Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.
Welcome to ADHD.
[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks! And know these accounts are true … without exaggeration!]
Mark’s strong shoulders have borne many Blackwellian adventures …
[Editor’s note: Last week’s column ended with Blackie flat on his belly, apparently sniffing cucumber-scented copperheads and hearing barks from the real “Cujo,” not his buddy, Mark, near the female campers’ cabins. We now resume our abruptly scheduled panic …]
Breath erratic, I press body to Earth, desperate to see just how very big this deep-barking wild dog is but afraid of the answer. Ghostlike, Mark materializes next to me. “Got the first cabin going.”
“That was you?” I shakily ask in disbelief, trying my best to hide this sweat-stained and tear-tracked face. “Not bad,” I add in feigned casualness, “but no guy would fall for it.”
Bravo, Black, whispers Screen Six. Keep up appearances.
Mark scrambles to the next cabin at a pace I cannot match. There we effect such realistic snarls and brush-busting that the girls’ disparate –
Desperate? asks Three.
– wails become one long and unified howl. Much like coyotes, states Five.
Mile-a-minute, man-on-a-mission, Mountain Mauler Mark moves again. Wearily I shake my head, assume speed-crouch position, and prepare to zip to the next cabin.
Anyone else smell cucumbers? asks naturalist Five. My six screens and five senses strain. Cujo I could at least see. How does one gaze upon an invisible snake? How does one fight a pack or pod or herd or flock of snakes?
The cucumber smell is strong, Black, quivers Two. You must be in the middle of a salad bowlful of them.
Mark silently reappears. “The girls are really worked up,” I half-lie because I’m the one shaking. “We’d better go.” And we do, only to return, conscience-stricken, with lanterns to assist the innocent victims of our shenanigans.
Shenanigans, defines Three: when you’ve clearly overdone something, then hope that people in power respond with laughter rather than hot wax and feathers.
Our knock on the first cabin’s door causes screaming levels to rise four decibels.
Laughs Five, Wild dogs, not particularly known for their etiquette, rarely knock.
A female counselor’s voice calls out fearfully, “Wh- who is it?”
“It’s, uh, it’s Blackie. And Mark, come to see if the dogs ran through your area.”
Front door flies open. In flawless zombie fashion, shaking hands reach out, grab, pull us in. Door slams shut as shuddering bodies crush against us, their weeping undoing their sleeping.
Mark escorts ladies young and not-so-young to the restroom several yards distant. I walk behind with several more sleep-attired high-schoolers, my eyes locked downward not to guide in safety but to build a later case for canceling punishment: I kept my eyes pure.
The night drags on this way, cabin after cabin. We two men, dead-tired and intent on ending the eve’s drama, are commissioned to search the Girls’ Hill for those wild dogs so very present just minutes earlier.
Finally, home. To bed. But daylight, like some looming tax penalty, arrives too soon. Mark and I vow never to break our silence, then groggily stumble toward the breakfast hall, where we encounter adult counselor Betty.
“You’re, ah, you’re welcome,” I mumble and try to step around our greeter. Miss Betty nimbly blocks the narrow pathway.
“Tell me,” she asks in dubious tones, “how did you know to be up on The Hill when you were?” She leans in, eyes penetrating our souls. “It seems so unreal, you boys knowing exactly when to arrive and help us.” Darker still, “No weapons to defend yourselves, even.”
Screens One, Three and Five, oddly enough, show me the camp’s welcoming “Tar Hollow” sign suddenly reading, “Tarred and Hollowed.”
“So help me, boys, you’d better never let me find out the two of you had something to do with last night’s ‘wild dogs.’”
Mark and I, strong and adult, designated leaders for this camp session, shudder, lungs playing ping pong with our hearts. Fortunately, the ever-perceptive Miss Betty never does learn the truth –
I suspect, offers One, that her feminine intuition did tip her off. Immediately, actually. She simply gritted her teeth, choosing to remain silent.
– and retribution does not occur.
Not yet, counters Three. But Miss Betty could read this column and make just one suggestion to your beautiful brown-eyed bride that forever would ruin your dreams.
“And the suggestion is?”
At bedtime, to discourage “crow’s feet” wrinkles from forming around the eyes, apply sliced cucumbers. Heavily.
Postscript: Released from the hospital one day before my column appeared last Thursday, I write my family a witty bit (I hoped) that might help block their cheap shots about my post-procedure swelling and garish stitchwork.
Within seconds, I get the following three family responses.
Daughter Leah: I just threw up my breakfast – which is great for my nutrition plan of less caloric intake. Did they use a chainsaw and machete to cut through that hair? Nice toenail color, too: “spring iodine” collection, I presume? I love you, ol’ Frankenstein leg.
Cousin Kenny: OMG … you have chubby toes!!!!
Brother Mike: Duuuude … MY leg hurts just looking at that! I’m impressed with your “man-up” abilities, because there is a whoooole lot of pain and mess going on there! So sorry you had to go thru it, but so glad it was you and not meeeeeeeee! PS: Don’t let Kenny’s comment bother you. Fortunately, the toes won’t stand out much because you also have a Chubby Head.
* * * * *
Blackie’s Weekly Wonders
Since my leg looks like “Frankie’s,” perhaps now I’ll dance the way he does …
I often wonder whether Groucho inspired my family …