Let me tell yis about my Little Willy. Up until the other day, I didn’t even know I had one.
Well, needless to say, ever since we busted them that night you hardly ever see Little Bill without the little red-headed girl. He comes home from school and she’s with him, he flops on the couch and she flops right next to him, he needs a ride to the mall or somethin’ and all of a sudden we’re drivin’ two of them.
Now, the funny thing is, even though him and this girl are stuck together like spaghetti on the kitchen wall, he’d just bring her along everywheres and pretend she wasn’t there. I guess what I mean is, he never came out and said, This here’s my girlfriend.
What in the hell is this? I says to Minnie one day I came back after droppin’ them off. Least he could do is tell the girl I’m his old man. She’s probably wonderin’ who the old fella is that drives them to the mall and drops them off at the movies and gives Little Bill money to pay for it.
G’waaay, Minnie said. It’s not like it was years ago, Billy, she said to me. It’s not like the young fella goes to the girl’s family and asks permission or something. Kids today, the guys and girls all hang out together, like, and I guess it just happens that way.
Anyways, the next time Little Bill asked me to drive them somewheres, he kind of caught me in a bad mood because I was hungry and supper wasn’t ready yet. But they wanted to go right away, so I told them to get in the truck.
Maybe it’s the mood I was in, but I decided I had about enough of this ghost routine. We pull out of the driveway and we’re drivin’ along in the truck. There’s me drivin’ and way over on the other side of the cab, Little Bill and this girl are sort of squished against each other up against the door.
Holy cripes! I yelled and slammed on the brakes, and the two of them sort of bounced off the dash.
What??? Little Bill said, pushin’ himself back onto the seat and swivellin’ his head around to see what I stopped for.
Don’t…. move…. ‘bye…. I whispered right slow. There’s a little red-headed girl stuck to your side.
It took him a minute to catch on, but he made one of those scoff noises he makes all the time now and rolled his eyes. And the girl, god love her, laughed a little bit when she realized I was makin’ fun of them.
What’s her name, anyways? I said, as we started drivin’ again.
Bill said nothin’, but the girl giggled a little and then said, “Rita?” And she said it kind of with that question mark at the end, the way teenaged girls all seem to talk.
Nice to meetchya, Rita, I said to her. Do you know who I am?
Yeah, she giggled, you’re Big Billy.
Yup, I said. And this hear’s Little Bill – have you two met?
The poor little girl burst out laughin’ so hard, I thought she was gonna choke to death. Willy! she said. Your family calls you “Little Bill”? That’s HILARIOUS!
Whuh? I says.
No, Little Bill says to her. He’s just tryin’ to be funny – everybody calls me Willy, that’s my name. And he shot me this look that was like lightning bolts.
Holy cripes, I said to myself. The boy is gonna start callin’ himself Willy? Now, I’ve called him a lot of things over the years – Junior, Little Bill, You Christer – you know, lots of things – but I don’t think I ever heard anybody call him Willy until this little girl came out with it.
And you know I’m a good sport, so I went right along with it.
That’s right, Willy. Sorry for makin’ fun, Willy. How’s everything on that side of the truck, Willy?
That’s when he reached over and turned the radio on real loud.
Anyways, I just let it go at that, and didn’t say anything about it the rest of the ride in. I dropped them off at the mall, and gave him ten bucks when he asked for twenty. So I get back home and as soon as I walk in the back door, I says to Minnie – Did you know we got a little Willy on our hands?
Well then, Minny says. I guess you better wash your hands, because supper’s ready.