Tag Archives: Chris Haydel

Johnny Be Bad

“The bad boy: Always more fun.”

—Ian McShane

Today’s story is contributed by Chris Haydel.

“Stay away from that Johnny, he’s trouble,” Mom warned.

He’s a troublemaker, a bad seed. As a nurse, Mom had observed the sometimes tragic result of hanging out with “dangerous” kids.

johnny be bad

Chris Haydel Family,
Christmas 1971

It was a hot summer day in New Orleans, but to me, it had never felt cooler. I had saved up for a month, and today was the big day. The shiny long barrel. The plastic “ivory” grip. Multi-cap loading capacity. A magnificent weapon. A young boy’s dream. I had seen it in the toy aisle of a store not too far away.

Mom had gone out to run errands, but she promised to take me as soon as she got back. I was playing outside to kill time.

Johnny was outside too, but he was killing bugs with his magnifying glass. “Hey, watcha doin’?” He yelled from across the street.

“Nothing,” I mumbled, bowing my head, heeding Mom’s warning. READ MORE