Thursday, July 14, 2011

Under The Skin Of A Friend

A security guard at a place I worked a few years back was telling me that he didn’t like chasing the homeless people off into the woods by himself. I understood his concern yet something stirred inside me… For some reason I wanted to give him a hard time about it. With a smile I said, “You need to be careful, they may tie you up and leave you in your underwear.” To this I got no response. So, then I said, “Better yet, they may tie you up and put their underwear on you to wear. You know that junk is stank…” His face soured in front of me with disgust as he said, “Something’s wrong with you Hodges.” Shaking his head he then walked away.

It’s not all the time I get under people’s skin, just sometimes. But it’s only ‘cause they let me in the most inviting way. I think it’s the eyes that do it for me. The almost gone mad look they have after their button has been pushed. The first time I really remember getting under someone’s skin I was around ten years old. After waiting for what seemed like the longest line on the planet, it was my turn to play the foursquare king. I know, it sounds like a pretty lame game except there were little games to play at the school I was in at the time. Most of the kids there were some kind of delinquent and if they were cool with the game so was I. 

After finally knocking the king off of his spot I began my little victory dance, and speaking the most amount of jive I could about knocking the king off his thrown. Something along the lines of, “Can you feel it? I’m the foursquare king! I’m the foursquare king…” Then I saw something out of the corner of my eye floating toward me like magic, but believe me it was not magic. It was half a red brick that had moments earlier left the hands of the x-foursquare king. I suddenly came to lying looking up at all the kids standing over me with what felt like a watermelon on my forehead.
Although, the brick was brought on by my dance skills and jive-talk, sometimes, it’s my charm that makes people shine through with madness and overwhelming love for me…

My friend Grizzly Madams loves me like a brother… But that being said, our first trip together into the mountains made her want to beat my ass like a brother. I’m from Florida and have spent many days in the thick woods here. It gets cold but not like the mountains. Grizzly being from Colorado knew good and well to bring the right equipment, I did not… I guess looking back; I had spent a lot of my life outside from working in the dirt, to sitting on street curbs after skating at two in the morning. I knew firsthand what cold was and thought I had packed what I needed. It didn’t help that the night before we flew out my friends threw me a going away party. The next morning, hung over as hell, I grabbed an old sleeping bag out of the closet, put it in my back pack with a few things and took off. After a long flight and too many beers in Dallas, I suddenly was starting to set up camp in the mountains. Once it was night time the temperature started to drop rapidly. Climbing in my tent I quickly realized I was in for a long night with a short sleeping bag. In my state of hung-overness I grabbed a youth size sleeping bag. One my son had used years earlier. Being six-foot one made me stick out about three feet… Yeah I was screwed with the night air quickly dipping into the twenties. I climbed out of the tint and made my way to the fire, which was now just a memory. I searched the ground but there was no real wood nearby. So I began walking in a circle around camp trying to stay warm. By this point the beer from the flight had turned into a good hangover. That’s right two hangovers in one day… Suddenly, things went from bad to worse. I heard Grizzly stir from her slumber. I knew I was in for it… “Hodges is that you?” “Yeah it’s me.” “What the hell are you doing out there?” “I’m cold. I didn’t bring the right sleeping bag and there’s no firewood.” "Hmmmmmmmmmmmm errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Damn it Hodges… I knew that pack looked light and here I’m carrying an eighty pounder. You know it’s in the twenties out there…” “I know…” “You would have froze to death by morning… I should kick your ass… Come on get in the tent…" Opening her sleeping bag she then said, “Climb in and put your back to me, and if anything even so much as moves or rises in this tent I will beat your ass… I mean it… You won’t be able to get away from me.”

So, there I was sleepless in a sleeping bag, warm, and with my best friend that wanted to kill me… It was good times under the skin of a friend…

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