Wally Holly, U.S. Navy retiree and resident of St. James II subdivision in Goose Creek, South Carolina, is known as “Jolly Wally Holly.” Friends affectionately add the words “By Golly” to the end of the Jolly Wally Holly moniker when they address him.
Well, if the truth is told, by golly, holiday season ain’t so jolly for Wally Holly. For many years this harmless old coot has lived in St. James II…a quiet, well-maintained, middle-class subdivision consisting mostly of one story brick homes on large lots. I am guessing that this area was developed in the 1970’s and 1980’s…better materials…better workmanship. Rarely do I see a for sale sign.
Who would suspect that this peaceful little road holds a sinister little secret?
It seems that Wally gets along fabulously with his neighbors from January 1st through mid-October. Starting then, however, and going through New Year’s Eve, his life becomes a living heck due to the unremitting, increasingly bizarre pranks directed at him by his otherwise nice neighbors.
I have traveled this road thousands of times on my way to the Food Lion. Late one Halloween evening a few years ago, I slowed down to witness an angry, shrieking, disheveled old man, broom in hand, wildly beating a flaming object on his front porch. I thought that a small grill might have overturned. His boxer shorts fell and tangled in his fuzzy slippers. For a second, it looked as if he was going to flip over the porch rail and land in the manicured shrubbery. He caught himself, however, but by now the broom was on fire. Fearing for my own safety I hit the accelerator and did not get to see the final outcome of this bizarre vignette.
I took an alternate route on the trip back home.
Looking back, I am grateful that my brief episode as a distracted driver did not result in a head on collision with a mailbox or two. I would dread explaining the source of my distraction to a cop who would (inevitably) summon seven more cars so that I could repeat the story of the Crazy Man With the Burning Broom to his buddies.
A few days ago I turned into St. James II on my way to the Food Lion when, up ahead and on the right, I saw the same old fellow sitting on the lawn in his front yard. As I got closer it appeared that he had been weeping. I slowed down to see if he required assistance or medical attention. Perhaps, I thought to myself, this sad old man just needed somebody to talk to. I drove past his mailbox, stopped, and got out of my car.
He quickly stood up and fiddled through his pockets. Failing to find a handkerchief, he wiped his face on his shirt sleeve. Clearly distraught, he had momentarily lost his voice and could only gurgle and grunt an urgent, but garbled message. Seeing my confusion, he pointed repeatedly at a deflated Frosty the Snowman yard decoration.
This particular plastic Frosty had seen better days.
The Christmas icon lay crumpled in a heap in Wally’s front yard. Through teary eyes, he looked up at me and choked out…“It’s hopeless, he’s a goner.”
We did our introductions and traded a little background information. I asked Wally if he had been crying because he was tired of coming out every morning to blow the thing back up. He said no…that was not why he was upset. “Look closer and tell me what you see!”
From a distance, it appeared that Frosty had simply deflated of his own volition. A closer look revealed otherwise. All along Frosty’s torso, there were multiple puncture wounds in two straight lines about eight inches apart. It looked like a bite mark from a very large animal.
Wally asked me to wait while he frantically rushed into his house to get something that he wanted to show me. A few minutes later, he trotted back into the front yard and handed me a cigar box. “Open it!” he said…urgently. I looked inside and saw a small collection of photos. I was astonished at what I saw. “Careful how you handle those pictures,” yelped Wally.”They are what is referred to in a court of law as evidence.”
Click to Enlarge!
“I don’t understand! Are you telling me that one of your neighbors deliberately deployed a remote control mechanical Godzilla to attack your Christmas yard decorations?” “That is exactly what they did!” hollered Wally. “It was Suzuki and his son. The old man is about 90 or so and he can really swig back the juice! They are both engineering geeks and are always working on some electronic or robotic knick-knack to terrorize me. I got really suspicious when they installed a two-story workshop in their back yard last year. Now I know why they needed that extra overhead space.”
“That’s terrible,” I replied. “Did you call the police?”
Wally blurted out: “Sure enough! I called 9-1-1 four days ago. That’s why you saw me sitting in the yard. I was waiting for them to get here.”
Sensing the change in the tone of our conversation, and, fearing for my personal safety, I patted my pants pocket to make sure I had remembered the old mace canister. I took a step back and said, “Uhhh….Wally…if they were going to send a patrol car over here…don’t you think they would have gotten here by now?”
“Well, yeah, I suppose so,” he replied. “But, on the positive side, it gave me time to get those prints you’re holding developed!”
I had to agree.
We spoke at length about the seasonal neighbor troubles he has experienced. Wally said that it started with a flaming bag of dog poo on Halloween of 1999 and escalated shortly after that. The most recent flaming poo bag attack came just two days before the shredded Frosty episode.
“That’s not the half of it,” blurted out an obviously agitated Wally. “This past Thanksgiving some wiseacre sprayed my front porch with pigeon pheromone. I had to rent a pressure washer to clean up that mess! One of the little suckers flew off with my favorite penguin hat!”
Wally recounted the time back in 2004 when, after two consecutive nights of flaming doggie poo bags, he grabbed a golf club, hid around the side of his house, and waited for the scatological scoundrels to return. Unfortunately, around 10 P.M. he nodded out…only to be startled out of a deep slumber at around 3 A.M. A neighbor’s pet goose had just bitten him on the nose. The goose escaped uninjured and was last seen about two blocks away with Wally close behind wildly swinging a golf club at empty space.
Wally didn’t have any photos of this bizarre attack so I asked him to recreate the awful scenario for my story. What was really eerie about this photo shoot is that, as I was snapping pictures, three of his neighbor’s tame geese appeared in Wally’s yard to taunt him some more.
Click to Enlarge!
I asked Wally if he was apprehensive about New Year’s Eve which was but four days away. Would he consider getting a motel room to avoid all of the commotion and pranks?
“You gotta be kidding,” laughed Wally. “I wouldn’t miss it for all the Tea in Wal-Mart! There’s an old septic tank in Suzuki’s yard and I have four sticks of dynamite!”
Will Jolly Wally Holly By Golly win this war of attrition with his wacky neighbors?
Does it really matter?
Time will tell and I will be sure to keep my readers posted.