It was late afternoon when five, rumbling teenage bellies were craving food, especially after all that exercise. We headed back to the trailer, collected some stuff from the deep freeze and joined the queue for the toilet. I was first in, luckily, and didn't have to assault my nostrils with the next guy's stink. The poor SOB would have to deal with mine.
It had often occurred to me that assholes had their down side -- not that I spent too much time dwelling on the subject. But it was obvious that skin was a pretty useful item -- it not only held our guts in place, but prevented them from being on full view. Out of sight was out of mind until there was a situation like this -- five guys with their knees crossed, all desperate to take a dump.
It reminded me of a time when I was a littler Daniel. My mom and I had spent two weeks on a friends farm where the farmhand, a guy of about nineteen or twenty, was determined to show us city slickers a thing or two about country life. One afternoon, he took me for a drive in an old truck to an isolated area where a bunch of sheep were grazing. "Which one would you like for breakfast?"
"Huh?" I'd never really thought about the origin of lamb chops before -- they were things mom brought home from the supermarket and put in the fridge.
The farmhand stopped the truck close to where the sheep were munching on the grass. Not a single one paid any attention, so they were obviously used to seeing humans. "Gimme a hand, Daniel." I followed him into the center of the herd where he grabbed an animal by the neck, kicked its hind legs from under it and had it belly-up in a second. The commotion caused the nearby sheep to flee -- but only by a few yards. They were soon feeding contentedly again once they'd realized that they weren't the object of the farmhand's attention. "Close the back of the truck as soon as I get this critter on board."
We then drove to a large shed where various tractors and farm machinery were stored. The farmhand carried the bewildered lamb to a point underneath an overhead wooden beam from which a hook dangled. He placed the animal between his legs, with its gut facing outwards, held its chin with one hand, then produced a long-bladed knife from a sheath strapped to his thigh. It all happened so fast, I didn't have time to look away. Within a second, the lamb's throat had been sliced from ear to ear and blood was jetting from its severed artery. During its final death throes, its body was prevented from convulsing by being held firmly between the farmhand's knees. After a few moments, all signs of life had vanished. Extinguished. Completely.
Apart from the odd dead bird or squashed cat by the side of the road, I'd never witnessed the finality of death in such a cold-blooded manner before. And we were gonna eat that thing? No fucking way! Of course, the farmhand knew that I was paralyzed with shock, and that was precisely his intention. He was aware that an everyday event on a farm would blow a city kid's mind big time. But there was more to come.
A minute later, the sheep was hanging by it's hind legs from the hook. One long, expert stroke from the razor-sharp knife had opened its cavernous belly. I watched in frozen horror as its pink guts spilled from the opening and fell to the earthen floor in a foul-looking heap. "Check this out, Daniel." He reached into the pile of offal and produced a handful of green stuff. "This is what this dude was eating just fifteen minutes ago. It's still warm." And with a laugh, he threw it at me. I ducked and heard it hit the wall behind me. As he bent down to scoop a second handful, I ran behind a tractor where I watched green missiles splatter all around me. I was more scared than nauseated, especially by his evil laughter.
Later, I was invited to watch the animal being butchered into various cuts of meat, but I declined. I'd already had enough of farm life to last a fucking lifetime.
"What are you thinking about, Daniel," Paul asked as we boarded the boat for the trip back to our campsite. I told the guys the story and they all cracked big time. Insensitive assholes.
"So what did you have for breakfast?" Benny laughed.
"Yeah, it was winter and the people who owned the farm had this big, old fuel stove. When I came into the kitchen after showering, the smell of those chops frying in the pan was so fucking cool, I forgot all about what happened the day before. I had two helpings."
"By the way," Steve said once the giggling had subsided, "next time we queue up for a dump, I go first. OK? You're fucking putrid, man."
"You'll forget all about that the next time I park my ass in your face, dude," I cracked.
We were just a few yards from shore when we saw the damage. Our campsite had been ransacked. We were all too surprised to say much as Josh nosed the boat toward the sand. The tents were missing, the bikes were gone, Josh's barbecue had vanished. "My fucking CD player!" Steve yelled as he threw his arms in the air. "It's not here!" All of us stood there like fucking zombies staring at the empty space that had once been occupied by our things. How could this be? What kind of assholes would take our stuff? Who were they? Where were they? Whatever direction our darting eyes searched gave us no clue. The forest, the bay -- they were both silent witnesses incapable of giving up their secret. Then we studied each other's faces. More questions. No answers.
"Let's take a chance," Josh eventually suggested as we rummaged through what remained of our camp. "Whoever did this might still be around. Daniel, you come with me in the boat. Paul, Steve, Benny, you guys spread out and search the local area. We'll all meet back here in, say, half an hour. If you see anything suspicious, don't take any action on your own. Wait until we meet again -- then we'll organize something."
I was pretty impressed with the way Josh had gotten his head together and formulated a plan. The rest of us were too shattered to think straight, but we obeyed his commands as if we'd been trained to follow his orders.
We'd travelled just a few miles up the bay when I recognized my black BMX leaning against a tree, but as soon as I grabbed Josh's shoulder to tell him about it, he barked at me. "Don't point. Don't look. Act calm. Pretend to be a normal sightseer." I sat back in the seat and wondered what the fuck he was doing as the boat continued on its slow journey. Once we'd passed a small headland, he threw the boat into a sharp turn, slammed on the power and steered the craft back to our campsite. "Chances are if that's your bike," he yelled over the screaming outboard motor, "the rest of our stuff is there, too. Let's get back to the guys and work out a plan."
Paul was the last to arrive at the campsite as the rest of us had seated ourselves in a circle on the sand. "I saw your BMX, Daniel!" Paul gasped, "and some other stuff."
"Cool it, Paul," Josh ordered, "we did, too. Sit here and let's figure out what we can do. Anybody got any ideas?"
"Yeah!" I said, "let's go get the mutha fuckers!" My comment was greeted with an enthusiastic response from the other guys, except for Josh. He was surprisingly cool.
"Not so fast, my friends," he smiled. "We have the advantage 'cause they don't know we're coming. Now listen up. This is what I suggest we do."
Paul led us back to the place where he'd seen my bike. When we arrived, we each chose a tree to hide behind in the thick undergrowth of the rain forest until the moment to attack was right. There were four guys sitting on the sand -- they were all older than us by maybe two or three years. We could hear them laughing as they drank their beer. Their beer? Our fucking beer! The fucking assholes! My BMX was still in the same place, and I could see some of our other stuff scattered on the small beach.
Some minutes later, Josh's boat came into view as planned. He slowed the craft and steered it toward the shore. "Who's this fucker?" one of the guys remarked. "Who cares?" another said. "There's only one of him."
Once the bow of the boat had found its mark on the sand and had come gently to a halt, Josh hopped out of the craft and walked toward the group of guys. As he'd correctly predicted during our recent confab, all eyes were concentrated on him. With their backs to us, the rest of us were invisible.
"Hi, guys. I just noticed that black BMX over there. Looks a lot like a friend of mine's bike."
"A bike's a fucking bike, dude. They all look the same. Fuck off outa here while you're still in one fucking piece."
"And that tent? Looks just like a friend of mine's."
The four guys stood as Josh approached them. "So what if it does?" the biggest guy growled.
"Well, I think he'd like to have it back." Josh ran his hand through his hair which was the signal for us to creep toward them while he kept the assholes occupied.
"Hey, faggot, I'll tell you once more, fuck off outa here or you're dead meat."
"Would you like to meet my friends?"
"Hi, guys," we all chorused as we stood behind them.
The moment the dudes turned to face us, we let 'em have a solid kick in the balls. Whammo! Four cans of beer hit the sand as four pairs of hands groped their crotches in a vain attempt to ease the excruciating pain. Then four pairs of knees crumbled as four bodies succumbed to gravity.
"Get the ropes, quick!" Josh ordered. Within a few moments, four sorry fuckwits were bound hand and foot, and completely at our mercy.
"What are we gonna do with 'em?" Steve asked.
"Is there any beer left?"
"OK, let's chill out with a beer each and think about it."
While the thieves were protesting their innocence and offering totally lame excuses for their actions, we went about collecting our stuff and loading it aboard the boat. Nothing seemed damaged, so we were lucky. Steve already had his CD playing music, and was bopping around on the sand doing a Michael Jackson impersonation. "That was a cool plan, Josh," he laughed. "So fucking cool! Woohoo!"
After the boat had been loaded, and we were ready to leave, I raised the can of beer to my lips and drank the last dregs. "Anybody else feel like a piss?"
"You're not gonna waste it on those assholes, are you?" Paul complained.
"There are two kinds of piss, bro," I explained, "friendly piss and hostile piss." And with that, I dropped my shorts and aimed my semi at the big guy as he lay defenceless on the sand.
"I'll get you for this," he warned. "You'll…" He chose a bad time to open his mouth. Moments later, my four buds were emptying their bladders all over the trussed and indignant bodies on the beach.
"Hey!" one of them yelled as we reversed the boat into deeper water, "who's gonna untie us?"
"Maybe nobody," I laughed. "Be thankful we didn't fucking shit on your ugly faces as well." We all gave the guys the single finger salute before Josh gunned the motor.
On the way back to the campsite, Josh suggested that we collect whatever was still there then head back to the trailer. "There's a chance those guys will come looking for us -- no point in making ourselves easy targets." He was right, of course, so we stopped by to gather the rest of our things, then set course for the trailer. On the way, Josh asked me what I'd meant by friendly piss and hostile piss.
"I guess it's like wrestling or whatever. I mean, Paul and I fool around wrestling but it's fun -- not like a real fight. Know what I mean? Same actions, different attitude."
"I guess so. Sorta like the difference between rape and making love. Same actions, different attitude."
"You got it, bro. By the way, you were totally fucking cool today, Josh. How did you figure all that stuff?"
"I dunno. I read a lot -- war stories and stuff." Then he burst out laughing. "Jeez! I never thought I'd be actually putting any of that shit into action! That was such a fucking buzz! Woohoo! Those guys were sitting ducks! Hey! And you guys were terrific. Fucking awesome! You know something? When I got out of the boat and walked toward them, I wasn't sure you guys had arrived."
"You didn't know we were hiding behind the trees?"
"Nope. I was just hoping you were in position."
"Hey, Daniel. I learned something important today -- I learned about trust and friendship, and you guys came through. This has been one fucking helluva day."
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Diary Part 103