|Did you ever hear that sound? You're
out having a great day on the trails when you hear one of your buddies let out a terrified
scream--and then the ride gets even better, because once you know he's OK (& sometimes
before) you laugh. You might laugh so hard you have trouble breathing & crash or fall
over & then you get laughed at too. We can't help it, and why should we?
It's funny to see others get scared & the unexpected stuff that makes you & your
compatriots wet your pants most often, happens when you're on a ride.
Reptaro & I were
leading the weekly shop nightride on a mild fall Thursday a year or two ago ( when I say
leading I mean I was at the back to make sure nobody got left behind--yeah, that's it).
We left from the Moosic shop (that's a place--not a sound), and the ride started
out pretty typical. It was typical, in the sense that Reptaro had "special
plans" and some heavy weirdness was about go down. He'd seen a little campsite near
one of the trails along the old Laurel Line several times in the past two weeks that
seemed abandoned. Now, being a treehugger (and needing a small tent) he decided we should
"clean up the site" if there were still no signs of activity (it's recycling he
said). Sure enough he was right, the camp was still untouched. It seemed kind of strange
though, because all gear was new--some things still had price tags on them, but we found a
big ditch full of empties & figured some kids partying had left it (they probably got
grounded for getting mommie & daddie's SUV all dirty). So we unzipped the tent and
started going through the stuff. I called the sleeping bag & Reptaro was all excited
to find a gym bag (to haul the booty). I noticed there was a complete set of clothes
strewn about--some in the tent, some on the ground, & a jacket hanging on a tree. All
the stuff was pretty new--including a pair of sneakers, which seemed odd. It got even
weirder when we opened the bag, and in it were a bunch of loose papers. What really got
our attention was the phone numbers of various social service agencies and the
"Released on Parole" form. Now instead of recycling we were stealing from a
convict--a convict named Bob who had just been released a month earlier. Apparently he got
out of jail, bought the gear, clothes, a lot of alcohol, & blew out of his halfway
house to set up camp. Was he coming back, or did he wind up back in the clink? Was he
dangerous or even dead? May be it'd be cool to hang out with Bob. Either way, it didn't
look good. The tent was half dismantled at this point & we began to hasten our
operation when I decided to check the jacket for ID. I felt something in the inside pocket
and without a light or thinking I stuck my hand in and felt something strange. I slowly
pulled it out and then in the dim moonlight I saw what it was. I must've jumped back ten
feet & let out one of my famous a-bee-just-stung-me-where-my-bathing-suit-
goes-screams. What scared the hell out of me was a ............
At this point almost everyone thinks they know what the object is, but
they're always wrong (the most popular answer is "gun").