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The Monkeywrencher, Part II by Vegard
Eying me with obvious scepticism now the foreman said,
"Better check up by Lot 2, and see if he was up to something Larry. And check his car as well, okay?"
The foreman left me to sit in a kind of conference room, keeping the door open from his own office so he could keep an eye on me.
I could feel my cell-phone vibrating in my pocket. Maybe it was the others wanting to know if I had placed it, and gotten out. But I didn’t dare touch it. In stead I sat, head down, wiping snot and tears from my face.
The guard from the gate came and had a look at me, "Yeah, that’s him! I got a hold of Taylor, and he has one son, and two grown daughters out east. He’s heading down. Should be here soon!"
He was right. A short, wiry guy with curly brown hair came in; somehow managing to look puzzled and pissed at the same time. It was no wonder the foreman didn’t believe I was his son. We could not have looked more different.
"Who’s this tub of lard?" Taylor said, eying me with clear contempt.
"He claimed he was your son, at the gate".
"No son of mine would be allowed to let himself go like that!"
"Who are you?" he almost snarled at me.
"I’m David Taylor sir, and I’m sorry I said you were my dad!" I almost blurted out.
"Why’d you do it?" the foreman asked, an edge to his voice now.
"To get inside the camp," I said, and clammed up again, although they kept asking questions.
Larry came back in, holding the package between his hands. He placed it right in front of me, and I sat petrified with fear.
I didn’t answer.
"Answer me boy! Is it safe to open it?"
I don’t know why, but somehow I managed to nod yes. How could I nod yes to a question like that? I was in shock, this was too much for me, and I was in such a deep state of fear I wanted to agree with everything they said.
As I sat there, stiff, but with my innards in turmoil, the foreman slowly opened the box. Just as he opened the lid, I shat myself, but no one noticed. Not then.
The foreman looked puzzled, and the other guys in the room leaned forward, before beginning to laugh. Puzzled, and with my fear subsiding somewhat, I leaned forward.
Inside the box where two red bricks and a paper where someone had written "KA-BOOM" in large black letters, and drawn an explosion around it. Just like in a cartoon.
I breathed a sigh of relief, and my brain seemed to loose a bit of the numbness I had felt. The bomb wasn’t real. Maybe my life could go on after all?
Rob Taylor looked at me, with a wrinkled nose, and said, "Did you s**t yourself?"
I began crying again, both from embarrassment, and from relief we were not all dead.
"Go get yourself cleaned up!" the foreman barked at me, and pointed to a bathroom.
It was uncomfortable to walk with s**t in my drawers, but I waddled over and locked myself inside the men’s room.
Picking my cell out of my baggy shorts, I could see I had three missed calls. Two from Karen, and one from Phil, plus a text from Karen.
It simply said, "Are you out?"
Sniffing, I wrote "No. Got caught", before I set about the business of cleaning myself.
My underpants looked a mess, since what had come out was pretty loose. But thankfully, by shorts only had a small amount that had gone through my drawers, which I managed to wipe away. The fabric was smooth and shiny polyester, so it looked ok, even if I wet it a bit to get the s**t off.
As I began cleaning my soiled crotch I heard the phone vibrating on the sink where I had placed it.
I washed my hands, and picked it up.
"It’s a dud. You are safe! Ask for your Mom (me) and if you have to say anything, say it was a prank."
Now they tell me it’s a dud, I thought bitterly.
Quickly I deleted the text thread with Karen, a few others with the group, and changed her name in my contacts to "Mom".
"Hey, kid, are you done?" It sounded like the foreman outside the door.
"Uh, yeah! Just a minute!" I managed.
I washed once more, with wet paper, and threw it in the bin, where I had already thrown a lot of paper, as well as my underwear.
The room reeked of s**t, and I felt so embarrassed. Tying a knot on the garbage bag, I opened the window to let some air in. Escape was futile, since I would not have got out of the window anyway. Rob Taylor probably could have, but not me.
Just before I unlocked the door, I quickly changed the name on my screen from David Werner to David A. Taylor.
I sat my miserable self back down in the conference room, and the foreman sat down opposite from me, with the guard and Larry beside him. Taylor had left.
"So, David, what was the meaning of this?" he asked.
I must still have looked pathetic, because they were all surprisingly mild towards me.
"What was the point of placing a parcel amongst our machines, trying to make us believe it was a bomb?"
"I’m so sorry," I muttered, wiping away some tears. Glad now I looked so young and miserable.
"This is serious!" The guard said in an angrier voice.
Tears were running down my cheeks now, and I managed to choke out, "It was a prank. A couple of kids at my school said I could hang with them if I did it."
"You a student at Jackson High?" Larry asked.
Not having a clue what the schools here were called, I nodded.
"I didn’t know what it was sir," I said through real tears, "They said it was harmless. Just a joke."
As the men stayed quiet, I assumed character a bit, and sniffed, "Please don’t tell my Mom!"
As if on queue the foreman said, "You will tell her yourself. Take out your phone David!"
Relieved they still hadn’t thought to call the police, I fished out my phone.
Sniffing again, I got the last number up, which now said "Mom", and clicked dial.
It rang three times before she picked it up. I could picture them all sitting there, watching the phone, and waiting for it to seem like she wasn’t waiting for the call.
"Hi Davey, where are you?" came Karen’s voice.
Knowing at least the group of leaders were listening in, my self-awareness and embarrassment was real as I said, "Please Mom, I’m in trouble up at the logging camp"
Quiet at the other end, then "What?"
"I’m in trouble Mom. It was meant to be a joke, but I was caught, and it wasn’t a good joke anyway."
"Let me talk to her!" The foreman said, and I gave him my cell.
"Ma’am, this is Geoffrey Smith, foreman for West Logging, North of town. Your son David has been caught placing a parcel meant to look like a parcel-bomb amongst our machines."
"He what?" Karen made a good show of playing a concerned, now really upset, Mom. "My Davey?" I heard her ask in an almost shrill voice.
"I’m afraid so Ma’am," Smith said, adding, "He claims he did it so he could "hang" with some kids in school." He looked at me, and I could hear Karen sigh.
It really stung as she said, "He has no friends, you see. And I think I know who may have put him up to this."
"Can I come up and see you? And talk to him?" she asked in a sweet voice.
"Sure Ma’am. We’d appreciate that."
Smith asked her name, which she stated as "Mary Taylor", and I knew Phil was already on it, making her a licence with that name, if he had not already done so.
I was relieved the police had not been mentioned, and sat by myself waiting. Smith had taken my phone, and I sat there feeling thoroughly miserable.
As the time ticked on and we waited for "Mom", I began crying again. Larry looked in from Smith’s office, and looked at me, disgusted. "Pull yourself together boy!"
I sniffed, wiped my face, and went to the bathroom again, to clean up before getting back in to the conference room. My stomach was rumbling, and I felt so hungry. I wished they’d offer me some food.
After over an hour, Smith got a call from the gate saying my Mom was here, and finally Karen marched in.
She looked different, with her hair tied back, and with a more business-like set of clothes, with long sleeves, to hide her tattoos I suppose. I looked down, not having to pretend to be a shameful kid, because I really did feel just like one.
Karen marched right over to me, and slapped me hard on the back of my head with a flat hand. Shocked, I looked up at her, and quickly looked back down as she yelled, "What have you done young man! I did not raise you to behave like this! Who put you up to this?"
She breathed hard, and apologised profusely to Smith, Larry and the guard.
"Was it Mike who put you up to this?" she asked me, but didn’t wait for an answer. In stead she turned to Smith and said, "He doesn’t have any friends you see," and lowering her voice as if she meant for me not to hear it, she added "Davey has some issues when it comes to socialising, and functioning with his peers."
I looked blankly at her, and she continued, "Some of the other kids in school can be quite cruel, and sometimes make him do things for them. And he doesn’t know any better."
"Um, yeah, we sort of got the idea he had some, uh, "issues"," Larry said, looking at me with a kind of pity I suppose. I was dumbfounded, which must have made me look exactly the part Karen was portraying for me.
"We were so pleased when he managed to get his licence!" Karen said, pretending to wipe a tear from the corner of her eye.
They really swallowed it. I was completely parked on the side-line as Karen elaborated on how she had been left to deal with a "simple" son since her husband, my Dad, had left us when I was seven. It had not been easy for her. Had I not known better even I would have believed her.
As I sat there, completely left out of the conversation, she agreed I should pay for my stupidity by working for the logging company every Monday and Thursday afternoon, "after school" until I turn 17.
"I won’t have to though?" I asked incredulously, looking at the others back at the house.
I had gotten some praise for placing the package, but they weren’t overly impressed I’d ended up being caught red-handed.
"You sure will Little-Davey!" Nathan said.
I gawped. "But," I stuttered.
"We don’t want to bring attention on us, or this house" Karen said, "And you heard what foreman Smith said. As long as you show up and do as you’re told, they won’t report it."
I probably resembled a goldfish opening, and closing my mouth, but with no words coming out.
"And you can look, listen and learn Davey-Boy. We won’t be able to hit that particular camp, but you keep your senses open, and learn! Maybe you can pick something up we can use." Bob said.
So, I had to agree to be Little-Davey-Boy, the "slow" teenager for another 12 months. And I have to endure the way the others keep snickering behind my back, and taking the piss when I’m in the room. And I can’t always see if it’s good-natured or not.
The worst part is the bi-weekly haircut administered by Zoey,
Bob, Nathan, Phil and Karen feel it’s important I don’t break character, so every second Saturday I have to put the brimless cap on, and I’m shaved bare below it, and my back and sides are tapered from white walls to a ¾ inch brush cut on top.
The first, and third day after my haircuts I shave my back and sides smooth, but then let it grow until Zoey uses the clippers again.
The haircut really doesn’t suit me, but it’s become routine, and I’ve gotten used to it. Sort of.
During the day they now let me game on my computer. I eat chips and burgers, and drink pop, and apart from having to work at the camp two afternoons a week, my life is not too bad.
Work up there is easy, since they don’t seem to have a lot of confidence in me. Mostly I just do cleaning. I clean the rest rooms and shacks around the camp, and try to avoid the guys. I feel uncomfortable around them, since they probably all know I shat myself in their office after meaning to pull a prank on them. I almost feel like saying I’d like to see them keep their s**t in if they thought they were being blown up, but I can’t off course.
Since I eat so much chips and burgers, my skin has started breaking out with acne, and I really do look like a teenager. You wouldn’t think I was going on 21 looking at me. Baby-faced, pimply and wearing baggy shorts, really large colorful t-shirts and high top trainers.
Those clothes are really comfortable, and truth be told, my old clothes are getting a bit tight. I tried my jeans on the other day, and they were so tight over my belly, I took them off and put my blue shorts back on.
At the site I wear overalls that "Mom" got for me, and now that fall and winter is coming I will probably wear the overalls at the house as well. I don’t go out much anyway. Except to go to McDonald’s or Burger King.
Liz went with me to Burger King the other day, and I put on a pair of clean overalls, to maybe look more like a workingman, than a kid. But, I don’t think it worked. We ran in to an acquaintance of hers, and she introduced me as her kid brother Davey.
I just have to pretend for another 8 months now though, and then I can let my hair grow back out and be David again. I think she’ll like me more then.