Athlete turned actor, Buster Crabbe (Clarence Linden Crabbe II), looking back over his career, could easily have said “been there, done that.” After winning Olympic gold in 1932 for freestyle swimming, Crabbe dived into the movies, eventually starring in over a hundred movies, first taking a turn as the jungle hero in Tarzan the Fearless in the 1933 serial and a variety of jungle men in movies such as King of the Jungle that same year, Jungle Man in 1941, and the 1952 serial King of the Congo.
Leaving the jungle for the far reaches of space, he played both Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. His three Flash Gordon serials were Saturday morning staples in the 30s and 40s. The serials were also compiled into full-length movies. They appeared extensively on American television in the 1950s and 60s, and eventually were edited for release on home video. Later on television, Crabbe also found his way into the French Foreign Legion. As his acting career wound down, he became a spokesman for his own line of swimming pools. He died on April 23, 1983.
Don’t Try This at Home
According to the National Rifle Association, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. On the other hand, if you were to make a fist with your index finger pointing at your intended victim, and shout Bang, bang, you’re dead, chances are the only injury inflicted would be to your pride as you endured the derisive laughter all around you.
On yet another hand, take the case of William Lawlis Pace. Nine-year-old Billy was accidently shot in the head by his older brother. Pace died on April 23, 2012. In his sleep. At a California nursing home – 94 and a half years after the incident. The bullet was still in his head.
Doctors in Texas where the shooting took place left the .22 caliber bullet in his head because – well, because that’s what they do in Texas.
In 2006, Pace was crowned the Guinness world record holder in the category of “unwanted cranial ammunition acquisition.” A proud moment indeed, and Wayne LaPierre did not attend the ceremony.
Thank God, the Second Amendment still protects a citizen’s right to walk around for 94 years with a bullet in his head.
Matilda, Part 4: Starry Starry Night
Humberto and Odus had already powered through a bottle of Harold’s rum in anticipation of the evening and were speculating once again on the lengths to which their prisoner might go to avoid being set afloat, even though, Humberto promised Odus, she’d be set afloat anyway, when she emerged from below, radiant, slightly flushed, blonde hair neatly combed. She wore a delicate gossamer dress.
“Sorry I took so long,” she said, smiling and sitting on the edge of a chaise lounge. Humberto had killed the engines earlier, and the yacht now gently rocked with the movement of the water.
“That’s all right,” he said, staring at her. “You’re very pretty.”
“Goddamn,” mumbled Odus, staring as well.
“Thank you,” said Matilda. “May I have a drink?”
“Yes, yes,” said Humberto, pouring rum into three tumblers. The two men had discussed at length exactly how much they should let her drink so she might reach a peak of wild abandon, yet not pass out, although Odus had made it clear that her passing out wouldn’t make any difference to him.
“It’s a beautiful night,” said Matilda, sipping at her rum. “So starry.”
“Great night for gettin’ it on,” said Odus, grinning and gulping at his rum. Matilda smiled at him, and Odus accepted her smile as encouragement. “Great night for really gettin’ it on,” he added. Matilda just smiled again, then lowered her eyes to her drink. Humberto and Odus downed their drinks, and Humberto filled their glasses. They watched and fidgeted as their quarry sipped in slow motion.
“How about a little chugalug?” said Odus, lifting his glass. “To a starry gettin’ it on night.” They all emptied their glasses, and Humberto winked at Odus who burped in reply. Humberto quickly refilled the three glasses. Matilda looked around.
“I’ll kind of miss the yacht. But Harold will just get another one, so it doesn’t matter much. How many boats have you stolen?”
“Six, seven maybe,” said Humberto.
“So are you really gonna go through with it?” said Odus.
“Of course,” said Matilda. “I promised.”
“Well, when we gonna do it?” shouted Odus.
“Soon,” said Matilda. “After I have another drink. I need to get warmed up.”
“You get yourself good and hot,” said Odus. He was sweating again. “I gotta pee first, anyhow. Save my place.” He stood and walked away, swaying as though they were adrift in a stormy sea.
“I really don’t like him very much,” said Matilda, looking at Humberto through big eyes. “It would be better with just the two of us.”
Humberto grinned. “He’ll probably pass out any way. Here, we’ll help him along.” He poured more rum into his missing partner’s glass and winked at her.
“Just us two,” said Matilda, putting her hand on his arm. She spotted Odus weaving toward them and said more loudly: “And after you steal them, can you always sell them – or fence them – do you fence boats?”
“I guess so,” said Humberto, also in a stage voice. “Sweet Leilani will pay $100,000 for this baby.”
“Wow,” said Matilda. “Who’s Sweet Leilani?”
“He runs a saloon in Caracas,” Humberto answered.
“Real name’s Jack McIntyre,” said Odus, still standing and swaying. “They call him Sweet Leilani ’cause it’s Sweet Leilani’s Saloon. Why don’t you take your clothes off now, and be sweet t’us.”
Matilda is one of the 15 stories from Calypso, Stories of the Caribbean, available as an ebook or in a print edition with real pages and everything.