The Scouts of Troop 15 return this week to continue their tales of terror around the campfire. So far we've met the troop and their forlorn Scouter who is locked out of the camp. We've heard from Brayden and had Brian introduce his story and then finish it. This week it's Derek's turn. Read on for a teaser of the story that finishes this afternoon at 3 p.m.
When the Night Looks Back (Derek’s Story)
When I was a kid my mom told me the story of the boy who cried wolf. For some reason it scared the crap out of me. I think because the story had these awful pictures and I remembered when the kid’s crying wolf wolf and looking around with that shit eating grin on his face, all you could see was the red eyes and teeth in the darkness. I always wanted to read the book, even when my mom reminded me it scared me, and every time we got to that picture I’d hide my face in my mom's sweater.
The worst part was as the kid kept screaming for help no one paid any attention. Sure in the kids book they show him in the end with his clothes torn and his lip jutted out like woe is me, lesson learned. But in my heart I KNEW that kid would never get away, and his last words would have fallen on deaf ears because he got his jollies from riling people up and they were sick of bailing him out.
When my folks split I realised there were worse things out there than big bad wolves, and suddenly the kid who was an absolute terror to the rest of the neighbourhood was a whole lot funnier to me. The kid was in on his own private joke and no one else mattered, in the end he was just unlucky.
Anyways when I was about, I guess I’d be 12 or so. My mom decided she’d had enough of the neighbours calling to rat me out for what, I thought, were some pretty funny jokes, so she shipped me off to live with my uncle for a couple weeks.
Uncle Syman lived in a cabin way out in the boonies and I guess mom figured she could break me the old fashioned way, hard labour. I heard her talking on the phone with him arranging everything. I used to listen from the second line for hours to her gossip with her friends, badmouth my dad, and sometimes how much she wished she had a better son. I think she was lying to make herself feel better about living in a drafty trailer and working two jobs, but who knows? Who cares?
She told Uncle Sy she was exhausted and if one more of our neighbours knocked on the door to talk to her about how I rode through their flower bed or flipped them the bird she was going to scream. She practically begged him to take me off her hands, like I was some pound puppy who piddled on the rug one too many times. Uncle Sy was ten years older than mom, he was old country. He stayed quiet on the phone so long my mom thought she lost reception. Finally through the hum of the long distance connection I heard him say the five words that would change my life forever: I will take the boy.
Boy oh boy did mom and I get into it that night. Even if I hadn’t heard her over the phone she was being way too nice. Ordering in pizza, eating in front of the TV, she even let me play a few rounds of COD before homework, she was so full of it. While she was stretching cling wrap over the leftovers she just happened to mention it like, oh, by the way, crazy idea here but.
“You’re Uncle Sy asked about you today” she started “said he might need some help at the cabin this year getting it ready for the fall hunt.”
“Did he say I could shoot some of his guns?” I asked, I knew he hadn’t but I wanted to see how far down the rabbit hole she was willing to go. She hemmed and hawwed and pretended to think about it while she put the plate in the fridge and then just got this dopey look on her face that I guess was supposed to say ‘possibly’ and just said “I guess we’ll see.” Like that meant something.
Looking back on it I think it was that stupid look that really pissed me off, and when I called her out on everything that’s when the shouting started. I told her I wouldn’t go, that I’d rather go live with dad then spend a month out in some smelly ass cabin with no wifi. She told me I didn’t have a choice, and that REALLY got me going.
I refused to pack so she did for me, I think that’s when the whole reality of the situation hit me. This wasn’t like other times when mom told me to stay off people’s lawns or she’d get rid of my bike, or to stop cursing out our neighbours or she’d wash my mouth out with soap. She was actually following through this time. She put my canvass bag at the front door and slammed her bedroom door, her favourite angry goodnight kiss. I stayed up half the night trying to figure out the best shot to get in before I left and right before 3am I thought of a really great one. The next morning she was still mad but that suited me fine, I was used to the moody silent treatment. when Uncle Sy’s dull green Dakota pulled into the driveway I grabbed my canvas bag and unloaded the whopper I’d thought of.
“Well the warden’s here. I’d say goodbye but I’m sure you’re use to the men in your life walking out.” I slammed the door to punctuate my punchline and threw my bag in the pickup of my uncle's rusted out shitbox.
If he heard me, Uncle Sy wouldn't let on. We passed the other trailers and hotels that made up me and mom’s personal slice of paradise. He didn’t turn the radio on until we hit the highway north and even then it was some barely there wailing that sounded like an animal crying. In the 2 hours and 45 minutes that we sat together we asked one question each. He asked me if I'd ever worked labour, I said yes. I asked him if I could shoot his guns, and he said no.
Derek finishes When the Night Looks Back and we catch up with what Scouter Alan has been up to this afternoon at 3PM.