Harry Loves Benny. OUT in the Woods. Part 2

So begins our story many years later when Boy Benny had grown to be a young man. He had been here, there, and just about everywhere from the time he left Goon City in a hurry, fearing for his life. There have been written or so he says many in-between stories of these travels but we will not be concerned with those stories for now. Later if Benny is willing we will direct our readers to those stories but those stories do not matter for these stories to be told. For now all that matters is these stories and that is where we all will be. Yes for a short time a season or two Harry loved Benny OUT in the woods about 26 miles from Goon City.

Snake Oil and Benny. Getting together.

Two shots ended it that early spring day. One hit Lannie right between the eyes and the other blew the face off of her boy friend, Sgt. Juan Carlos of the Police Force. Both deader than a door nail. “More times” Bob was missing along with his dog Chancy. Senora Gomez from next door said that he left in a rush yesterday not even locking the door and the screen door banged during the night and she had to get up, come over here and shut it. “My sister Beatriz called me this morning and said, hey that girl that lived next door to you, the one who was going with the police guy well they both were found dead this morning. Both of them naked in his car, blood all over the place. They were out around Lovers hill doing the wild thing and bam, bam two shots and they are both dead. Maybe I will come over as I want to see what happens around the girls place. Is that loony tall guy still around there, you know the one with that mangy old dog who shits all over the place?” Carl and I looked around “More times” house to try to find out if anything was missing but couldn’t really tell.

Carl and Benny had spent most of the winter up in the mountains out of the city. In their wanderings they had found an old miner’s shack built of stone, and asked the owner for permission to stay there, granted and done. Supplies were gathered and the shack was a real fixer upper just the type of place a young couple who where just starting out could afford. The rent was cheap. Nothing nope Old Mr. Hansen didn’t charge a penny for the place. “Ah, you don’t need to pay me to hang out up there,” he said. “No one cares about it glad you do so enjoy your time staying there.” Carl rigged up gutters around the roof and a drain pipe that ran into a large water storage tank. Now if I could just plant something, get it to grow and deliver to us a just harvest that would be swell. We wanted to be alone up in the mountains. Not troubled by the city or the folks there. We wanted to smoke some good grass, maybe expermint with some other drugs and see where it would all take us. Now bam, bam shattered it all one Wednesday night. It’s over Rover.

Carl had been running drugs with “More times” getting a supply from Major Bob down near the border and driving northeast with the grass. Make a few thousand for just a weeks work. Work had slowed down as someone had been talking to the cops. Carl said that it was Lannie, “you know that bitch never met a dick she didn’t like and “More times” sure could dish it out but I guess out of uniform and naked Juan Carlos was a real catch. Saw him once when I went over to his house to complain about a guy that keep speeding on Route 123 and almost hit Senora Gomez when she was walking home from the store. There he was sitting in front of the TV hard as he could get it stroking a size 11 dick. Man thought Carl what I could do to get that in my mouth. Juan Carlos acted like every man sat in front of the TV in the middle of the day, with the front door wide open jerking off.

Carl we had better get the fuck out of here no telling what is going on. We just may be next even if we don’t hang around here much we are still connected to this place. We drove back up to the cabin packed our knap sacks and left for the border, made the decision rather quickly that we would split up. Carl would cross into Mexico and I would head east. The thousand we made selling the grass that was stored in the house would get us to where we wanted to go. Carl said no sense of leaving the grass around here for someone will find it and sell it might as well be us. Jorge was more than happy to buy the grass. He ripped us off we know but hell we had to get moving and move fast. Carl needed the money for gas and I needed some for the bus. Drop me off in El Paso at the bus station, I don’t even care about stopping to see Major Bob. No sense dragging him into this mess. We would be persons of interest by the morning if we weren’t all ready and we had better get going. Hey stop writing this and get out of here. Time was wasting. Soon we knew damn well the cops would be around the house and up to our cabin. “More times” Bob knew it and left as quick as he could, not even taking the grass he was holding with him.

“Do you think Carl, that he killed Lannie and Juan Carlos?” I know he was getting a bit steamy over Lannie always being around Juan Carlos and she was probably tired after fucking that brut that she just couldn’t give up any more even though “More Times” Bob could go at it all night. Something about that dick of his, it never wanted to go down and take a rest. Once up man could that guy go at it. He fucked me once and I thought he would never cum. He thought it was fun to hold off, and hold off. I don’t know where he got his training from but he sure learned the lesson well. He told me if he felt the urge to cum he could stop himself and hold back. If he was fucking you it would get to the point where one would have to tell him to get out and off my ass. I do want to take a shit again and not be so sore and my hole so out of it that all the poop would build up and up until I am full of shit. Now I know some people think I am full of shit but I really don’t want to be really truly full of shit. I can bullshit as well as the next person but that’s bull. You know all good things must come to an end even fucking with a guy with a nice dick. “More times,” you got to respect people’s limits. Some can take a real good long pounding and some can’t. But let me tell the truth here, I would jump at the chance any day to get that beautiful “More Time’s” dick up my ass. As I sit here writing all of this I wonder, Where is that fellow when you need him?

I was heading back to Goon City. Looking out the bus window thinking I wonder what is happening there? That’s how it always was, back to Goon City. Couldn’t really make it anywhere but there as there was always something pulling Benny back. Unfinished business, so they all say. Need some more of that. Gotta get that done so I can over on and don’t ever have to look back. Mother I have come home to die, no you haven’t son you’ve come home to eat. Carl wanted to go to San Francisco and see what was happening there. We heard there were a lot of hippies around and he wanted to meet him some. I didn’t care about any hippies I just wanted to get far away. Maybe I thought I will be safe in Goon City, start another life. Guess me and Carl weren’t as close as we thought ourselves to be. Maybe we were only playing house. Maybe we looked at each other as a safe and a good fuck. Well the safe was now gone and the good fuck, hey let me tell you good fucks are a dime a dozen. I could find one just cruising around the bus station on any day of the week.

There was nothing really right now in the run down section of town for Benny so he walked right through. It all looked the same as before run downed and wanting. Wanting something. Many of the folks in the run down section of town just waiting, they played the game, and someone or something will come along and rescue us from the run down section of town. That’s why even if no one had much money to their name they went up the drug store and played their last dollar of the month on a lottery ticket. Hoping against the odds that they would strike it rich. Of course everyone in the run down section of town could grab on to the wings of success and ride that bird to the promise land or that is what the maybe, would be winner of the lottery would say out loud. Promises, promises were made all around but when it came time to dole out the cold hard cash all promises would be broken and everyone would be left in the run down section of town hoping for the next miracle to come along and save them.

Now of course the artists in the run down section of town were different. They chose this place to live. Cheap rents, landlords that left the tenant alone, buildings where one could take out a wall, stay up late working, drive nails, and even paint on the walls if the artist had no canvas. Everything was okay as long as the rent was paid and there was no trouble making. A lot went on in the run down section of town and if a trouble makers started to make trouble and attract the cops or other unsavory people of that nature then those of us who got by here would all be put in danger. No one needed any more danger than the danger of daily living. That was enough to last any of us a life time.

Benny headed towards Bevans Park. Something pulled him there. Man never hung out in this place before when I lived in Goon City. Really never had the need to cross the line in-between the run down section of town, into the almost run down section of town and then into the good section of town. Always stayed where I belonged with my artist friends and never had the need to go into the other parts of Goon City. Nothing there that would interest me. Old man Griswold Bevan had given over 237 acres to create the park. The park not only boasted a beautiful walkway lined with benches and flower gardens, a zoo, boat house on a small lake, bandshell, playing fields, but a nice wooded area that was slowly being taken over by some homeless peoples who needed a close by the “happening “area of Goon City. A clamp down on the homeless was in the works and everyone was talking about a recent rape of a homeless women in the wooded area. Would do it all in everytime. One murder or a rape and bam the cops come swooping in, destroying what those who have nothing turning the nothing into nothing at all.

“Don’t go near those woods young man,” an old women who had just sat down on the bench next to me said. The cops come through there every other hour and are trying in their words to keep the place clean of vagrants. I never liked that word vagrant. Sounds like some type of low life animal. Nope we all got to find somewhere else to go. The mission can only hold just so many people and folks are fighting in line to get to the door. They don’t give a rat’s bottom who they step on to get there, get in line get to the head of the line, get in the door and get a bed. Man you would think that there would be some kind of respect for each other but no we are all acting just like those who have. Don’t care who they step on getting to where they want to go. It’s all the same shit, on the top, getting to the top, and on the bottom with those of us who have teeth that hurt, feet that have sores, backs pulled out long ago, and all sorts of medical conditions that we can’t even get anyone to look at. Times are bad. Yeap times are bad. So who are you and what are you waiting for? Never saw you around here before. One thing I do know is that in fighting among us is what the rich want. These missions and shelters that don’t hold very many people are just a tool that the ruling class used. Keep us fighting among ourselves to get in the door. Keep us out in the cold, maybe we will all freeze to death. They’re bastards you know real bastards. But try to organize these poor folks gets oneself involved in a thankless task. Too busy just trying to scrape by.

Now Benny was brought up to be polite, even if he didn’t feel like answering any of the old crone’s questions but answer them he did. I need a place to hide out for awhile, get it together again and try not to look back from where I just came from. “Ah,” she said, “so many like that, well what if I told you your life was about to change and change like you would never believe it to be changing. Change so much that during the changing you won’t know what is up and what is down. Change so much that you will be able to cause change to happen just by a few words. You will in turn be changed so much that your name won’t be Benny anymore but you will gather a new name. Remember years ago when you saw that little blue dot, and the things it told you? Do you remember the deer that talked to you? That was only a start a small start of the great things to come. Mind my words by this time in the afternoon on Thursday you will begin to understand what I am talking about. Just don’t go into the woods, sleep under the band shell you’ll be safe there and don’t leave the park until afternoon on Thursday. She got up and began to walk away and then right before my eyes she disappeared.

She turned into a butterfly flew away and landed on a flower. Scared, damn right. Almost shit my pants, you betcha. My mind raced back to the old days in the Pine Tree Forest and the magic that began to happen there. Right before I left town and went on one of my many jaunts. Margie told me about the little swirling lights that shone each evening; the ones that would start blinking swirl up to your face and then poof disappear. Old Lila Weir said that they were fairies she had seen them many times before. Nothing to be afraid of. But why Lila would the fairies sent trees thundering down blocking the path into the forest. Lil of course didn’t know and just said maybe they don’t want some of the folks that are starting to hang around the place hanging around there. Something has got to stop the area from becoming hanging out central. Hanging around folks bring trash to the area and these woods do not need any trash trashing up the place. Come in the woods hang out awhile and leave your trash behind when you go back to civilization. Nope that will not do. We really don’t want people hanging out here. The birds, squirrels and other animals are doing just fine on their own without having any humans stinking up the place. Found this beautiful photo of a pine tree forest and thought I would include it for any dreamers stuck in any city and dream to be far way, out in the woods.

Benny spotted him coming down the sidewalk. Whistling while he walked. It had to be Old Snake Oil Johnson. Only he didn’t look a day past 40 if even that. 10 years must have never happened as he looked as good as he did back when Freddie and I went over to his place. So maybe just maybe that is my fate. To be taken away by Old Snake Oil Johnson, having the life sucked out of me and ending up on his dinner plate. What an ending that would be. I suppose I should tell a few folks where I am going so if they never hear from me again they will come out to his place and look me up. Now wait a minute Old Snake Oil didn’t even mention to come on over to his place so where did I ever get that notion from. “Howdy do Benny,” Old Snake Oil greeted me. “Mr. Johnson how are you?” you look just like you did 10 years ago only you are wearing clothes.” He let out a good belly laugh,  “Always wear clothes when I come into town. Wouldn’t want a lot of stray folks to follow me home wanting to have a play with my snake.z’ Snake and I laughed on that one. Man if he only knew how much I wanted to follow him home and have a play with his big old snake. “Well what you waiting for, lets high tail it out of here we have a lot to do before it gets dark out. Want to do a little stopping on the way to pick up a few things. You coming along, want to stop anywhere? We aren’t coming back this way for another month so you gotta do everything that you want to do and then some and forget the rest as that will have to wait to the next time we come around. So this was my new life that the old lady talked about. Hanging with the old warlock of the woods. Perhaps I can look as good as he when I get to be 150, oh wait, that was 10 years ago so Old Snake Oil Johnson now is 160 years old and doesn’t look a day past 40. I want some of that what ever it is and am willing to do anything to get it. At least I will finally get to see what the inside of his place looks like.

We stopped off at Selden’s Hardware and get some seed packets, carrots, peppers, zucchini, pumpkin, corn and onion starters, and visit the grocery store for some beans and a few other staples. Old queenie Kloo’s eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw me and Old Snake Oil come in the door. “Hey, hey, hey Benny, welcome home again” while doing a little twirl around. What stories of the great out there did you bring to share? Home again, home again zip-a-de- do- dah, home again, home again, so very nice to see you. Queenie Kloo sure was in a rare frame today. Maybe thought Queenie those two aren’t really together just came in the door at the same time. Benny’s back man oh how I want to do him and him me. Getting tired of doing all the same old homosexuals around here.” Old Snake Oil headed towards the dry beans and filled his basket with, 2 bags of Kidney, 2 bags of great northern white, 3 soup mix, 2 bags of black eye peas, 2 bags of split peas, 5 lbs of flour, 5lbs cornmeal, 1lb of sugar, package of lard, powdered milk, two large bags of onions, 10 lbs of potatoes, and a container of salt. Come the summer the garden will start producing did you ever can up some good fresh produce that you grew. Got to do that as traveling out of the woods in the winter isn’t too much fun. Well these supplies should last us for awhile. I got my wagon hidden up in the woods near Mrs. Palmer’s house to carry some of this stuff home. Whenever I need a large amount of things Sid the owner here will drive my supplies out to the end of Daley’s road and set them near the large rock. We will pick up the cornmeal, flour and sugar, potatoes, onions and some of the other supplies. He usually drops things off the next day by 4 in the afternoon when he makes his deliveries. We can carry the rest of the stuff home on our backs. You got any room in that knapsack of yours to fit a few bags of these beans in? Glad to see you carry your things that way, keeps your hands free for doing other things. Ever feel like a pack mule Benny? Well before we are done you will he haw with the best of them. Just don’t shit and pee where ever and when ever you feel like it. Old Snake Oil had a tattered brown knap sack and he fill it with the rest of the goods that we were to carry home. He sure fits a lot in that old bag.

Oh please, please, don’t turn me into a pack mule, prayed Benny. I got enough problems now with just this heavy knapsack. He must have given me all the heavy items to carry home on my back. “Hey cut out your complaining or I will turn you into a pack mule Benny. I could use one of those quicker than I could use you.

We’ll stop off at my place and then head up to old Fred Donald’s farm. There is a large patch of dandelions coming up and we need to pick a mess of the tender young leaves. Good for what ails a person after a long winter. I also will show you what burdock and fiddlehead ferns look like and we will pick a batch of both. Dandelions greens are delicious. Their flavor is vaguely like a cross between arugula and spinach. The greens are a bit bitter and become more bitter once the flowers come up. When they are young with small leaves and no flower stalk has formed pick them and eat them.

Here is how you can make a delicious dish.

Wash the greens. Soak them in a bowl of water; fish them out, repeat with clean water until you don’t find any dirt on the bottom of the bow.
Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large skillet. Old Snake Oil Johnson used lard.
Sauté the greens until soft as you like them. Put a lid on the pan and steam them if you like.
Once cooked salt the greens to taste.
Add garlic to taste. (There was lots of wild garlic and chives that grew around Snakes place, and we always used that.)

Now one can cook up a batch of older leaves as long as the leaves are pre-cooked for 5 minutes in boiling water. This should remove the bitterness. Since the leaves are out all summer you gotta do that for some fresh greens. I know that you know that the flowers can be used to make some real good wine. Your uncle use to make it every summer. Do you ever stop by to see him when you’re back in town? Really should as he always took a shine to you and I know for a fact wanted real bad to get your sweet ass in bed. Benny turned as red as red could be. Ah, don’t be shy about that. You like it; he likes it and so don’t I.

That evening Snake taught me how to make Dandelion Greens with cornmeal dumplings. For this delightful spring dinner, we took in his words, a mess of dandelion greens, 1 cup of chopped onion, some carrot grated and if you have mushrooms on hand do use them. The ones we used for this dish are yellow morels dried that Snake had found up around Fred’s Donald’s old apple orchard. Take your large cast iron skillet and put a bit of lard into it and then add the onion. Use medium heat and sauté until the onion is transparent. Add the carrot, this not only gives the dish some good color but flavor as well. A nice dash of Tabasco sauce. Simmer the mixture. While this batch is cooking stir together the pastry flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl stir the eggs milk and grated cheese. Set both bowls at ready on the side. Wash and chop the greens coarsely. Add to the skillet and cover with a lid. Turn the heat to low and cook just enough to wilt the greens. Mix the 2 bowls of dumpling mix together and mix just enough to combine. Drop the dumplings by the spoonful over the greens in the skillet. Cover with a lid and simmer on medium -low heat for 16-18 minutes. Serve. Now that was some good eating.

Snake would can a bunch of the greens so we could enjoy them even out of season. Some folks boiled the greens but we never did. Snake also used the dandelion flowers to make a nice tea. Up at the abandoned farm Snake also tended a very large patch of dandelions to harvest the roots for his coffee. It’s better if you want large roots to grown them as you would any vegetable, tend them, and nurture them. Just replant each year. You got to wait 2 years for the roots to get to be good coffee roots, so I got one good large patch here and one over there. One I gather one I re-plant. I do a lot of my gardening on the sly up here at old Fred’s place. Why not? Grounds real fertile, its close by my place and old Fred and I use to jack off together when we were boys. You know get out that study notebook that I had you buy in town. Start a page for our good friends the Dandelion or if your country like me called the Dandelion dent de lion, “lions tooth.” The leaves are jagged and pointed just like the teeth in a lion’s mouth. Now here is a bit of the old ways for you. The lion has long been a symbol of the sun and the flowers bright yellow of their color, the ray like florets resemble the sun and the flowers open and close with the sun. Folks also called the Dandelion piss in bed as it does a real clean job of opening up the urinary tract. A field of thousands of little suns all over the ground.

Here are some of the other things that the wonderful Dandelion will do besides fill your belly with goodness.

Prevents or cures liver diseases, such as hepatitis or jaundice.
• Acts as a tonic and gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, dissolve kidney stones, and otherwise improve gastro-intestinal health.
• Assist in weight reduction.
• Cleanses your skin and eliminates acne.
• It improves your bowel function, working equally well to relieve both constipation and diarrhea.
• Prevents or lowers high blood pressure.
• Prevents or cures anemia.
• It lowers your serum cholesterol by as much as half.
• Eliminates or drastically reduces acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods.
• Prevents or cures various forms of cancer, most notably prostate cancer.
• Prevents or controls diabetes mellitus.

So you see Benny folks like me that live way out here in the woods knows a lot about eating from the wild and using the herbs that grow all around. We have to. Old people way back knew about it and we carry on with the knowledge. I hope that you will stick around here and learn about the old ways. Don’t know if you want too. That’s ok, you are free to leave at any time and go about your business whatever that may be. Maybe we will get tired of each other and I will say, “Bye, bye, Benny, nice to have blown you but now its time to leave.” Benny didn’t know what to do really. Finally coming to the conclusion that he might as well hang out here for awhile even if his days would be occupied with do this, do that, learn this, learn that. There really was no where else for him to go.