Monday, August 2, 2010

In Which I Embrace Cinder Blocks

In 2007, I was working at a summer camp called Fair Havens, in preseason, before all the campers came up. The director of the camp had seen fit to purchase several large, grotesquely disfigured cat statues.

The rationale behind purchasing these monstrosities was that they were "for the children".

To this day I am not entirely sure why anyone thought that this was a good idea.

Anyway, it was quickly decided that the cat gargoyles were not fit for view by the public, so they were relocated to the maintenance yard and shoved up against a dumpster; the place they should have been all along.

One night at about one o'clock in the morning, I realized that I had forgotten to get my laundry out of the dryer, leaving me with no clothes to wear to work in the morning. The dryer was located in the back of the maintenance building. This would have been fine, except it was one o'clock in the morning.

Fair Havens is somewhat well known for being absolutely seizure-inducingly terrifying past eleven o'clock PM. I spent many a night there huddled in a golf cart, listening to the distant shrieks of the ghost women in the woods (these would turn out to be raccoons, which are only slightly less dangerous than ghost women). Needless to say, I knew my camp lore, and I knew that going out at this unseemly hour was nearly out of the question.

As I sat there deliberating my decision, I was reminded by my friends Ryan and Kevin that the cat statues were still located in the maintenance yard... and I would have to run past them in order to get to my laundry. This was terrible. The cats would surely try to assault me - if not physically, then at least with hurtful insults. But then Ryan and Kevin reminded me that I would have to show up to work naked the next day if I didn't get my clothes; a situation that, while preferable to braving the cat gauntlet, was socially frowned upon. There was no getting around it; I had to get my laundry.

I gingerly opened the door to the dorm we were staying in and made my way down the steps. An obese June Bug hovered past, breaking the silence with the evil drone of its wings. One of those beasts this early in my journey was surely a bad omen (I have had terrible experiences with June Bugs in the past - but that's a story for another time). Sucking in my breath, I continued on.

A feel that a diagram is necessary to properly describe the next series of events.

I knew my path would put me in the direct line of sight of the devil cats... so speed was my best option here. I ran as fast as I could to the laundry room, covering the side of my face that the cats would see first, so that I wouldn't make eye contact with them. I had read that when facing a large cat, eye contact was taken as a sign of hostility, and they would surely rip me apart.

(I feel that as this point I should make clear that I didn't actually think that the cats would become alive and tear me to pieces - it was just late at night and Ryan and Kevin had been trying to mess with my head. I'm not crazy, I swear.)

I made it to the laundry room without making eye contact - mission accomplished. I grabbed my work clothes out of the dryer, leaving the rest, too terrified of killer cat statues and ghost women raccoons to justify staying and getting the rest.

I bolted out of the laundry room, slamming the door against the wall as I sprinted back past the cats, leaving no time to allow them to attack.

I rounded the corner for the straightaway back to the dorm at breakneck speed... and that is where reality broke.

As I passed the corner, I saw a dark black shadow rise up out of the darkness, letting loose a terrible inhuman roar. I screamed as if my stomach was inverting out my throat. In that moment, the cats became real.

It's funny what your mind does when you are in true danger. At this particular time, my mind was telling me that the shortest distance between two points was a straight line. I needed to get out of there as fast and as short a distance as possible. Therefore, I turned and ran away... in a straight line.

Unfortunately, the trajectory I picked was not the best one I could have picked. I ran directly into a large pile of cinder blocks, and rolled over top of them, landing on my back on the other side. The cinder blocks then collapsed, directly on top of me.

As I came to my senses, I could hear laughing. The monster was laughing at me, rejoicing in his conquest. I pushed a cinder block off of my face to face my death like a man. 

It was Ryan and Kevin. They had gotten me terrified beyond reason for the trip to the laundry room, then hid around the corner to scare me on the way back. Their plan had succeeded better than they could have hoped; even they could not have planned the glorious cinder block collision.

The cats were later trashed, much to everyone's satisfaction.

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