Letters from Peckerneck: Dwarvscuffln

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Freddy \'Boom Boom\' Washington

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming ‘Letters From Peckerneck: What the School Board Don’t Wantcha To Know!” published by the Greater Peckerneck Historical Society. The following is taken from testimony given in 1985, when the Peckerneck City Council debated lifting the ban on ‘cruel and unusual sport within city limits’. The ban remained in place until 2004, when it was lifted at the behest of downtown tavern-owners, who wished to show UFC Pay-Per-Views during Happy Hour.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am not a criminal.

I am a dreamer.

Let me explain.

On the weekends, I run an underground fight club. Actually, it is an underground fight club for midgets.

I got into dwarf brawling thanks to my grandfather. He was a good ole boy from the hill country and when he was young, he liked to get liquored up on a Wednesday night, head into town and go to the midget fights. Back then, the promotions used to travel the country like wrestling shows. They’d come to town on a Monday or Tuesday, and ride through the streets in tiny cars, waving to people on the sidewalks. Most folks, however, never recognized it as a parade. Some thought it was school play, while others thought that something horrible had happened down at the hot springs. Grandpa liked to tell of a woman who refused to take a hot bath, for fear she’d shrink up and become a midget herself. Another time, he said, a Pentecostal minister claimed God had sent a plague of dwarves to punish his congregation and tried to run them over in his truck.

But anyway, Grandpa loved to go to the midget fights, and when I was about 10, he took me to my first. By this time, Peckerneck had outlawed midget fighting within the city limits, so we had to drive way outside of town along Route 2, down to where the grist mill used to be. Admittedly, it was a seedy affair. Midget fighting had failed to catch on like wrestling and by the time I got to see it, had clearly seen better days. The fights were held in an old circus tent that reeked of elephant pee and lonely clowns. The bleachers were worn and rickety. And worst of all, the midgets had all gone feral. They paced nervously in their cages, snarling and flinging poop at the crowds. Their handlers, clad in protective garments, poked at them with 10-foot poles, egging them on.

Nasty as it was, though, I was hooked.

(Quick aside: A feral midget is a dangerous midget. My buddy, Dan, used to raise them for fighting, until one of them got free and bit him on the ankle. Did you know that the human mouth is dirtier than a dog’s? Well, neither did Dan and his bite got infected and he lost the whole leg. Today, Dan runs a little people recovery program for dwarves that are too used up to fight and tries to find them a good home. True story. )

Now, I know, midget fighting is often seen as barbaric, or even inhumane, what with the midge-pits, cattle prods and shock collars, but it didn’t used to be. In fact, it has a long and proud history, largely overlooked. Midget fighting goes back to the 1800’s and was very common in Ireland, among a people know for being short and short tempered. In fact, there are many historians who believe that the money won in betting on ‘dwarvscuffln’, as it was known, was the inspiration for the leprechaun’s pot of gold.

In its heyday, back in the 20’s and 30’s, midget fighting was huge! Roadshows like ‘Danger Dwarfs’ and ‘Marty McLittle’s Midgets of Mayhem’ played to big, big crowds and made big, big money. It was like wrestling and bare-knuckled boxing all rolled into one cute little package. The biggest name in the sport’s history, Freddy Washington, aka ‘Furious Freddy’, aka ‘Boom Boom’, dined with presidents and danced with royalty. Truly, the meek truly had inherited the earth.

Unfortunately, Freddy’s time at the top was short lived. He was found dead at F. Scott Fitzgerald’s place following an ether romp. Some say Fitzgerald had him killed for eyeballing Zelda, others say he just couldn’t hold his ether. Either way, his passing was too tall an obstacle for the sport to overcome and in the following years, it descended into campy kitsch, and then into blood sport.

Today, folks like myself, are trying to legitimize the sport of MMMA (Mixed Midget Martial Arts). We no longer keep the little people in pens, pumped full of harmful hormones and steroids. My midgets are all free-range. I treat them humanely. Together, my fellow trainers and I hope to see midget fighting move out of the shadows and reclaim its place of honor among the pugilistic arts. Yes, a boy can dream.

And so I come before you to ask that you lift the city ban on so-called ‘cruel sports’ like midget fighting, so that we might move one step closer to our dream of legitimacy.

Boom Boom would be so proud.

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