10/28/2004: "Happy Halloween (Day Two)"
Was A Teenage Psychopath
Maybe it's because "Mischief Night" is just around the corner, but last
night, as I was drifting off to sleep, I asked myself a question: "What's
the most blatantly evil thing I've ever done?"
I had a lot of incidents to choose from, most of I committed between the
ages of 13 and 19 - the "Moral Cavity Prone Years", as I like to call them.
Maybe, in Freudian terms, I hadn't yet developed my superego, or maybe -
for you fans of B.F. Skinner - it was an environmental thing (you know,
growing up in the 'burbs where no one has a moral compass), but - either
way - the teenage version of me was a pretty screwed up individual who
did a lot of terrible, terrible things.
But, without a doubt, the most blatantly evil thing that I did,
as a teenagers, was to play one of the lead roles in convincing the
"Greenball" family that they'd inherited a mansion. Yes, if ever there was
a case of the punishment being harsher than the crime; it was the
One Saturday night, in late April, my friend Smitty and I were sitting in
the living room of his folk's house, watching TV, when suddenly we heard
a thumping sound against the front door. We ran to the front window just
in time to see two of the Greenball (I'm still not sure what the family's
real last name was. Everybody and I mean everybody in town
called them the "Greenballs". ) kids disappear into their backyard. The
thumping sound, we soon discovered, had been caused by an egg hitting the
After Smitty and I cleaned up the mess, Smitty went to the kitchen, reached
into the knife drawer, produced what appeared to be a small machete, and
announced in a very matter-of-fact that the time hade come to Tate-Labianca
the Greenballs. This marked the third time that year that Smitty's house
had been egged.
It was hard to argue with Smitty's point (and not just because he was
holding a rather large butcher knife. Truth be told, I had it with the
Greenballs, too. Just a week before, I'd accidentally kicked a soccer ball
into the Greenball's yard. Mrs. Greenball ran out of the house, scooped up
the soccer and vanished back inside - but not before shouting "Goddamn
kids, you're not getting this back!" That autumn, Mr. Greenball ripped down
all of our posters for Smitty's backyard carnival to benefit MS (It seemed
that Mr. Greenball became angry when he learned that MS did not stand for
Multiple Sclerosis, but Mark Smith - AKA Smitty ) So, you see, hacking them
to death really didn't seem like that radical of a solution at the time.
Now, the only reason that I'm not telling this story from a prison
cell is because, at the time, I was reading a book about the CIA's psy-ops
division. It took a few minutes, but I managed to convince Smitty of the
merits that a psychological attack would have over a physical
Eventually Smitty concurred, adding "and it'll save of a lot of fucking
around in court." So we set to work (with the help of a bong and Led
Zeppelin III) on hatching a plan. It took us the rest of the weekend, but
eventually we hit upon something that we hoped would work.
On Monday afternoon, we called Mrs. Greenball from the payphone in our High
School. Since I ran the risk of bursting out laughing, Smitty had the honor
of actually speaking to the hyper housewife.
Smitty performed flawlessly. He managed to convince Mrs. Greenball that a
distant (and completely imaginary) Aunt of hers who lived the Allentown
area had passed away and that he was an estate lawyer who was in charge of
executing her will.
I swear to Hubbard that Mrs. Greenball told Smitty the she remembered
visiting the old lady, who had only ever existed in Smitty's and my
imaginations, when she was a girl. That's when Smitty, as he later told me,
knew that no matter how thickly he poured it on, Mrs. Greenball was gonna
"I can only hope," Smitty deadpanned into the receiver, "that you grief
will be somewhat tempered by the knowledge that she must've thought highly
of you because she left you her house."
"Yes, it's a rather large property - I really don't like to use words like
mansion…but I guess that you could certainly call it one."
Like an expert bass fisherman, Smitty continued to reel Mrs. Greenball in.
He promised to mail her directions to the house (er, mansion) and gave her
his word that he would meet her, her husband, and their four children there
on Saturday afternoon. After he hung up, Smitty and I raced off to the
school's newspaper office to compose the letter and fake the Allentown
cancellation on the envelope. On Tuesday morning we slipped the letter into
On Wednesday, Mrs. Greenball loudly informed all of the customers in
Smitty's family's store that she had inherited a mansion. "Did anybody hear
anything about the Greenball's inheriting a mansion?" Mrs. Smith asked that
night at dinner, causing her eldest son to nearly choke to death.
I stayed over at Smitty's house that Friday night. On Saturday we awoke in
to watch the delighted Greenballs load their four kids (all singing "We've
got a mansion, we've got a mansion.") into their station wagon and embark
on the three hour trip to a fictitious address in Allentown. It was about
10 o'clock in the morning.
Around 9 pm, Smitty and I watched the Greenballs station wagon crawl into
their driveway. They must've driven around the Allentown area for quite
some time. Although the Greenballs were never the smartest of people, they
were smart enough to realize that they had been the butt of terrible joke.
As they exited the car, the Greenball's only daughter (an unwashed, surly
girl in early adolescence) said something that we couldn't hear, but which
caused her mother to slap her.
Although the Greenballs probably never definitely figured out who was
behind the hoax, it's telling that Smitty's house was never egged again.
Earlier today, I stopped by Select Smart to see which presidential
candidate would be best for me. Here are the results:
1. Cobb, David - Green Party (94%)
2. Nader, Ralph - Independent (90%)
3. Brown, Walt - Socialist Party (84%)
4. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (66%)
5. Badnarik, Michael - Libertarian (33%)
6. Peroutka, Michael - Constitution Party (20%)
7. Bush, President George W. - Republican (10%)
prwktoj - anus
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