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The Monkeywrencher, Part I by Vegard
I´m David. I’m 20, and kind of a screw-up I guess. My parents wanted to put me through college, but I quit in my second year. My Dad had notions I should learn to do something "useful", which in his mind meant something technical.
I wanted to study social science and radical literature. Yes, this was actually taught at my college. But my parents (Dad) didn’t want to pay for it, so I quit rather than play along with his notions. Like, who’s he to think he can run my life right? Screw him.
So, here I am, instead of college, hanging out with a "Planet First" group of radicals, I first met on campus. Going off completely on my own would have been hard, and hanging out with "Planet First" I have a place to stay, and take part in what they are doing.
We are in to a lot of things, and against even more. We are against oppression, social injustice, pollution, and, well, bad stuff in general.
There are a lot of girls in the group, which is nice. Although I haven’t scored yet, I think my chances are good.
Most of the girls fawn over Nathan and Phil. I suppose they are our leaders in a way, even though they haven’t been elected or anything like that.
Or maybe Karen is the leader? She is more idealistically driven, and she really wants to be in charge, but the group listens more when Nathan, or Phil, talk than if Karen does it, even if she is older than the others. Almost 40 I think. Karen is one of the few girls, or women I suppose, who are not interested in Nathan or Phil, and she is going steady with Zoey, a girl with a mullet. Zoey’s hair is really short on top, with long thin strands in the back. She has a nose ring as well, as do many others in the group. Tattoos are also popular.
I haven’t gotten any yet, because, well, I just haven’t. Yet.
Our oldest "member" is Bob, a grizzled guy who’s been around since the 80-ies protesting logging companies, strip-mining and doing environment protection by sabotage. He’s a mechanic, and an expert monkeywrencher. His hero is Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. His face is plastered over construction sites and on sites of logging all over the West Coast. He’s that wanted, and well known.
Bob stops by every now and then to catch up and to discuss projects and tactics.
Often we will attend marches for someone’s rights, or against a group of oppressors. But this time Bob had come up with a plan to sabotage a logging company, and we were in.
Karen, Nathan and Pete had said yes, and the rest of us followed. I was mostly eager to please, and I sure didn’t like those damned capitalists running the logging companies!
"We need to blend in you know?" I heard Karen say.
Bob chuckled, "Which one of you can blend in? You’re all full of holes and tattoos!"
Nathan looked at me with an amused look on his face "David isn’t!"
Everyone looked at me, and I felt really uncomfortable.
Liz smiled a sweet smile at me and said, "You’ll do this for us, won’t you David?"
"Sure!" I said, staring in to Liz’ eyes. They were gorgeous.
I kept looking at Liz as the others went ahead with the planning. Would she like me more if I did this?
"You’re on board with this, right David?" Karen asked.
Still lost in Liz’ eyes I nodded and said, "Sure!"
"We should probably prepare now, you know. So his head has time to tan up a bit!" I heard Bob say to the others.
"Yeah," said Zoey, "I’ll get the clippers!"
"Huh?" I said.
"For your haircut Davey-boy!" Phil said lightly.
I gulped. What had I agreed to? Feeling really stupid, I was afraid to ask, in case it would make Liz think less of me. I ran my fingers through my long, rather unkempt hair. I liked it that way, since it hid my face, which I felt was plump and childish.
"Can you give him a proper loggers haircut Zoey?"
I gulped again, and timidly took off my shirt. I was pale underneath, and more flabby than muscular. Not like Nathan and Phil. They often had their shirts off, and worked out. Having muscular, tattooed bodies. I had grown up preferring to play video games on my computer rather than do anything physical, and I guess it showed.
"Sit here!" Zoey commanded, and I sat down. All eyes were upon me as I gulped yet again.
Zoey attached a guard to her clippers, and mowed them from my forehead up to my crown. The others laughed, and I sat feeling humiliated and scared. Several of the others had their cell phones out, filming and taking pictures.
Zoey kept mowing my hair off, and I could see dark blond tresses falling in my lap, and to the ground.
She worked the machine methodically all over my head, finishing with the sides, and I could imagine my head was now a uniform ¾ inch, like the top of her own mullet. I was sure she had run the clippers all the way up from my nape as well though, so I was sure, and slightly relieved, I didn’t have the same haircut as her.
"Hand me the cap!" she said to Karen, who gave her a small brimless cap, which she placed on my head.
It felt like it just covered the top of my head, only slightly lower than the hairline on my forehead. I tried to feel, but Zoey barked at me to sit still. And I did.
She then removed the guard from her clippers, and started denuding all my hair under the cap, holding the cap firmly in place.
I felt the hair being shorn off the entire back, and sides of my skull before she tore the cap off. There were gales of laughter, and more snapping pictures of me.
"Wow! That’s brutal Zoey!" Bob said.
Zoey didn’t smile, and nodding she said "Yep!"
I felt my head, and blinked to get rid of a tear in the corner of my eye. My back and sides felt like sandpaper, and there was a very sharp divide to where it was longer on top. This felt kind of nice and plush, but obviously it didn’t look very good since all, except Zoey, were laughing. Zoey never laughed much.
Lighting a cigarette, which she kept dangling from the side of her mouth, she began tapering my hair from the naked skin to the ¾ inch I was to keep on the top of my head. There was less laughing now, and I assumed this was a good sign I looked less ridiculous.
"Better go get rid of that beard Davey!" Nathan said, to more laughter. I don’t really have a beard, it’s more like sparse growth covering a bit of my lip and chin.
There were giggles and more pictures as I waddled in to the house we all lived in, pulling my sagging pants up to cover my underwear, since my shirt was off and not covering my ass.
I shared a bathroom with 3 others, and had a shelf there for my own stuff.
Still holding my shirt, and pulling my pants up again, I walked up to the mirror, and looked wide-eyed at myself staring back. I had no bangs at all. Just short hair standing straight up, slightly curved to one side, since it probably grew that way. And my sides and back were as bare as they felt.
My face looked so round, and although I didn’t have much of a tan, my face had slightly more colour than the fish-belly white exposed over my ears.
Relieved I had locked the door behind me I stood there looking at myself and cried. Snot was running from my nose.
As I stood there crying I covered my sparse facial hair with lather and scraped it off.
I don’t know if it made me look even more like a baby, or not. I guess my "beard" had never done much, except make me look like a dopey teenager. But I could now almost pass for a little kid, with my completely smooth skin and round cheeks. Especially with mucus covering my upper lip.
Was I supposed to pass as a logger?
As I made sure my eyes were dry, and I walked back out, it seemed this had struck the others as well.
With sceptical looks I was asked to join Bob, Karen, Nathan and Pete.
"You won’t pass as a logger!" Bob said bluntly.
"I know," I muttered, looking down and feeling really self-conscious about my freshly denuded head.
"The best we can hope for is you being able to tell the guard you’re there to see your Dad. We’ll find a name for you to ask for."
I felt dejected. Like I was letting them down.
"Ok" I said in a small voice. A voice that made me feel even more like the little kid I looked like.
Phil looked me up and down, and said, "If we’d had time we could have whipped you in to shape, but you know…"
We all knew. I was a flabby indoor kind of kid. I’m sure all there, me included, were wondering what I was doing there. But I believed in this, and wanted to be a part of something.
There was more laughter as the day passed, and I sucked it up as well as I could. Pretending to laugh along with the others, but I felt really uncomfortable and upset about it.
As I was getting ready for bed, I felt the back of my head looking at my image in the mirror. I sniffed, trying to keep myself from crying again. It felt so rough. And as I went to bed it felt quite uncomfortable against my pillow.
I lay there feeling really sorry for myself, rubbing my shorn head, and as the house fell quiet I got out of bed, covered my flab with a t-shirt, and went in search of the small cap Zoey had used as a guide when she cut my hair.
I found it in the hall, and locking myself in the bathroom I put it back on. No hair was visible, but the stubble was there, feeling like sandpaper, although I could not see it.
I wet it, and applied shaving foam around my head, trying not to get any on Zoey’s cap, and started scraping it away carefully, so as to get it right. It stung a bit as I scraped against the grain, but the razor ran over my skin real smooth as I finished.
Taking the cap off, I washed under the tap, and dried myself on my towel. Running my fingers over it, it felt smooth and slightly greasy. But was actually quite nice to the touch.
I went back to bed, and still feeling really sorry for myself I fell asleep.
"Rise and shine Davey-boy!" Nathan stood by my bed, grinning teasingly at me. "Get up! We have planning to do!"
Getting out of bed, I pulled my shirt on and headed for the bathroom. You might not think it was possible for hair this short to be messed up, but it was. I had to wet, and dry it to make it look right. Or, as right as it could look with my chubby face and frame.
Feeling the shaved parts it felt better today, still smooth, but dry in stead of the greasy feeling I suppose came from the lather.
Wondering what it looked like from behind, I snapped a few pictures with my cell and studied them. The first showed only the part of my head from the bottom of my ears and up, and looked pretty good. But in the others my neck showed as well, and I didn’t like what it showed me. This haircut hid nothing. From just below my ears, and all the way down to my shoes, I was fat. My almost cropped skull was the only thing without a layer of fat under the skin, and it made my large size very obvious.
There were more giggles as I met the others in the kitchen. Several gave shouts of,
"Hey Davey-boy!" And the name stuck, I was now "Davey-boy", "Little-Davey" or just Davey. Waddling around, over-sized and despite this, feeling really small.
I was included in more "only-the-top-brass" talks now, especially as the action drew closer. It turned out I was going to place an explosive charge near important machinery in the logging camp, and it was to be timed to go off at night when no one was around.
Had I not been so blinded by my desire to get closer to Liz I would never in a million years have agreed to this. And Liz wasn’t even at the meetings. She did smile at me when I saw her though, and I sure hoped she appreciated what I was doing. For the greater good, and all that.
Despite my fear for what I was supposed to do, the humiliation stung hard. The others had discussed what age I could pass as, and had agreed that although I looked more like 14, I could pass for a 16-year-old there to see his Dad. I was equipped with a fake drivers licence, showing me with my brutally short haircut, and showing me as just having turned 16. My name was David Alexander Taylor, and my story was, I had just got my licence, and was finally able to visit my Dad at the site on my own.
Karen had read some articles and found a picture of a logger named Robert Taylor. This was the guy I was supposed to say was my dad.
The planning took a total of 14 days, and Zoey "freshened" my haircut the day before I was going. She didn’t take off much, but the soft feel I had had the last week or so on my sides and back were back to sandpaper again. I felt in no state to run a razor over it this time though. I didn’t trust my hands to be steady enough.
I was so nervous I kept going to the bathroom to have a s**t. My bowls could not hold anything.
The morning of the action I was given a t-shirt, size XXXL with a print of "Cold Play", a large, baggy, pair of blue shorts and a pair of high top trainers. They were comfortable enough, but with it on I really looked like a young teenager.
The mood was one of sombre excitement as I came in to the living room. The whole group was there, and I felt like they had more respect for me today, as the seriousness of what I was going to do settled on the group.
I could not eat, but managed a cup of coffee, before Bob gave the word we had to get going.
With greetings of "Good luck Davey-boy!" and friendly claps on my back, and shoulders I went out, after a quick stop in the bathroom to relieve myself. Again.
Washing my hands after, 16-year-old David A. Taylor looked back at me in the mirror, in his large clothes, and brutally short haircut.
They were right in thinking no one would ever suspect him of being with a radical group of environmentalists. He looked more like a complete looser in high school.
I was in a car with Nathan and Bob as we drove towards the camp, and Zoey and Karen followed in a small Toyota we’d bought from an old guy a few days before. At a truck stop near the camp, I was given the Toyota, and the package was placed on the floor behind the drivers seat. It was like I was in a daze, and I am not sure what Bob and Nathan were telling me. But we’d gone through the plan before, and I knew what I was supposed to do.
I felt like I was heading to my death sentence. Unable to say anything, I just nodded, unsure if I would be able to go through with it.
"You’ll be out before they know anything, and no-one will get hurt, ok?" I heard Nathan say to me as I placed myself in the Toyota. The girls were small, and I struggled to get in, too nervous to think about moving the seat back. Bob grabbed the lever beside the seat, and it slid back some, and I could get my legs in.
"There!" he said and clapped me on the shoulder, "Good luck Little-Davey!"
With that they drove off, and I was left alone, watching them head back on the highway towards our house.
Somehow I managed to drive to the logging camp. Still in a daze, I could not really believe I was doing this. It was like I was in a dream, somehow detached from myself, as I drove up to the control-shack at the gate.
"I’m here to see my Dad." I said, feeling incredibly nervous, looking at the uniformed security guard there.
"Who’s your Dad?"
"Robert Taylor," I said.
"ID!" he said, and I gave him the fresh licence.
The guard flipped through a list, found the name Taylor, and told me to drive up to the main building and ask for him there.
I muttered a "Thanks!" and drove in.
I was so nervous now I was shaking, and had to stop as soon as I was out of view of the guard at the gate. Breathing so fast I felt dizzy, and forced myself to breath slower.
Finally I, sort of, got a grip of myself, and drove towards the machine park, where I parked behind a large truck.
Slowly I got out, and carefully lifted the package out from behind my seat. The others had sworn it was safe to handle, but I lifted it like it was a tray of eggs. Carrying it slowly over to a digger that was parked next to the truck, and placed it on the step up to the cabin. I felt I needed to hide it more, but I suddenly had to hurl.
Stepping behind the digger I bent over and puked my guts out. Thin, coffee-coloured vomit sprayed over the tall grass, and some splattered on my bare shins. Feeling miserable, I wiped my mouth, and spat, trying to get rid of the taste.
"Hey, what’s up?" a voice startled me, and I straightened up.
Turning around I looked in to the face of man in work clothes and a hard hat. He looked friendly enough, but I couldn’t say anything. I have a vague memory of my jaw moving, but no words coming out.
With a look of concern, he asked if I was all right. I nodded.
"You’d better come with me son, you shouldn’t be here. Especially if you’re sick," he said, and I followed meekly, and got in to his truck.
He asked me some questions as we drove to main office building, but I was mute. Even if I’d had anything to say, I wouldn’t have been able to.
He gently steered me inside, and asked the foreman to join us.
"What’s up Larry?"
"I found this kid up by Lot 2, puking behind a some trucks. Won’t say who he is, or what he’s doin’ here."
They both seemed concerned. "Better call the gate!" the foreman said, and went in to his office where we could hear him calling the guard who checked ID’s at the entrance.
"Do you remember a kid coming in?" he asked, and seemed to get some questions in return.
"Yeah, that sounds like him." He said and let the guard talk some more.
"And he said he was Rob Taylor’s son? Hmm, doesn’t sound right."
The friendliness was gone as he came back out.
"Is Rob Taylor your father?" he asked, and I shook my head, hoping they would not make him come down.
"But your name is David Taylor?"
"How old are you?"
I finally found my voice and muttered "16 sir".
"Why are you here?"
And I broke down and cried. My whole body shook, I was so scared. Snot and tears were running, and I was unable to say anything. The foreman and Larry looked at me, disgusted, but I was too scared to care about that. My life was over.
To be continued