Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Mars bar and a few sparse cola bottles was all it took to buy his silence

As the weekend gone was fairly uneventful with the obvious exception of the World Cup Final, I have chosen not to go into my usual longwinded ramblings about the tedious details of my days in doors watching TV and playing the guitar for hours on end. Instead the following is a short regaling of the only time I’d actually been shit on from a great height and the one and only time I’ve head butted someone (see tenuous link between Zidane’s moment of lunacy?) Granted my head butt was hardly as well executed as ole’ Zinadine’s but for no reason at all it triggered a memory whilst driving on the way to work morning..

I’m pretty sure it was 1990 or perhaps 1989- either way it was a while ago and I was on my annual week long summer scout camp in the Lake District. Come to think about it, it must have been 1989 as we were privy to seeing a fantastic display of RAC fighter pilots training four or five times a day, screeching above the clutter of old Canvass Patrol tents and flying low through the valleys. We later learned on route home that the world was at war with Iraq after they’d invaded Kuwait. All quite exciting and scary at the same time I remember- wow my first war!

Anyway, should you be unaware to the hierarchy in this sadistic club for kids then I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say that I was 2nd in command of our six man Patrol. The Patrol leader was a prick called Stopher who was a couple of years older than me and significantly larger than I. It’s fair to say Stopher and I never got on and it would be fair to report that he was probably the nearest thing that I’d ever encountered to a bully in my life. He made my life relatively miserable, but looking back at it now there was nothing too bad and certainly nothing that kept me awake at night. The constant piss taking and the odd punch to the arm/headlock was about as bad as it ever got. Thankfully as these things go- I wasn’t the only one to be on the receiving end of the twat’s malice, but I think what set me a part was the fact that I wasn’t slow in taking the piss out of him or standing up against him, especially when he picked on the new kids- usually the 4 stone weakling kids, straight out from primary school. Of course nothing was as bad as my first few month’s of scouts and the customary melvining (or wedgies if you prefer) from the sadistically sad Ian ‘Binzy’ Binns. (This former bully stayed on for years in the Scouts and got his comeuppance when after a swimming session a young scout pointed out that he had a extremely small penis! Binzy’s reign of terror ended shortly afterwards- after all what could be worse than being told that you’ve got a small pecker by someone who hasn’t yet started puberty) I remember that I always avoided Binzy’s confrontations as I befriended the ‘gentle giant’ Steve Osbourne, who at 6’2” was not to be messed with. Granted he had learning difficulties which made him relatively cowardly for a chap with such a large frame, but sticking close to him certainly kept me and my big mouth out of trouble. I remember looking on in horror as Binzy lifted some of the other new scouts above his shoulders by their undies, whilst the poor crying victims’ pants cut through their arse like a cheese slicer on a Tesco’s Deli counter.

Anyway, on this camp I’d kept my distance from Stopher as much as I could. In the 6 man patrol tents, he slept at the top end and I slept at the bottom end, and the four other kids slept in between us. On this camp, I’m pretty sure that Stopher was getting too old to be in the scouts, spending the majority of his time hanging out with the aforementioned Binzy, who for whatever reason had decided to join the Venture Scouts (Nelson Muntz Style “ha ha”) and was there to ‘help’ the leaders. It was only on seldom occasions that we were required to be placed in close proximity with each other and it was on one of these occasions that I lost my cool and head butted him. To be honest, I don’t recall what it was about, except he was winding up one of the younger scouts up and from what I’d remembered reduced this poor lad to tears. As I was sitting next to him on a bench at the time I decided that enough was enough and planted a head butt on his face. Granted it was a ‘proper’ head butt, more that I connected with his face with the side of my head but I did so with as much force as I could muster. From what I recall his reaction was shock, followed quickly by anger and he gave me several painful punches on the top of my head. I tried my best not to cry, but it was inevitable I suppose.

Not a lot was said about it, but I felt I’d won a moral victory of sorts despite him making me cry in front of my friends-which as you’ll no doubt recall from your own rambunctious past was certainly not the thing to do. That evening Stopher stayed away from our patrol area, and we all watched him sitting crossed legged with Binzy at the top of the hill eating their food and watching us carefully like an Indian Chief looking at the scared and weak settlers out in the Old West. We were forced to cook for ourselves without his ‘supervision’ and I took control with my close friend Dan Walker as my number 2. Dan was always a good laugh and I knew him very well as he and his family only lived around the corner from me. Over the next few years he was a permanent fixture round at our house- notably when we both got Amiga computers. As it was such a long time ago, I’m afraid that I can’t remember what was cooked, but I do remember showing some poor kid how to light the large gas stove by dropping a lit match into the burner. Alas he burned his eyes lashes together and lost half of his eye brows when he tried to replicate my fool hardy actions. Walker smeared his face in butter and blagged him not to grass us up to the leaders by offering him some of his tuck shop allowance. A Mars bar and a few sparse cola bottles was all it took to buy his silence. I’m pretty sure the meal we cooked would have been sausages or some other simply cooked food substance with little to no nutritional value to it, either way we obviously didn’t do a great job…

That night in the tent Stopher still hadn’t re-joined the group. Nerves were a little fraught as we contemplated what course of revenge he’d dish out upon us. The patrol tent was about 6 feet high and had entrances on either side, which was held shut with a threaded rope which was laced between the to ends of the canvass like a shoe lace. This was always kept loose so should we require to go for a star light piss in the middle of the night it could be easily done. Granted the usual course of action was just stuck our dicks out of the holes and piss from the comfort of the tent.

As he always slept the farthest from what we used as the tent entrance, I decided that I would take his place so he wouldn’t wake us up- or more importantly deliberately stand on us.

It was probably sometime after midnight when we heard him stumble and crash into our tent.

“what are you doing in my space dick head?”

“fuck off Stopher and just sleep there’ I bravely informed him.


He took off his boots and jeans and got into his sleeping bag. The sound of his size eight hiking boot being launched in my direction made me flinch but thankfully it hit Carl –who was sleeping next to me- on the head. He started to cry, but Stopher told him to “Shut the F**k up you big baby!”- Which he soon did and we all went to sleep.


When I awoke the next morning I was cold. I tried to immerse myself in the sleeping bag to keep warm but it wasn’t working. I could hear that the rest of the patrol were soundly asleep- Stopher snoring loudly from the other side of our large tent. I knew the only way to keep warm was to put another item of clothing on, so I popped my head up out of my sleeping bag and reached out towards my rucksack. Alarmingly I spotted several tissues covered in shit. What the….?

I rolled onto my back at tired to think what I could have done during my slumber? I started to panic. Matters were made worse when my eyes had adjusted to the daylight and I could see that some of the excrement had somehow found its way on to my light blue sleeping bag. Yikes! What had I done? I sat up and could see that Stopher’s rogue boot lying next to Carl’s sleeping bag, which alarmingly had a few smears of brown on it too!

I felt a wave of anxiety wash over me. Worried about what I had done during the night, I lay they scared shitless of what would happen to me when my fellow Scouts woke up. Harrogate is a small town where news of crapping yourself would soon be abound, naturally I assumed that my life as I knew it would be over and as I lay there shivering I wondered how I’d convince my parents to move to a different town. I rolled over on my side, cold, depressed and nervous. As I looked out under the bottom of the tent door to the picturesque English landscape I could see a litter of approximately ten to fifteen brown stained tissues on the dewy grass. I tried not to cry and just lay there waiting to face the music.

I lay there for about another 15 minutes, trying to ignore the smell of crap and think about what excuses I could use to get myself out of this terribly sticky situation. I really needed a piss too, but decided that I should wait before getting up and lay there in silence.

“EEE-UUUWWWWW!” Carl had woken up to see the shitty tissues between his and my sleeping bags. I pretended I was asleep and that the whole thing was a surprise to me. He sat up and I could fully see that he had more crap on his sleeping bag. I sat up feigning surprise at the mess. (Richard? or James? I can’t remember his name) who was next to Carl bolted upright in his sleeping bag and ye gads! He had even more shit on his bag and (gulp) some on his face too!

‘Aggggggggh!’ Carl cried “You’ve got shit on your face!!”

The poor lad looked stunned and I was in total shock- what had I done!!!!??
Panic set in and the other kid next to him –who again, his name escapes me- woke up in similar fashion to the sounds of screaming kids and the smell of poo. He had even more shit on his sleeping bag than anyone! Panic set in and he jumped out of his sleeping bag revealing crap on his T Shirt and we all recoiled in disgust. Dan, who was next to him, and also next to Stopher had his back to us sat up and turned around to face us.

“Oh For The Love of God!”

He had shit all over his face, his hair and the inside of his sleeping bag was dripping in the stuff! The four of us shrieked in horror at him. It was like a scene from the Three Bears…only they didn’t have porridge they had crap.
“Who’s been crapping in my bed….”

“I had diarrhoea during the night and couldn’t get out of the tent” Dan wailed.

Phew. What a relief! It wasn’t me who’d shat on his fellow scouts…I breathed a big sigh of relief then the reality hit home that I had Dan’s poo on my sleeping bag. “Agggggggggghhhhh!!!!!”

A mixture of screams from the three younger scouts and myself, the sobbing from Dan was all drowned out by the hysterical laughing of Stopher. The spawny bastard had slept next to Dan all night and didn’t have a speck of his poo on him.

“har har har, thanks for swapping places McPartlan! Har har har har”

I could still hear his laughter ringing in my ears as I watched from a distance as the Scout leader Carol hosed down Dan with a look of repulsion on her face and her fag in the corner of her mouth, Fat Anita hanging out the 5 shitty smeared sleeping bags out to dry in the morning sunshine, whilst male Scout leader –and all round cool bloke Digger tried to comfort the traumatised youngsters and persuade Stopher to stop laughing at them.

It transpired that poor ole Dan indeed had a nasty dose of the squits, possibly caused by the meal we poorly prepared that night or perhaps caused by his large intake of chocolate. He awoke in the middle of the night with a rumbling in his bowels. In the pitch black dark he was already spewing excrement from his backside as he climbed over his sleeping patrol mates and stood over me as he untie the ropes at the wrong entrance. Luckily for me he gave up when he realised the knots were impossible to untie in the daylight-let alone in the middle of the night whilst he was in the grips of diarrhoea. I’m assuming that he did eventually make it out of the tent but it was too little too late. Somehow a miracle on par with the scene from Pulp Fiction where Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega’s somehow dodge the bullets of the young unnoticed man screaming “Die you motherf***ers!” occurred, as Stopher remained unscathed from the air turds…and that’s what really pissed me off.

Of course as it was still early morning I had the sad duty to inform the other patrols as to why Dan was sobbing, the other three had the ‘thousand yard stare’, five sleeping bags were drying on a clothes line and why Stopher looked so bloomin’ happy. Naturally we were all bribed by Dan to keep our mouths shut about it and not tell his Mum.

So the simple lesson to be learned here is that a head butt will result in being shat on from a great height- (or from the arse of a good friend) Nothing good will come of it.

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