Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Arizona Pocket Death Ray

Well, here's my first real post. This here is an incident from my childhood that I shall cherish and share with the world. Although my memory is a bit fuzzy, so a few details might be a wee bit exaggerated.
Anyway, gather round and lend me an ear!

T'was a sunny afternoon at Camp Geronimo, Arizona, a wondrous chunk of land for Boy Scouts to hone their skills in woodcraft and intellect.
It was just after lunch and about a dozen of us campers were gathered on the porch of the Trading Post, waiting for its doors to swing open and allow us to throw money at their overpriced goods. Ahhh, how I remember the smoothie special, a glorious combination of blueberry and strawberry sugar mixed with ice, dubbed the Bloody Smurf! Tellers there had some exceptional imagination for names.

For those of you who have never gone to a scout camp before, it's basically a place where you voluntarily sever your connections to electronics and the world at large. Young campers go about to various classes to earn badges for whatever they are focusing on. A bit like public school, except way more interesting and you have the chance of doing some actually cool things. It was also reasonably wild, plenty of small critters running around for hundreds of eager children to harass. While the official camp rules said to not mess around with them, the Nature Lodge, which was in charge of dealing with animals for educational purposes, put out bloody bounties if kids brought in anything special. I was sure to take them up on that.

Anyway, the Trading Post was the only place you could buy stuff at there, and the only place besides the Mess Hall that had food. If you wanted chow at any time that wasn't a designated meal time, then the Trading Post was your only hope. Aside from myself there was also my Dad and about a dozen other campers chilling in the shade. While young teens usually don't have the best track record for patience, we managed to last the hour admirably. My Dad entertained us with one of his new toys, and certainly his most shiny: a high-tech signal mirror!

Okay, it seemed high-tech at the time. It was really just a specially set mirror for mega-reflection capabilities with a little hole in the middle for sighting accurately. The darned thing was meant for shining sunlight into the eyes of pilots flying planes and helicopters if you happened to be lost. Sadly, Daddy hadn't gotten his tail lost yet as the camp councilors kept an eye on him almost as closely as the rest of us, and was thus denied the chance use it effectively. Now, if you've ever dealt with a 46-year old child, you know that sometimes you just have to make up reasons to use your toys.

Anywhat, the time for shopping was near. We could all feel it. Gear was stowed and zippers sang as we prepared to move in. Our hopes soared as we saw movement behind the shutters of the big glass window. The time was almost upon us!
Or so we thought.

Instead of the door being opened and admitting us, a bespectacled fella hung up a sign informing us that we had just wasted an hour of our valuable lives because the Trading Post was going to remain closed for the day. This was hour our loyal patience and dedication was rewarded? We couldn't let this stand. Mob mentality set in quickly. Shouts of discontent and malice sprang from our mouths and fists raised in the air, mine among them. Civil unrest would surely follow, engulfing the entire state in chaos. Hmm, there's that memory hiccup again...

To be fair, it probably wasn't this guy who decided to keep the place closed. But it was kinda hard to not blame him. He assumed that since there was a piece of glass between himself and a dozen semi-adults he was reasonably safe and assumed a rather smug and condescending attitude. Never before had shoulders been shrugged with such insolence! And that smirk, oh how it dripped with condescension! Our collective rage began to reach its peak, our barely-past-puberty voices joining together as we called for justice!

Then it happened. Remember that signal mirror Daddy had been fiddling with? The one meant for being blasted at bloody aircraft? It seemed that he had found a fitting use for this mirror and the Arizona sun in the dead of summer at high noon. A brilliant light lanced forth, cutting through the shade like a knife, past the feeble defense of glass and magnified ten-fold through the spectacles and directly into the villain's eyes. Wisps of feathery smoke rose from his eyes as they shriveled like raisins. If he didn't have eye problems before, he sure did now. The scoundrel lost his sense of balance, blinded by the intense beam, first staggering backwards, then forwards. Into the glass. Thunk! He then staggered out of sight. We didn't see him get back up.

Silenced reigned for a few stunned seconds, Dad looking just as shocked as the rest of us. Suddenly, everyone decided they didn't want to get into the Trading Post so bad after all. We all remembered we had something important to do over in the direction of Not At The Trading Post. Now, since camp officials didn't come around asking for murder witnesses I'm going to just assume the dude lived. Good thing too, since if such a horrible thing had happened the Feds would surely have banned the use of signal mirrors by civilians.

Don't I just have the best father in the world? Enjoy!

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