Harry Loves Benny. OUT in the Woods. Part 4

It was one of those nights just laying there, eyes closed but awake, not wide awake but asking, am I awake or sleeping. You don’ t really know so you say “open your eyes, then you will see.” Saw all dark but the dark is different from the eyes closed dark. Awake you are Benny, tossing around around in my mind, Why hasn’t Harry and I made love yet. Its been two days and usually by now with other guys we are well on our way around the world. Not even a mention but then I don’t approach him as it just doesn’t seem right to do that. He seems like he is up there and I am down here. Waiting for him to come on down, go down and love it all the way. He must be waiting for something, for the right time maybe.

Old Starerst began to bark. He wouldn’t stop. “Oh well I’m awake, might as well go out and see what all the commotion is about.” Benny put on his pants and shirt and climbed down from the loft and headed towards the door. An arm shot out in the darkness and Harry said, “Don’t dare go out there.” Benny’s heart started pounding a mile a minute and he nearly passed out on the floor. Damn Harry you scared me. Well its better to be scared than a dead duck, eaten by some roaming spirit. You know Benny when Starerst speaks I understand, when he howls I can sing along as I know every word to those songs, when he barks he alerts me that a passing animal is in the yard or that a human is approaching, or saying come out here you old coot and feed me I am hungry and don’t work for free, when he growls I know ever word he tells me, beware old man something has come in from the great beyond, I’m letting you know then I am getting my ass out of here and hide in my dog house. The great beyond is your problem to solve Harry Johnson.

As I said I know what he is talking about. You don’t. He is telling me now that a Skunk is roaming through the yard on her way to the stream. Now what if you had gone out there, I would have a smelly guy hanging around this house. Wouldn’t worry about your clothes we would just strip you naked and bury your clothing in the woods somewhere. But do I want to heat up a bunch of water in the middle of the night to wash away your new odor? I don’t even like your old one. Not me. If  that old skunk gave you a spraying the spray can permeate your skin and a strong, repulsive odor can linger. Now this is not the eau de parfum of the comics but a strong smell that penetrates ones nose and all the world around. Can wake you up from a deep sleep. Now you know it is recommended that if you get spayed by a skunk that you first get out of your clothes and wash them. Well we aren’t going to bother with that step as it’s not washing day and who wants to do that when we all should be sleeping and would be except some guy around here got the notion to go out after dark. So we would have to draw enough water from the spring , start a fire, set the bucket of water on the fire pit to get hot and in the tub you would go. Washing yourself off with some good lye soap. In the meantime I would have to use 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 1 tsp. of liquid detergent and 1/4 cup of baking soda and mix it well. I would put this mixture in a spray bottle, heavens I think I got one in the pantry and spray it all over your body. You might turn blond or burn and hiss and bubble a bit but that isn’t as bad as what I would want to do with your ass. See that board over there, makes a good paddle. Then you got to get some fresh bath water and take another bath. By then it would probably be morning and you know I would be as mad as an old hen for being deprived of my sleep. No telling what type of mess the great beyond would try to get us into being so stupid to take a bath out there in the middle of the night. Let me tell you the great beyond is going to start messing with you soon as you are getting more and more of my smell on you. So the lesson here is if you hear old Starerst barking or making any kind of racket don’t go outside to see what is up. Someday you may learn the language of the dog but I doubt it, your as thick-headed as they come and then some. What in all the world possessed me to pick you up in the park that day? You gotta learn to think, to ask, to listen before you jump into your Jesus saving mode. You aint no Jesus and you can’t save anybody. Now get back up to bed, it will be morning soon and I got a full day planned.

Benny returned to his loft bed. Tears welled up in his eyes. Sure was put down for trying to do what I thought could be the right thing. What the hell am I doing here? There is just too much to worry about. Something behind every bush and in every rock. The trees not only sway to the breeze but talk. The dog and the birds warn Old Harry what is the danger lurking. Too much looking over my shoulder all the time. Be careful here, be careful there. Don’t go out after dark. Well I like the dark, I like to sit outside in the dark. I like to watch the dark move. I like to feel dark all around me and in me. But here there is something lurking in the dark. Something out to get you, always something out there bigger than you that is waiting to pounce and do your harm. Some may want to eat you and some just to smell you up. Damn I gotta pee. Piss in the jar and throw it a way in the morning. I will have to ask Harry where I should shit if I have to in the middle of the night when I can’t go out in the dark as something may get me. Maybe it would be better if something did get me at least then I would not have to think about where I wanted to be. I would be food for some thing that hangs out in the dark. I’d sure know then where I was.

Harry was very quiet the next morning. Hardly spoke two words as he rummaged around in the back room. Got to fix the fence around the garden up at Fred Donald’s farm. Raccoons have been trying to get in. They smell the growing things and want to eat. Can’t have that or we won’t have any food. One thing I don’t like is when animals try to take what isn’t theirs or if they come in the house. I know life isn’t easy but out here in the woods its better than rummaging through garbage cans to eat some little secretary’s left over lunch like their city cousins have to do. I got a bag of coyote hair and some strong piss to sprinkle around. Got the deer taken care of. Well, you’ll see how I did that with the two fences. They get all confused and don’t know where to jump and land. Some dried blood that I got at Selden’s should scare away some of the critters. We got to dig the fence down further into the ground around the north side of the garden. What we got to do today is repair the fencing and build an underground fence. Got all the other sides done but the north. We will dig a trench around the area and then place the chicken wire flat along the bottom of the trench and then up the side of the garden fencing. This will create an L-shaped piece of fence under the ground to deter any critters digging. Lot’s of work but I don’t want no hungry bastards taking the food out of my mouth when they got all the woods and then beyond. Keep it up they just might end up on the dinner table and their hides made into a nice fur cap to keep my head warm. Or you know one of those nice fur cups to snuggle my dick and balls in when it gets winter cold around here. “Ever wear one of those things Benny?” I’ll measure you up for one once we get a nice furry hide. Can you feel it Benny? A nice furry cup keeping your dick and balls warm as you go about learning the slippery slopes of being a mountain man.

You coming with me or are you going to stay around here and mope all day? I wanted to tell him right then I’m out of here. I can’t really hang around this neck of the woods anymore but no not yet. There was somethings that I had to learn. Something that I would need later in life to offer me protection from all that was slung at me that I didn’t want slung in my direction. A shield to keep the splattering shit off of me as splattering shit smelled just as bad as skunk.

A cute little raccoon lovely to look at but mean as heck and will destroy your corn and potatoes.

Those raccoons are cute as can be, funny too when they play but they shit all over the place. God should have given them diapers to wear. We going to try a few times to keep them out and if they still give us trouble I will have to trap them, kill them and make a coon skin cap like of Davey Crockett wore. Yup Old Harry born in the mountain tops of Goon City, bravest man this side of Massachusetts, kilt him a bar when he was 43, never liked the smell so never messed with one again. Nope I’m no Davy Crockett, but a coon skin cap would keep my head warm in the winter. Maybe I will just have to send Starerst up to the garden for nightly duty. He likes to go and visit the wild. Can scare off most of anything. Starerst must have heard him as he began to bark excitedly. All of a sudden Benny heard, “I want to go, I want to go. Woof Woof, I’ll scare away all the wild things and those that don’t get scared will scare me and I will hide in the dog house and hope it’s not a bear that comes in and gets me.” Funny thought Benny I think I just heard that dog talk.

“You know Benny us folks out here in the woods live differently than folks in the city. We don’t have a health food store on the corner, a grocery store next door or even a dumpster to dive in for our daily meal. Nope we got to make do. I go into town every 5 weeks get things that I need and then high-tail it out. Sure I got philosophy but it is based on what my needs are not on what my abundance is or what I would like my abundance to be. Some of these young people are full of abundance they can pick and choose the lifestyle that appeals to them and then think everyone else is wrong or stupid because they don’t subscribe to the same way of living. I don’t know if they are a healthier lot as they all look so skinny. That’s okay as they are learning and maybe in for making a better world. I doubt it. Not enough of them. Their little changes amount to a drip of piss in the lake. That lifestyle politicks is a very interesting thing. I got it in the way I live and I know full well that I am not changing anything or even that I am out to change something. I could give a fuck less if anyone likes what I do or not. I don’t have a movement for anyone to join and wouldn’t want to be a leader if you paid me double. I am not that type of person. Leaders are a strange lot. I have always believed that followers are a stupid lot, so followers and leaders make for trouble. Jumping on a bandwagon is not very cool in my book. But then again I don’t have a book on that subject. Nope I don’t act from being book read. Nothing great ever comes of that.

With no refrigerator I can’t be like Mrs. Jones and buy up a lot of things that need cold storage. Now winter time is different. I hang anything that needs to be frozen in the large bucket up in the tree. As long as it stays cold out it’s no problem. So all of us out here don’t have a choice. We got to find out how to do things without the modern conveniences that the towns folks have. Now I’m not complaining I live like this because I want to, see I don’t really care all that much for people and what people do. Guess I do need some of them some of the time. Take Sid, he brings out the things that I can’t carry on my back home, and Agnes at the bank she cashes my 2 checks every month, and that Kloo fellow, he wants to blow me I know that. Never had the inkling to bother much with him as I like them young about your age. So yeah we do things differently out here. Suppose if I drove a car I would be in and out-of-town more often. Might even go in once a week for groceries. But that isn’t me. Would just bring on more bills and more participating in a system run by and for people who I don’t like.

A system that now is making war thousands of miles away. Never met any of those folks over there that the president and congress is saying are such bad people and we should kill. The other day I heard some big guy talking and he was saying we have to kill for peace. Now that is crazy. Folks like that are really messed up and far too crazy for me. Jim Barber’s son didn’t sign up for the draft he just didn’t want to. Well one day he was up in Hartford and went into one of the fancy hotels. One of the reception rooms had a nice buffet table and a bar on the side. No one had come around to clean up as of yet. So Joe’s kid went over to the bar put a few bottles in his overcoat and high tailed it out of there. He went off on a nice drunk. So he gets the notion that he wanted to go somewhere, anywhere would do, he didn’t care if it were Denver or Timbuktu. That kid took the hotel limo to the airport, went walking out to the plane, told the stewardess that his ticket had blown away as it was a very windy day. Now all was well on the plane until he asked the stewardess, “Where is this plane going?” Poor kid was caught red-handed. Copping a free ride to somewhere was against the rules and regulations of the airline. He was told, Please stay seated after the plane has landed. Now you know this was in the days before there were so many restrictions in place.

To make a long story short the FBI was waiting in Boston for him, within the afternoon they found out that he hadn’t signed up to kill folks in the war and he was taken away and sent to basic training. He proved that they were the fools to even let him near the military when he stayed as drunk and as stoned out as he could. One night on a real bender he got in the garbage truck and drove it right through the Officers Hooch. Screaming about the real enemy he was stuck in jail and them deported from the war and sent back home. He is crazy they said. Yeah he said crazy as a fox. What a strange thing to happen to someone who only wanted to be an artist not a fucking killer. Why would anyone want to kill? That’s all they do in the military is kill. Well Snake maybe some kids go in because there is nothing else for them. The system is so stacked against them they see the only way out of what they have now is to go into the military. Yeah well they are fucked up. Because they’re miserable and can’t cope with the system stacked against them they’re then willing to go drop bombs and shoot up someone far away because they can’t get what they want. Sorry Mrs. I killed all of your kids because where I come from its all fucked up.What dears would you call that? A big fucking excuse no matter how one slices it. Man, go to jail, go to Canada, pretend you’re a homo, show them your flat feet, shoot up the system, do anything to get out of it all. Why fight for them? The rich and those who are in control will not fight for you.  You may get nothing more than only one leg, one arm or a flag draped coffin. Keep out of their way.

I really hate the ones who sit in their arm chairs and wave the flag of the U.S. Those that say maybe the war is wrong but we will support our boys in uniform. What a twisted philosophy them folks have. The war is there because those boys are making it possible. Sure the politician send them but we already know they are fucked up scum bags. I like the slogan, War Will End When Folks Refuse To Fight! Shoot the generals, now that would truly be revolutionary. Nope I don’t support any part of war. Not the big guys, not the military folks, not the gun makers, bombers, not those who are forced to fight, nope none of it. Say no to all war I say. Say no to those who make it possible. Say no to selfish brats who think they got it so bad that they become soldiers and make it thousands of times, far more horrible for, those who just want to live their lives. Nope they’re not my little soldier boys. Americans are really messed up people. Got so many excuses for things and if they don’t have one they make one up. Comes from “having it allness” that’s what I call it. So if they think they are not supposed to have it they make up an excuse why they do. Funny lot they are, a very funny lot.

I know some people would be turned off about killing animals for food. Well that’s them and then there is us. I don’t mind it at all. I eat meat and I like meat. Now I would never kill an animal just to kill one, unless of course it is bothering what I have. Like that fucking raccoon trying to get in the garden to eat what I got planted so far. I’ll give that creature a good 1, 2, but the 3rd time its out of here off to meet its maker. Now I could move it but then I’ll bet you a dime it would find its way back here or just become a burden to another brother and his folks out in the woods. So I do everything I can so I don’t have to disperse it to its glory, way up in Raccoon heaven, except trudging 20 miles carrying the thing in a cage.

Ever eat a possum? Old Ev and Betty Wright were big possum eaters. Once years ago when they lived up on Daley Road I got invited to their house for Sunday dinner. Well they had a possum out on the platter. Head and tail was still on the creature right there on the big flowered platter surround by baked apples. So I said to Ev how did you make this possum. Not too hard. Go out in the woods and get yourself one. You got to trap it in a live in cage. Now the possum eats all sorts of dead things out in the wild. They are lazy and not very good hunters. So you got one in the live in cage and you feed it some table scraps, corn or anything else that is nice and will help remove the carrion from their systems. Then after 10 days you can get someone over to kill the critter, never had a problem so call me. Well once the deed is done you plunge the animal into some very hot water, but not boiling for about 2 minutes. Pull out or scrape off the hair without damaging the skin. slit belly from throat to hind legs. Remove entrails, feet, eyes and brains. Do not remove the head or tail. Wash thoroughly. If possible freeze for 3 to 4 days. When ready to cook, wipe with a cold, damp cloth; sprinkle with salt and pepper and put your dinner in a roasting pan. To the pan add 1 cup of water and the juice of one lemon. Bake in hot oven (400) for 15 minutes, turning once. Cover; reduce heat. bake in moderate oven (355 F) for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Nope not for me that leaving the head and tail on. I don’t want any remembrance of the dirty deed. That poor possum in a cage hissing at me being all mean wanting to be free, and then whack!! its dead. Better hope that it isn’t playing possum and when you turn your back it jumps up and runs away. They do that you know. Nope I don’t want no head on a platter as I am not Salome. Can’t for the life of me dance. Chop that head off and there will be no telling what type of meat it is. Tastes like pork to some, so maybe its Porky the pig. Grandma Johnson used to make Possum Stew. Canned it and sent down some cans for my winter enjoyment. It was good and tasty.

I generally get me a possum in the winter. Most folks belive that they only come out at night, well in winter they come roaming around in the day. It’s a lot warmer for them then. Never hibernate like other animals. If I got one in the summer I couldn’t freeze it up for the 3 or 4 days. Now I never asked Ev why one needed to freeze the meat. I really like to have some sweet potatoes with the possum. Tastes real good. Here is a little something that everyone should have up on their shelves for when the cold weather sets in and you want a little something different on your table.

Benny thought that they would never get up to Fred Donalds place. Pulling the wagon loaded with supplies was no treat. Yes just like Harry said, a real mule am I am I. There he was walking right along like nothing, not even pretending to be concerned about me doing all the work. “Hey,” Harry,” at least you can do is give the wagon a push.” No problem, and the wagon sailed behind me like someone was helping doing the job of getting the wagon up the hill. Why that old man is using his mind to move this wagon along. Good enough. I wonder if I stopped what would happen. Harry was a full good 50 yards ahead of me so I let go of the harness. Low and behold the wagon kept moving. Benny took the harness off and jumped on top of the loaded wagon. I’ll beat the old pecker at his game. Harry began to slow down a bit but still kept up a good pace. Along Benny rode up the hill and on the straight way almost there. Benny thought he had better jump down off the wagon before Harry caught him and the wagon stopped abruptly. He fell off rather than got off. Harry turned back and laughed his very hardy laugh. You fooled me long enough you little brat. One for you maybe at good B if we gave out grades. Out smarting the guide is a wonderful thing for you to do. Shows you are growing. Now if I had turned around quicker you wouldn’t have gotten this far and I might have just sailed you through the air. It’s good to see you are learning and can pull a fast one on this old donger when you want to.
Enough games let’s get to work. We got to dig all around the fence, just as I expected its a racoon trying to get in. Hey Benny take a look here this is racoon shit. Ever see it before? It’s a real mess if you get it in your house or barn. Them coons sure like to shit up a storm. Well we will fool them. I’m gonna add some spikes to the top of the fence all around so it will make it more difficult for them to climb over. I got some metal things to go bang when the wind blows. Don’t know something must be happening as I never was troubled with coons before. Did you bring them with you? Maybe you had a few in your bag and let them loose just to trouble an old man in his declining years. Keep the old fool on his toes as I love me some good home-grown corn on the cob and know the raccoon does too. I also can me a mess of corn for some good eating over the winter months. Now I got your mouth to feed I don’t have any to spare for any raccoons to bother with. So if you brought them here, get rid of them.

We dug for what seemed like hours. Gotta make it deep as some critters can dig and dig to get in if they sense something they want to eat. Well that is where we come in. We got to get rid of that sense they got. The large roll of wire that we used was up in Fred Donalds barn. Will work good enough and besides I wouldn’t want to have to carry a roll of wire like this back here from Goon City. You know if I had the money to match my good looks I would buy this place and move up here. Fred’s been gone now for 5 years and his sister Lucy who lives down the road don’t want to do anything with the property. She says, use it all you want Harry. You and Fred were the best of buddies and I am sure he is smiling down from heaven to see you working the land. I should ask her someday if I can move in here. Its got modern conveniences like electricity, running water, a bathroom, heated by wood but that’s ok I can hand saw cords of wood faster than many a man. You see those two trees over there? Their marked for cutting into fire wood. You’ll be up here in a couple of months cutting them down sawing up the branches for the coming winter. Now some folks want to cry and wail over cutting down a tree but they should have been here when the old maple was dieing off. Then is the time to cry and carry on, to call on the spirits to protect it and make it well. Not after it is dead and now will be used for fire wood to keep my old ass warm in the winter. All I got to use so I suppose its okay. One thing we have to do is respect the land, the trees, the streams. I can thank the great tree spirit for allowing the tree to die so I could get some wood close to home. Now that might be something to be interested in. Afraid sometime if you don’t take those types of steps them the tree may just fall over and land on top of you. I got lots of trees around this place. I would never go cut down 100 trees to build a big house and put in a green lawn and have it all nice and proper. A matter of degree cutting down trees. It’s a matter of just like when you kick the bucket, in the ground you go food for worms or so they say. Don’t know how the worms would get in as they put you in a coffin, cement you in and cover it up. Can’t go back to the earth that way. Sort of unnatural don’t you think?

But I don’t know with modern conveniences comes bills. They would want money for electricity. I wonder how much it is a month? At least if I had that I would have a refrigerator and a real stove. Hey I could even have a T.V and then the war could be in my house. What fun and games. Drop that napalm boys. Bubble the skin off those gooks. Bombs away! I don’t support what the rich man and his toads are doing over there, I don’t support anything about it. So I wouldn’t even want it in my house. But then along with all those modern things would come softness. The more you get involved with the outside world the softer you get. I would then expect a ride into town as I would live near a road. Could walk down the road and maybe a car would come along and the driver would say, “Why that’s old Harry Johnson, wonder if he wants a lift?” Then I would have to be all polite and say howdy do, sure is mighty nice of you to give me a lift into town. Want to give me a ride home too? So instead of getting some good walking in I would be sitting on my ass riding along missing all the wonderful little things that come along with walking. Walking here and walking there is a great joy for me. Ever see a thousand ants carrying a dead beetle home to their hole in the ground while riding in a car? Ever see the honey bees buzzing around the flower for some sweet nectar while riding in a car. The smell of clean air is far more refreshing than the smell of exhaust. You get what I mean? So nah for now I had better stay put in my neck of the woods. Of course Benny if you wanted to live up there I could ask Lucy for you. Then you could pay all the bills and I could come up and use your bathroom and refrigerator and whatever else you got to make living easier for an old man like me. If I get too old I could come up and stay for a good spell and you could wait on me hand and foot. Now that would be a pleasant ending for an old man like me. But you know as well as I do for a man like me there will never be an ending.

“Gee Harry you sure got some plans but I don’t know if I want to be a part of them.”


Disclaimer: We are not advocating the killing of any animals for fur, tails, to eat or for sport. When this story was in the making, many years ago as a matter of fact, this is just the way it was for Harry Johnson and Benny way out in the woods of Goon City. In fact it was the way it was for many people.