His father had shortened the family name from Rumpelcarpf to avoid embarrassment, but nine-year-old Donnie seemed intent on causing the family a maximum amount anyway. When he wasn’t skipping school, he was sent to the principal’s office on a regular basis. In fact his classmates coined the phrase for anyone sent to the principal, “Doing a Donnie.” He wasn’t the sharpest scholar even when he did show up to class. He proudly proclaimed,
“I’ve never finished a whole book front to back. I’m smart enough to read a little bit here, a little bit there, and know better what the book is about than those losers who wasted time reading the whole thing.”
How he ascended grade-to-grade was a mystery. Between his truancy and zilch work ethic, he should have been held back. Where Donnie really excelled was at perfecting the temper tantrum. These often ignited while playing Monopoly.
“No you didn’t.”
“Yes, I did, I have more money.”
“You stole the money from the bank.”
“NO I DIDN’T, YOU’RE LYING.”
“WE SAW YOU TAKE THE EXTRA MONEY.”
“NO YOU DIDN’T.”
“YES WE DID, YOU’RE A CHEATER. YOU ALWAYS CHEAT.”
“OH YEAH? THEN WHY DO YOU PLAY WITH ME?”
“BECAUSE YOU PAY US!”
This exchange continued for another fifteen minutes, when Donnie would throw the board up in the air sending the pieces and dice flying. No problem for him, he knew the maid would clean it up. But it didn’t end there. He kept screaming and fulminating for the next two days.
“I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS HOW TO PLAY MONOPOLY. THE OTHERS ARE JUST JEALOUS BECAUSE THEY’RE DUMB AND WEAK. THEY LIE ABOUT ME ALL THE TIME BECAUSE I’M TOO SMART FOR THEM. THEY CAN FRY ICE!”
When his ranting got to be too much for his parents, they’d entice him with a crisp $100 bill hooked to a long fishing pole and lure him into a soundproof rubber room. He’d then bounce off the walls like a frantic pinball scoring points. He actually enjoyed this a lot.
The other thing he really enjoyed, perhaps even more than bouncing off the walls, was his lovely cousin Tara. She had clear blue eyes, a winsome smile, and long honey-blond hair. Her hair especially entranced Donnie. He had something of a hairstyle fixation in general and would stare for hours at photos of Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, and Bobby Darin, wishing he could have lush wavy hair like theirs. You see, he had short mossy hair, kind of like a chia pet. He would wear a lot of caps to hide his unattractive clumpy dome.
Tara and he would laugh and frolic together. He would play with her luxurious silky hair, and she would tap his cap yelling, “IS ANYBODY HOME?” And yes, they would frequently play “doctor,” after which Donnie would present Tara with a bill for professional services rendered.
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