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Monday, June 13, 2005

The Great Camp Wiregrass Chase

It wasn't very long being back in Alabama until a whole new incident occurred. The summer has broken like a rash that can't be scratched, and what better place to attempt to soothe one's restlessness, than Camp Wiregrass. The Saturday night before camp was to begin, many churches from North Alabama come to this small camp in the middle of nowhere in South Alabama. This camp was the same summer focal point of my growing up. I knew it well. Had many stories from there and knew many people. My sister and I decided to drop by and visit these early arrivals via our style. As most camps go there are legends of a particularly creepy kind that are meant to cause great fear amongst the campers and great amusement for the counselors. One such legend at Camp Wiregrass goes that years and years ago a lone man dressed all in white would appear at night out of the crickets' haunting melodies, and the kudzu wrapped darkness, and would haunt the camp, sometimes screaming, and other times, even creepier just staring, until bounding into the woods and disappearing back into the darkness from which it came. As a young boy, I had my fair share of being scared by such a story. I remember in 4th grade not being able to sleep, a counselor standing over my bed, reassuring me that this Man-In-White, as we call him, does not exist, so that I could finally shut my eyes and rest.
Well, the agonizing impressions of this in my youth, caused me to convert these impressions into fun when I got older. 3 times since i have posed as the Man-In-White. The first time really scaring someone far more than I had hoped to. The 2nd time was a good scare and got some of it on video tape. The 3rd time was a complete and utter failure, I scared no one. In fact a group of skinny high school girls charged me and tried to rip off my white costume so that my identity could be revealed. So this night was going to be my 4th time around, I hoped it would be better than the last time. This proved to be a hopeless wish.
My sister and I assembled a group, of those who would like to join and spectate this event. There were 4 others. Kaki, Mary Kate, and Lauren, and then Gantt. So we 5, 2 guys and 3 girls, arrived about 11 o'clock, Saturday night. Everyone within the camp was settling down for the night. I remember the way we parked and thinking that we should point the car towards the exit of the camp, for we might be in such a hurry and not have enough time to turn around, but I said nothing ignoring this idea. In a pair of white silk long-john pants and a white longsleeve T-shirt with a white towel around my head, I began to do my work. But no one seemed scared. I was begining to think how lame all this was. When I tried one last thing, I walked into one of the buses there beside one of the cabins and began to honk the horn. It wasn't long before a bright spot light beamed on and at that instant I knew intuitively who it was.
It was none other than this hot-headed youth minister from Florence, AL who, if he got me would tear me to shreds with his reprimands. This was the same firebrand that years ago, had overtaken a group of my visiting friends as they were departing one night, and claimed that one of them had yelled something about one of his wife's breasts. He yelled in everyone's face like a lunatic unchained. Henceforth, he was dubbed "Captain Titi" and was the butt of many a humorous storytelling time.
Well, you see, I couldn't let this mad dog get me. So, I took off sprinting across the field. How I knew it was he, I cannot recollect. But I was pretty sure that was his bus that I had been honking the horn in. As I ran as fast as my legs could take me, the spotlight was dead on me, and I could hear this harsh yelling behind me. As the light beamed on me. I laughed a real maniacal laugh as loud as I could. I know that this chase was going to be close. My friends' encounter with the captain, told of how they watched him run at them and how they never saw a human being move so fast. But some people have said that about me, and I knew that this was going to be a good match. As I rose over the hill and then back down the other side, the spotlight lost me. I expected to get to the car and the crew to already be there waiting to speed out of there barely escaping the fury of the captain. But what confusion I received when I got to the car and no one was there. The crew had been sitting, watching, hidden in the dark field about halfway from the point that I began running from. How did they not see the situation and make their way towards the car is beyond me and how I covered over twice as much ground as they did in those few minutes is also a curiosity to me. I waited what seemed to be minutes for them but was really only a few seconds, searching for the keys to the car, to go ahead and crank her up and point her towards the exit. But they were in the pocket of the driver. "Curses", I thought, "this doesn't look good." Just then the spotlight broke over the hill and shined down to where I was at. That means that the captain had reached the top of the hill. Within the bright beams of the spotlight I could see the darkened silhouttes of clumsy figures making their way as fast as they could. It was my group and I knew that it was a no-win situation we were dealing with. The captain was hot on their heels and we finally all got in and cranked the car up you could hear his closeness, and see that the spotlight was so near. In a whirl of dust, the car zoomed forward as the enraged figure shone his light thru the window while yelling something incomprehensible. We left him in that whirl and then noticed that we were turned around and heading deeper into the camp and past all the cabins. We passed by them and circled around heading for the only exit again on the only road at camp and then noticed the horrible situation we were in. The captain had moved his chess piece precisely where he was sure to win the game. He had moved his bus directly in front of the exit, blocking even the smallest car from entering or exiting. We were trapped like mice, and this furious feline was chasing us around, licking his lips, waiting to pounce.
For some reason, the captain pursued us on foot, knowing that there was no way out. So we got around to the blocked exit again and we could not wait long until we would see that spotlight bouncing over the field, the captain charging over to stop us. We again left him in a whirl of dust and got around behind the mess hall. I asked the driver if she needed me to take over for I don't mean to be sexist, but I know how panicky girls get when they're behind a wheel under real pressure. So, I got in the driver's seat, feeling very much in control, and took off around the bend only to be met by the captain waiting there. This time I weaved around some of the grass, turning sharp corners, he kept running out towards me and then I was off again. I made it back to the field behind the mess hall on the other side of the camp and there drove, skidding over the terraces in the field, seeing if there was perhaps another road to get out of there. But all I could find were rows and rows of trees blocking any escape. We then began to see the predicament that we were in. Around and around the camp we went. Everytime the captain caught up with us in his mad delirium I would take off again. It became a game. We were doing it just to spite him. Just to see how many times he could run back and forth across the field in pursuit. Then the thought occurred that maybe he left the keys in the bus. So I drove to the opposite side of the camp and he of course chased us, then we took off towards the bus and the exit. We we got there, no one was there. I hopped out of the car and ran inside the bus. I searched frantically in the dark for the captain's keys. If only he had made that one mistake I would have moved his bus and we would have been out of there. But no such luck. I ran back into the car. This time Gantt had taken over the wheel. The spotlight was approaching fast behind us. Instead of roaring off back into camp, Gantt saw this little ditch on the side of the exit filled with weeds and such. For a truck this might have been no problem, but with a car it was a risk. Gantt made it about half way, and I thought I could taste victory, when the passenger tire sank and we almost hit part of the side. We were stuck and the wheels did nothing but spin furiously in the mud. The light was drawing nearer and nearer. Everyone jumped out and ran. I, not really seeing how that would help, jumped in the driver's seat and began trying every angle with the tires, forwards and reverse, to see if I could still free the car. Nothing but spinning wheels. The spotlight was within feet and the howling yells of an enraged madman was on us. I abandoned any idea of escape. The Captain had us within his claws....
To Be Continued....


Blogger MomInStands said...

I'm waiting Brian!!
Hurry up and conclude. We're dying to know what happens.

1:25 PM  

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