After our last night at Kaylene's house, morning has come and we're headed to Boise. Nothing better to do, so we go along for ride while Kaylene does the testing for her GED. The test can take anywhere from one to three hours and she's not giving up the keys, so it's all footwork to go exploring. Marty, Brian and I are sitting in the grass outside the education building and they begin to give me the rough story of the Four Horsemen after I notice a tattoo of The Punisher on Brian's arm. At this point in my life, I am un-churched and have no basis for comparison; it felt like listening to a fairy tale. An elaborate story unfolds of these hooded beings atop horses that will bring about the end of the earth; each Horseman representing an undeniable future for the eternal lives of the saved and the damned.
We venture a few blocks away and come upon a tattoo and piercing shop; time to get inked. Marty and Brian have two tattoos drawn up, both with the Roman numeral IV. Marty's will have Pestilence included under his; the bringer of plagues and famine. "... behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer" Revelation Chapter 6 Verse 2. Pestilence regards God's creatures as disease and the epitome of unclean imperfection. He will further that truth by their fall under his hand; rapid spread of plagues and diseases will be the demise of God's "perfect" creations. Brian will have Death. "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him" Revelation Chapter 6 Verse 8. A Horseman that requires no explanation in my opinion, but for the sake of the story….Death is an ending, by any means necessary. The transporter of souls taken by War, Pestilence and Famine; the last vision of the lost before Hades.
To help pull you back from the deep thought of your afterlife, a natural follow up to these tattoos is Brian's decision to get his left nipple pierced. I watched the whole thing, regrettably. A strong stomach for most thing I have, but a giant needle going through a man's nipple was a bit much. However, this little adventure helped take up our remaining waiting time and Kaylene was finished. We all piled back in the car and headed back to Mountain Home.
Now to figure out where to stay. Kaylene's had been used so I tried my luck with my house. It's worth mentioning that Kaylene's dad was one to let his daughter have anyone stay the night and drink to their delight, while mine was the polar opposite. No dicks allowed overnight, regardless of my pleading and attempt at reasoning. The answer I received was, "They can tent in the backyard, but they are not sleeping in your room". Fuck dad, thanks. At that time, I'm positive there were no words to describe my humility and embarrassment. I was desperate to help my friends, and was in a position where I couldn't at that moment. I reluctantly told them my father's response and cringed with the each word. In a second of panic, the word "tent" blew up. It was summer after all, and Strike Dam was not very far and free to camp.
We loaded up the red Nissan and the three of us headed to Strike, without Kaylene; not exactly the camping type. With a 30-pack of cheap beer on hand and a couple tents, we were set. Night had settled and a fire was glowing. The campground was flat with tall oak and walnut trees sporadically placed. The back of the dam was about 500 yards away with the Snake River pushing against the front. Beautiful darkness and nature, only the sounds of rushing water and locusts. We had managed to get through about half of the beer around midnight and Brian began to break the silence. A single black locust had jumped onto my shoulder and he took it as a sign.
"They never come near people, there must be something about you", Brian stated, pointing to a locust that had landed on my arm. I give a side-long glance at Marty who only returns a buzzed smirk. Brian's eyes go wide and dart around as if searching for something hidden. Paranoia has begun to get a grip. He begins to move around the campsite muttering to himself and hiding from tree to tree and looking towards the dam. "Brian, what the hell is wrong?" I ask. "They're here, do you see them?"
"See who? Where?"
"Them, the demons, they're on the road above the dam, they're getting closer."
Whether or not there were actually demons present, didn't really matter. Brian was convinced they were there and was genuinely fearful for his soul. I had looked up at the dam, trying to see what he was seeing, but this task was tricky. It was dark and the only light source was the moon and our dwindling fire. Darkness can, and will, play games with your mind; see things that aren't there, and hear things that have no voice. As I stared, I started to see what looked like two figures standing on the dam wall, then three, then four. It appeared as if they were multiplying from each other. All of a sudden, two lights pierced through the darkness.
"It's people, Brian. They just started their car. Look, there's nothing out there but them."
While this took a little of the edge off, Brian never seemed fully convinced. He reluctantly came back to the picnic table Marty and I were sitting at while his eyes still darted back and forth. We finish off the pack smokes and feed Brian a few more beers, attempting to talk about anything that won't feed into his delusion. After another hour, seemingly satisfied that he won't be reaped in his sleep, Brian succumbs to sleep and Mary and I follow suite.
The sun hits the tent in the morning, heating the inside like a popcorn bag in a microwave. Even if you wanted to keep sleeping, the prospect of being baked alive made you get up. We have no coffee, so wake-up-beer it is. The grounds have public restrooms available, but no showers. Idaho's river water was good enough for anyone clean off in if you weren't opposed to temporary hypothermia; or if you had fresh ink. Marty and Brian couldn't get the newly dawned tattoos soaked in river water, but couldn't leave them uncleansed either.
A logical idea looking back at this, would have been to wash each other's backs. Maybe it was a hung-over idea, maybe it was the best we could come up with; either way, I was the one that ended up in the men's restroom that morning. Marty remaining modest kept his cargo shorts on and we began to warm up the faucet water. Public restroom soap in hand, I begin to wash Marty's tattoo and back while Brian is in one of the stalls. As I'm rinsing off the soap, Brian steps out.
Pale white skin, riddled with freckles greets you. Brian has on no shoes, no shorts, no underwear and no shirt. He does however, have on toilet paper and grin as wide as the Mississippi. He has wrapped his manhood up in a makeshift toilet paper gift and is ready to be cleaned.
"Oh my god Brian, what the fuck are you doing?" I exclaim.
"I can't just wash my back, I need to wash my whole body," he replies matter of fact.
"I will wash your back, but you're doing the rest."
I begin to wash Brian's back and tattoo and he begins to wash his chest. Water is inevitably dripping down his front and begins to melt the toilet paper. Marty begins to giggle and when I notice why, I yell at Brian to go reapply the tissue. He comes back out and I finish cleaning off his back. All of us are laughing and poking fun, but it's a beautiful moment. While unconventional, it was glimpse of time that was pure joy. No worries, no demons, no responsibility; just unadulterated happiness at its finest.