Okay, here’s the scene: College. Guys. Camping.
We’d have brought girlfriends if we’d had them, but it wouldn’t have gone well. You have to take things like clean and useful tents and stuff with you, when you have girlfriends along. You have to avoid doing things or apologize profusely for things that otherwise would be perfectly acceptable behavior on a camping trip. Such as, say, only bringing along by way of food, several boxes of Spep Oop. Lovely stuff, Spep Oop. It was on sale, and since we were college students and the camp that we’d chosen was hundreds of miles away, Spep Oop was our choice. Oh, and cheap beer.
So, why, you ask, would impoverished college guys drive so far to camp, spending money on gas instead of food? Surely there were closer places to camp? Surely there were, but we were colleging in Memphis. Memphis is pretty much in a river delta. That means flat and muddy, which might be okay if you were visiting from the mountains. “Oh, look dear, it’s all flat and muddy. Take a picture of me with the flat mud. Now let’s go to Beale street and Graceland.”
So we drove to a place that had hills. Hills and, therefore, valleys. Sometimes, as in the case of our chosen camping place, there were waterfalls that fell off the hill into the little valley. Nice for camping. We loved it.
You know who else loved it? Well, we’ll get to that.
So we sat up and talked and laughed and made a campfire and passed around the Spap Oop and drank a little beer. And then we were all tired from the drive and the setting up and the sound of the waterfall was lulling us to sleep.
When I say we were tired from the setting up, well, you need to know what sort of setting up there was. I had a nasty, tiny little pup tent. It was orange. It had aluminum poles and nylon cord holding it up. the whole thing had to be staked down and tied up. Fine.
My brother, an altogether more adept person, had tied a rope high across two trees and thrown a tarp over it. A few rocks held the tarp in a roughly tentoid shape. Then he tied his hammock under the rope and tarp. Nice, you see? (I tried this stunt another time without taking the low-ish temperature and a broken sleeping bag zipper into account. Whole ‘nother story)
Now, Ken is adept at other things. Being very entertaining is one. Planning ahead and carrying a lot of gear he has to haul around is NOT another. On this occasion, though, it all seemed to work out in his favor. Just underneath Jeff’s gently swinging backside (think ‘Hammock’, not whatever filth you just conjured up) Ken realized there was plenty of room for a whole other person to crawl in. He would have not only a nice tarp that someone else had put up for a roof, but the person who’d done the putting up would now also be a roof. Genius.
If you can see any flaw in this plan, then 1) you are not a college student who’s been drinking beer, and 2) you’re wrong about what’s about to go wrong anyhow.
The wind did not pick up and smack a tarp and attendant weighty rock into Ken’s face. It did not rain and allow him to discover that he was sleeping in a disused water channel. Jeff’s hammock did not come loose and precipitate Jeff onto Ken, doing them both hilarious injury.
No, you haven’t guessed what makes this a funny story yet because I haven’t given you a critical detail.
I haven’t given you the detail because I, in my ugly mildewy orange tent, didn’t have it.
What I did have was someone outside my tent saying “git” very persistently. And progressively louder.
“git” … “git” … “git” … “git” … “Git” … “Git” … “Git” … “Git” … “Git” … “Git” … “GIT” … “GIT” … “GIT” … “GIT” … “GIT” … “GIT” … “GIT” … “GIT”
Interspersed with all this “git”ing was the occasional “Ken” and “Ken, shut up.” and “Ken I will kill you.” but those were from me and didn’t really advance the conversation because all we could get out of Ken was “Git”.
‘Git’ is a rude name to call someone. Someone English that is, because we don’t use the term in the U.S. I don’t even know what it means, to be honest, but I’ve read it in books. You may have already figured out that Ken was not calling anyone a rude King’s English name. Don’t tell anyone else. We’re not to that part of the story yet.
There was a burst of noise- a swift rattle of pebbles or something, and all went quiet. For college guys, that’s problem solved.
Now, you and I know the problem wasn’t solved, it simply wasn’t revealed.
So in the morning, there was Spep Oop aaaaaaaaaaaaall over the ground past Ken’s feet. He had taken our last box of Spep Oop and flung it across the camping area sorta downhillish toward a cave that was not too far away.
Flung our food! All over the ground! Why?! These things were said to Ken in raised voices. As in “You flung our food! All over the ground! Why?!”
And here’s the big reveal. Remember that Ken was sleeping directly on the ground, sheltered only on two sides by tarp and by tree trunks near his head and feet. He was also, apparently, hugging the last box of Spep Oop. we had opened and nibbled at it, but it was breakfast, as far as our plans went.
The skunk that Ken woke to find staring him in the eye had different plans for it. Our plans changed when Ken found that skunks don’t speak “GIT” and finally just jettisoned the Spep Oop. The skunk’s plans didn’t change one bit.