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9 May, 2009

by The Wandering Wastrel


So there I was … a young man.

I had totally lost my way.

This meant that I was living in the “BAT CAVE” with the “LOST BOYS”.

The Bat cave was the name of the fire hazard loft living arrangement above a shady operation called Bat Demolition. The Lost Boys were tweaked out, rope smoking criminal druggies to a man; who lived in the cave and slept on stinking mattresses that lay about up there like mini turds in the bowl.
There was also a woman.
She was a skinny, brown and callous handed 45 year old psudeo mother to this crew of misfits and she bunked with us all in that festering cave at the top of the stairs.
She was trying to have a baby – no strings attached – any one who wanted to mount her and shoot her full of life creating goo was welcome. I don’t think this was ever successful; as the combination of her hard life, her advancing age and the amount of drugs being done by the studs all amounted to a firing blanks into barren soil.

I allmost got up the courage to plant a seed myself – but the room never seemed dark enough nor the drugs I was on strong enough to enable me to climb onto that double bed in the corner and deliver the goods.

In the mornings she would get up first and make porridge in a big black pot and then bang the ladle on the side to wake us for breakfast.
It was nourishing enough as she threw in a few handfuls of peanuts and raisins and after downing a few cups of strong instant coffee and eating the bottom of a cut off plastic drink bottle of this goop the Lost Boys and I climbed into or onto the various trucks and headed off to the job site.

I was on the way to the site in the cab of a long flatbed truck. The drivers name was Dave the Cranker and he, with his constant twitching and black wrap-around shades was the poster boy of paranoia. We were stopped at the lights and I noticed him sunk low in the seat and looking in the side mirror at a police car behind us. To me, and from the corner of his mouth he whispered ” If that pig gets out of his car I’m bolting and your gunna have to drive the truck… cause Im wanted.”
I just stared at him blankly.
The light went green and we rolled on.

I was assigned to pull nails out of the wood the other guys were removing from walls and ceiling of the dilapidated house.
I was partnered up with the woman from the Bat Cave who was the lead nail puller and in between her whining about not being pregnant yet, she would see ghosts coming out of the house and describe them to me. One of them I found particularly disturbing; an apparition of a middle aged man in a grey suit. He was just standing in the corner of the yard staring at the house being taken down. She told me he was an old music teacher who drank himself to death.

All the hash that I was smoking in the shed with the other workers every time we took a break was not helping to shield me from the ghosts evil gaze at my back and so I took off into the undemolished lower part of the house to search for treasure.

I wound up working in demolition for a few years and hidden treasure in the walls and floor boards is not a myth.
Ever worker has a tale or six .One I recall tells about how a guy was supposed to break a wall down but was too lazy and was avoiding the work. The boss then had taken it upon himself to sledge the wall in, and out from the first hole made tumbled a fat gangsta roll of sweet hundys* in a plastic baggie.

I found treasure myself once when tearing a wall off. It was 260 dusty dollars in a brown paper envelope. Obviously some builders pay check from the late 70s when the wall was built.
The guy must have put it on the ledge and then walled over it. I made it disappear into my pocket ( all treasure is supposed to go to the boss) and thought it quite fortuitous that an ounce of marijuana was 250 $. Leaving me a tenner, enough to get snacks with which to stave off the imminent munchies which would proceed such a purchase.

Anyway… the purpose of the above paragraph was to engage your interest in the subject of pirate style treasure hunting as you follow me into the musty old house.

I searched out a few loose floorboards before turning my attention to the chimney. Taking my pry bar I levered out the boards around its base. A hollowed eyed feline face stared up at me and shocked me back a step.

I pulled more boards away and liberated the remains of a cat.

Somehow this cat in decades past had crawled under the fireplace to die and once dead the radiant heat of the fireplace being lit each night for half the year for who knows how many years, had completely mummified the poor creature.
Its fur was long gone and it had a smooth and hard yellow leathery skin the texture and hardness of a dog chew leather thing. It was curled into a letter “C” position, but its head was twisted upwards; every whisker intact and splayed, its mouth and fangs wide and yowling and all claws out and hooky.
Most amazing of all was the dried leather collar from which a silver disc hung. Inscribed on the disc and causing tears to spill from my bloodshot eyes was the word … “PEACHES”.

I was saddened that my treasure hunt had revealed nothing but a mummified feline; yet I was gladdened by the fact that my hunts treasure was found to exceed by an astonishing difference the wildest expectations of the most imaginative.

Two huge Maori guys came into the room as I was secretly replacing the boards and handed me a small foil package saying ” Sorry bro, that’s all we could get.”
Wide eyed and vigilant for the opportunity to bare my breast to the cannon ball of chemical induced insanity, I had given them money to procure me a small dose of crystals no larger than 1/20th of a grain of sand. With which to drive myself mad with for some hours.
They had my 70 dollars – I was being ripped off- I diddnt care.

I took the drug and called my friend to come and pick me up before I turned into a pumpkin. We drove to a friends house and had him eat a crystal – piled him in to the car and drove around some more. Most of that night is a monumental technicolor blur but I do remember standing in a gas station hunched over a freezer taking about half an hour to choose an ice cream while the attendants pissed themselves with laughter at my furtive glancing and my continual opening and shutting of the door. And I remember lying on a field feeling like I was stuck to some gigantic green ceiling looking down and out at the heavens which were in perfect three dimensions. I could tell which stars were close and which were far… I could reach out and touch them if not for the fact that releasing my terrified grip on the grass would send me tumbling off the bottom of the planet and out into cold lonley space.

Time splattered by like honey fired from a cannon and the next after noon I found that smoking marijuana brought this terrifying drugs effects back with a horrible whoosh.

I was in the Van Damme mobile being driven by a young man who was equally driven. The car was a small and old Mazda 232 two door hatch back called the Van Damme Mobile for the martial arts prowesses of the driver and the words JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME emblazoned across the trunk in four inch letters of black magic marker .
A typical means of transport for the dispossessed. It could get you to the party on two dollars gas and get you to the gas station on white light if by using your magic powers you could focus enough of it into the engine. The pilot of the car drove it with the precision of a short range high Powered Star Fighter. Storms, wind, headlights turned off – it did not matter. It was always piled high with garbage and scurvy lunatics. We lived out of the thing. It was our pirate ship- we plundered gas stations and partys were our pirate coves. There was not much rum but there were plenty of wenches and shouting.
The captain was sailing us to a pirate cove at this moment far to the South East.
We had to stop and get something though.

I had them stop at the demolition site. Went ashore and dug up my treasure. Wrapping it in a long purple curtain I secured it in a large plastic paint pail.
I put it into the hold of the ship telling everyone that it was not to be opened until we reached our destination.

Through mountains and forests we sailed and on dark we arrived at the party in the bush. It was full – drunken and pumping and I staggered in swaying sea dog style. I soon met a young wench who handcuffed herself to me. Had I been in a less bewildered state I may have been able to take advantage of the situation and have gotten down to some serious wenching- yet as the Egyptian errand boy and courier of Peaches to its final resting place I had responsibilities.

I got the coffin out of the car and leading a group of interested partygoers who begged me to tell them what was in the pail as I headed through the bush to the river. Someone had a flashlight and this prevented the coffin from being too seriously bashed against the trees as we blazed a trail to the river – where Peaches would be interred with enough ceremony to appease the gods.

We were nearing the river when I tripped, dragging the handcuffed wench down into a ditch with me. The coffin spilled open and the wrapped Package tumbled out. The wench got up and in stepping backwards stood on Peaches with the sickening crack of a mummified cat busting asunder. I was shocked at the violation of the sacred relic and gently opened the shroud. The scene was illuminated by the torch bearer and it showed my beloved Peaches in many pieces. The head was still good though and staring up at us accusingly with its dark empty sockets, mouth and fangs wide and yowling in protest.

That’s when the screaming started.
I tried to grab the silver medallion to show everyone that it was a good happy cat once and would not curse us with its wicked Egyptian magic. By reaching for peaches with the handcuffed hand I dragged the handcuffed girl close to the broken feline body and I only succeeded in grabbing a small handful of dried Peaches. Her frenzied and desperate attempts to get away caused the handful to catapult out of my hand and hit her in the face letting lose a small cloud of yucky tasting yellow power from the main pieces of the dried Peaches. The main “bones” I guess you could call them somehow tangled in her hair and we both went down in a shaking shrieking mess. She managed to find the key, unlock herself and flee to safety. But not before I was stood on and kicked in the left nut.
I made a mental note to have the Pharaoh execute her later on.

People left me there in the woods.

I lay there for a bit and when I could crawl I picked up the Peaches, wrapped it in the shroud and staggered to the banks of the Nile.
I commenced the ceremony to the gentle protective goddess Bastet. To ferry sweet Peaches to the other side of the Styx and to soothe my aching balls.

When I had finished with the sacred prayers and chants I flung the shroud into the waters and watched it drift off into the darkness.

My work was done.

* Hundys – Hundred dollar bills.

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