Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A coming of age story of my St. Lucia trip as a Cub Scout (Part 4)

I had to use the bathroom and the only way I was going outside to the latrine was with Mr. Orosco at my side. I got up off the cot, walked over to the other side of the building, and stood right by the side of Mr. Orosco’s cot. I looked up at the clock on the wall which read 2:30am. It was early.

I bent down and shook Mr. Orosco’s shoulder with my hand.

“Mr Orosco, wake up. Mr. Orosco, I need to use the latrine.” I said in a soft raspy voice making certain not to wake the other parents that slept close by.

My Orosco turned and picked up his glasses from off the floor. I thanked God I didn’t step on them.

“Why are you up Salandy? What is the matter?” He asked sounding half asleep looking up at me.

“I need to use the latrine.” I replied curling my legs in and bouncing to accentuate my urgent need.

“Go get John, your group leader and have him go with you. You all be careful. Take the flashlight sitting by the window.” He said as he pointed to the window where we stood earlier looking out at the village boys.

I walked back to the boys’ cot area and found John. John was a pack leader. He was from Woodbrook where his parents owned a small grocery shop on Ariapita Avenue. He also was a very good athlete. He usually came in first in the 100 yard dash every time we had the Rosary Boys sports day.

I approached John’s cot and bent down and tapped him on the shoulder. He woke up instantly and asked what was wrong as he rubbed his eyes. I told him I needed to go to the bathroom and Mr. Orosco wanted him to accompany me.

John said something under his breath and got up. He also woke several other boys up. I would have a phalanx of boys escorting me to the latrine. No ghost would dare attack five boys I thought. When we got to the front door however, only John was behind me. He had the flashlight that he retrieved from the window sill in his hand.

“Come on lets go.” John said as he walked past me with the flashlight beaming straight ahead.

“Where are the other boys?” I asked

“They will be along in a moment. I think they are trying to find another flashlight.” He replied as he stepped down onto the path.

I started feeling scared. Thoughts of the dead girl crept into my mind. I stayed very close to John. Even though he was my height, he did have broad shoulders and weighed a lot more than me. I looked around left to right and back left as we walked down the front path.

We turned slightly right at the end of the path and towards the open door of the latrine. It was dark inside and had a putrid smell. The sounds of crickets could be heard from all around. John stopped when he got to the door. I stopped with him.

“Okay go. And hurry up.” He instructed as he leaned against the wall at the opening.

“Do not leave and make sure you point the light so I can see, John. Really!” I said as I groped for the opening of the closest stall.

I found the stall and walked in. The stall had a cement seat with a hole in the middle. I pulled down my pants and underwear and started to pee. I called out to John but he did not respond. The brightness from the flashlight had faded a bit.

“Hey John are you still there?” I said knowing that he was because of the still faint beam of light. There was no reply.

“Stop playing and answer me.” Still there was no response. I tried to hurry as best as I could. I started to feel my heart beat faster and louder.

I was still peeing when from the stall to my right came a slight noise. It was like a whishing sound. I turned my head to the right to get a better listen when a crashing roar pierced the silence. I instantly screamed. Just then, a white apparition appeared from over the top of the barrier that separated the stalls. I screamed louder, threw my hands in front of my body, and stumbled back. My shorts and underwear were hanging around my ankles. I continued to scream as pee ran down my legs. As I fell backward out of the stall, I began to twist trying to get my shorts and underwear up and get out of the latrine and away from whatever that was. I called for my grandmother.

“Mama! Mama!” I cried over the roar while doing everything to get up and out of the latrine. I tried to get to my feet but stumbled on the wet ground. I got back up and stumbled out of the latrine door and quickly caught sight of  John standing in the front.

“Run John!” I cried and I ran past John. I did not get far when I realized that he was laughing when I ran past him. In fact, he was laughing so hard that the beam from the flashlight kept bobbing up and down dramatically.

I turned and looked at him. He looked at me and then doubled over in laughter.

I stood there seething mad in my urine drenched shorts and underwear.

Then to my amazement out came three boys from the latrine. The same three boys John had awoken. They were all laughing hysterically. One was holding what appeared to be a broomstick, a coat hanger, and a white sheet. One was yelling, “Roar!”

Another boy was imitating my screams for my grandmother. I turned towards the school to walk back to my cot just to catch Mr. Orosco flying out the front door with his flashlight in hand.

“What going on out here? Who was screaming?” He asked as he walked towards me.

I turned around to look at the boys who by now had stopped laughing and turned back to Mr. Orosco and said “Nothing. I was just using the latrine and thought I saw a snake.”

Mr. Orosco told us to get inside. He turned and walked back in. I followed him in and walked to my cot, took of my clothes, and wiped myself with a small towel I retrieved from my bag. I could hear the other boys giggling as they entered the building. In no time we were all laying on our cots. The pranks had begun.

And by the time we left St. Lucia, I would come to be known as the best prankster ever.

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