Sunday, March 28, 2010

Arboreal Brandyn

Brandyn Boatwright was a wild one. He had a quick temper and a quicker tongue. He had a never give up, never think attitude. Whatever you could do he could do. He was loud, obnoxious and annoying. He was also a barrel full of fun.

Many are the tales told of good old Brandyn and many of you reading this are laughing already. I chose to open these tales with a selection from the old tree house days. Many young boys have a tree house, in many ways we had THE tree house. It was truly awesome and was the result of years of work. It was composed of a number of platforms built at various heights in between pine trees.

We would pick four trees and nail 2x4s between them to make a base and then cover it with some kind of flooring. The platforms were connected together by a number of simple bridges. We had a few zip lines that we used to shoot down to the ground. There was also a rope we used to swing on and skin the cat off of. Well, it wasn't really a rope, it was a huge industrial electric cord. It was probably close to an inch in diameter and was coated in a rubber jacket just like any other extension cord. Dad had gotten it from somewhere. We took it and used it for a rope.

It was suspended by a small pine tree we had cut down and nailed between two other trees. The top was close to twenty feet off the ground. It hung between two of the tree house platforms about five or ten feet from each one. We used ladders made of boards nailed between two trees to climb up, but almost always used the rope to slide down. We would jump from the platforms and grab the rope. As it was coated in rubber it was soft on the hand and had a great grip. The first time you made the jump it would scare the life out of you. A few jumps latter and it became second nature. All these details are important to remember.

Brandyn and Josh had been out playing at the tree house. I was out there as well working on some project or another. They started getting into it, I don't remember about what, but they were getting louder and louder. Josh was swinging around on the rope mocking Brandyn. Brandyn was standing on the highest platform yelling at Josh. Finally Brandyn got mad enough he decided to do something about it.

“How do like this?” Brandyn asked as he started peeing on the top of the rope. Josh immediately let go as Brandyn's personal rinse ran down to the ground. “There! Enjoy swinging on it now!” Josh looked up at Brandyn “I'll just wait until the rain washes it off!”. I am sure at that moment Brandyn felt that victory was his. He had gotten the better of Josh.

The problem was that his sense of victory gave him closure on the issue. Because of that he immediately forgot all about the argument and what the results had been. Two minutes later he decided to come down and see what Josh was doing. So, he did what had become second nature to him. He jumped out of the tree house and grabbed onto the rope.

Now, the funny thing about rubber is that, although it has great traction when it's dry, it is very slick when it is wet. He held in his hands a urine soaked rubber rope. As a result he dropped to the ground like a stone! He fell to the earth like a sack! After a moment he picked himself up trying to get his breath back. As soon as he could speak he looked at me and said: “Hey bro, could you brush me off, I've got pee on my hands....”

Needless to say I burst out laughing. I felt like he had almost enough punishment and brushed him off. I walked back up to the house with him so he could get washed up. Once we got there I refused to open the door. I made him kick on it with his feet until Mom answered. He explained why he couldn't open the door while I stood there laughing. Sadly for Brandyn that wasn't his last tree house adventure.

We had a number of the guys over to celebrate the start of summer one year. As part of the festivities we had built a number of pipe bombs. Now, you may think of a pipe bomb as a tool for terrorists, but these weren't. They were just very large firecrackers. Of course, they were made out of pipes. Plus, they were filled with a lot of gun powder... OK, they were bombs, but we didn't mean any harm. We just wanted to make a bit of noise and we were very very careful.

Well, most of the time we were careful. The day of the party we had set off several. Most of us guys were sitting up in the top platform of the tree house. Josh and David were down on the ground. They were in charge of placing the bombs and lighting the very long fuses before they ran for it. The first few bombs had gotten a good deal of admiration, but I wanted to show our guests what they could really do.

It was decided that we should place one of the biggest bombs under a large steel pot that we kept out at the tree house. My brother rigged up a stick with a line on it and propped the pot up with it. The bomb was placed under the pot. David lit the fuse, Josh pulled the string and dropped the pot right on top of it. They both dove for cover in a little clay pit we had dug. All of us on the platform leaned out to get a better look and wait for the boom.

After a few tense moments it went off! The sound was incredible. We scanned for the remains of the pot, but there weren't any. A mummer of disbelieve went through the crowd. I knew it was impossible, that bomb could not have destroyed that pot. All of this had happened in an instant. Suddenly I heard the sound of breaking tree branches. I looked for the source of the sound. At last I saw it! It was the pot falling back through the trees!

I was stunned, I couldn't comprehend what I was seeing. The bomb had blown the pot above the tree line. Slowly I realized that the pot seemed to be coming right towards me. At the last moment I yelled and stuck my hand up to protect my face. It hit me on the palm and almost sprained my wrist. However, I was the lucky one.

Brandyn was still scanning the ground. He was searching the area for the remains of the pot. His back was to me as I deflected the falling pot with my hand. It bounced off of my palm and hit Brandyn right in the back of the head. Fortunately for him all the guys in the tree house had great reaction time. He was grabbed by around five pairs of hands almost instantly. Unfortunately he was leaned out so far when it hit him that no one could grab him above the belt. Everyone had a hold on the back of his pants. He was knocked completely unconscious, swaying over the edge of the tree house, kept from falling only by the many hands holding his pants.

At last we got him pulled back onto the platform. Suddenly he woke up. “What happened?” he asked. We all burst out laughing as soon as we knew he was alright. It had been a bit too close for comfort and that was the end of the pipe bombs. Well, that was the end of them for that day...

I hope you all enjoyed that. As always be sure to let your friends know about this little blog.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Unsinkable Tara Gainey

This is group of short stories to explain to Tara Gainey to those who don't know her. This information will be important as other tales unfold where it seems Tara wasn't acting like a completely normal person. Tara was often on the sidelines watching stories unfold where she had enough sense to keep well clear of them. However, when she got dragged in she always stayed perfectly calm. She was unmoved by the insanity around her.

Tara's defining characteristic was that she was a Tom boy. She spent much of her time with her cousins, who were all boys. It was only natural that she would emulate them to a certain extent. She had an iron will and was completely inflexible at times. Generally this only caused a problem when she and I didn't agree. I too had an unbreakable will, plus I was two years older, a boy and bigger than her.

Now, a normal young girl would let the boy have his way or cry to get hers. Not Tara... No, she had to try and beat me on my own terms. Needless to say she was no match for me physically, so she rarely started a physical struggle between us. However, she knew that I was also very gentle (at least with her.) and so she could do whatever she wanted to stir me up with almost no repercussions.

However, her emotions were powerful at times. She seemed to have a real affinity for anger under certain circumstances as well. Once she was really mad it was hard to say what she would do. I remember one night Joshua and I were over at her house. I don't remember why we were there, but I remember what happened well. Tara was in a bad mood from the moment we arrived. For some reason she wanted us to go home. She was ten or so at the time and already had weird mood swings now and again.

She and I started getting into it immediately. As the argument escalated she pulled out an oyster shucker that someone had given her. She told me that if I didn't back off she would stab me. Now, ordinarily I would have ignored her or picked on her about having said that. However, that night was different, there was something in her eyes. I was almost certain that she wanted to stab me.

Well, I was a logical young man. I got up, went into the kitchen and told her mother (my cousin Ramona.) that I had been threatened. Ramona wasn't happy. I suspect Tara had been in a mood all day. Whatever the reason Ramona reacted swiftly. She took the oyster shucker from Tara and told her she couldn't have it back that night.

This chain of events revealed Tara's other side. She was a Tom boy and would pitch in with the rest of us no matter what we were doing. At times she would even get in on the fighting. Deep down though she was still a young girl. This was a defeat she couldn't overcome. At that moment she was abandoned to her two cousins without so much as a weapon to defend herself. It was too much. She was emotionally over loaded. She snapped!

She burst out crying as hard as I had ever seen anyone go into it. She almost went into hysterics. She screamed “Without my oyster shucker I'll die!” and almost collapsed on the floor. Ramona looked down at her and laughed. She said she didn't think Tara would die over it, but that time would tell.

I felt terrible... I had been the instrument of fate against this poor girl. I didn't want to upset her I just didn't want to get stabbed. It was a reminder to me that no matter how tough my little cousin was she was still a young girl. I thought in future it would be better to give her space. It was terrible to see her will so completely overwhelmed.

That was actually one of the last times she and I stood in such complete opposition. If point of fact it may have been the very last. It may seem that I was cruel to treat her as such an equal adversary, but she had done a lot to prove to me she could take it. There were very few times when she would ever give up and just let me have my way. She had convinced me that she could take whatever I could dish out.

I do remember one time when she decided that it would be safer to just let me have my way. She had picked up the phrase “not necessarily” from someone. I don't know who first said it in front of her, but I wish they had just kept their mouth shut. As soon as it sounded in her ears it stuck to her brain. For weeks no matter what you said her reply was “not necessarily”. I had started making statements like “The sky is often blue.” just to see what her reply would be. It was a faithful, constant and unwavering “not necessarily”.

After a while I had finally had enough. We were over at our Nana's house and she had just said “not necessarily” for the fiftieth time that day. That was it. I was filled to the brim. I knew that under normal circumstances Tara wouldn't do anything I told her just because I was the one telling her. She would have rather peed in her pants than go to the bathroom if I had been the one to tell her to do it. I knew that I had to drive my point home. There could be no misunderstanding. It was very necessary that “not necessarily” stop. Otherwise there would have to be repercussions.

I walked into the kitchen where she was and leaned over to her. I said “If you say not necessarily one more time and am going to knock your brains out. You can be sure that Nana will beat me, but not before I've finished with you.” She looked up into my face and saw in my eyes that I really was willing to get a beating over it. She also considered how much pain I was likely to give her before I was stopped. She was silent for a few heartbeats. (Now, I know what you are all expecting her to have said. However, you're not looking in my face at that moment. This time Tara took the course of patient wisdom. It's better to live to fight another day after all.) Her reply was a simple “Ah...” For the rest of the day things were no longer “not necessarily”. I felt a little bad for being a brute, but not nearly as bad as I would have had I had to sit there listening to “not necessarily” all day long.

Those of you who were never around the young Tara Gainey will no doubt think that was horrible of me. You may think I played the part of the bully. However, I can only say in my defense that had they been there the Pope would had held Tara down while Mother Teresa spanked her. Buddhist monks would have forsaken their vows to knock her up side the head sometimes. I was, generally, a very patient, loving young boy. Tara was a particular favorite of mine, but all things have a limit.

There were times, however, when Tara disregarded the warning signs and pushed me beyond the breaking point. I remember one day, we were again at Nana's, and Tara was yacking at me about something and had been for some time. Our cousin Chris was there as well and for this story it's only important to note that Chris was an “instigator”. I am certain you all know what I mean.

I was doing my best to just ignore Tara as she literally followed me around yacking at me non-stop. Chris decided that I really ought to do something about it. He was four years older than me, so he came at me from the point of view of the wizened old man of the world. “I don't think I'd take that, not from a ten year old girl anyway.” and then of course “Sounds like she needs put in her place. I guess you could do it if you were any kind of a man...”

I walked around in front of Nana's house with both of them pestering me and each of them ignoring the other. Tara was verbally attacking me, while Chris was telling me that I should do something about it. Finally I reached the end of my patience. I stopped walking, turned around and looked Tara squarely in the face. I told her that she better shut her mouth before I put my fist in it. She didn't bat an eye. She immediately told me something along the lines of “If you think you're man enough than go ahead!” Chris smiled “You gonna take that?”

No... That was my limit... That was enough... That was it... I drew back like a flash and punched her right in the face as if she had been a boy twice my size. She literally did a back flip and landed face down in the dirt. She didn't make a sound. Slowly she rose to her feet and began to dust herself off. She looked up at me with resolve as the hint of a smile began to run across her lips. She turned he head towards Nana's house as we all stood there in silence. Nana's shadow passed the window and Tara turned her face to me with a broad smile and sparkling eyes. That was just what she had hope to see.

She screamed like I was killing her and burst out crying. The door flew opened as if it was about to be torn off the hinges. Nana burst out with death in her eyes. Tara was bawling and quite truthfully accused me of punching her in the face. Fortunately Chris jumped in on my side to say that Tara had been begging for it. Nana began to scold me and comfort Tara, but she didn't take another step toward me. I couldn't believe it! I had gotten off with a warning! “You don't hit girls! I don't care what they say!”

I have to wonder how long Nana had been near that window and how much she had actually seen and heard. Tara and I both learned something that day. She learned that I struck people as innocent and that it was hard to prove that I should be punished even if you got me to confess. I learned that Tara was as wile as she was tough. I also learned that a woman will drive you up the wall until you snap and then try to punish you for that as well. All in all I came away from it with the knowledge that a man has to keep a cool head and ignore any other guys around when dealing with an aggravating woman!

As I said, this was just to let everyone know what Tara was like. It's a lot easier to understand how should could deal with all the things that went on around her once you know what she was like.

I hope you all got a laugh. I'll try to post another story soon.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sam McDowell – American Ninja

As you all may remember ninjas were an important part of the lives of most young boys in the 1980s. All of us wanted to get in touch with our ninja heritage whether we had any or not. Video games, movies and comic books all made it clear that ninjas had been and always would be an important part of society. Most of the boys I knew took up the responsibility and worked hard to become at least a little bit ninja. Chiefest among these determined young men twas Sam McDowell.

Not all of you may know Sam, so I will again open the tale by telling you a bit about him. Sam was what he is and what I expect he will be in the future. He has aged him like a fine wine. Although he retains the traits of his flavorful youth time has mellowed them with a more palatable taste. He was brash, bold and confident. He was faster to act than to think. (Something I am glad to say time has mainly reversed.) He was as loyal as a hound and could be as petty as a four year old. He would do anything to help you and almost anything just to aggravate you. He was and is more than a friend, he is a brother.

Sam was obsessed with ninjas, even compared to the natural obsession boys of our generation had with them. I don't know many times he and I had gotten into arguments over whether a ninja could beat a medieval knight. (These arguments often got heated and nearly came to blows at times.) By the age of twelve Sam had begun to teach the neighborhood boys martial arts. What were his credentials? Well, his brother was a ninja! What more could a young pupil want? How did we know Sam's brother was a ninja? Simplicity itself! Sam told us so!

Now, the last time I spoke to Sam about this it seems he couldn't remember having said that. Of course, he couldn't deny it either. You the reader have to understand two facts about this. First, mine is much better than Sam's memory. (Some might say that I have had less chemical memory modification, but we'll leave that to speculation.) Second, one has to consider that I don't find it nearly as embarrassing to admit that I believed Sam's brother was a ninja as he would find it embarrassing to admit that he made such a claim. So for the remainder of this story we will assume that Sam's lack of memory is either selective or chemically induced.

There are certainly a number of little stories I could fit in here concerning all the training we through. We had some amazing sparring matches for people our age. However, I'll confine this story to what I feel is the paramount example of Sam's confidence outrunning his skills. In his defense I will here point out that Sam usually accomplished whatever he set out to. This was one of the times he fell short with rather interesting consequences.

It all began on a beautiful day in the middle of the summer. I believe we were around fourteen years old at the time. Sam had recently been to visit some of his brothers (They are all older than him.) and had picked up a few new ninja pointers. We were on our way back from town where we had intended to rent a game. We walked up town and back almost ever other day all through the summer. We would dig through the furniture trying to scrounge up two dollars so we could go rent something.

We always went armed, at least for our age. I would regularly carry a knife with me, just in case we were attacked suddenly. (With ninjas everywhere one couldn't be too careful.) Sam often carried a machete stuck down his pants leg. (Hidden weapons were also very popular with ninjas.) However, on this day he was carrying a simple staff. Well, in truth, a simple mop handle. (The true ninja uses whatever weapon is at hand.)

As we walked along we were talking of his latest ninja training. His brother had recently taught him how to block spears thrown at him with a staff. A staff much like the mop handle he carried with him. We passed a few hay bails along the way. This is only important because at the time big round hay bails often had small bamboo rods stuck in them. I didn't know why those rods where in them then and I don't know now, but the fact is that they were.

I thoughtlessly pulled one out as we walked along talking. So there we were, Sam with his staff, me with my small bamboo rod. As we got closer to home we were continuing our discussion on blocking projectiles with a staff. Just before we got home Sam decided a demonstration would be the best explanation. After all he had a staff and I had a fine practice spear. There was nothing more to do than show me how easy it was.

Now, as generally confident as I was in Sam's abilities I admit this struck me as a bad idea. I mean, it seemed to me that this was how people lost eyes. I remember the conversation almost as if it were yesterday.

“I'll get down on my knees, see, that way I have less of my body to protect. Then you throw the stick at me and I'll block it with the staff like this.”

As Sam said that he spun his staff around to show me how quickly he could block it. I confess he was fast, there was no doubt about that. Still, I had concerns.

“Let me make sure I have this right. You want me to throw this stick at you and you are going to block it with your staff?”


I'm certain Sam could see the doubt in my face. He was unmoved. He knew he could do it, no matter what I thought.

“I don't know man. This doesn't seem like a good idea.”

“Look, just throw it and I'll block it.”

“What if you miss.”

“I'm not going to miss.”

“Yea, but if you do”

“My brother showed me how to do this. It's a piece of cake!”

I was still unconvinced. I hesitated. That was enough to begin to annoy Sam. My lack of confidence in his skills was showing. I persisted in trying to dissuade him.

“Ok. So I throw the stick and you block it with the staff.”


“Just to make sure... I throw it”

“Yes and I block it!”


“Just throw the stick!”

“You're sure?”

“Yes! I'm sure! Would you just throw the stick?!?!”

“Ok, I guess. Just tell me when you're ready.”

Sam looked at me and moved his staff around into a ready position. He was confident and he was concentrating. His muscles were taught, his eyes were keen, he was ready!

“I'm ready!”

I pulled back my arm like an Olympian and in less than in instant I had thrown my weapon. Sam's confidence had won me over. I threw it, not for him to block it. I threw it to hit him in the face. I was sure he would block it, he had convinced me. I knew for a fact that I couldn't touch him with that stick no matter how hard I tried. He was ready, he was ninja.

As a result, the stick stuck him right in the eye. Well, to be fair, right in the eyebrow. Now, when I say stuck, I mean stuck as in stuck. The bamboo was small enough that, for all intents and purposes, it was sharp. It stuck in his face with, I am sure, a sickening sound. (I didn't hear it, but I know it was there.) After a stunned moment Sam whirled his staff and knocked my projectile right out of his face. He then fell over with both hands covering his eyes.

I believe I will remember his next words to me until my death bed. I was terrified that I had jammed one of his eyes out. It had all happened so fast that all I could be sure of was that he was hurt. I ran up to him and asked him if he was okay. His reply was simple.

“I wasn't ready.”

“Sam! Did I jam your eye out?!?”

“I don't know...”

He moved his hands and winked up at me with a blood covered eye.

“No... I can still see out of it...”

We ran in the house and washed all the blood off of his face. The image of Sam as he lifted his face out of the sink and looked into the mirror is burned in my memory. There he was with a peculiar cut in his eyebrow. The bamboo was hollow. So, it cut a neat little circle into his face. There was a small island of eyebrow surrounded by a perfectly cut moat of blood.

I was very thankful that Sam hadn't lost an eye. We haven't done anything quite so obviously stupid since then. I doubt that we will again until we are so old that we don't care if what we're doing kills us as longs as it's fun. I hope you enjoyed this. I plan to put up more remembrances soon.

All of you feel free to show these to everyone you know. I am also hoping some of you will e-mail with “Remember When” messages.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Terrorizing of Jesse Dicks

Another Blog?

Yes, another blog. I never planned to have one and this is the second one. Why? Why do I have two? Well this one is going to be solely for personal remembrances, rather that for my business purposes. You see, as I've grown older I realized that I was beginning to feel like Mork when he was transformed into an old man. To quote: “How much? I remember when these use to be.... I forget...”

Yes, I'm afraid that some of my childhood memories have begun to slip away. I want to grab ahold of them before they are gone forever. As most, if not all, of you reading this know, my childhood was something wonderful and hysterical. A number of comedic skits were played out in my life and the lives of those I knew. I have decided to record some of those here. I am hoping that others will help refresh my memory by saying things like “Do you remember the time we...” I want to record these things for ourselves, our parents and our children.

So without further ado I raise the curtain on:

The Terrorizing of Jesse Dicks:

Now, back in the day Jesse was a real piece of work. I'll describe him a bit for those of you who don't know him or don't know him well. I'm certain Jesse will both deny and forgive my description. Jesse, in his youth, was... well, he was most like... I guess the closet description would be a disgruntled eighty year old man. He was generally dissatisfied with almost everything almost everyone was doing. He had a bag full of personal tics that could drive almost anyone insane. (He would constantly move the gear shift of his Mustang back and forth, left and right, jiggling it at every stop light for an example.) He was very reactive to anything negative that came his way and took good in life with a grain of salt. If everything was going his way his general outlook was “Things are all right...” whereas if anything went wrong he immediately began “Yea, that figures. They said it was $1.02 in the sales paper, we get down here and it's $1.05! Plus Tax!!”

Some of his better qualities were that he he was dependable and trustworthy. He was also very observant about the humorous faults of other members of our little group. Of course, he was also incredibly cheap, walked around looking like he needed a cane, was willing to fix your car because he knew you didn't know how to do it... etc. Really a full description would take far too long. I'll let the stories paint the pictures of the characters. For the opening of this story it's enough to know that Jesse also had a nervous disposition at times and had given us plenty of reasons to pick on him.

Now at the beginning of our story Jesse was working along with Adam and Jonathan Cooper, as well as myself. We were all working for Mr. Cooper's janitorial service. We had a number of buildings that we cleaned after business hours. I myself worked for food and movie tickets. I never knew whether or not Jesse got paid for his work, in point of fact I still don't know. At the time we really had nothing better to do and a trip to Augusta was more than worth a few hours of bagging trash and vacuuming floors.

As I said this work was done after hours and often after dark. Now, none of the four of us believed in ghosts and goblins. That is to say that we didn't as long as the sun was shining bright. However, each of us had places we didn't like to clean after the sun had set. Why didn't we like them? Well, they were awkward or eerie places after dark. Some of them were just large and we had to split up to get our work done quickly. “What would happen if some nutcase decided to take us each out one after the other?” Pleasant questions such as these were sometimes asked as we walked in getting ready for work.
Jesse was particular easy to wind up with questions like those. He loved to talk about things like that, no matter how much he pretended not to. It was almost as if he liked getting worked up, pre-terrified if you will. Now, I am certain he will always deny that, so you'll have to decide who to trust about what Jesse liked. Do keep in mind that he would lie about it...

Another important element is that each of us had a certain job to do. I took out the trash. I think Adam figured it was the one thing I couldn't mess up. I mean the trash can was either empty or needed to be empty, there aren't any real grades of clean with a trashcan. Adam did something that I never paid attention to. I just knew he did things I found tedious. Wiping things and what not. Jonathan cleaned the restrooms. Jesse... I often wonder if Adam had read my mind... Jesse was in charge of the Vacuuming.

The thing about vacuuming is that you can't really hear anything when your doing it. So if someone were creeping up behind you for instance, you might be blissfully unaware until it was too late. Now, it may be that Adam only had Jesse do the vacuuming because he did a good job. It might not have had anything to do with the fact that because Jesse couldn't hear he was that much easier for me to scare until he was having heart palpitations... Then again, it could have had a lot to do with that. I'm not sure we'll ever know what Adam's full motivations were.

Whatever the reason, Jesse was on vacuum duty and I took advantage of it. As I said Jesse was of a nervous disposition, at least in the lonely dark places we were working. He wouldn't just jump when you crept up behind him and grabbed his shoulder, he would scream like an eight year old girl! To be honest I couldn't get enough of it. However, Jesse could...

It started off in the Barnwell Country Club I believe, although it really could have been a number of places. In any event, that is a place I remember well. There were a number of spots where you could creep up behind someone without them seeing you. It also had the advantage of having large unlit areas where we didn't need to clean. All one had to do was stand in the shadows and wait. The last, and perhaps most critical advantage of the place was that I could finish taking out the garbage twenty or thirty minutes before Jesse finished vacuuming.

I had plenty of time to plot and plan. In point of fact I could take a quick “Terrify Jesse” break right in the middle and get back in plenty of time to finish up my work. At first it was simplicity itself. I would give Jesse a few minutes to get into the swing of things. I'd let him have just long enough for his mind to wander off on something other than my plotting. Then I'd sneak up to where he was and wait until his back was to me. All I needed to do was run up and slap him on the back with a “Hey Bro! How's it going!”

He would scream and the color would drain out of him as if someone had pulled his plug out. I would laugh and he would complain. Often you could hear Jonathan and Adam laughing in the background as they too had heard his girlish yell. It wasn't long and Adam and Jonathan both were taking the opportunity to scare him as they were moving from one place to another doing their work. It was wonderful! So much laughter, so many near heart attacks.

However, like all good things it had to come to an end at some point. Jesse got use to it... I suppose anyone would given time... It's rather too bad. After only a few weeks he would only jerk when you grabbed him. He often wouldn't even turn around or stop vacuuming. It was very frustrating to witness his nerves turning to steal.

He also started getting very clever. He knew me almost as well as I knew him. I remember one night I had given him what I thought was enough time to forget about me. I headed out on the hunt moving along in the dark. I had gotten to where I could see him working away. I just needed to get behind him. I felt certain he wasn't expecting me. We were in the Country Club that night. The room I was moving through had a wall that was made up entirely of windows. Just as I was getting close Jesse stopped vacuuming.

“I know you're there, you might as well not bother.” He said calmly. I knew he was bluffing, he had to be. I was hidden on the far side of the bar from him, there was no way he could see me!

“You might as well come out! I can see your reflection in the windows!” He asserted. I stood up looking at the windows.

“How could you see me?” I asked almost awe struck.

“I couldn't, but I knew you were there!” Was his smiling reply.

I had been out maneuvered! Jesse had out thought me and foiled my attempt to make him wet his pants. Things were indeed dire. He had gotten more and more observant and could even predict when I had gotten bored enough to look for him.

It took more and more to get him. Fortunately Jonathan was willing to go the extra mile to help me scare Jesse. It's not that Adam couldn't have come up with the goods, he just had too much pity... Jonathan and I never really coordinated our attacks. There was just an unspoken “Kill Jesse With Fear” partnership. Working together we managed to get him a few more times.

The best example was again at the Country Club. Jesse caught me creeping up on him again. He demanded that I stay where he could see me while he finished vacuuming the ladies powder room. He said he would stop the moment I was out of sight. So I had to sit there under his eyes waiting on him to finish. I was helpless to scare him. While I was talking to Jesse I began to think that Jonathan had had time to finish his work. If he was finished he would be looking for me or Jesse one. We were together, so he might well be nearby. I also thought that he would probably approach slowly and assess the situation.

As I considered all this I thought about what I would do if I were Jonathan. He knew Jesse and I were together and that Jesse would be keeping his eyes on me. He also knew that we had to come through a single doorway when we came out of the powder room. Now me, I would have stood pressed up against the doorway and waited for Jesse to walk out and then grabbed him. As I was considering all this I walked backwards to the edge of the doorway. Jesse was watching me like a hawk, but he looked away for just a second. I took advantage a leaned back through the doorway. I looked right into Jonathan's eyes.

I couldn't help but smile. He was right where I would have been. He was waiting for just the right moment. I felt we were a true team in this effort. I walked confidently out the door with Jesse's eyes glued to me. As soon as Jesse walked through Jonathan grabbed him and yelled. Ah! There was the scream we hadn't heard in weeks. It was great. Those screams were becoming harder and harder to get!

There finally came a day when nothing we did seemed to phase him. He would just yell at us for trying. From terrified to annoyed was quite a drop... I had basically given up. I knew that it would take something really remarkable to get him again. Weeks went by and there was basically no change. I was just going to have to wait for chance to smile on me.

At last the opportunity came! We were cleaning the Wildlife Center in Barnwell. Adam was looking over everything we had to do that night and we were going room by room. One of the rooms had a stuffed deer in it that would “break down” so you could fit it in the trunk of a car. It's feet had been replaced by four steel pins and it head was laying on the floor with another pin with which you could connect it to the body.

Adam looked at it for a moment before he observed “If that thing suddenly came to life it would be really bad. I mean, it wouldn't just be kicking you to death with it feet, it would be kicking you to death with those steel pins!” As I said before, in the daylight I didn't believe in such things. However, in the middle of the night in the middle of a deserted building... well, that was another matter. I took one look around the room and said “Well, this room is clean enough!” I closed the door and told Adam I had no intention of going back in there. We all agreed and set about our work.

Now, the moment I started my work a battle began within me. It was a struggle between superstitious fear and the desire to be mischievous. I kept thinking that the odds of that deer coming back to life were fairly slim. Whereas the odds that I could scare Jesse with the thing's head were fairly good. At last I decided that we all have to go some time and that killed by a zombie deer with steel pins for feet was at least a unique way to leave this world.

I crept into the room and took the deer head. I then moved to the part of the building where Jesse was cleaning away. I moved carefully. I moved slowly. This was too good a chance to miss. If he saw me everything was over. I would never get him with the deer's head if I missed my first chance. Fortune smiled on me. I managed to get right behind him as he was just going into a room to start cleaning. The vacuum was on and everything was ready.

My grandfather used to say “Let the tool do the work.” and I thought that this was certainly a place where this applied. I didn't want to run up on him or grab him or shout suddenly. I wanted the full force of the deer head to hit him and nothing else. I walked slowly up behind him holding the head by it's stake handle right in front of my face. As I reached him a tapped him gently on the shoulder. He jerked! He relaxed and slowly stood the vacuum up straight and turned it off. This was the moment and I knew it! He turned around to give me an ear full and then it hit him!!

He spun around and looked straight in the eyes of that deer's head. He could have kissed it had he wanted to. What happened? A scream! In fact, one might say THE scream. I had never heard anything like it. I'm not sure I ever want to again. After the scream he collapsed on the floor. His arms and legs were twitching and he just kept saying “Mama... Mama...” over and over again.

Adam came flying down the hall. “What did you do to him!?!?” “Nothing! I mean, I just scared him with this deer's head.” We bent over Jesse shaking him and asking him if he was okay. Finally the light returned to his eyes. His brain was on again. He looked up at me and said “What in the @$%% is the matter with you?!”

I felt relief, Jesse was going to live! For a moment there I hadn't been sure. That was the end of it... I knew that I could never do better. To go any farther would kill him and that was not the goal. I had done all man could do. I had achieved. I had truly terrorized Jesse Dicks!

I hope you enjoyed that. Lord willing, I will put more down soon.