Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “enterprises that require new clothes”…
The thugs had all fled.
They had been on their way to bully the beautiful young widow of the small town, to force her to sign over her farm so that they could exploit its oil, or water, or yucca trees, or something.
Instead they had found themselves confronted by a huge green mountain of pecs, abs and six-packs, sort of a cross between Tarzan and Kermit the Frog. Knives had been slapped from their hands, guns had been taken and crushed and they had been tossed aside in artistic slow-motion.
A tree trunk now lay buried into the roof of their car, like a giant cigar resting in an ashtray.
And slowly Dr David Banner resumed his normal size and colour. The Hulk was, like Mr Hyde, once again back in his figurative box.
Banner’s shirt, of course, was in tatters. His shoes had split like fuchsias popping open on a summer’s day. Where his socks had gone is not clear.
At least it wasn’t winter, he thought. In winter his woollen hat would stretch, and when it was all over it would slide down over his head like a tea-cosy.
He was just taking out his kit-bag, searching for yet another set of new clothes, when a voice said “wow, that was so-o-o cool!”
He turned. A small boy was sitting at the side of the road watching him.
“Who are you?” said David.
“Stevie,” said the boy. “I’m just waiting for the school bus. That getting-bigger thing you did was great. I wish I could do it.”
“No, you don’t,” said David. “Trust me on this.”
“My teacher turns red when he’s angry,” said Stevie. “How come you turn green?”
“Er, um, my family has Irish roots,” said David. “It’s like how our beer turns green on St Patrick’s Day.”
Stevie seemed to accept this. Then he asked the question that David had been dreading.
“How come your pants don’t burst and fall off?”
“Stretch waist-band,” said David.
“Just as well,” said Stevie, “because -” David tensed inwardly, “my mum’s skirt was too tight once, and the button flew off and hit the dog. You wouldn’t want the button shooting off the front of your trousers.”
David relaxed. “No I wouldn’t,” he agreed.
“Besides,” continued Stevie, “if your trousers burst everyone would be able to see your willy.”
David’s reply, if indeed he was going to be able to think of one, never happened, as they were both startled by the short burst of a siren, and a police car rolled to a halt beside them. The local Sheriff slowly got out wearing his hat, gun and air of petty tyranny. He stared for a few seconds at the car with the tree embedded in it, then turned, spat tobacco juice onto the ground, and addressed David and Stevie.
“What happened here?” he asked.
“I see,” said the Sheriff. He looked at David in his torn shirt. “And what happened to you?”
“He was sitting in the tree when it fell,” said Stevie.
The Sheriff’s eyes narrowed. “You’re the guy’s been helping out at the Widow Chaney’s place, ain’t ya?” David nodded.
“Well, her husband ain’t not been dead no more than a year not gone by yet,” said the Sheriff, and while David was solving the equation in this sentence he went on. “We don’t want to see her taken advantage of by strangers turnin’ up and doin’ chores and suchlike. I reckon it’s time you were movin’ on.”
David shrugged. It happened every time. He picked up his bag, nodded at Stevie, and started up the road. All was fine.
Or would have been, but the Sheriff had the kind of mean spirit that always had to goad one step further.
“Don’t come back now, ya hear?” he said. David slowed and stopped. He felt his blood begin to boil, and his case that wasn’t just a turn of phrase. All three of them knew that the rest of the sentence was going to be “we don’t need your sort around here”, and David knew that that, coming from a supposed law-enforcement officer too cowardly to protect his townfolk, would be enough to send him over the edge.
Stevie did him one last favour. As the Sheriff opened his mouth, Stevie said “don’t make him angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.”