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Part TWENTYONE – continued from last week’s episode –

Buzz was the one who had held Rusty’s head off the ground along the sideline of the football game during the high school fainting / smelling salts incident. Neither of them ever touched the playing field throughout their less than stellar gridiron careers, but together they never missed a practice.

In junior high they had both agreed to give wrestling a try. During their first week of a haunting grappling session in the wrestling room (hotter than a sauna in hell) Rusty found himself performing an untitled move that awkwardly placed his private parts very near Buzz’s chin and mouth.

Post practice on the walk home, neither boy could make eye contact as they discussed a “way out” of this Greek aged sport of grappling. Was this how black bears battled over a jar of honey? Together, it was conjured that tomorrow’s practice (and the finality of their season) would end before it began.

Rusty needed a season ending injury and he needed it now. Buzz’s performance would require more savvy. The two boys had concocted a way to honorably get off the wrestling mat.

To activate their ingenious plan, they stopped at Rusty’s cousins Skip and Scoop and intervened in their shoveling of pig poop. The cousins were more than happy to cinch a noose around Rusty’s ankle and then attach the loose end of the rope to a 50# sack of cut corn dangling over a pulley at the top of the hay barn. Seemed like a good idea at the time (third of many times being falsely encouraged by Skip and Scoop).

When the sack of feed that Skip pushed out of the mow neared the ground and the rope went taught, so loud was the scream that all the pigs in the barnyard railed against the fence and broke out of the lot. It was perfect!

The cousins were ecstatic with the impending result and immediately put pen to paper for the second portion of the plan. They needed to construct a doctor’s note (tapeworm) for Buzz. No payment necessary. The immediate swelling of Rusty’s ankle and pain level noted in the bulging of his eyes was money in the bank. At least enough to forgo the previously determined payment in kind of 50-cents each for the swollen ankle and fake physician’s letter.

Next day in the coach’s office… Their wrestling seasons and careers as Greek gods ended simultaneously. In a few weeks… When the swelling subsided and the tapeworm miraculously disappeared… Basketball would be their new winter sport!

Standing outside the fish house with only one bar for a signal Rusty made his second phone call. It was Buzz he was attempting to reach. On the third ring it went straight to voicemail. Short of chucking his phone in a fuming rage, he paced in the snow and left a brief message. This could be a long night stranded on a frozen sheet of ice.

Sally Squatsnfishes remained isolated from the external world. Even with her hands now free, the perp had confiscated her cell phone before placing her in confinement. The haunting seconds (tic-tic-tic-tic) in her mind seemingly stretched into hours. Her thoughts ran in circles like kids putting a merry go round into full motion. Suddenly, outside she could hear a key turning the lock! Inside it remained cold and dark…

– To be continued –