8.THE SCAR OF RUSSIA AND TIP O’NEIL

Country was afraid of Gerald Wallace. That’s saying a lot, but he was justified. Gerald could get a lot drunker that we could, liked guns too much, and invariably got us kicked out of wherever.
Gerald convinced me to buy a gun. I’ve never shot it. Then he said I needed more guns and ammunition.
I did laugh at him.
“Parham,” Scope said, “you college people think you’re smarter than people like me, but I know that the Scar of Russia took all the guns up.” We called him “Scar” in Wilson.
People in Greensboro, his home, called him “Scope.” Why? I asked.
“Well, when we went skinny dipping, the rest of ‘em had to hide in the water. I’ve got a “bankwalker.” Up scope!
Gerald was high up in the Greensboro Elk’s Club. His buddy “Gooch” Lane start- ed the first topless bar in Greensboro, and the rest of them went down hill after that.
Pal “Percy” was home bound later on because he wouldn’t try to get his re- voked driver’s license back. “Percy, I get just as drunk as you do. I feel just as bad as you do the next day. To hell with you, I’m not driving you around anymore.”
Percy stayed at home. Drank all day, and ate pecans.
Gerald called me late at night, often, and often drunk. One night he told me
he’d talked to Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil. “Horse shit, Gerald.”
“Parham, we were at the Elks Club and we decided we wanted some tickets to the Redskins-Cowboys football game in Washington. The “Professor” (one of the Elk’s Rat Pack) has a son named John who works in Tip’s office. It was Sunday, so
we called John’s office. Tip answered.”
“Oh, Mr. O’Neil, we were trying to talk with John” Gerald’s entrée.
“I’m sorry, but he’s not here,” politely Mr. O’Neil replied. “Can I help you?” “Well,” Scope revealed, “we’re trying to get four tickets to the Washington-
Dallas game next Sunday.”
“Hmmm,” the Speaker replied, “that’s mighty tough to do!”
Gerald swore he came back with “…well, goddamn Tip, if it was easy we’d do
it ourselves.”
See why we got kicked out a lot? When Gerald told me this I didn’t believe
him. “Call Percy, he was there.” He gave me Percy’s number.
“By golly yes, I’ll call Percy tomorrow!”
I didn’t want to give Gerald an advantage so I asked Percy if Gerald had re-
cently talked with any “politicians.” It was noon, a little early for Percy. After a moments silence a voice asks “oh yeah, you mean when he called Skip O’Neil?”

Gerald’s housing centered around a place he could walk home from the Elk’s Club. He’d had two D.U.I.’s. Someone told me he’d bought a moped. This ought to be good. I called him.
“Scar, how is it driving around Greensboro on that moped,” was my question.
“Well, Parham, it’s a lot like screwing a fat woman. It ain’t bad till your friends see you.”

I asked Gerald how his daughter was doing once. “Her mother and I flipped a coin to see who’d get to shoot her.”

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