Years ago when my feet picked up quickly and my legs seemed untouched by the aches and pains of old age, a girl moved into our neighborhood with a name that instantly made you laugh. You just couldn’t help it. Her name was Beatrice Snoobey. She was tall for her age with freckles and light brown hair. She was good looking for a tomboy. She wore her hair in a ponytail and had a way of speaking that caught people’s attention. We just couldn’t get our heads around Beatrice or Snoobey so the guys started calling her BS. At first it made her upset but after awhile she just settled into the idea. BS was very smart and would often prove it by quoting authors and statistics that left you brain dead from the details.
One day Digger got hit pretty hard while playing touch football with the guys. It knocked the wind out of him and he had a hard time coming up for air. He swallowed hard and breathed little for a minute or two. Finally when that racking, sucking sound came down to a shallow rasping, we knew he would be all right. BS looked at him and said: “You got hit in the diaphragm – that’s when a sudden force is applied to the abdomen – which creates a temporary pressure and you can’t take a full breath. It’s helpful to just lie there or put your arms above your head to increase the amount of oxygen. Most of the time it is not dangerous unless you have a heart condition.” We just stared at her and she added: “It is a good way to repel an attacker by giving blows to that area.”
So there she was, full of clever thoughts and although annoying at times, she was real useful at others.
There was a kid in the area that had a bike he had reinforced with metal so that the front tire was protected. It stuck out enough in a square shape, allowing him to bang into other bikes without hurting his own bike. Usually that meant trouble for the other biker and a great deal of amusement for Sturdy. We called him that as he had great stability due to the way he was built. Short, blocky and very little fat. He became quite proficient with his bike at knocking other people over when he chose to. His bike was nicknamed Crasher because of the noise it made when Sturdy hit bikers he was targeting. He had a mean streak in him and got enjoyment from tormenting people. We were out to get him and his bike. We, meaning a bunch of friends who got together to sound out ideas to get the job done. One day while discussing the punishment of Sturdy, BS said: Here’s what we should do.” Here is how she outlined it.
In our area there was a pond made from runoff water, which was starting to dry up during the summer. It was not more than twenty feet across and three feet deep. At certain times in the summer it was just a water hole about 10’ by 10’ and about three feet deep. BS figured that was just enough water to create a stink hole to trick Sturdy into. She had looked it over and had noticed there was a horse operation nearby. They dumped the manure in a pile a short distance from the barn and BS calculated that if we mixed enough of that manure into the pond it would be quite suitable for our purposes. It was decided we would gather up the fresh manure. But, how would we do it without getting caught?
BS arranged for some of us kids to tour the horse barn with the owner by feigning interest in his operation and especially wanting to tour the riding arena. Meanwhile, the rest of us would gather up the dung in wagons and wheelbarrows. Once the tour was inside the barn we went to work and took enough of the fresh manure to the pond, which was just a short distance away. We dumped the dung into the pond. One of our guys had borrowed his dad’s hip waders he used for fishing to walk through the pond and stir up the crap. BS said it was time to build a ramp so that our fastest biker, Curly, could go up the ramp and jump across the pond. The pond sat in a small hollow and the ground on the opposite side was mostly flat.
Curly practiced before we dumped the manure in while we kept watch, just in case Sturdy rode by. Soon he was coming down the grade at top speed, hitting the ramp, and jumping the pond with enough room to reach beyond the water. When BS was satisfied with the arrangements, she then instructed Curly to go out and taunt Sturdy into following him. She said in the meantime we would stretch a rope across the edge of the ramp long enough so that two guys could hide without being seen.
Curly found Sturdy harassing some kids on their bikes and called him dumb ass. He called Sturdy a chicken who could only peddle a bike like a girl. Curly didn’t leave it there and next called Sturdy a sissy who couldn’t even ride too well. That did it. Sturdy came riding after Curly and Curly took off heading toward the pond. Curly was fast but Sturdy was gaining on him. Sturdy was shouting obscenities at Curly, who concentrated only on getting to the ramp before Sturdy caught him. Down the hill they came with Curly blocking Sturdy’s view. Curly hit the ramp and sailed over. We weren’t sure if Sturdy would take the bait and sail right after him but he did. The reason we thought he would was because he had a big enough ego to think he was a better rider than Curly and he could do anything Curly could do. In the meantime, the kid with the hip waders had stirred up the pond as best he could and then hid out. Then came Sturdy, head down and hands fully gripped on the handlebars. He hit that ramp at top speed and just before he reached it the rope was pulled tight. It was too late and Sturdy and the Crash went flying into the manure pit. It was a pile up. First Sturdy and then the Bike. He just couldn’t help thrashing around as he tried to get control of his equilibrium. There was crap all over him and the hollering and the cussing was music to our ears. He came out of that dung heap limping and falling until we could hardly see through our tears of laughter. His bike was still in the pond but he was almost out until he thought of it and had to go back in and get it.
We gave him the raspberry then. Shouting things like: “You were always full of crap Sturdy; you should feel right at home in there. Your mom is going to have you take your clothes off outside. Better have her take a water hose first for you sure stink. Did you get a mouthful or is that brown spot a bruise?”
BS was beside herself. “Sturdy,” she yelled, “Horsecrap looks great on you! Brown is definitely your color.” That did it. He started after us but he was so wet and laden down with crap he couldn’t get up to speed. He had a limp from the fall and he fell to the ground slamming his fist and yelling: “You SOB’s will pay for this!” BS yelled back: “You’re full of crap!” We all busted our guts laughing and headed for home.
Sturdy took off for home and some of the guys followed to see what would happen. His mother was yelling at him and spraying him with a hose between bouts of laughter. His sister was shouting: “He stinks, Mom. Don’t let him in the house!” Sturdy was yelling at the top of his lungs: “That water is too cold! Shut it off!” His mother yelled back: “We have to get that crap off of you before you go into the house!” His mother yelled for his sister to get a blanket.
Between fits of laughter, his younger sister and brother held the blanket up so Sturdy could remove his clothes then use the blanket to wrap himself.
Meanwhile, Sturdy had become the sight of the year as the neighbors watched this manure dunking play out. When he came home, his hair was matted with dung and he looked like a drowned rat, not to mention what looked like a dark tan on his skin. His face was especially gut busting as two very angry eyes peered out from the new brown skin.
The last thing one of our guys heard was Sturdy yelling: “I’ll kill them!” His sister said: “Kill who?” In his quivering voice, Sturdy said: “Them rotten SOB’s!” to which his mother replied: “Watch your language or I’ll wash your mouth out with soap.” Then she, laughing hysterically, added: “I think I have some brown soap around here.” That did it for Sturdy. He lost it and screamed and hollered but Curly swore it sounded more like wailing and crying.
The best part was what happened the following day. There was a sign on the front fence that read: “Manure bath experience – ask for Sturdy.” We heard later that Sturdy’s dad and mom got to the bottom of it all and then took Sturdy’s bike away. His mom made him apologize to other parents whose kids’ bikes had been damaged from his actions. Oh yeah -- One of the kids said Sturdy stood red faced before his parents and although the words sounded right, his whole demeanor was one of silent defiance. We expect we will hear from Sturdy again?