We had the perfect plan, I mean this one was so good NOTHING could screw it up, not even Malcolm because we didn’t invite him...
No, Carl, John and I couldn’t miss.
See, we’d each line up a fox, Grade A Choice, with lean lanky legs meant for wrapping, one most likely impervious to a full frontal seduction but one who could be lured there with the right animal scent.
And we thought that scent was carbide.
It had begun, as many adventures do, over a few too many beers. John, Carl and I had been listing women we guessed were unassailable and the defense mechanisms they used to remain that way. Once we had a list, which was longer than we’d have liked, we began considering how we might remove some of those names by hook or… well… you know...
Such a serious discussion requires a careful assessment of one’s strengths and weaknesses — and lots of beer, unless you’re planning on being morose. Having no money was certainly a negative, as was our unfair association with the “Animal House.” (Please note that this was before Belushi’s movie. We had the original article; he just rode our fame – or was it flame?) And we weren’t artistic, musical or jocks.
Okay, so we had some liabilities…
What were our strengths?
Well, we could drink a lot of beer. But these weren’t the sort of chicks who were impressed by a burping contest or beer fart. No, they had higher standards; that was one of the reasons we wanted to debase them, you know, bring them down to our level.
We were in a pickle, stymied. We needed to consider this issue more, like maybe when we weren’t so gassed.
The three of us went spelunking the next weekend, as we did about once a month. There are over three hundred limestone caves within fifty miles of Bloomington, and we had maps for them all. Caves are amazing and unique in nature; they have their own life forms — fish and salamanders with no eyes, for instance — and stalagmites and stalactites (one goes up, the other down — which is which I don’t remember) in weird and wondrous formations. And the bats don’t bother you unless you bother them — except maybe the mad ones. You’ll see waterfalls, hundred foot high ceilings, huge mud walls, which when sprayed with water become fun-house roller coaster-like slides, and other strange things: Squire Boone Cave contains the remains of Dan’l’s brother; another one has bones and a 1700s date scratched in the wall above it. And caves can be explored in all seasons, although Spring floods can be dangerous, because the temperature is fifty-six degrees year round. Believe it or not, one guy built a home in a Bloomington vicinity cave, I kid you not.
The cave we chose was Sullivan’s Cave, about thirty miles south of B-Town. It’s entry was the most unexpected thing, if you didn’t have a map you’d never find it; it was marked only by a small hole underneath the rootball of a sweeping maple tree several hundred feet along a game path through a forested field. There were no signs; you either knew it was there or had a map, and even if you’d been there before you might miss it on a return trip. Assuming you found it, you climbed through a narrow hole down about sixty feet using secure natural rock footholds, no rope required. Then you looked for a hole above you, which was the entrance to a narrow, low passage, suitable only for crawling. After about thirty feet or so, the passage opened up to about six feet wide and four feet high, which meant you either had to duck-walk or stick your butt out and bend forward. This position became uncomfortable after awhile, and the passage is long, more than a quarter mile. Most people take several rest breaks. Why go through all this misery? Because once you left this thigh-burner, you stumbled into a massive room at least a hundred feet high and a hundred feet wide, a room with rockfall, where you could echo a whisper like a Swiss yodel. And beyond the rockfall was a fast moving shallow stream leading into passages thick with knitted and furled stalactites and stalagmites untouched for millions of years, not to mention the occasional waterfall over quartz rocks which flashed white in flickering headlamps.
Just like candlelight, eh? Now you’re getting the mood.
I need to mention, that if you explore Sullivan’s Cave today, assuming you find it, the passages to the Great Room have been concreted up, by whom I don’t know. Evidently, there’s too great a risk of drowning or terminal headache, or some insurance company thought there was. So all you get for that knee-torturing duck walk is a return trip. You could probably have more fun in a dentist’s office.
It must have been the quartz, although methane gas is a possibility, which caused us to think spelunking was the answer to our grand seduction plan. Could we sell adventure as an aphrodisiac? Was that our lure?
Hah! Cans priests sell religion while they’re buggering altar boys?
So we scouted our list and dropped some hints, mostly on deaf ears. Those who were into fashion dismissed us immediately, probably the dirt turned them off, although it could have been that our Madras slacks were the wrong shade for our eyes. So we moved to the second tier. There too we found resistance. At this level, the prospect of sleeping in wet clothes — definitely not our plan either — seemed a turn-off, and our protests that Sullivan’s was a dry cave met these lame dismissals that this was a contradiction of nature. Huh? So what if caves were formed by the movement of water? That was a long time ago. Did anything stay the same?
We moved lower on the list, well off the list actually — we’d moved from “unassailable” past “available” to “more or less a sure thing.”
What the hell? We’d invested too much thought in this — and too much beer —to just let the idea go.
Okay, so we settled for a step — well maybe an edge — above hookers. These chicks we thought would put out for a joint, the where wouldn’t be part of the equation. So sure, we could just do it in the Pube, or out in the woods, but we’d romanticized ourselves into the notion that Sullivan’s was the natural equivalent of a Paris weekend with Brigitte Bardot. We were making history here. And the symbolism of a cave entrance wasn’t lost on us; we thought the girls would notice it too.
Look, I have to be truthful: What I said about not inviting Malcolm… Truth be told, at some point he learned about our plans and when we invited him, albeit somewhat reluctantly, he turned us down. Okay, pleading…even threatening to raise his rent didn’t work on him; it seems Malcolm didn’t have a machine washable suit, or so he claimed...
We left Friday night about seven and found Sullivan’s at about nine. We had all the equipment we’d need, packs, sleeping bags — two per couple although we guessed only one would be needed, heh heh heh — helmets, multiple carbide lamps for both helmet and hand, flashlights, extra batteries, food, drink — Red Ripple, because we thought the babes would appreciate that we weren’t just beer drinkers — and of course, grass, our elixir of love. I had also stashed a cheap tape recorder I’d bought for twelve bucks from a New York City pawn broker. More about that later.
You want to know about our dates, huh?
Carl’s date was Peggy, a freshman from Wolcott who’d grown up on a farm and was used to animals… well… increasing their numbers. She was medium everything, except for her teeth which looked a bit horsy. Dirty blond hair of shoulder length, she wore no make-up, had facial color showing high cholesterol and the hint of a double chin. But her butt was tight and her boobs were firm — aren’t they all at that age?
Carrie Mae, a hyper major from Cincinnati, with firm legs, firmer bust and calves which would make a ballet dancer jealous, was John’s date. John was a Tom Cruise look-alike, although of average size in comparison to the diminutive star. He had a certain way of carrying himself, sorta standoffish to chicks, which drove them wild. John fancied a James Dean look, complete with motorcycle, a Honda Scrambler 250, and a brown leather jacket, tight jeans and a T-shirt. Now, I don’t like to dwell on what a guy looks like, but chicks certainly dug his package. Truth be told, I never saw John with an ugly chick, even his dirty legs were lookers. Sometimes I hated him.
Tall and lean, with green eyes to set off her long yellow hair, Carrie resembled Courtney Love, and like the singer, she had a come-f#$k-me aura which was nailed into a promise by thick red lips, lips she frequently slicked with an alluring stroke of the tongue. The notion of Carrie naked gave me a woodie, but those calves gave me pause. I wondered if John would be squeezed into diarrhea. Hell, he wouldn’t care. Would you?
What was someone like Carrie doing with this group? She was as dumb as a Halloween pumpkin a week later; she was so dim she thought birds and bees actually mated, so ignorant she thought Elvis Stahr had recorded “Love Me Tender” and she was awaiting his concert dates announcement. Hell, she was so stupid she’d agreed to come with us. Nuff said.
My contribution to this ensemble was Janice, a short-haired brunette from my high school that seemingly only I had neglected to boff. She wasn’t ugly, just sorta nondescript, one of those girls who walk by but nobody notices. Everything about Janice was average, I guess, except for her proclivity to mate. She didn’t look the part, there was no come-get-me sneer like Carrie Mae possessed; but Janice had been a legend in my high school and was reputedly a tiger in the sack. I wanted to be eaten.
The girls seemed thrilled as we entered the cave. Climbing down into the great unknown is scary but exciting, especially the first time. I imagine that like the stream beyond the Great Room their juices were running down their thighs. Indeed, there was a somewhat musty smell behind us as the guys descended to lead the way.
The Duck Walk was long and tiring but the girls soon got the hang of it. A few bumped heads taught them the flip side of messing their hair with a hard hat. We took some rest breaks and the chicks were rubbing their burning thighs. This made my mouth water and I had to pace my breathing to keep from hyper-ventilating. I noticed Carl and John trading grins and John was helping Carrie Mae rub. Briefly, I worried we wouldn’t make it to the stream beyond the Great Room before the orgy began.
And then the baby bat attacked.
We had the first hint of a problem when we heard a soft flapping sound in the distance behind us, moving closer. “What’s that sound?” asked a wide-eyed Carrie Mae.
John. “Probably just a bat. Don’t worry, it won’t bother us.”
Janice. “But aren’t bats rabid.”
Me. “Some, but don’t worry. We’ve never had a problem with them.”
Whoosh! The bat sped by just inches from our heads. The girls screamed and so did Carl as we all dropped flat to the ground. John and I were too shocked to make a sound.
“It’s after us!” Carrie wailed. “What do we do?”
John. “It’s past now. We won’t see it again.”
Peggy. “Are you sure? I think I hear it again.”
The bat, a little one, maybe a baby, dive-bombed us again, this time close enough to ripple Carrie’s shoulder length hair. “My hair!” she screamed and clamped her hands around her ears.
John raised up to his knees and swung his hands palm down in front of him, a classic calming motion. “It’s okay. You’ve got a helmet. He’s probably just lost.”
Janice. “They’re blind aren’t they?”
I nodded. “Yeah, they use sonar to find their directions.”
Janice’s eyes looked like saucers. “So he’s after us isn’t he? He almost got Carrie.”
Carl was looking ahead, trying to peer through the flickering light to see if it was coming again. “Maybe his sonar is messed up,” he said and I could have shot him.
Janice looked to me. “Doesn’t rabies screw up their sonar?”
I didn’t want to answer her question. Instead, I rose and started moving forward. “Come on. There’s a rock ahead. We can hide behind it.”
The others followed me to a large rock that stood about four feet high, nearly touching the ceiling. Just as we reached its safety, the flying rodent blew by us again, just missing the rock. The girls screamed once more, and I rose up and began moving down the passage. “Follow me! We have to get to the Great Room.”
We hurdled through the Duck Walk, ignoring the pain in our knees and our burning thighs. Just as we turned to enter, I saw the bat jetting toward us. “Down!” I yelled and hit the turf, watching as everybody else followed me. The bat was making a beeline for Janice, who put her hands in front of her face and wailed. At the last moment, the bat diverted and went cascading past us down the tunnel.
Carl jumped up and hurtled through the passage into the Great Room. “This way!” He bellowed. We didn’t need a second invitation.
As we entered the Great Room, we plastered ourselves against the wall, all of us breathing heavily, waiting to see if the bat would follow. Several tense minutes passed, a long silence as our breathing stabilized. Janice poked me in the arm and motioned to me. I leaned toward her. “I pissed myself,” she said, a little too loud.
“So did I,” said Peggy as John began scowling. “We have to go back.”
Carl and I looked at each other. “Uh, that’s okay,” I said. “There’s a stream on the other side. We can all wash off there.”
Peggy. “But then I’ll be all wet. I can’t sleep in wet pants.”
The corners of Carl’s mouth curled up. “Oh, that’s okay. We’ll figure something out.”
“What? You want me to take my pants off?”
I smiled and turned to Janice. “It’ll be like skinny-dipping. We can wash out our pants and run around in our underwear. Your jeans would just get wet anyway, so why not?”
“But I’ll get cold,” Carrie protested.
John. “We’ve got wine to keep you warm. And since it’s in the high fifties in here, you won’t get that cold. The bags will keep you warm when we’re done exploring.”
Janice. “I don’t know. I think I want to go home. That bat scared me and now I’m wet. I don’t like walking around in piss.”
I sat down and removed my boots, then my pants. “Look, Janice,” I said as I was re-tying my boots. See, no problem. We can wash out our pants and let them dry, then go back tomorrow morning.”
Janice. “Yeah, but they’ll still be wet.”
Me. “They’ll be damp, Janice. That’s not too bad. Besides, do you want to do that Duck Walk now while you’re soaked in piss?”
I have such a way with words.
Everybody dropped to the ground and began unlacing their boots and dropping their pants. While they we doing this, I used my lights to scan the room.
Carrie looked up. “Wow! It looks like a big room!” Her mouth opened in awe as she heard the echo of her words. “That a… what’s the word?”
I told you she was dumb.
John. “Echo. Yeah, the room’s about a hundred feet high and a hundred feet wide, a big dome.”
Peggy. “But look at that ceiling. It’s all jagged. Do those rocks fall?”
It was hard to deny the pile of rubble in the middle of the room and how it had come to be there.
John. “Look, this room has been here for millions of years. What are the odds that a rock is gonna fall now?”
Janice. “Yeah, but this room isn’t used to noise. What if the vibrations shake something loose.”
I let out a massive bellow, causing the girls to jump. As my primal scream bounced off the limestone walls, I looked around for telltale rockfall. There was only the resonance of my pent-up heat in a room otherwise loud with silence. “See,” I said in triumph. “If that didn’t do it, nothing will.”
Janice poked me in the ribs. “That wasn’t funny. You almost made me pee myself again.”
When we were all stripped to our skivvies, the guys’ eyes glued to Carrie’s pink lacies and how she moved in them, we began heading toward the stream on the other side. The chicks moved gingerly, as if cushioning the sound of their feet would prevent the sky from falling.
The stream was at the end of a long mud slide and the water, although shallow, was running clear and pure at a pretty good clip. To give the chicks a feeling of community, the rest of us tossed in our jeans in too, and we scrubbed like banshees while we splashed and laughed. Soon, all of us were dripping wet, and I was admiring the view of thatch beneath linen, especially Carrie-thatch. Even in the dim light, Carrie’s rippling buttocks were enough to make my woodie grow sprouts. I have to admit, I took some pride in the way my briefs were sagging. And I wasn’t alone; I noticed both Carl and John were standing legs spread wide too.
Down stream, Peggy found a salamander with no eyes clinging to the wall over the cave equivalent of a tidal pool. She called us over to marvel and play with the creature. I think it was Carrie who remarked, “But how does it see?” Yup, it had to be Carrie.
Just past the salamander, the cave opened up into a long passage with a fifty foot high mud hill on the right sloping down into a clear, five foot deep pool. We splashed water on the hill, then climbed up and slid down into the pool, shrieking all the way.
We were having a ball and the chicks were getting playful. John gave Carrie a wedgie which was a thing of beauty, and she and the other girls retaliated on us. Pretty soon, we were all grabbing at crotches and making lurid promises. Frankly though, my woodie was getting painful, the cold water made it as hard as the limestone walls. I needed to find a warm place for it — and soon — to keep my boys from going blue.
John suggested some wine, and everybody agreed. So, Carl, John and I returned to the Great Room to fetch our stuff. We settled down on flat areas adjoining the stream and rolled out our bags. One by one, as we unscrewed our Ripple and settled in, we doused our lamps.
If you have never been inside of a cave, let me assure you that there is no light, none, nadda; it’s a claustrophobic darkness, one which envelops you like a tomb. It can be a bit unsettling when one can’t see anything, not even movement.
As I was connudling Janice, stroking between her legs as she was stroking mine, both of sucking in some red mood-juice, she leaned into me and whispered. “This is spooky. Can you just turn on a light for a minute?”
I felt around for my pack and a small flashlight I had inside it.
A word about Carl is appropriate here. Carl was from Da Region, a big tough guy who had a bearish quality about him. Covered with black hair, on his back, all over his chest, his stomach and legs, he could have passed for Sasquatch if he’d lived in the Pacific Northwest. About six feet one and two hundred eighty pounds, Carl could be quite imposing. The only reason people weren’t struck with fear at his appearance was his ever-present big, stupid grin, a toothy one which made his face light up like a full moon. One couldn’t look at Carl when he was grinning, when his laugh started at his pelvis in a deep soothing heh heh heh without it becoming infectious. His laugh made Carl seem less like a brute, more like a teddy bear, granted a big one.
When I found my flashlight, I pulled it out and flipped it on.
Two feet in front of us, hovering like the boogey-man, his arms in full clutch-at-ya swoop was the grinning moon face of Carl.
I think my heart stopped but I wouldn’t know; I was screaming too hard to notice and just barely I could hear Janice’s screams too. But I had much more to scream about than she did. At the time I’d flipped on my light, Janice’s hand had been stroking my penicular probe, and the shock of seeing Carl had made her…uh… snatch it in a way…uh… no one had intended. Ever have a hair ripped out by the follicle? Well, imagine something much, much larger…
I was in a death grip and death would probably have been a welcome relief.
As my lungs continued to punch air through my larynx in bunched bursts, I dropped my light and tried prying Janice’s fingers from my strangled probe. No luck, Janice’s scream drowned out her reason and her hand moved like it belonged to a cracked up kid on a joy stick. I could hear Carl’s guttural, “Heh, heh, heh,” but truth be told, I wasn’t paying attention. I was now beating on Janice’s hand trying to work myself free. In between screams, I had a future vision of me sitting to go potty.
Finally, I heard Janice wail, “You’re hurting me! Stop!” and the pressure lessened. Once free, I rolled over and massaged my tortured member, willing that it was still attached. Now as I was rolling over and back, I heard Janice cussing both me and Carl, but for very different reasons. Carl had gone back to his bag across the stream and he and Peggy were having themselves a good laugh. Somewhere down the passage I heard John and Carrie laughing too.
I’d have followed Carl across the stream and killed him, but of course, I was in too much pain already. And besides, both Carl and I knew he could bend me into a pretzel any time he wished. So there was nothing I could do but curse him, and I did that with a flurry.
But now Janice was beating on my chest, angry that I’d smacked her hand. She was yelling at me while I was yelling at Carl.
It took awhile for things to settle down, for Janice to forgive me, for me to forgive Carl and for my injured member to feel like exploring again. A little Ripple helped, and some dubie to make the mood, but then I had to go to the bathroom before we began the preliminaries.
Remember the little tape recorder I mentioned? I had recorded some ghostly hoos and wooos, moans and things like that on a time delay, and it was my turn to shine. Taking my flashlight and recorder with me, I made my way down the passage to take a leak. When I was finished, I placed the recorder down, turned it on and returned to Janice’s open arms and legs. Some minutes later, as Janice and I were once again heating up, snuggling, exploring and slicking the way, the tape recorder played back its message.
And time nearly stopped. I swear, with the first echoed, “Woooo,” bouncing off the cave walls, the air stopped moving. All ears were wide, eyes too I suspect, although as I’d turned off the light, who could tell?
“What was that?” Janice whispered. I could hear much the same from both Peggy and Carrie, although Carrie’s was sorta muffled like she had a mouthful of marbles. Then Carl and John echoed their concern.
I was nearly beside myself I thought it was so funny. But I couldn’t let on. “Shhh,” I said, making sure Janice’s hand was somewhere safe.
Now came the moans, starting softly and cascading over us like a ghostly wind. I have to say, the echo-effect really enhanced the effects. I doubt John Landis could have made a spookier scene.
“Who IS that?” Janice hissed, her voice now carrying some urgency.
I pulled her into me and whispered into her ear. “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you. Why don’t you climb into my bag.”
“Shhh. There’s somebody HERE!” she said.
“Nah, we’ll be okay. Trust me. Just come over here.”
I probably would have been okay if the sounds had stopped there, but I hadn’t known how much tape to run. So the sounds continued, made all the more eerie by the echos off the walls.
Janice had moved into my bag but as the sounds continued, she pushed me away. “We’ve GOT to get out of here!” she whispered and began scrambling out of my bag.
Across the way, I heard a loud SLAP, followed by a grunt from Carl. Then I heard Peggy’s voice. “Janice, I’m scared. I’m getting out of here. Are you coming?”
From John and Carrie’s direction, I heard Carrie say, “I’m going with them. If you guys don’t want to come, fine. Just show us how to turn these damn lights on.”
I heard John curse, then the sound of his hand running over a lamp’s flint-wheel. In moments, one of John’s lamps was on, and he used it to light some others. Carl followed suit, both of them cursing softly and looking over at me.
Janice was slipping into her panties, then rolling up her bedding, stuffing things into her pack.
“Look,” I said to everybody. “Just relax. I played a little joke. When I went to the bathroom, I set up a recorder to play back a few ghost sounds I’d recorded. There’s nobody here.”
Nobody laughed. Not even John or Carl.
Janice looked at me with loathing. “You little worm,” she said through her teeth.
I smiled, trying to disarm and said, “Well, it’s actually larger than a little worm…” I grabbed my crotch for elaboration.
“No, it’s a little worm and so are you. Tell you what, worm-boy, you just stay in your little hole, because Carrie, Peggy and I are leaving. Maybe the three of you can play with yourselves and your little worms…”
Why is it that chicks will ALWAYS stick together? Neither John nor Carl had done anything to their dates, well, nothing that wasn’t mutually desired anyway… But do you think that won them any brownie points?
I don’t think anybody spoke to me as we tread back through the Great Room, then through the long Duck Walk in cold, drenched jeans. I would have passed off the silence to our body temperatures, which were plummeting, but the chill was deeper than that. The only good thing was that the bat left us alone.
John and Carl forgave me, although it took a pizza and a couple of cases of beer before that happened.
Janice, Carrie and Peggy? Forget it. We were the only guys who ever struck out in their batting cages. The saddest thing was remembering that my bat had been in Janice’s hands; she’d wanted a sweet spot connection. And I’d sniffed it and whiffed it...
Sometimes, when I’m at the urinal, pulling after a pee, I think of Janice. But then I wince. Some memories are just too painful.