One day I got this notice that I was eligible to become a member of this secret organization in the Boy Scouts. At least I had never heard of it. I don’t know how they got my name or what made them think I was qualified for such an honor. I was not an Eagle Scout though being a Life Scout, the one right under Eagle, put me pretty high up in the organization, I guess.
I had to go to some sort of class, it seemed, to get into this secret organization and it started at the fucking crack of dawn. At least it was dark when I reported to the pick up point and then a group of us was driven up into the woods somewhere. Well, sort of woods. There were lots of trees hither and thither and open ground and brush and such indicating woods of the kind that grow in Southern California.
There was maybe about 12 or so of us boys, and more adults than usual proporational wise. We were lined up and addressed being told that starting at 8 in the morning we would take a vow of silence and we would not speak or eat again until 8 that evening. We weren’t given any options, like four hours of silence and a little eating. That was it, and while I don’t remember what I thought of all this I was pretty much stuck since I was out in the middle of nowhere without my own mode of transportation, and there was no way I could lead a revolt since I didn’t know any of the boys there since we had been gathered from all over the county for this special occasion.
There was some little talk about Indians and shit, and then we hit the road by which I mean we spent the entire fucking day marching from one patch of trees to another because it was hot. So we would march and then rest awhile under a bunch of trees and then we would march some more. Oh, and we could drink water so we would not pass out from the heat. And we would sit there under the tree and we couldn’t even talk to each other, and if you saw I cowpie and wanted to warn somebody about it, you couldn’t do that.
Mostly it was awful boring though I did get to feeling pretty hungry and somewhat light headed as the day went on. And then just as it was starting to get really dark, they did this strange thing and put us in a line and took a rope and wrapped it around the wrist of every boy in that line and then we were supposed to walk following each other in the dark like the blind leading the blind. I say this because it was a dark night with no moon and you couldn’t see shit.
I was somewhere in the middle of the line and I got to say that after a little bit that rope wrapped around the wrist began to chafe a good little bit because it was your rough and prickly rope and not your smooth rope. And then all of a sudden, I stepped directly into a ditch and fell to my knees and that rope just cut into my wrist and I cried out, like, Oh!, and I figured I had flunked out of the whole thing by breaking the vow of silence after wasting a whole goddamn day at it. And felt pretty ashamed of myself for falling down in the dark and yelling out Oh!
And a while later I got a card saying I was an official member of the “Order of the Arrow,” which was the name of the secret organization. So I guess I didn’t flunk out though I never heard from them again.