Tuesday, November 30, 2010

King of the Hill

Continued from "Construction House Pee Party."

Jeremy tattled on us. Since when does being urinated on by three other kids justify telling one's parents? It was surprising that Jeremy's father did not squeal on us to our parents about what we did. I suppose Jeremy's father understood the code of honour. You never tattle!

If you recall, Jason, Nick, and I drenched Jeremy with our streams of indignity in the basement of a house that was under construction (see Construction House Pee Party). It's a piece of my history that I admit I regret. It bothers me when I replay the memory of Jeremy struggling to pull himself up the poorly constructed stairway of angled boards leaned against the cement wall of the basement. All the while being peed on by three idiot kids. No one deserves that kind of treatment. Especially Jeremy. In fact, I liked the guy! I only turned my back on him because of peer pressure. Ugh, who was I then? Certainly nothing like who I am now.

I digress. For now.

As I stated in my previous entry (Construction House Pee Party), the undeserved golden shower that we gave Jeremy was not the worst thing that we did to him...that I did to him. You see, I was really angry after the brief encounter with Jeremy's dad after we had pissed all over his kid (see Construction House Pee Party). I was so mad that Jeremy went and told his dad what happened. In hindsight, it was more likely that Jeremy walked into the house completely soaked with urine, and had little choice but to admit what had happened to him. But either way, the finger had been pointed, and now we had on our tails an intense little biker dude with aviator frames and an unkempt goatee.

|"Come'ere!" Jeremy's dad insisted, beckoning us with an outstretched arm and a curling finger. Nick and I got the lead out and took off down the road on our bikes, while Jeremy's dad stormed down the walkway onto the road. I remember looking over my shoulder and saw Jeremy's dad walking toward us. He'd never catch us or anything, so why did he bother? Was it just to prove how tough and scary he is? Or was he like a shark and he had to keep moving in order to live? Or perhaps he thought he was riding his shiny motorcycle and was about to hit the throttle to kick our asses. I like the last one. Everything else about him was so phony, so it seems appropriate that his motorbike would also be fake.

Nick and I rode our bikes to the local comic store and went inside. While in the store, Nick and I stomped around and cursed about the fact that Jeremy let his parents know what happened. However, it was all just talk. Minutes later we were over it. Though we never forgot.

Fast forward a month. In the cul-de-sac across from Jeremy's home, a new home was being built. When the basement was excavated and the foundation poured, construction workers lazily dumped all the dirt into a large pile on an empty lot next door. Nick, Jason, I, and several other kids from the neighbourhood eagerly went to play in the new construction area. This one was actually really cool because it was so much closer to home. We played stupid yet fun games, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Sidebar: Yeah, Ninja Turtles was my favourite show, so role playing it was awesome. I was always Donatello as he was (and still is) my favourite of the turtles. Though please note that it's really dangerous to play that game when using a jagged-ended rebar as a bo staff. Just sayin.'

Anyway, while we were exiting the home under construction, Jeremy and his sister were walking toward his own home. As Jeremy walked by, there were giggles and Nick even asked Jeremy if Jeremy wanted to try that gum again (see Construction House Pee Party). Jeremy stopped, turned to us, and bravely stated to over a half dozen kids:

"If any of you ever touch my sister, I'll fucking kill you."

Jeremy and his sister then continued walking together. We all laughed hysterically at Jeremy's weird message to us, though I was more confused than amused. Why would any of us want to touch his sister? Sure, we didn't like her either, but we had nothing against her. Weird, weird, weird. One of the kids, whose name I do not recall, yelled at Jeremy as Jeremy and his sister walked up to the door to Jeremy's home.

"If you ever enter this house, we'll fucking kill you!"

Jeremy lifted his left arm and flipped us off from behind his back as he went into his home. I knew Jeremy, as we'd been friends for a few years before the falling out we had. I knew Jeremy was stubborn. Really stubborn. Stubborn enough that he just might attempt to come to the construction area just to spite us. It wasn't worry I had, though. It was a plan. Playing Ninja Turtles was fun, but imagine the fun we could have if we had a real enemy! The area was no longer a place to exercise our imaginations. It was a fort. A fort that had to be defended!

The huge pile of dirt made for an excellent base. Seeing as the house under construction was in a cul-de-sac, it was easy to defend. Jeremy would have to enter from the road or from the empty lot. Don't get me wrong, the house itself was booby trapped as well:

1. Planks that we had broken were then placed over expanses (with small pieces of wood nailed to the bottom that held the ends together but would not support any real weight)...if Jeremy were to walk over the plank, it would simply break apart and he would fall down to the basement. The break in the wood was somewhat easy to spot, but we were kids and didn't think too much about how to improve it (some dirt sprinkled over the break was enough for us).
2. Electrical wire used as tripwires.
3. All outside access to the home was removed so Jeremy could not sneak in...He'd have to use the front door.

But it was the hill that was truly shocking. Our "fun" fort was nothing short of a real death trap for anyone who attempted to climb it.

1. Rebar pieces and sharp chunks of wood were jammed and pounded into the sides of the hill and covered with small inconspicuous mounds of dirt. An unaware person stepping on them would definitely feel a little pain, even through the soles of shoes.
2. Wood pieces were stomped into the dirt around the top of the hill, and electrical wire weaved around the sticks at a height of about two feet. Over or under, it would be difficult to get around the wire without the time and patience that an intruder did not have.
3. More sticks were used as stoppers for large electrical wire spools. One pull of the stick and the large heavy spools would tumble down the hill. Near the bottom, I'm certain they would have the velocity to knock a small person over.
4. We had constructed bows and arrows out of bent wood, yet more electrical wire, and pointy sticks. These did not function at all, as we discovered while playing with them. However, we thought to make them, so I include them in the list.
5. Aside from the spools and fail bow and arrow sets, we had a variety of large rocks, chunks of cement, shards of glass, and sticks stored atop the hill with us, all things we procured from the construction site.
6. Nails (some new, some rusty) were littered around the base of the hill.

It was a masterpiece to a bunch of idiot kids with nothing to do with their weekends. We had made a dangerous, functioning fort. And it was all to prevent Jeremy from playing on it.

On a Sunday afternoon, a couple of weeks after we built the fort, me, Nick, and three other people were playing on the hill. While we played, Jeremy exited his house. Jeremy walked over to the base of the hill and crossed his arms. He told us that he'd been visiting the construction house several times and found our traps. He seemed to make fun of us because we did not prevent him from coming to the site after we told him not to. In my mind, it didn't count because we weren't around to defend it when he came by. That's kid-logic, for you. I told Jeremy that he wouldn't be getting to the top of the hill with us so long as we were there.

Like prodding a bull with a pointy stick, Jeremy began to climb the hill after saying "wanna bet?" As he climbed, I noticed the traps weren't working. He was avoiding our clumsily hidden sticks and rebar embedded in the hill. The nails had done nothing either. We pulled the stopper-sticks out from in front of the heavy metal spools and the spools went tumbling down the hill. Jeremy fled to avoid one of the spools, but once they reached the bottom of the hill, they rolled off onto the road and were no longer of help to us. Jeremy began his ascent once more! We knew the bows and arrows didn't work worth shit. We had nothing left but our ring of wire and some crap piled atop the hill.

I didn't want Jeremy to win. I had made this stupid fort in my free time and did not want it to be for nothing. Looking down, I saw a rough stick resting on the ground at my feet. I picked up the stick and wielded it like a sword as Jeremy climbed toward us. The other kids just watched as I prepared my attack. Then, without thinking, I raised my arm. I threw the stick with all my might toward Jeremy. It spun in the air as it hurled toward its target. I had to win!

The wood struck Jeremy squarely on his forehead and Jeremy stumbled forward and landed on his knee. Jeremy slid down the hill a short ways and then seemed to stop himself. Holding his head, Jeremy looked up at us kids atop the hill. But Jeremy did not try to climb again. Backing away, Jeremy worked his way to the bottom of the hill. As he walked away, he walked with a bit of a limp and occasionally held his left leg in addition to holding his forehead. It was not until years later (when Jeremy and I were again friends) that I found out why.

As Jeremy had slid down the hill once struck by my stick, one of the spikes of the rebar or wood that we'd hidden in the sides of the hill had ripped his sweatpants and cut into his leg. The injury wasn't too severe, he had told me years later, but it did hurt "like a bitch." I had also drawn blood on his forehead from when I nailed him with the wood. An injury which led to a small scar.

I remember watching Jeremy hobble away from the site, but I was not filled with a sense of victory or relief. He just...looked sad. Pathetic. And I did it to him. I felt really bad but couldn't admit it. Once Jeremy went into his house, I worked my way down the hill. I wasn't king of the hill anymore. I never returned to the site again.

Despite what happened, I still had to keep up appearances that I hated Jeremy. Even though I didn't hate him. I felt really sorry for him...the kid with no friends who dared to challenge my reign as king. But even though I didn't wish him any harm, harm just seemed to want to find him. And two weeks later, it did.

To be concluded in Gardening 101.

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