And so this brings us to the fourth and final part of the story. A tale that carried on for only two days and a night, but involved so much. It was a short, but very exciting time. Thank you for being here with me as I have endeavored to recall the very best of this exploit. And so now, without further adieu, I present the fourth, and final chapter of this four-part series: Barbed Wire.
Author’s note: If you are feeling like you have missed Part’s 1, 2, or 3, do not fear. You haven’t. I decided to begin at the end, as the end is important (it’s the end, duh), but it’s just not as exciting a tale as the other three chapters in this story. The fourth chapter events are connected because of the third chapter, which only exists because of the first and second chapters. And while they are all important, some of them are not as exciting as others. So, I thought I would start with the end—a not as exciting story—and then work backward. You know, go from finish to start. Sort of.
I say “sort of” because chapters one and two will go out of order for the sake of going backward. Only because chapters one and two are the same story (well they all are) but they are too long for just one posting, but chapters three and four could be written as separate stories on their own. They would just reference—or be referenced to in—chapters one and two. That being said, chapters one and two must go together, as two is the aftermath (or conclusion) of one, while one is the precursor to two. So, two must follow one, because if I were to write chapters four, three, two, then one, two and one would make no sense at all, and you would think me mad. As a result, I must write, four, three, one, then two, in order for this series of connected stories to make any sense at all (not that this explanation has helped).
So, yes, definitely yes. I shall present to you a three-part tale (told in four parts), each more riveting than the last. Because done in correct chronological order, it would become more boring instead of more exciting. Alright then, chapter four: Barbed Wire. The last (in chronological order, but first in told order), in the four-part series.
The Cast: Barbara (a person of standards), Erich (Liker of Jennifer), Jennifer (the liked), Myself (connector of dots).
So there we were, dripping wet, a little tired, a little muddy, Erich was bleeding (Adventure!), and we were just, “So what should we do now?”
Erich suggested that we go and clean up first. This might give some time to let his gaping knee wound dry out a little bit. Also, we could clean it out, as it had recently been rinsed with dirty irrigation water. However, for irrigation water, The Crick was pretty clean.
Let me break the story here a bit to quickly remind you about The Crick (you aren’t being reminded, you’re being told, remember the sequence of the story…). The Crick was a canal of mountain run-off water that ran diagonally through town and would branch off at different points to provide water to the community (for home gardens and such, not public drinking water, the town wasn’t that underdeveloped). I never knew if it had a proper name, and since there were other streams that cut into town Erich and I just nicknamed it with a hillbilly/backwoodsy slant. So, the creek became The Crick—for the sake of proper identification. And when I tell people about The Crick, they look at me and assume I don’t know how to pronunciate speachafyin’ proper like. Stupids.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch… (there’s no ranch, it’s just a saying, referring to going back to another part of a story, or back to the original story) So, meanwhile, back at the ranch… Erich and I headed back to his house to hose off any residual mud and check on what might be settling into the gaping wound he received the night before (we really should have thought some things through).
The proximity of our extraction from The Crick actually made my house closer—and I had hydrogen peroxide (for the cleaning of wounds—which we seemed to do a lot of come to think of it). But memory is a little foggy, and I only can clearly recall that we did spray ourselves off with a hose (a quick rinse really) and then Erich placed his leg in a tub while I poured the peroxide into the deep, half-open wound in his knee. See, with all that Crick rafting we had just done, the tissue had become saturated, soft, and some stitches popped out. Only a few though. Well, okay, maybe half or so. No big deal. We just poured in the peroxide, watched it bubble and foam (well I watched as Erich gritted his teeth due to the extreme pain—sissy), dried up the wound and put fresh bandages on it. Just like Doc Armstrong did the night before, maybe even better (Disclaimer: Dr. Armstrong is an amazing doctor and has performed magnificently over the years, stitching Erich up on more than one occasion, any and all disparaging remarks are only done for the comedy of the writing’s sake and not meant to reflect the competency or skills of Dr. Armstrong). After the wrap-up, we headed back out to find more day to seize.
I was worried about the gash in Erich’s knee (he wasn’t) but, if it would make me feel better, he relented, and agreed that maybe we should take it a little easy for an hour or two (thanks for making me feel better, man). Back to the, “So what should we do now?” situation. Fortunately, Erich had a place in mind where we could go and sit and relax for a bit, dry off in the sun, and just enjoy whatever company we might encounter. Perfect!
As we strolled through the not-busy streets, our duo soon became a trio, as the location that Erich had in mind was the front lawn of a young gal who’s fancies had caught his eye. These feelings Erich had for her had only recently developed (because she had too). As we drew closer to her home—I had no idea who she was or the plan Erich had in mind—I could, however, see a couple of reasons why he might be interested in her and it became immediately clear to me why we headed this particular way. The girl, Jennifer, happened to be outside in her front yard, and being of an energetic and pleasant nature, was happy to spend some time chatting with us as we attempted to dry out with the help of a waning sun.
I was indifferent to the company, but was willing to let my buddy make his play. They talked about “…what’s new?” and the like. We discussed the reason for the bandages—now turning a darker shade of red—upon Erich’s knee. The most recent of our current events, regarding the White Water Rapid campaign. All the while she kept giving us that look that teenage girls give to teenage boys who don’t know that what they are saying isn’t impressing the teenage girl but the girl is trying not to be rude, so they just sit and listen while the boy rambles and makes the likelihood of dating said girl more and more remote. Yeah, that look.
Eventually, Jennifer was saved by the overdue arrival of a good friend of hers. As a mother and her daughter pulled into the driveway, it was almost as if Jennifer couldn’t get away fast enough.
“You’re here! Finally!” Were her cries as she bolted for the new arrival. Mother’s met and went indoors while the children were left to talk. It was difficult now for Erich to chat up his interest, as the new girl was the original girl’s focus. Erich and I had not made the acquaintance of this new arrival before and so, introductions were in order. “Guy’s, this is Barbara.”
Barbara. Wait? Barbara!?! In my head, I began to snicker, and some of it came out of my mouth. Erich turned to give me a, “Well that’s rude”-look but I stopped him with, “Dude. Barbara… The poem.” Then he giggled. And then there we were, coming off as two very rude teenage boys. Jennifer was instantly offended, while Barbara was just curious as to what would make her name the irrational source of this sudden jocularity.
You see, if you recall (and you won’t because I haven’t written it yet, so it’s not published yet, but in context from chapters one, two, three, then four, you would, so bear with me), earlier, while indulging in The Crick’s White Water Rapids, Erich and I had become stuck—really stuck. And while we were really stuck one of us had happened upon a bit of graffiti-poetry. Well, not so much poetry as it was more of a name. Well, not so much a name as it was a rude nickname.
At some point, somebody had risked serious injury to climb down, into The Crick so as to scrawl a bit of negativity directed at some girl named Barbara, for posterity’s sake (well maybe just for petty anger, really). It went like this: BARBARA BARBWIRE BRA.
I spoke aloud what Erich and I found down in that ditch. Barbara blushed slightly, looked down, giggled, then said, “Yeah. That’s me.”
What?!?! Who admits to that?!? Why…? How did you get that nickname? “Hmm… Well… Whaddya know.” Was all I could respond with. And at that, Barbara was our friend and went on to become a very good friend. Over the years as Barbara and I became closer she would confide in me the reason for that terrible nickname—as well as who started it. As it turned out, she had certain standards and didn’t compromise them. While she had plenty to offer this modern, easy-going, free-loving lifestyle that seems to be everywhere, she didn’t care what the world thought. For her, there was a line. And for as long as I knew her, nobody—to my knowledge—was allowed to cross it.
I’ve lost contact with Barbara over the years, but when I think of her I usually also reflect on that first meeting, how awkwardly funny it all was, and how dear her friendship became to me.