WHAT HAPPENED TO TEDDY PHILLIPS?

Alan Meyer went to public school with a tough hombre named Teddy Phillips. Teddy’s dad had deserted his family when Teddy was five and he was brought up by his Mom, Lois and his older sister Joanne.

Teddy showed anti-social behaviour on a regular basis as he was constantly trying to beat up kids during recess. Alan once overheard a teacher saying to another teacher that Willy was ‘’a poor maladjusted.’’ Alan had no clue what that meant.

All the kids were somewhat terrified of Teddy and did everything they could to avoid him, Alan included. In Grade five, Alan was friends with a girl named Janice Hankins. Teddy came over during a conversation Alan was having with Janice and grabbed him from behind, putting his hands around Alan’s neck. Alan reacted by using a move he had seen that previous Saturday afternoon on television while watching wrestling. He lowered his shoulder and flipped Teddy over him. Teddy hit the floor hard. The teacher saw everything and yelled at Teddy for starting trouble. As Teddy was being sent to the principal’s office he looked over at Alan. ‘’I’m going to be waiting for you after school and we’re going to have a fight.’’

Fighting after school was dangerous, who would be around to break things up? When the bell rang to end the school day Alan ran through a sliding door, through woods to a side street and home. This was repeated for about two weeks before Alan was able to convince Teddy during a gym class that he was his friend and fighting would be stupid.

In High School, Teddy’s Mother started working for a store called ‘’Shoprite.’’ This was perfect as Alan’s Mom loved to shop and soon she and Mrs. Phillips were on very good terms. Teddy started to come up to Alan in the hallway to pass messages from his Mom. ‘’My Mother said to tell your Mother that Shoprite is having a big scratch and dent sale starting on Friday. If your Mom wants to come in on Thursday, my Mom will show her the stuff and she can have first chance to buy it.’’ Alan thanked Teddy and moved on as quickly as possible.

One day, Teddy was standing at his locker and grabbed Alan ‘’Listen, I know you call me Teddy, but that isn’t cool. People just call me Ted, so from now on my name is Ted, not Teddy, okay?’’ Alan nodded and once again moved on. He couldn’t have cared less what people called him, he wanted to keep a healthy distance. Ted was still a very mercurial guy.

One afternoon, Alan was eating lunch in the cafeteria with a bunch of friends when Ted walked through the doors and headed over. He looked at the people and said that they all needed to leave, he had to discuss something with Alan that was personal. He had an angry look on his face and all of Alan’s friends hit the exit. ‘’Uh, Yeah, I need your Brother’s number. My Mom says he’s a lawyer, I got a little fucked up and did something I shouldn’t have, I uh, stole a car and I uh hit another car.’’

Alan gave Ted his Brother’s phone number.‘’Listen, uh, keep this between us, I’m still Juvie, so nobody needs to know.’’ Alan nodded his head and Ted walked away.

At the beginning of the school year, Ted’s Mom shared the news that Ted had accepted a job at General Motors and was leaving High school. The money was great and it would give Teddy more purpose.

The next year Alan began University in Ottawa and he never thought or heard anything about Ted Phillips. When March Break rolled around he invited two of his friends, Seymour and Eddie to visit his home in Oshawa. They happily accepted.

The first night in Oshawa, Alan took them to ‘’Harry’s Hideaway’’ located in the Genosha Hotel. The bar had a reputation for being crusty but fun.

There were live bands playing, and a few people were dancing. It was the antithesis of a disco bar. The place was filled with mostly blue collar workers and their girlfriends. A waitress came over and took the order for three beers and smiled at the guys. ‘’You boys sure you want to be here, this place can get pretty rough.’’ Alan smiled back ‘’We’re just going to listen to some music, drink our beer and get out of here.’’

One of the bands came on and they sucked. They were mostly screaming words of anger and Eddie said they were experiencing their first taste of Punk Rock.

It was at that moment that someone standing behind Seymour started to viciously poke him in the back with a beer bottle. Seymour turned around and asked the guy to please stop. The next thing he knew the guy stopped poking him and started pouring beer down his back while laughing hysterically.

Seymour leapt to his feet and the guy came running over and put up his fists. He had his fists clenched like he was ready to start throwing punches. Seymour was ignoring the scene as he was looking for a towel.

The guy finally just grabbed Seymour by his shirt collar, cocked his arm, said something about breaking teeth and started pushing Seymour across the bar towards a storage room. Seymour was looking completely baffled and he tried to talk sense to the guy. ‘’Why are you doing this? I’m the one who should be upset, you were pouring beer down my back, that wasn’t very nice.’’

Alan couldn’t stand what was happening so he asked the guy to leave Seymour alone and pick on somebody his own size. The crazy man released Seymour and grabbed Alan. The guy was a psycho.

As the guy started pushing and pulling , a familiar face appeared in the crowd and it gave Alan a second of hope. He yelled out as loud as he could over the crowd ‘’Teddy.’’ Immediately the grip on his shirt relaxed.

Ted sauntered over and looked at the maniac who was still holding Alan. ‘’ How the hell are you? How’s your Mom? My Mom says real nice things about her. Roy here giving you a hard time?’’

The psycho all of a sudden had a different disposition. ‘’I uh, didn’t know these guys were friends of yours. I was just foolin’ around with ‘em eh.’’

Alan glared at the brute and offered to buy Ted a beer. Seymour and Eddie suggested they leave, but Alan knew that as long as Ted Phillips was sitting with them, there would be nothing to worry about.

‘’My mom’s still working at Shoprite and so is my sister Joanne. They both really like your Mom, the other day she gave them cupcakes. I’m working at GM , it’s okay. I make good bucks. You guys interested in buying any acid or pot?’’ All three guys shook their head no.

Ted looked over at the guy who had been menacing the boys. ‘’Sorry about Roy, he gets high strung, I’ll look after him later.’’

Alan looked at Ted’s eyes and realized he had changed. He was no longer a neighbourhood Fonzie, he was a hardened tough guy.

‘’I’m thinking of moving to Florida, my Dad got in touch, he’s a carpenter down there and thinks he can get me work. I like the weather there eh but I’m making good money here, so I don’t know.’’ As Ted was talking a guy came over and tapped him on the shoulder. He looked up and said ‘’I’’ll be right back, I got some business to look after.’’ He went to the washroom with the guy and came back a couple of minutes later. This routine started to repeat itself, and Alan, Eddie and Seymour started feeling very uncomfortable. Ted was dealing drugs, and it was time for them to get out and away.

‘’Ted, it was great seeing you. Say hello to your mom and sister and stay well, we’ve got to get going.’’ Alan paid for the beers they’d been drinking. Ted pulled out a pen and paper. ‘’ When you get back to the ‘’Shwa you can always find me here at Harry’s it’s my second home. Give me your address in Ottawa, maybe I’ll come for a visit.’’ Alan wrote down an address and then he and his friends quickly exited the crustiest bar they’d ever been in. Alan knew he would never go back to Harry’s Hideaway ever again.

When they got in the car Seymour was perplexed ‘’Why’d you give that drug dealer your address?’’ Alan explained that he didn’t. He had made up a fake address and prayed Ted would never come looking for him. ‘’I think Ted is heading for some serious trouble. I don’t want any part of it.’’

Six months later, Alan’s Mom called him to tell him that Ted Phillips has been shot at Harry’s Hideaway and was in critical condition. It made Alan stop and think. That teacher way back in Public School had been right, Ted Phillips had really been maladjusted for a very long time and now he was paying the ultimate price.

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.

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