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!] In Miss Rebecca’s loving arms, Mark is well-behaved, but years ago …
Travel back in time with me to the stunning natural beauty of Tar Hollow State Park and its extraordinary southern Ohio youth camp. There I first meet the man surnamed Montgomery – pronounce that with a Scotsman’s pride, laddie, advises Screen Three in a poor brogue – and this Mark becomes my fast friend.
You say “fast,” laughs Six, because that’s how ADHD-powered people do everything.
Both Mark and I, strong and adult –
That sound you hear, Boss, explains One, is the collective laughter of America’s mothers contesting your assertion of adulthood.
– are designated leaders for this camp session. And as such, we are whipping up nothing less than a Moment of Mischief involving “Cujo.”
Cujo, protests Four, is a rabid St. Bernard running amok through a fiction book and horror movie by writer Stephen King.
“Not today. Today we will convince female campers a real-life Cujo exists when we sneak up the absolutely-no-males-allowed Girls’ Hill and imitate fierce dogs.”
This scheme, cheers Five in anticipation, gains a life of its own after a park ranger swings into camp with a caution, “Wild dogs have been seen in the park,” and fear infects the female-filled cabins.
ADHD-powered plans, often great in theory, fail in execution.
Or end in it, shivers Two.
But Mark, a West Virginian born to run the wilds, neither fears nor is disoriented by darkness. We agree it is best this mountain man guide us through forest to the path just below Girls’ Hill, where several cabins sit atop the heights.
What Mark does not calculate are the difficulties of bringing a city boy through thick underbrush, prickly weeds and pitch blackness.
“Ohhhhh,” I moan. “Walked right into a tree!”
“Go around it.”
Mark’s creative thinking boosts my courage. Mimicking his wily woodsman ways, I step to the side, then stride boldly forward.
“Shhh, Blackwell!” Then, “Another tree?”
“Sort of.” Anguished. “Stump, actually. Uhhhh. Missed feeling it with … with my arms. Found it … ohhh … with my groin.”
New hobby, snipes Three. Stump-collecting.
Light beams penetrate the night! Counselor calls through inky blackness, “Montgomery? Blackwell? What are you doing?”
“Heard a wild dog is running the hills,” Mark fires back. Several frightened females cite the ranger’s earlier visit, lending credence. “Blackie and I came out to make sure The Hill is safe for our girls.”
Squawks. Shrieks. Screaks, even.
A “screak” is a howl, wail, screech, defines Three, proudly.
Counselor Susie cannot cap the concern, quiet the questions, pacify the panicked. But she, assured by Mark that the hilltop is canine-free, gallantly gathers her chicks and races ever upward upward to safety in cabins among the clouds.
When the final door slams shut and we appear to have left the area, Mountain Man Mark softly suggests we “crawl back to the cabins through the covering brush. Bark, howl, growl, as though wild dogs were here and fighting.”
Dropping to my belly, I hear, “If you smell cucumbers, Black, you’re probably close to a copperhead.”
“Wait, whaaat? What do – what do ‘cukes smell like?”
Mark slinks into the distance and I – shudder – slither in cold sweat.
Barking starts. Powerful, feral, frightening. The first cabin responds, screams pouring forth.
That cabin, observes One with dry throat, is not where you saw Mark heading.
Cujo’s here? six screens screak.
Postscript: Yes, I’ve done it to you again … presented another two-parter, which makes everyone crazy and fills my inbox with “Why?” notes from all four readers.
But life is hard. These things happen, as surely as unsupervised grown men become misbehaving young boys. And I’ve just come through yet another surgery –
Seems reasonable, adds Five. After all, two years have passed since the last.
– so I don’t need an editor’s knife on top of a surgeon’s scalpel. Sometimes, a good story needs length and strong readers who must go the distance.
Yo, Adri-a-n-n-n! chants Three in an awful Bronx accent. See youse next week!
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Blackie’s Weekly Wonders
Speaking of wild dogs running the hills …
The Force Awakens … to the sound of music