Cue the fireworks!
Cue the singers!
And cue the huge line of butlers holding identical cakes!
It’s story time!
I’ve told you guys a few good ones that could only happen to the primo shenanigan. But this time, I’m gonna hit home for everybody today. Everyone has at least been put up to something in their life. If they haven’t, then their life is still young.
And speaking of young, this story takes place when I was just a sprouting boy. The chronic disease hadn’t quite taken hold of me, but it was in the early stages. I believe I mentioned before, I participated in an activities group for young boys and men to teach them about the great outdoors, and proper virtues.
The Royal Rangers, they called us.
Our leader was a big outdoorsman. Fishing, hunting, driving a truck, wearing flannel with the breast pocket, the weird chafe walk, and the almost undecypherable country accent.
He was the real deal.
This man even had the most outdoorsman, country, last name-
Nash was a chill man.
…Except for when he was taking care of his little niece.
But other than that!
Nash was a cold, intense, man with a stare that could shoot a turkey out of the sky!
Nash had built a potato gun once. A POTATO GUN! It could shoot PO TAY TOES!!!
At the time my little squishy Spongebob brain couldn’t handle the amount of awesome his invention was. It also couldn’t comprehend that it was illegal…
…and also not entirely his invention. But it was still cool.
I mean the potato went into space practically.
So aside from our adventures of raccon hunting with dogs, staying at a deer lodge and camping overnight in tents, our Ranger leader showed us much about the outdoors, and fostered my love for the forrest, and its majesty. But he also had other plans. Dark, insidious plans, born from a void of total mischief that involved coaxing me into a false sense of security. Of thinking that as long as I’m with him, everything was okay. I would soon learn…
He likes the night.
Nights can be scary. Especially the setting of the night.
If you’re home, in bed, behind a blanket, a locked door, and a cozy room, it’s not bad.
But a silent dirt road with an abandoned house deep in the backroads of Georgia?
Cue. ominous. music.
But that’s the setting. Our wise leader was taking us for a ride Wednesday night. By we I mean the battalio -er- group of boys. There was myself, my younger brother, and three older boys in their late teens. I was in my earliest of teens. As early and as barely as you can imagine. I may have even convinced myself that twelve was a teen year. I had gone through a lot up until then. Drinking vinegar I thought was tea, falling and opening my head on a toilet, breaking my adult teeth, performing little piano recitals for the elderly- I went through alot. I deserved to be a teen!
We were in the back of a pick-up truck, enjoying the night air. Even with a radio, comrades, and wheels, the bumpy old truck felt safe from the dark trees trying to reach for us, and yank us away to the dark elf gnome masters, to be subjugated as little tunic seemstresses.
Thankfully, our master commander drove fast enough to escape captivity. We were under the mighty help of our fearless leader. Every meeting with him, he used to teach. He had a lot of outdoor knowledge to pass on, and tonight was a special lesson.
A lesson in shenanigans. *cue full cirle metaphor*
He was going to show us a rare sight: The House of Usher. No, it wasn’t the book, or play adaption, or the movie (I don’t know if there’s a House Usher movie), and not even the actual house, which makes me upset in my adult years. But it was like the House of Usher because it was a house, in the middle of nowhere, run down, and possibly occupied?
It was the “possibly” we were going to investigate.
We arrived after a lengthy drive. I stared at the distant building and I began to understand what fear was.
I didn’t see a house, I saw a silouhette of a house, blocking the moonlight. I could clearly see through the windows lined so perfectly that the woods on the backside were visible from the front. I looked for the suburban, sidewalk and white fence walkway up to the frontdoor, but quickly found brush and grass too high to see the ground. It was clear the battle for reaching the door would begin with carving a path through snake-infested, disease-bug riddled, plant-eating, ivy smothering forestation!
*Again I was twelve, and didn’t go outside much*
I then received my order. “Go and check out the house.” To my little mind, I heard, “ALRIGHT FLOYD, LEAD THE TROOPS, AND PREPARE TO INVADE!”
So I hopped out, ready to take on death with friends watching my back when-
A horrifying scream came from the house.
I found out very quickly that my reaction to stress was flight. I reached for the truck when-
The red lights taunting me as they became smaller only added confusion to my immediate horror. The laughter I hear tickling my ears. What was happening was a rare moment. Nash had an assistant when showing young men how to become wise, and full of virtue and character. I had finally met this renowned teacher, Professor Experience. The title of his TED talk was, “Tomfoolery; Fear is Funny, Pain is Hilarious”
There was no adventure. There was no great discovery of a haunted house. There was only a joke. And I was the butt.
Seeing such injustice I did what any teen in his right mind would do.
The prank was short lived so I wasn’t running very long. My climb into the truck was welcoming. I was shaken, but that disappeared when the warm fuzzies of comradery helped me forget those pesky dark elves on my tail.
Turns out that scream was our assistant commander who snuck to the house beforehand. It was great day for learning. I walked away with a great attitude, because I was with great people.
There are lots of times when people go out to have fun at others expense. They single out the weak one, or the shy one, or the one having a bad day, and leave them at a scary house and drive away. Only difference is they don’t come back, or they continue to use them and not make it up. That’s not cool to me. Having fun is great and all, and using people’s expense I think is okay, but it’s a fine line there.
If you’re going to do that, then you need to be a great person. Be willing to be treated like that yourself. Don’t go overboard with playing around, learn when to stop, and nurture the relationship.
I got compliments for being a good sport, I felt included, and got to take part in the next prank. This time, it was all in good fun, true good fun.
True good fun out there exists. This story is a good example of it.
It’s important that stories of tragedy need to be told to expose darkness and raise awareness of people’s behaviors needing some adjusting. And it’s also important to stories of hope and good times also be shared. Because they’re out there. Don’t give up finding them.