McArthur Street: Creative Non-Fiction: Episode One

McArthur Street Downsized

All evil seems to arise from the desire to dominate others.
Most men in our society are taught from a very early age to try
to dominate. It isn’t something that they think about
consciously. It operates at a subconscious level. They are
taught by the adults around them and their peers. Someone
dominates them and they in turn try to dominate others. They
do it without even realizing it and they do it without even
thinking about why. It is without question. In their conscious
awareness they may aspire to grandiose ideals but their actions
speak for what really motivates them from a subconscious
level.
-Mark Alberto Yoder Nuñez

When was it? When I started sixth grade and I was still ten
my older brother, Daniel, the oldest of the family, a year older
than myself, made friends with a boy in his class, Jimmy. It
turned out that Jimmy lived on the next street to the north of
ours, a street called McArthur Street. Our street was called E.
Illinois Street. It was unusual to meet someone who went to
our own school who, also, lived in our neighborhood since we
went to a Catholic, parochial school miles farther away than
the local public school. This was certainly a novelty. So it
was in a mood of high spirits that I went with my older brother
on a warm, Tucson, Saturday morning to visit in a foreign land,
McArthur Street, the street next to ours.

Jimmy was standing in his front yard expecting us. It was
the second house from the end after crossing the street. The
day was already growing hot in the desert climate. Jimmy was
much taller than my brother. He had blonde hair and was very
Caucasian looking with his pale skin. My brother introduced
us. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits.

I think the first thing that made a serious impression on me
about that first meeting was when Jimmy talked about the boys
who lived in the corner house next to his. It was a neat
looking, little house with a low chain link fence around the
front yard, a nicely mowed lawn and well cultivated flower
beds and shrubbery with a shady tree in front. Jimmy said to
watch out for the boys who lived there because they were
really ba-a-ad. Having never met Jimmy before and being a
child, together with the fact that he seemed an amiable enough
boy, I decided to trust him with the things that he said.

We were looking toward the house across the street and I
saw a very pretty, teenage girl walking in the front walk
towards the front door of the house. She had bouncy, medium
length, dark brown hair and she smiled at me with a big, nice
smile showing her white teeth. Then she went into the house.
Jimmy said that once she went out on a date with a guy on
Saturday night and he didn’t bring her home until the next
morning. I had to think for a moment about what Jimmy was
trying to imply. With the tone in his voice it sounded like he
was trying to put this pretty girl down. I liked her. I wasn’t
going to pay attention to what Jimmy said.

After this we had made our way to the gravel and dirt
driveway of Jimmy’s house. Suddenly a younger boy came
out of the house on the other side of Jimmy’s. He had medium
brown hair and came running up to Jimmy like a happy puppy
excited about meeting new friends. Jimmy said, “This is
John.” Jimmy then promptly started hitting John over the head
with a rolled up newspaper he had picked up from the
driveway. The poor boy ran away crying back into his house.
I was horrified at what I had just seen. Jimmy simply resumed
his conversation and invited us into his house to show us
around.

At this point I suppose had we been a little older and more
experienced in life we would have seriously started to wonder
about Jimmy. However since we were charged with the
euphoria of something that is so important to children at that
age, making a new friend, together with how nice Jimmy acted
towards us, we accepted his friendship. We went with him into
his house, met his mother and accepted his hospitality.

It wasn’t too long after this that one Saturday my brother
took me along with Jimmy to meet another friend of theirs on a
long trek, miles away, beyond St. John’s school. This boy was
named John, too. He was in the same grade as my brother and
Jimmy. He had brown hair and was tall like Jimmy. John had
a nice, big house with a very large yard and an apple orchard
adjacent. He took us out in the middle of the orchard. It was
cool and pleasant under the shade of the apple trees. John had
very short hair like a crew-cut and stood up very straight. He
actually seemed slightly taller than Jimmy. John was the kind
of guy who wore buttoned sweaters and sometimes would wear
a turtle neck dickie under his shirt. He was very conservative
looking. This was the mid-sixties era. John seemed like an
intellectual, scientific looking kind of a guy. He seemed
almost a bit aristocratic in the way he spoke. Walking back
toward his house John pointed out his tree house in the back
yard. It wasn’t like our tree house in our back yard which was
just a wooden platform in the tree limbs made of scrap wood.
John’s tree house had plywood walls and a roof. John had
electricity and a television in his tree house.

We went into John’s house and Jimmy and John suggested
that we play a board game called Risk. They wanted to be on
one team and have my brother and me be on the other team.
Not knowing any better we agreed. It didn’t occur to us at the
time that Jimmy and John knew how to play the game and we
didn’t.

In this game there was a map of the world and various
armies in different colors with equal numbers of pieces. Each
team member received two armies and the world was divided
evenly between the two teams with an equal number of
countries. At the beginning of the game each team was
supposed to distribute its armies across all of its countries.

My brother and I logically assumed that we should
distribute our armies as evenly as possible in all the different
areas to protect against attacks. John and Jimmy to our
surprise left the minimum of one army in most of their
countries and massed the bulk of their armies in a few areas.
We soon found out why. Everything was decided by the roll of
the dice but besides the roll of the dice odds were taken into
account based on the number of armies engaged in each battle.
So therefore the roll of the dice could be in our favor but the
odds in terms of the number of armies could be so
overwhelming that we would still lose the battle. While we
were losing armies they were gaining armies. We of course in
our turn attacked only their countries that had minimum
protection and kept gaining countries while they were only
losing one army at a time. It wasn’t long that we had control
over most of the world but had lost most of our armies. The
armies we had left were thinly spread while Jimmy and John
had armies massed in a few areas. The tide of the battles
turned completely against us as the odds were so high against
us that we soon were losing every battle. Even when it was our
turn to attack we were faced with battles we couldn’t win.

At this point we wanted to just quit and end the game. John
and Jimmy said that we couldn’t and that we had to finish the
game. We finished out the game to satisfy our new found
friends but we were reduced to a state of total demoralization.
Even when I asked again to quit the game they were insistent
that we had to finish the game. I couldn’t help but wonder
what kind of people are these? If they had wanted a good
game they would have had an inexperienced person on the
same team with someone who knew the game. Instead they
wanted to crush and dominate. They weren’t interested in a
fair game.

Continued on:

https://markalbertoyodernunez.blog/2019/08/03/mcarthur-street-episode-two/

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