treated like an inflatable clown. “It’s Vince Gill, come to save me!”
“This ain’t your fight, Gill!” Tater warned, as formidably as a 12-year-old can (that is, not at all.)
His enormous pumpkin head was burning red with the fires of righteousness.
“Listen up, you little dipshits,” Gill eloquently began. “I have seen what hate looks like, and this is it. And there’s no point to it. Beating up on a kid in broad daylight? First off, that’s dumb. And secondly, it’s wrong. There’s probably a bunch of stuff in the Bible to verify what I’m saying, but the fact is this: You can make a choice to grow up and walk away, or be prepared to live the rest of your lives on the C team.”
“Don’t make me get my golf clubs.”
“My father doesn’t love me, and I’m insecure about my inability to succeed academically!” cried Taz.
“I am gay and projecting my own self-loathing onto others I perceive as weaker than me!” cried Tater.
The thoroughly chastened duo ran from the playgrounds with tears in their eyes, and toward more inclusive, less violent futures. All because of Vince Gill.
“Golly, thanks Mr. Gill!” said Billy, a hint of a smile spreading across his bloody, bloody (so bloody) little face. “You sure gave them fellas what-for!”
“All in a day’s work,” Gill replied, climbing back into his truck.
“And Billy? Stop talking like an asshole.”