The True and Bizarre Story of Humphrey Bumper Johnson

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


In memory of my dear childhood friend. This short story is to bring awareness about BBS (Brittle Body Syndrome) and to tell the tale from an eye witnesses perspective on what actually happened one
wierd day in a small town in West Virginia.

Submitted: July 06, 2018

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Submitted: July 06, 2018

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I knew this kid in grade school. His name was Humphrey Johnson. He had a strange and thankfully rare ailment called Brittle Body Syndrome (BS). He was literally brittle. If he touched something too hard he broke like a piece of ice. By age seven he was already missing a couple fingers, toes, part of his nostril and all of his right ear. I forget how he lost his fingers and toes but I remember him saying he lost his ear by taking his helmet off too fast. Oh yeah, he wore a helmet most of the time. Not just any helmet but an oversized helmet with lots of extra padding in it. You know cause he was brittle. He also had to wear a padded coat and pants, even during Summers. He sort of looked like one of those extreme Arctic adventurers. I guess this is what made him grumpy most of the time. That and the fact his parents and teacher were always telling him to be careful so he wouldn’t break. Humphrey felt so restricted, and he was always talking about the things he wanted to do if they ever found a cure. “The first thing I am going to do is ride the bumper cars!” he said often. He said it so many times, in fact, the kids started calling him “Humphrey Bumper”. He liked the nickname.

One day we were all excited to get a field day from school to go see the parade in town. The President of the United States of America would be in it and we all wanted to see what kind of candy he would throw at us. We all loaded up on buses to get there except for Bumper, by then we had dropped the “Humphrey”. His Mom was too worried that he would get something broken at the parade since a large crowd was expected. Bumper was furious that he couldn’t go but had a plan.

As soon as the teacher loaded the kids on to the last bus Bumper snuck out the fire escape window, circled the school and climbed up on the back bumper of the bus. Bumper on a bumper. We kids saw him there but didn’t say a word. We wanted him to come see the President of the United States of America with us.

When the bus stopped on main street, Bumper carefully stepped down to the sidewalk and blended into the crowd the best he could. A couple of us boys met up with him later, but before the parade started there were some carnival rides for kids. While I was high up on the Ferris wheel I remember seeing the bumper cars below and Bumper standing there on the outside watching them. I felt so bad for him. I would do anything to get him that cure so he could do the things the rest of us were enjoying.

An announcement came through the speakers saying the parade was about to start, so everyone started walking towards main street to see it. A couple of us boys found Bumper and we all walked together towards the show, speculating what kind of candy the President of the United States of America would have to give out. It had to be the best. “Big League Chew!” One boy said.
“Nerds!” Said another
“Sour Patch Kids!”
“I hope he throws me Pop Rocks!” I said
“I’m not allowed to have Pop Rocks,” Bumper said. “Maybe there will be those wax bottles with juice in ‘em. I can have those.”

We got to the street but couldn’t really see anything since all the adults were taller than us. So we tried to squeeze through the ever-tightening crowd. We all made it through except Bumper. His special suit was just too big so we got separated. One of the girls from the class was there and later told me what she saw. Bumper found a wall in the back of the crowd. It was crumbly and had a sign on it that read “Danger do not climb on the wall” Bumper must have seen that sign but ignored it and climbed the wall just as the President of the United States of America was about to appear. I’m sure he could tell by the excited crowd sounds. Once on top of the wall, he could see everything. There was a big motorcade with lots of police on motorcycles surrounding the star of the show. We were all disappointed to find out he wasn’t throwing candy, just smiling and waiving, but we still thought it was cool to get to see him. The President just happened to notice this strange kid standing on a dangerous looking wall wearing what looked like a snowsuit. Curious he looked him square in the eyes and gave him a waive. Bumper waived back then suddenly the wall broke and Bumper had a great fall. The President saw this, stopped the parade and brought his police and EMT’s over immediately to check on Bumper. But when Bumper hit the ground he had shattered into a thousand pieces. It just looked like a pile of pink glass. The medics and police tried to scoop him back together but there was just nothing to be done. The crowd circled the remains of my friend as I came on the scene. I told them that was Humphrey Johnson and he had Brittle Body syndrome. Then something even stranger began to happen. The shards began to evaporate into the air. The crowd fell quiet and at that very moment of perfect silence the nearby bumper cars, EMPTY bumper cars started moving on their own. One bumper car started crashing into every other one then broke through the wall and sped out onto the highway. There was a police officer there in his car monitoring traffic and clocked this lonely bumper car doing 70 in a 55 so took off after it. As he gave chase he watched the bumper car reach flight velocity, lift off the highway and gracefully fly up into the clouds and disappear forever. This was all caught on his dash cam and the video can be found on Youtube.

Now a lot of people tell this story but get it all wrong. Sometimes they call Bumper, Humpty Dumpty, and say he was egg-shaped and all that crap but it simply is not true. I was there and saw it all first hand. His name was Humphrey Johnson. His story deserves to be told accurately. I guess it is just the nature of human beings to mis-tell stories each time they get repeated, but come on egg-shaped? Seriously?


© Copyright 2020 Mark Spencer. All rights reserved.

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