Wednesday, July 09, 2008

In France, Douche Means Shower

Summer time in East Stumblebum, Michigan was a fairly passive and mundane time. Being that we found ourselves separated from the majority of society, it's a safe bet that our days were spent amusing ourselves largely with the strength of our imagination and our sense of humor. Since direct contact with more than a handful of people was never really possible (at least until we got our driver's licenses) we spent our time trying to find something interesting to do.

For some of the us, finding things to do was no problem. There was a local farmer's son named Roy who would regale us with tales of shocking his brother's nuts with a cattle prod. The height of comedy, I would say. He once got on the bus reeking and covered in manure, proudly regaling us with tales of the legendary "shit fight" that he and his brother had just partaken in.

Yeah, not much to do in Stumblebum. Luckily for me, I managed to worm my way into a close knit circle of friends who all shared a good deal of intelligence and a sharp sense of humor. As a result, there was never a shortage of laughs to be found, whether with or at the expense of my group of comrades.

And here we were, trapped once again in a Michigan summer, blessed with gorgeous weather but with the hideous curse of only 1.3 people per square mile. Like I said, we did our best to get by.

Our days were largely spent watching movies and playing Nintendo. At night, if we were lucky, we would sneak out of our respective houses and go off to cause general low level mischief. The good news for our parents was that despite our tendency to sneak off at all hours of the night, in reality we weren't causing any significant trouble. Though we were teenage miscreants and ne'er do wells, we never had any true malice in our hearts. Our reign of terror was anything but terrifying.

On this occasion we had made arrangements for one of our nightly walks. This was most easily precipitated by arranging a sleepover at my house. We had a large backyard that easily facilitated throwing up a tent for the young 'uns to sleep in. Just as conveniently, there was a path leading from my yard to the local cemetery. A quick jaunt through the passage of the dead and you would find yourself in greater metropolitan Stumblebum.

This particular evening we had made up our minds to head down to The Oasis, our local truck stop, about a five mile walk from my house. Not a major distance, mind you, but certainly far enough to make it feel like an adventure. You could have popped in the song "Stand By Me" and pretended we were headed to see a body. Just like the film we tended to be a bit of a rag tag bunch, each of us with our own particular quirks.

This evening's events were to be attended by myself, Terry (who you've heard plenty about) and Kleve. One of the more interesting aspects of this arrangement was the overflowing bounty of animosity between Terry and Kleve. For me it was an endless source of entertainment. For them it was a never ending conflict which would frequently turn to blows. (For years I had a fantastic photograph of Terry quite earnestly trying to stab Kleve in the head but finding himself thwarted by a motorcycle helmet.)

Since we were camping in my backyard this evening, sneaking out was going to be a no-brainer. The first order of business was waiting until an appropriate time. We loved to pretend that we were on some super secret mission, so we found that leaving the house earlier than midnight blew our cover. Half the fun was making it to our destination, which was usually slowed by the fact that we loved to run and hide when cars came by for no other reason than to LOOK like we were up to no good.

We amused ourselves to the best of our abilities in the tent, telling our random stories and jokes, and generally insulting the hell out of ourselves and our associated mothers. Of course, I took the opportunity to bring up my favorite Terry/Kleve conflict tale just to get them riled up and angry. For your benefit and for the sake of explaining their history of animosity, let me derail for just a moment and present you this tale.

Shortly before the events I'm relating currently, we had all been at school gathering our books between classes. Terry was kneeling on the floor in front of his locker and Kleve and I were hovering nearby talking to him. Suddenly, Kleve spotted the hint book for "The Bard's Tale" on the top shelf of Terry's locker. Kleve, recognizing that it was HIS book that he'd lent to Terry some months ago made to grab for it. Terry, displeased with Kleve's intention of claiming what was rightfully his, spun round on his knee and punched Kleve in the testicles as hard as he could.

Of course, Kleve dropped to the floor, clutching at his now seedless groin, howling and red faced. Terry nonchalantly grabbed his things and headed to class. I'm pretty certain Kleve was still there after class, hands protecting his now tender nether regions.

I loved telling that story around the two of them just for the fun of seeing the hatred bubble between them. Yes, I was an instigator. Yes, I was a dick. Hey, we are who we are, and you have to admit, it's pretty damn funny.

When the appointed time finally arrived, we unzipped the tent and made our way through the darkened woods toward the cemetery. Most of the kids we knew in the area were afraid of going through the cemetery by moonlight. Many of them were afraid of this because of us. But, having lived next door to the place for a couple of years, I had watched enough graves being dug and enough bodies being buried to not really care about it all one way or the other.

The downtown area was more or less a dead zone by the time we made it up there. The handful of houses and buildings that littered the area were nothing but lightless windows and vacant rooms. This was exactly how we wanted it. If we were going to get into trouble (we had no intention of it) then we wanted to be sure nobody saw it (nobody would care if they did). We made our way through the four streets that constituted our densely populated region and began the long trek to The Oasis.

Bear in mind, when I say that it's five miles from my house to The Oasis, you have to realize that it's five miles of barren nothingness. If you watch Twilight Zone: The Movie, at the end of the second segment when little Anthony transports himself and Helen to that empty void of nothingness that contains little more than fog and a few laser beams, well THAT'S more cluttered than our walk down to The Oasis. (At least Anthony had fog.)

About two thirds of the way there we passed a house that had a nice little garden. At the front of this garden right before a large tree was a statue of the Virgin Mary, arms spread, inviting all who pass to enjoy the sanctity and quiet serenity of her bountiful garden.

Though our lot was generally composed of atheists and agnostics, we bore no particular ill will towards this statue of reverence, but by the same token we held no great appreciation for it either. We passed by it for the time being, still content to make our way further, pausing only when one of us would scream "CAR!", only to throw ourselves hastily into ditches and hide behind trees.

Top secret stuff, man.

At long last we arrived at our destination. Of course, the big question is "What do we do now?". In a few years time Mortal Kombat would be released, and we'd head up here to play MK and eat omelettes at the little restaurant. But in 1989, there wasn't much to do at all. We did however have one ritual that we partook in whenever we'd make a late night visit.

The ritual was thus; Come up with the most embarrassing thing we can think of and make Terry head into the shop and buy it. On prior trips we had made him purchase items such as tampons, Preparation H, even a book called "Peter Pecker's Guide to the Male Organ". Tonight was no different, we had our challenge.

We wanted a douche.

Terry did his best to protest this arrangement. He had caught on long ago that he ALWAYS ended up being the one chosen for these chores and he really wasn't hip to being a teenaged boy purchasing a late night douche at a truck stop. But Kleve and I would not relent, and after much insistence and insinuation of Terry's lack of testicular fortitude, Terry made his way into the building while Kleve and I stood outside, hysterical tears of laughter streaming from our eyes.

After what seemed an eternity Terry strolled confidently out of the store, a small box of Summer's Eve in tow. To a 14 year old male, he was a god. Not only did he go through with it, he had the cajones to leave the store without a bag. All those big, burly truckers would know that his forbidden zone would be squeaky clean in a few minutes.

Well, now we had the damn thing. What were we supposed to do with it? Seriously, as teenaged boys in a pre-internet world, we only had an idea of what these things were supposed to be used for. Of course the giggles and chuckles flowed like wine as we removed the plastic concoction from its cardboard encasing.

It wasn't out of the box for 3 seconds before the first volley came. SQUIRT! Terry shot the douche's contents straight for Kleve's eyes. Almost immediately Kleve rushed Terry to get his hands on the vinegary weapon and return the favor. As always, I just stood in the background and enjoyed the show. (I tend to be non-interventionist.)

Within moments the douche was emptied. All of that walking and all we had to show for it was an empty douche. Oh well. We figured that we'd head over to our friend Craig's house and see if he wanted to join in our douchey games.

By the time we arrived at Craig's it was nearly three in the morning. We threw stones at his window until he appeared in its frame, rather humorously staring down at the slack jawed group of idiots that had gathered outside.

Can you blame him? Here we are waking him at 3 in the morning saying, "Come on, dude, we have a douche, let's go hang out!" It should come as no surprise that Craig was not nearly as entertained by our douche as we were and he made it rather clear rather quickly that we were to leave his property. NOW.

Dejected, we began the long walk back to my parents' house. And as you would expect, the douche jokes were abundant. We carried on hooting and hollering until we saw it again...the Virgin Mary.

As I mentioned before, I'm an instigator. I'm an idea man, but I almost always lack the balls to do anything myself. But I saw the Virgin Mary sitting by that tree and the douche in our hands and found inspiration.

"Terry! Go put that douche in Mary's hands!"

This is the part of the story where you're probably expecting my friends to turn to me, aghast at the blasphemy I had just uttered. You'd be close.

Terry's response was "Fuck yeah!"

And off he went, sneaking across their lawn Sam Fisher style, until the douche found itself nestled into Mary's arms. No further desecration was done. We did not tape the douche, we did not mess with the statue, we just laid it in her arms. We all had a nice chuckle and then made our way home.

We were amused to go by that house the next day and see the douche still clutched in Mary's arms. We officially christened her "The Unfresh Mary". But then the humor compounded. A week later, that douche was still there. A month? There it was. A year? Mary wasn't getting rid of it that easily.

We literally drove by that house for THREE YEARS, every time seeing that douche tucked in her arms and laughing to one another. We told everybody we knew about it and before long it was an item of legend. The people who had owned that statue must have looked at that douche a million times and never once noticed it.

Well, it finally did disappear, a couple of years down the road. Did they discover it? Did it just blow away? I had always wondered what that scene would have been like when they finally discovered what had been done. Did the lady of the house fall to her knees, crying out to Jeebus to explain how such terrible blasphemies came to be on her lawn?

Life being what it is, I had an interesting coda to this story. Maybe two weeks after the douche disappeared, I found myself walking down that long, lonely stretch of road all by my lonesome. And the skies opened up on me, pouring down sheets of rain and drenching me to the bone.

As I passed Mary's house I noticed a man run out the door and hop into a truck. He immediately pulled out of his driveway and rolled up alongside me. He lowered the window and asked if he could give me a ride as he didn't want to see me walking that distance in the rain.

Oh yes, I took his ride, and the entire time I thought of a million and one things I could say to try and find out what had happened to Mary. But, of course, I didn't want to give up my hand and let him know that I was the one responsible.

He dropped me off at my house and went on his way. I never saw the man again.

You're probably thinking that there's some grand moral to this tale, that I learned some important lesson that I wanted to impart to you, the reader.

You're right.

The moral is, putting a douche on a statue of the Virgin Mary and having it stay there for over three years is fucking awesome.

4 comments:

GeologyJoe said...

E, all i can say is if we lived near each other when we were kids, we probably would have been pretty tight.

its funny because its true.

-gj

E said...

Thanks, Joe. At least life was never as dull as we could have let it be. :)

Anonymous said...

damn you E - now I gotta burn in hell for laughing at the douche story

E said...

Hell ain't so bad. It'll have good music, if nothing else.

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