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the Squared Circle
Home stinkin' home
| Category: || General Fiction |
Posted:|| April 10, 2012 Views: 259|
A storm was brewing. Dark clouds resembling huge, evil creatures scudded across the sky like vermin seeking a place to hide from the light. It reminded me of The Palace when they open the place in the morning. I rushed around looking for a place of shelter from the coming storm. Suddenly a shot rang out, barely missing me ... again! I had had it! "Missed me, missed me, now you gotta kiss me!"
I whispered this venomous insult under my breath as I scurried into the safety of a wrecked and abandoned drug plane. No sense getting killed for taunting! Bad enough to be thrown out of an NFL game for doing that! And they never let me explain the bad call of the ref! That's no way to treat a FAN, for crying out loud!
I sat quietly in the pilot's torn, dirty seat, head down and out of the line of fire, safe from the drenching rain that had begun a few minutes earlier. I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep, exhausted from my many adventures and the hypnotic effect of the drumming of the rain on the cracked cockpit.
Eventually, the early morning sun warmed my cozy glass house and woke me as it did so. I opened my eyes reluctantly, loath to launch into a new day of trouble. I gradually realized that my legs, rather my whole lower body, had fallen asleep and was immobile, as if full of cement. Now fully awake, I found myself staring eyeball to eyeball with the largest python I had ever seen!
The serpent had coiled a large part of its body into my lap during the night. Hence my "dead" legs. It's nasty little tongue was flickering inches from my face! Suddenly, it recoiled and tried to get away! I pushed back the cockpit hatch, and the snake crawled quickly out without even an "excuse me". I know my breath can be toxic in the morning and this day I was glad! I gotta make a movie of this sometime!
I was shifting my knees around, in an understandable excitement as the snake exited all 35 feet of itself from the wrecked plane. In my shifting (ok) FRANTIC gyrations, I accidentally bumped the starter button and the engine kicked over as the prop took a spin!
Wow! I snapped on the go switch and grinned! Some drug runner had disguised this plane to look like an abandoned wreck and it was fully operable! I got out and looked more closely. It was easy to pull the light plane out of the trees it had "crashed" into. I spun it by the tail to head the nose to the level field. I was ready for take off!
I had never flown before, but I had seen a lot of movies of people flying. And I certainly had a safer plane than Wilbur or Oliver had for THEIR first flight! I could get it wright ... er ... right! As I was looking around for the automatic pilot, I found a How To Fly This Plane book and decided to flip though it to refresh my memory. It had been a long time since I last saw Airplane!
There was a large red lettered box on page #1. It read, WARNING! DO NOT TRY TO FLY THIS PLANE NO MATTER HOW MANY MOVIES YOU HAVE SEEN ABOUT NOVICES SUCCESSFULLY DOING SO! THOSE WERE MOVIES, YOU IDIOT! REAL PILOTS ARE TRAINED PROFESSIONALS!
I was bitterly disappointed. My hopes of flying away from my problems were dashed, like Charlie Brown's kite. Maybe it was all for the best. Thinking of Charlie Brown's disastrous kite flights gave me pause. I started to drop the book when page #2 caught my eye!
It read; "What are you, chicken? Page #1 was a GUT-CHECK for crying out loud! An idiot could fly this plane, it's so easy!" I felt, no I KNEW this book was speaking right to me. I looked at the simple instructions, the easy illustrations, the charts, the graphs, the world atlas and the encouraging words! I could do it, I could fly! "Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter silvered wings ..."
Suddenly, a shot rang out! A voice shouted, "Kisses? We don't need no stinkin' kisses!"
Wow! They had heard my silent taunting! Nawwwwww, they were just paranoid, or perhaps others had actually verbally taunted them with that awful slur, "Missed me, missed me, now you gotta kiss me!" Another shot rang out!
I started the engine, and shoved the throttle three-quarters ahead. Soon, I was barreling towards a crowd of the worst looking bunch of cut-throats I had ever seen! They were pointing at me and making slashing gestures across their unwashed throats! They would have been thrown out of any NFL game, whether players or fans. Suddenly, the sun glinted off several rifles. I pulled back on the wheel, lowered the flaps and zoomed over their heads so closely I could almost smell their after shave lotion! A shot rang out but it missed me. I was safe and too high for either taunting or kissing! I leveled off and cruised in the sunlight, towards the river and the mountains beyond.
I guess it's a weakness and I don't like to share it but it's the truth, so here goes. Sometimes, when the sunlight hits my nose just right, I ..., well, I SNEEZE! There's just no other way to put it. I am a sunlight-on-the- nose-sneezer. Sometimes three or four times in a row, I simply sneeze my brains out! I'm not holding anything back any more, you are getting the real deal when I talk like this.
Anyway, my weakness kicked in as I was flying along and I sneezed five times in a row! A new record for me. I began to think seriously of joining a support group for sneezers who would understand that this affliction was inherited from my father and therefore not my fault. He only started in his old age so he was a sneezer-geezer, I guess.
But, happily, my sneezing had dislodged the map from my jacket and it fell open. I read " WARNING! DO NOT TRY TO FLY THIS PLANE ..." Oh no, in trying to clean the windshield from the sneezing fit and fly the plane, I was looking at the flight instruction book again. I threw it aside and grabbed the map.
There it was! Good Ol' Hap had marked the road to the mouth of the cave where the Idol with the Golden Eye sat unseeing. As the script would have it, I was flying over a level field that marked the beginning of the road to the mountain!I landed safely, and climbed out of the plane. As I walked away, the plane went up in a gratuitous explosion that might help my story be made into a movie.
I broke into an easy, loping run, my eyes set on a black opening almost at the top of the huge rocky mountain at the far edge of the field. I hadn't noticed it from the air, but after the river, there were miles of trackless desert between the field and Treasure Mountain, as I had come to call it. Could that be the cave pictured on the map? Or was it up even higher in a less accessible area? My long, loping easy run would have me there in no time but right now I had to slow to a walk to get my breath. I took a drink from my canteen, allowing the water to slosh down the front of my shirt as I gulped in most of it.
Just then, a shot rang out! It blew the canteen right out of my hand! I felt rested enough now to resume my run for the desert at the base of my mountain. Bullets kicked up dust all around my feet. I was just outside of rifle range. The one that got my canteen must have been a lucky shot. Just then a spear landed ten feet in front of me, just missing my head as it went by. Wow! What an arm on that guy! The Payton Manning of the jungle! But he missed me! Ha! Couldn't get the big one!
Suddenly, a shot rang out ... no, no, suddenly I was slipping and sliding down the steep, sandy river bank. I was falling, cart wheeling, out of control, into the river! Splash!
I looked back to see some very stunned alligators, many 20 to 30 feet in length with their mouths open. They were the same size even with their mouths closed. I guess they were still wondering where I came from since I had barreled through them so fast. As they hastened to join me, I decided to try out the swimming skills that should have had made me the captain of my high school swimming team (if I had tried out) and see if I could beat them to the other shore.
As I swam furiously, I remembered how angry I would have been if I was on the team because the team had no decent place to practice. They had to use the old swimming hole, breaking the ice before they went in to do their laps. A small team, yet cool.
I made it to the other shore in record time, motivated only by a desire to uphold the honor of dear old Lawrence High's swim team. I had overcome so much, I wasn't going to let some overgrown lizards with an attitude stop me now!
I crawled out on the shady side of the river, where there were no sunbathing reptiles, thank goodness! I lay there for a moment, catching my breath, watching the river. A piece of boat wreckage drifted slowly by and I struggled to make out the faint letters on the broken transom;"... can Queen". No! It couldn't be! But then a rum bottle floated by, then another and another ... mesmerized, exhausted, I dozed off in the one sunny spot on that side of the river ...
I'm not one to believe in visions and such, but all I know is that a spinsterish looking woman who looked a lot like Catherine Hepburn was shaking me awake and saying in very authoritative tones, "Get up! You must get up! The natives are coming and will get you if the alligators don't do the job for them first! Now, get up!"
I was tired, but I stirred myself. Since she was obviously right, I wasn't going to quibble with her reality at this point. I looked down to see an unopened wine bottle in the shady part of the bank. Impulsively, I grabbed it, twisted off the top, and took a huge swig. As I open my eyes fully, I looked into the disapproving face of Kate, who shook her head and disappeared. I think I heard her say a disgusted, "Really! Just like Charlie"!
Completely awake now, senses on full alert, I dumped the rest of the wine in the river in honor of Kate. Once again, I broke into the long easy lope of the natural athlete that eats up the miles at an effortless pace. It had already brought me a mile from my landing spot. My pursuers were being held at bay by the now aroused alligators. I decided to walk, there being no need to run anymore, and being out of breath and all.
The hot sun (is there a cool sun?) broiled down on me as I paced my self to get to the bottom of the mountain. That mountain had the cave I had seen from the air. It was only an hour ago but it seemed like an eternity in this merciless sun. It was so hot, I hardly noticed when Humphrey Bogart appeared beside me, trudging along with his three pack mules.
"Got any water to spare?" I croaked.
"Water? Don't touch my water! No one touches Fred C. Dobbs stuff and lives! No sir!"
"Well, how about wine from The African Queen?" I asked as my eyes looked over his mules' packs, searching for a canteen.
"Say, what are you, a wise guy?"
This snarled inquiry made me look at him more closely and caused me to shiver in spite of the heat. I was looking into the eyes of a mad man, his eyes snapping and crackling with insanity. My jungle smarts, still fully operative here in the desert, instinctively told me I was in danger. After all, he murdered his partner ... oh, oh, I thought, I better not let him know I knew about that ... after all HE was CRAZY!
Suddenly, mercifully, he was gone. I breathed a sigh of relief and looked up into the sky blue eyes of Lawrence of Arabia as I momentarily enjoyed the shadow of his camel. He murmured something unintelligible, shook his head, and was gone. Strange chap. I forgave him for being English for Deb's sake.
Staggering on through the blazing sun, I tripped on something metallic. Glad for a chance to rest a moment, I picked up Tiger Woods' three iron. Wow! He musta been REALLY mad the day he kicked that one!
Night was coming on now, and I lay down on an empty stomach. At first I thought it was an old animal skin but no, it really was an empty stomach of some unfortunate beast. Dried out in the sun, it made for a good night cloth anyway. I drifted off to sleep and began to dream.
I was back in my hometown and standing in line to see the Saturday Matinee. It was something called Americans Are Smarter, Braver and Better Fighters Than the Japs and Germans. We all knew this and were yet still willing to pay 25 cents on this Saturday in 1943 to see it proved once again, like all the Saturdays before, on the silver screen that dominated the shabby Elizabeth Theater.
It was after the movie ended that the real war began for us. We poured out of the Elizabeth Theater in a living, pulsating stream of patriotism that hadn't been seen since Bunker Hill days! We knew we were in enemy territory, a sneaky Japanese sniper in every tree, or pretending to be dead on the street. Hadn't we JUST SEEN with our own eyes how just such an individual had shot John Wayne in the BACK, for crying out loud? Look at The Sands of Iwo Jima, and you can see it for yourself! I'm NOT holding anything back when my country is involved !!!!
When we played WAR (which is what we called it) some of us had to play the bad guys while the rest of the gang were REAL AMERICANS, undefeatable, not to mention invincible! In a funny twist, which no one would ever admit, whoever got to be the enemy took a perverse satisfaction in the role and played it with what can only be called "gusto"!
Our death scenes would rank right up there with the best! Top of the world, Ma!!!
Our gangs' red, white, and blue adrenal rush eventually wore off and we got home before our mothers were stirred to anger by our tardiness. Fearless before the foreign enemy, we were anxious not to meet a more formidable one on the domestic side. Yet long after the WAR had ended, my brother and I kept up a scenario for several years that began with one of us suddenly make a shocking announcement.
It went something like this. My brother would suddenly seize me by the throat with both hands, choking off my wind, and through clenched teeth and an accent honed by many darkened hours in The Elizabeth, alert me to the fact that he was a mole. He was NOT my brother after all, but rather a secret agent of the Nazi's, planted long ago in a nefarious plot that somehow was going to neutralize the war effort in our little town.
My untimely death at his hands would initiate this master plan. He was very believable, because as he got caught up in his role, I sensed his intensity growing in the hands tightening around my wind pipe! I was supposed to fight him off and totally dispatch him, as he was, after all, the enemy, and as such, even he knew he could not defeat a REAL AMERICAN! Thank goodness he knew that or I would probably have really died at his hands. That boy could emote!
I woke in a cold sweat. The moon was full, and a gentle, life giving breeze swept over me. I arose, somewhat refreshed, yet terribly thirsty and plodded on, the music from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre playing in my head. I longed for water and on cue, Walter Houston appeared, jumping up and down and calling ME crazy!
"Water? Water? It's all around you, you idiot!" Then he broke into a paroxysm of insane laughter.
"You said gold in the movie", I muttered, ignoring him.
I walked on three more days. Don't ask me about those days, don't EVER ask me about those days! Picture me as John Wayne in The Searchers, saying that, and don't you ever ask me, as long as you live, don't you ever ask me again, Blanket Head!
I woke one morning in a cool oasis at the foot of Treasure Mountain. Some mountain ... really more of a hill. I drank cool, sweet water and ate mangos till I could hold no more. Then I had a Triple Big Mac and a Chocolate shake, slept all day and night, and was ready to climb that mountain! I was as refreshed as a Tea Party member at a Palin event!
Suddenly, a shot rang out, smashing my cell phone from my hand! No big deal, I had no bars anyway and hadn't had any for a month. I was just glad I was a pre-pay guy instead of having a plan I would have to pay for if I lived through this crazy journey.
I ran for the cover of some overgrown shrubs at the base of the hill and made it just as another shot splattered against some enormous slabs of granite towering over my head. Now I was mad and fired up to take that hill and find my thrill or I was gonna be berry, berry blue!
Twisting and turning, shouting, twist and shout, all the way to the top of the hill, bullets or no bullets! Gasping, panting, sweating, sucking wind; I finally stood at the top of the hill gazing down at ... at ... Grenco! That's right, dirty, stinkin' GRENCO!
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