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And it was an instance of temporary, group insanity, I guess you could say. That's not to excuse us of our actions and whatnot. And I cut off a piece of the hippie's hair with my mother's pinking shears. And whatnot. So, there was me (Seamus O'Malley III) and Crazy Jimmy Fay and Tommy Baptiste and Tommy Pelligrino and Michael Bailey and this guy named Lucas somethin'-or-another. I don't remember Lucas' last name, but he was the one of the two who did the bashing on the hippie kid's face, and Lucas was left-handed. I remember that. Lucas was left-handed. So, like, it was all my idea, and I don't know how I got the idea in my head and whatnot. I mean, it was in early spring of 1969. When we beat up the hippie kid, we just did what all our parents wanted to do. I mean, all our parents hated the hippies. All out parents wanted to beat the hippies up. I mean, again, this is not to excuse what we did. Or anything. We were all Roman Catholic kids. We were all about 14 years old, and all of us were eighth-graders at St. Anne's Grade School, except for Lucas. He was a year older than the rest of us, and he was a freshman at St. John's College High School. So, like I said, it was all my idea, and I started talkin' about it during noon recess out on the big top. The big top was an asphalt parking lot on the west side of St. Anne's School, and we used to play kickball there. Crazy Jimmy Faye was an excellent kickball player, and he was just about the only one who could kick the ball over the fence and onto the roof of the building which housed the first and second grades. John Peter, the school janitor used to retrieve the ball for us. He'd throw the ball from the top of the top of the roof back to us on the big top. And yeah, so, like, when we were waiting in line for our turn to kick, I started pushin' my idea. “Let's go hippie hunting,” I said. “Let's beat up a hippie and cut off all his hair!” The idea was immediately very popular. It caught on real quick. So we decided on the next Friday night to go hippie hunting. Yeah, so we all met up there at Hearst Playground up there on 37nd Street, right next to the Sidwell Friends School. And we gathered by one of the basketball poles on the basketball court, and we decided we would spread out along the perimeter of Hearst's upper softball field. When a hippie walked out onto the field, we would close ranks, surround him, beat him up and cut off all his hair. It was about 8 o'clock, and it was dark, and we spread out around the outside of the field. I think at that point we all thought we weren't really gonna beat up a hippie and cut off all his. I mean, the chances of a hippie—or anyone, for that matter—walking across the field in the dark were slim. I mean, if someone wanted to walk across the playground, he most likely walk around the north side, which was lit, or he'd walk around the west side which had a sidewalk and street lights. We hadn't been waiting, I swear, for three minutes when Tommy Baptiste yelled out, “Crazy Fay!” and Crazy Jimmy Fay responded, “What?” And Tommy Baptiste yelled: “We've got two of them! We've got two hippies!” And Crazy Jimmy Fay yelled out, “Are they on the field?” And Tommy Baptiste replied, “Yeeeyaeuh!” And then Baptiste let out with this maniacal cry, which sounded like one of the droogies guffawing in the movie version of “A Clockwork Orange.” Crazy Fay screamed, “Let's get 'em!” and with that we all converged on the hippies. We surrounded them but didn't really know what to do. One of the hippies--they both were male with shoulder-length hair and about 15 or 16—broke away from us and started running off toward 37th Street. “Aw, let him go!” said Lucas. “We've got this one. That's enough.” Then Tommy Baptiste grabbed the hippie from the back, wrapping his arms around the hippie, clasping his hands on the hippie's chest and holding the hippie up. “Go on!” urged Baptiste. “Go on and hit him!” And then Tommy Pelligrino stepped up in front of the hippie and viciously and rapidly hit the hippie with a right, left; a right, left; and a third right, left. The hippie's nose was now bleeding, and you could tell he was scared, real scared. Lucas said, “Let me at him!” and he stood before the hippie and delivered two direct blows to the hippie's face with his left arm and clenched fist. By now the hippie was on the ground sort of sitting upright with his legs stretched out
before him. He hadn't said a word or uttered a sound. Then one of the boys (I can't remember who) said,“Go on, O'Malley! Go on! Cut off the hippie's hair!” and I reacted as if possessed by a demon or somethin'. I pulled my mother's pinking shears from my front right pocket and approached the hippie boy. I leaned down and clipped off a locket about one-by-one inch, dropped the scissors and ran. Then everyone, except the hippie, started running off in different direction, and Tommy Baptiste guffawed some more like the droogies in “A Clockwork Orange.” Well what happened next, I'd say, in the next 15 minutes was that all five of us evil boys got rounded up by the police. And the police were being extremely efficient in this case, because the mayor of Washington, D.C., Walter E. Washington, was the one who reported the assault in the first place. The limousine in which the mayor was riding along 37th Street nearly struck the hippie boy who got away. The hippie boy was running across the street for his life. Yeah, the cops all rounded us up and booked us at the old No. 8 Precinct up there at Albemarle and 42nd streets. When I was walking down one of the halls toward a large room where they put us all, I passed a cop who was sitting in his chair. The cop stopped me and said, “Did you hold him up? Did you hold him up? You should have stomped on his neck and held him to the ground, That way you would have left no finger prints.” As he spoke the cop raised his right leg and then stomped his boot to the floor, and he twisted his foot back and forth as if he were stomping out a cigarette or killing a bug. So, I guess there's not much more to tell. I mean we had to wait in this room, it was like a small amphitheater while they retrieved some special bureaucrat from downtown. When the bureaucrat arrived, he stood at a podium in the front of the room and said, “Who's Crazy Fay?” And Crazy Jimmy Fay, who was scared of nothing, stood up, stuck his chest out and said, “I am!” The bureaucrat—he was in a suit and tie—said that Crazy Fay appeared to be the head of this gang, and the bureaucrat asked Crazy Fay to tell him what had happened. Crazy Fay gave an accurate account of what happened, and the bureaucrat went on to say that we had committed a serious crime, that we all would have records, and if we weren't arrested again before the age of 18, our records would be expunged. Then he let us go. Our fathers were all waiting for us out in the hall, and Michael Bailey's father slapped his son on the back of his head. Mr. Baptiste said to all of us, “What have, you boobs, done?” My father didn't say anything to me, and we had a silent ride home in my dad's old blue Chevy station wagon. When I got home, my mother was furious with me. She shrieked at me, “Are you satisfied? Are you satisfied with what you have done? So this is what hippie hunting is!” Then she rushed at me as if with the intention of beating me with her clenched right fist. But my father stepped in between us and said calmly, “No, Nora. No, Nora. Leave the little boy alone.”
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