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Cave In At Stick Mountain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Don’t out-dumb yourself now. — Bill Belichick

Submitted: October 16, 2019

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Submitted: October 16, 2019

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This event occurred because the city of East Northampton does not have curbside pickup of yard waste.  That motivated the previous owners of my new  home to create numerous piles of debris at the back of the property.  Tree and shrub branches, stumps, rusty fence posts, old potted plants, that sort of thing.  You can't get a mower over a pile of stuff, so after 63 years, the area was completely overgrown.
 
Being borderline OCD (on the border between serious and critical), I could not tolerate that very long after moving in.  I developed a two step plan.  Step one, combine all the individual piles into one giant pile.  Step two, figure out what to do when step one is complete.
 
Step one took ten days.  Ten long, arms and legs covered with scratches days.  The back of the lot looked great.  But the pile was huge, taller than the 12 foot ladder I leaned against it.  Almost as big as the house.
 
Another homeowner would have looked at the pile and thought, "That looks sketchy, I need to do something about it."  Not me.  I wasn't thinking of the dangers of thousands of pounds of tree branches aimed toward the sky, waiting for the next nor'easter to blow them over.  I was thinking, "I've got to write a story about this."  I had already named the pile Stick Mountain.
 
That evening, I was consuming alcoholic beverages at my neighbor's house, watching the Red Sox battle it out with the Yankees.  Ron and his brother Darryl were the first people I'd met after I moved.  I couldn't care less about baseball, but I never pass up an opportunity.  When I realized my new friends were rabid Red Sox fans, I decided to pretend to be a Yankees fan.  Why, after a lifetime in the deep South?  Why, when the only sport I pay attention to is golf?  Who knows, that's just how I roll.
 
I'm pretty good at being obnoxious, and alcohol makes me professional grade.  The Yankees were the better team that night and I did not pass up the opportunity to rub it in.  By the top of the ninth inning, my new favorite team had a four run lead.  When Luke Voit poked a fastball over the fence and pushed the lead to seven, I let out a yell, jumped up, and pounded my chest like Tarzan.
 
I'm certain neither Ron nor Darryl had any clue I wasn't actually a Yankees fan.  A fine acting job on my part, considering I hadn't watched baseball in years.
 
The next day, in the back yard admiring Stick Mountain, I was pondering an idea for a story.  I thought, "I need a picture of me, standing on top of the pile, to use as a cover photo.  And maybe that will give me the storyline I'm looking for."  Just then, Ron's back door opened.
 
I hailed my neighbor and explained that I needed him to be the cameraman.  I handed him my phone and ascended the pile.  He wasn't sure about the idea.
 
"Serge, I'm a little worried about you being on that pile.  I don't think it's a smart thing for an adult to do."
 
"Ron, you probably didn't think the Yankees were going to win by seven last night either, did you?"
 
 As the saying goes, "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."  Before Ron had a chance to rebut, karma stepped in and took care of it for him.  I heard a loud snap, felt the branches shift under my feet, then I slid down inside Stick Mountain.
 
I could feel ground under my feet.  Looking up, I saw sunlight pouring in the hole I'd just made.  I tried to move, but no deal.  I wasn't going anywhere on my own.
 
"Hey Serge, are you still alive?"  I heard Ron climbing the ladder, then his face appeared, blotting out the sunlight.
 
"I'm okay, probably bleeding from a few places.  Can you reach down to my hands?"  Sliding down between the branches left my arms pointed straight up.  I felt him grab my hands and pull.  Ron's a big guy and he was able to lift me a few inches.  But no more.  Too much weight from the branches pressing on me.
 
"Ron, you're probably going to have to call 911.  I think it will take the fire department to get me out.  Or, you could spend an hour moving branches and dig me out from the side.  What do you think?"
 
"I've got another idea.  Darryl runs a tree service, he's got a cherry picker in his driveway.  Let me give him a call."
 
I hear one side of a phone conversation, then Ron leaned back down into the hole. "Darryl will be here in five minutes."
 
It took a couple of hours for the five minutes to elapse.  I heard a truck pull up.  A generator kicked on.  I could feel the ground vibrate as the stabilizing legs contacted the ground.  I heard metallic squeaking as the picker's articulated arm moved over me.  Then, Darryl's voice.
 
"You know Serge, sometimes I can get through an entire Sunday without having to pull a Yankees fan out of a hole.  Not today apparently."
 
Two sets of hands reached into the hole and grabbed me by the wrists.  Darryl said, "This is probably gonna hurt" just before he let go with one hand, long enough to push the up button.
 
It hurt enough for me to let out a scream.  On the way up, branches tore off my shirt and ripped a gash in my leg.  One shoe was still somewhere in the hole.  But the light of day surrounded me.
 
I noticed Darryl didn't stop the cherry picker when my feet cleared the top of the pile.  He kept going until the machine's arm was fully extended.  I looked down.  The pile looked small and the ground seemed far away.  He spoke.
 
"Serge, before I set us down, I feel like I should ask you some questions.  I want you to think carefully before you answer."
 
When you are suspended sixty feet in the air, held up by the hands of two diehard Boston fans, a statement like that can only take you in one direction.  I knew this was retribution for my behavior the evening before.
 
"The first question is, who is the greatest baseball player of all time?"
 
"Uh, that would have to be third baseman Ted Williams, who happened to play for the Boston Red Sox."
 
"Correct answer.  Next question, who is the greatest basketball player of all time?"
 
"You know, most people would go with six time NBA champion Michael Jordan.  But I'm thinking the answer is Boston Celtic great Larry Bird."
 
"You're on a winning streak.  Now, who is the greatest..."
 
You get the idea.  We went through all the sports before Darryl pushed the down button and my feet touched ground.
 
My leg didn't want to stop bleeding.  Ron volunteered to take me to the urgent care center.  Turns out you go to the front of the line if you're dripping blood.  A procedure the doctor referred to as "debridement" cleaned the dirt out of the wound and caused severe pain.  At least the bleeding stopped after he wrapped my leg with gauze and tape.
 
Two hours after the cave in, Ron delivered me back to the house.  There were cars parked in the yard, people I didn't know were carrying equipment.  Behind the house, I saw a dump truck.  I watched as a front end loader dropped the last bit of Stick Mountain into the truck.
 
Darryl walked up.  "You see Serge, this is how we do things here in New England, we don't fool around like it's amateur hour."  He handed me a shoe.
 
The dump truck fired up and pulled past us.  A man leaned out the window and said, "We'll be back in an hour."
 
I told Darryl, "I can't tell you how much I appreciate this.  I'll be more than happy to pay everyone."
 
"Oh, you're going to pay.  Here's the bill."  He handed me a piece of paper. "Also, you're gonna be my grunt the next time I do treework at my house."
 
The paper contained a list:
 
Beer:  6 cases
 
Pizza:  8 large, 4 pepperoni, 4 Italian sausage.
 
It went on and named a variety of consumable items.
 
The next morning, I woke up wondering why I slept on the floor.  And why I was wearing a New England Patriots jersey.  Apparently I am now a Tom Brady fan.


© Copyright 2019 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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