Continued from this post:
That night I once again burned the fire as long as I could. Went through my ritual of telling the woods to fuck off. When I finally got inside my tent bag I thought for sure I’d crash out and get my first real night’s sleep in the hole. But I was wrong. Since I brought no blankets or warm clothes I felt cold. During the day it was in the 80s but when the sun went to sleep it took the heat with it.
I tried flipping in the bag so less cold air came in. I rolled around. Tried folding loose parts of the tent over me to act as something of a blanket. Rubbed my arms and stuck them in my shirt. I tried kneading my hands into my gut. Nothing. Then I remembered the toilet paper in my backpack. I unzipped myself from the bag and got it.
The idea was that if I wrapped myself it’d act like an extra layer of clothing. I sat in the chair next to my fire and started wrapping. It kept unspooling Pieces broke off. I tossed them to the flames. The fire ate my blanket square by square by square. Even if I managed to wrap an entire arm there was no way to tie it. I tucked the end into the wrap and hoped for the best. I wrapped my neck in similar fashion then pulled up my pajama pants to cast my legs too.
I crawled back in my hole, a mummy in his sarcophagus. I waited for the animals to come pull my brain out through my nose. But still I was cold. I started up again with chants of “fuck off Mr. Skunk.” I couldn’t sleep. Sweat formed on my legs and I was cold everywhere else. The wrapping came undone after just a few minutes.
I waited until sunrise. Crawled out of the bag and took my picture. Knew my beauty levels must be low by this point. Got the fire up and went to bed on the ground beside it. I was no longer bothered with laying out newspaper to protect my face from the dirt. Every part of my body was filthy in some way. My ass and crotch were sweaty and caked in a thin sheet of earth — dirt, leaves, wood bits, and ticks. Elsewhere on my body it felt greasy or dry. Some of the dirt stuck to the hairs on my legs and arms. It blackened beneath my fingernails. I closed my eyes and went to bed with toilet paper still half clinging to my frame.
I spent virtually this entire day laying and sleeping. Normally I’d get up around noon and set off to gather wood, write, hang on the beach, adventure. But I was still completely wiped. My body felt as if it weren’t a part of me. Everything had gone to sleep except my brain. Even it was listless. I lay looking at the trees. Listened to birds chirp and fish flop. Sometimes I’d roll over and push a stick through the fire. Bang it into coals. I’d feel entertained when sparks flew up. Soon they’d float down to burn another hole in my shirt.
I heard a tractor working in field next to my woods. I could even see it through the trees. This was the only human life I’d sensed in days. During my time in the woods I’d talk to myself a bit just to hear a voice. Just to know I could still speak. Sometimes I heard my dog barking from our yard. I wanted her, Xouirteeee, to come out and join me so bad. She could sniff around and scratch trees and spazz out anytime the fire crackled or spit up sparks. She’d cuddle with me in the tent bag at night. Breathe her stink breath into my nose. Keep me safe. Keep me warm. I’d feel her tail wag against me as I cried out to the animals. But she was back at the house. I was alone. But that was okay.
This was day four. I hadn’t shit since the morning I left. Needed to go at this point. I knew I was going to have to do this at least once in the woods since the plan was to spend seven days out there. I got up for the first time that day and set about looking for somewhere to go. Didn’t want to do it too near my camp. But when I started walking I really didn’t want to move. Ended up at a tree only thirty feet away.
Using my spade I dug a small hole at the base of this tree. Fetched my toilet paper and hand sanitizer. My guts ached real bad from all the exertion of drowning and not having been emptied in days. I squatted down and anchored my back against the tree. Didn’t want anything to land on my foot or get squished into my cheeks. I began to push. It came out wet and quick. What did didn’t really fall into the hole I dug but ah well.
As soon as I had my elimination the flies arrived. I don’t know where they came from, but in less than a minute the place was swarmed. They pecked at my legs and my shit. Gobble gobble gobble. Little bastards didn’t even say grace first. I didn’t know the best way to wipe. Should I keep crouched or lay on the ground and wipe myself as if I were a baby? I cleaned as much as I could while crouching. Laid on the ground to finish the rest. The whole time these flies swarmed the pile and bit into me. Kept on having to swat them away as I tried cleaning myself. I rocked on my back and spread my legs in the air. I’m surprised they didn’t chow right out of my asshole.
Once I was clean I threw all the toilet paper into the hole. Cleaned my hands. Got matches and lit the shit pile. This scared the flies away and was fun to do. Watched the shit and paper burn. Thought to myself, the highlight of today has been burning a pile of my own fly infested feces. It seemed like a good thing.
I was still sleepy and without energy. Just sat in my chair out of it. The point of this trip was to go on an exploration into my mind but I’d been pretty thoughtless since my swim. Really just didn’t want to do anything except lay on the ground. Feel the fire’s heat on my chest and cold dirt on my back. Should have had thoughts about why had I prayed, what did it mean to sort of almost die. Should have culled a list in my mind of everything that was important to me and what I was thankful for. But as far as I can remember I didn’t. And having no food to eat or people around to motivate me I basically lay in muck the whole day. Too often I retreat from the world when left to my own devices.
That night I burned my fire and once again gave the animals their warning. By this point they probably got their families together to come down and listen to me at every sunset. The wuss kid camper. Maybe I was like a drive in theater for the critter community. “Fuck Off” playing at 10 P.M., followed by the main attraction of “Keep Away Now” at 11.
Once again my sleep was bad. I thought maybe the next night I’d just stay out and sleep by the fire since that’s what I did every morning anyway. I didn’t feel exposed out by the fire during the daylight, thinking an animal wouldn’t come near under those circumstances. Plus by that point I was always too tired and burnt out too care. So the sun rose on day five. I took my picture and went to bed.
Slept in late again. After getting up I felt better but still listless. By this point I’d spent close to thirty six hours in a catatonic state. I wanted to snap out of it and have some good adventures for my final few days. I knew just how to do it. Today was the day I planned to get drunk and rape myself.
I brought two items with me camping that I haven’t mentioned yet. Other than my journal they were perhaps the two most important things of the entire trip. A bottle of MD 20/20 fortified wine and a likeness of myself that I made out of cardboard and sticks.
I only drank once during my freshman year of college. Blacked out that night from apple pie and spent the evening sick on a bathroom floor talking to girls while they peed in front of me. I just have never been a big drinker and so it wasn’t on my priority list, though knew I was missing out on a lot of the college experience. So I thought what better way to make up for that missing part of college social interaction than to get drunk in the woods on my own. Had a friend’s creepy friend (who later in life went on to rob several liquor stores with an axe) buy the bottle for me. I wanted to get drunk on this empty stomach of mine. Then fuck Mr. Cardboard Nolan.
I had a couple girls interested in me freshman year of college but nothing followed through — mostly from my own timidity. By this point it’d been over a year since I’d even kissed. Masturbation is what kept me sane. Living in the woods I decided I was going to deprive myself of jerking off since it was another form of sustenance like food. Thought it might bring my mind to good weird places. So at this point I hadn’t blown one in five days which was a lot for me at the time. I was going to get hammered, get naked, crawl on top of this cardboard box incarnation of myself and stick my dick in it. I don’t know what I hoped to accomplish with this. Didn’t know what it would mean to fuck a cardboard likeness of oneself. But I wanted to find out. I was going to do it. And I was going to cum.
Started drinking wine straight from the bottle as I sat fireside. At first I paper bagged it so I could imagine myself as some hobo in a black and white movie. Nolan Devine, tramp of the woods. Just kicking it in the dirt. Singing some Beck to himself. This camping wasn’t so bad.
As I drank it became dark late afternoon. Clouds filled the sky and it started getting windy and cold. Until then every day had been nice and sunny until night time. I kept on drinking my wine, thinking it might rain. Hoped it wouldn’t as I didn’t really have any waterproof gear. Put my journal in my cooler to keep it safe. Zipping up in the tent bag would only keep me partially dry and I’d be laying in mud. But if I were drunk and recently drained maybe it wouldn’t be bad. So I kept on boozing.
Not much later I thought I heard my name being called, a distance echo of “Nolan, Nolan.” Thought I imagined it. But then I heard it again. It was far off. But I could tell it was my dad. His deep voice whooping my name. My parents knew they weren’t to contact me so I didn’t know what he wanted. Decided I had to break my no communication rule so as to keep him from showing up at my camp. Called home to my mom and she told me there was a tornado coming.
In North Dakota during the summer we’re under constant threat from tornadoes that almost never come. Practically urban legends. They never end up near our house. Yet my mom spazzes over them. When there’s a tornado warning she tries rounding the family up and sends us to the basement. Dogs too. She puts on a yellow bicycle helmet, throws a blanket over herself, and sits in her canning room waiting it out with a battery operated radio. Usually I hang in the living room watching cartoons, sometimes heading down to the basement to use the computer. So I was wary of these tornado warnings but my mom insisted it wasn’t safe at camp and I had to come home immediately. I didn’t want them to worry so agreed to return. My camping adventure was about to die at day five.
After getting off the phone I realized I was drunk. I could not show up drunk since alcohol was the ultimate taboo in our house due to my father being sober ten years at that point and still heavily involved in AA. I tried thinking of what to do. Grabbed my wine bottle, still half full, and had to decide whether to hide it or chuck the thing. I wasn’t sure if my dad was walking out to the camp or not. I decided it was too risky to hide so I dumped the rest out into the dirt and side-armed the bottle into the Red.
I thought of how I could sober up. Drank a quart of water in almost no time. Was so afraid my dad would see me drunk, thought how devastated he’d be. I didn’t know what to do. I began tearing leaves off trees and chewing them. Didn’t even swallow the pulp, just sucked the juices. Don’t know how I thought this was to help. I grabbed and stuffed wads of leaves into my face. I spit them out then grabbed more.
I looked at my cardboard doppleganger. Wasn’t going to get to fuck it. I had spent so much time imagining how it’d go. I’d be naked. Climb on top and stick my penis into a hole in the box around the crotch area. Remove the tape so it wouldn’t stick to my gut. Kiss the printed out picture of my own face. Bite the cardboard shoulders. Grunt in ecstasy. I’m sure as soon as I laid on it the box would’ve flattened to the ground. No worries, I’d just fold up the crotch hole enough that I could penetrate it without hitting dirt. Would violently fuck this thing. Grab the arms made of sticks and snap them. Beat my printed face with its arm. Penetrating this cardboard box the whole time. In. Out. In. Out. Then I’d cum. Don’t know how I thought I’d reach orgasm in this scenario but I was going to, dammit. Was going to drain one into the earth. Was going to feel great. But I’d still be a virgin afterward. Cardboard doesn’t count.
But there was no time to do that. Didn’t want my father walking in on his drunken son fucking a cardboard box in the woods. I went to the bank overlooking my beach and pulled down my pants. Got on my knees and started to masturbate. Stared out at the river that almost killed me. I was going to shoot some life into it. But I had trouble reaching orgasm. Couldn’t concentrate. Would forget I was masturbating, drifting into thoughts of my father approaching, the sound of the wind against the trees. I wasn’t going to get off. My mouth was full of leaves. I pulled up my pants. I continued to chew my cud.
I ran through the field carrying only my journal and a few other things I didn’t want wet in my backpack. Saw my father wasn’t in the field. I still jogged because now it’d begun to downpour. Was so drunk I couldn’t keep in a straight line. Eventually got to my mother’s garden. Bent over, put my fingers down my throat, and made myself throw up twice near where the cabbage was planted. Stuffed more leaves into my mouth.
Got up to the house and my parents were waiting on the step. I greeted them. When they wanted to hug said I was too dirty. Didn’t want them smelling the booze. Seeing my leafy teeth. Went inside to the bathroom. Filled my mouth with Listerine and washed my hands. Used the mouthwash several times. Didn’t want any wino smell. Little chewed up bits of green lay in the sink.
I sat in the living room with my parents and had a chat. Told them I hadn’t eaten since going out there and so felt out of it. It explained away my drunken state. So sneaky. They were surprised I hadn’t brought food with. I gave them the basic story of what happened in the woods but left out details like me swimming in the river and the rape box.
I got my sister to photograph me so as to show how dirty I’d grown. As children we often had mud and rotten tomato fights down in our garden that ended with us having to spray off with the cold hose outside. Even though I wasn’t slathered in mud like from a garden fight, I felt the dirtiness had penetrated more of my body this time. Every part of me was wet or contaminated with mud and earth. My unwashed dirt ridden hair was stiff and bristly like a corn broom used to sweep up dead mice. Dirty from the woods. From the minerals of the river that almost killed me. Filth was in my eyes. On my feet. Up my ass. I was worse than the pictures suggest.
I showered up and weighed myself. Lost close to ten pounds. I immediately ate a DiGiorno four cheese pizza. Slathered it in ranch. The whole thing to myself. Fucking tasty. Fucking bad habits kicking right back in. The woods hadn’t changed me much.
Next day my sister and I went back to camp. I showed her around. Told her most of what really happened. We ended up burning a lot of my stuff like the juice and water since it was too heavy to carry back. I’d spent all that time and effort lugging it out. Brought at least three times as much shit as I actually needed. Thought about whether I would do something like this again. Said maybe it could be a once a year ritual. Or maybe a never again kind of cone. I wasn’t sure if anything in me had actually changed. I thought about this a lot but I just wasn’t sure.
We took off for South Carolina a couple days later. I put my journal away and didn’t open it for five years. But I did spend the rest of that summer telling people the story of my time living in a dirt hole crash pad.
Your SHITFACED BOXFUCKING Narrator, GABFRAB: