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The Fisher of Stories



I used to be a pretty puny kid.

In the sixth grade I’d already hit 5’6″, and I weighed right around 95 pounds. I was a stick. It was not a healthy, cut up, lean physique, either. I was a measly little sixth grader who got tossed around like a rag doll by bullies.

Weaknesses aside, I did have a talent of sorts. I was really good at pillow fighting. Years of church camps and practicing moves on my younger brothers had given me a keen eye, fast reflexes, and a finishing move that rivaled anything the creators of Mortal Kombat could have dreamed up.

Flawless victory.

Seventh grade wasn’t much better for me (some of you read my Twitter story about the first time I got slapped), but I did start putting on a little bit of weight.

As a seventh grader I wasn’t supposed to go to Kiamichi (the church camp for third through sixth graders), but because my parents were sponsors, I had to go. They couldn’t exactly leave me alone at the house for a week.
Naturally, being one of the oldest kids there, I took charge of the dorm in much the same way the Aryan Brotherhood takes control of a prison, only I wasn’t racist. I established my rule with violence, unfairness, and a general sort of all encompassing control.
One of my first orders of business was to establish the first annual Kiamichi Invitational Pillow Fight Tournament. And, as the founder of the tournament, I gave myself the top seed. I would preside over the tournament like Shao Kahn, and I would fight the winner.
I have to say, even though the tournament was immediately and forever banned from Kiamichi, it was the best pillow fight tournament ever fought on those hallowed grounds. Young men battled and fought their way to the top, leaving their battered victims muttering excuses to the adults like “Oh, I slipped and fell on a rock.”
The first rule of Pillow Fight Club is you don’t talk about Pillow Fight Club y’all.
And at last we had a winner, Tommy.*
Tommy was a scrapper, a measly sixth grade kid who may or may not have won his matches by incorporating biting into his pillow fights. All’s fair in love and pillow fights though, am I right?
So it had come down to this.
A crowd gathered around like a playground fight, the better to shield what was taking place from the prying eyes of well-meaning but ultimately overbearing adults who would rid us of our fun if they caught us.

It was a pillow fight for the ages. Tommy did try to bite, but I fended him off. I was spinning and ducking and dodging blows and teeth like a Shaolin monk, and I was pulling off some spectacular combo moves that left poor Tommy reeling.

Finally I did it. I landed a series of spinning roundhouse hits that put Tommy against the wall. After I was done he looked like this:

He was, to put it in the words of today’s youth, “wobbled.”

So I moved in for my patented “finish him” move. Fatality style.
Now, I’ve told you all of this to tell you another crucial part of the story. If you’re desperate for the end bit, go ahead and skip this, but it won’t make much sense without it.
If any of you have ever been to church camp, you understand the importance of “packing light.” I think what this actually means is to pack as little as you possibly can, but in reality how people take it is to cram as much stuff as you can into the least amount of space taking luggage.
Being the industrious young man I was, I had taken the liberty of saving some space in my luggage by packing about four pairs of Wrangler jeans in another vessel.
In my pillow case.
To be completely honest, and I mean this guys, I swear, I had forgotten that I’d put the jeans in there. I really did. I would never have tried to win the Kiamichi Invitational with subversion and ill-begotten tactics, I was no biting Tommy after all.
Alright, back to Tommy, poor, wobbled Tommy, up against the ropes, and me coming in for the fatality.
I spun, ducked, and exploded up onto my toes, so I could bring every ounce of body weight I had into the blow. I brought the pillow up swiftly with a flick of the wrists (it’s all in the wrists guys), and I made solid contact with Tommy’s jaw.
Since we were poor growing up, I had a rock hard pillow anyway. I also had a homemade pillow case that was stitched together by my mother and would have held 1,000 pounds without coming apart. Now if you add those things together plus the fact that I had four pairs of hard as a rock denim packed in there, you get a pretty staggering result when you force uppercut someone on the jaw with it.


It wasn’t that bad.
But it did knock Tommy partly unconscious and wound up getting me into a world of trouble with a couple of sponsors who just happened to be my parents.
And thus ended two things: my reign over the boys dorm at Kiamichi, and the Kiamichi Invitational Pillow Fight Tournament.
* Tommy’s name has been changed to protect his privacy mostly because I’m friends with him on Facebook. 
I am spinning a yarn today that is woven from the fine thread of revenge. Sit back, have a mug of coffee or cocoa, and read on, Edgar Allen style.

I was once a youth minister at Okay First Baptist Church. I lost that job because I was an idiot. I’ve changed a bit in the last few years, kind of wandered a bit, but just because I use a few bad words here and there doesn’t make me any more of a sinner than the next guy.
One of my responsibilities was to take the teenagers to church camp every year. The camp we went to is called Falls Creek. You may have heard of it, you may not. It’s a blast. If I had to pick the one thing that I miss the most of being a YM, the time with the kids there would be it.
Pranks are a big deal at church camp. If I had to pick a priority order, they’d come in just under God Himself.

Some pranks are funny, some are tolerable, and some are just downright stupid. As the YM, and having been in a prank when I was a kid in the camp that involved me running balls naked from the shower and tackling another kid, I had to set some ground rules about acceptable pranking.

Also water guns were allowed at the camp, and no water balloons because another church in Muskogee, I won’t say whom, blasted the camp director in the face with a water balloon one year. Yeah… He wasn’t a happy camper (chuckle).

Anyhow, no shower pranks, no nude pranks, no messing up others bedding, and no shaving cream pranks were allowed. This left options limited…unless you’re a girl.

You see, girls have certain…ahem…items that they should always take to church camps, just in case. Being girls, these…items don’t bother them because they use them in the natural order of life, womanhood, and all that jazz.

However, the items in question are often not used in the natural order of things, and are instead used to do other things, mainly torture boys with.

Talkin’ bout tampons, y’all.

One night the girls decided that they were going to play a prank on us. It consisted of them sitting outside our door with an air horn and blowing it until one of the kids got fed up enough to go outside and do something about it.

To be fair, I warned the kid not to. Being a veteran, I knew what was waiting. I knew there were about fifteen girls out there armed to the teeth, and that somehow tampons would be present in that armory.

I told him to calm down. I told him there’d be tampons. In the end, he just couldn’t take the stress anymore. He made a decision.

He went out with his head held high, and he paid dearly for it. Yelling his head off, he walked straight into some saran wrap laced with shaving cream, then took 25 tampons to the face. It was humiliating. He came back in the bunk a changed man.

I couldn’t let that go.

I was going to punish them because they used shaving cream, but The Missus would have none of it. She believed tampons were fair in love and war, and so I just decided to let it ride, and we plotted our revenge.
I’ll give you the way it went down, from the girl’s perspective.

Editor’s note, April 2013: There is absolutely no way I’d allow this to be done again. Looking back and remembering, it was the dumbest thing I ever let the kids do, and one time I let them in hotel rooms with stocked mini bars, so that tells you something. If something had happened, woo. But the only thing that happened was pure awesomeness.

We had a new guy with us that year, Harlan Johnson, who happened to be the guy that took my place when I left the church. He was the “bait.”

The girls were having a nice, quiet awards ceremony that The Missus had dreamed up for edifying purposes.

Harlan came running full-tilt from the dorm through the commons area and out the front door with a few of us guys in tow. I ran out chasing him in my socks, slipped, and slid across a polished floor into some tables.

That was not planned, but it wound up being effective in luring the girls outside. And bruising me.

We chased him outside where we caught him, and started tying him to a basketball pole. This also caused all the girls to come outside to see what was going on.

And then, from the middle of the fracas, the code word was yelled!

Suddenly, boys appeared from everywhere. It was like that scene from The Rock where the people doing the rescuing are down in the pit and the bad guys are on top and Ed Harris is all like “WE HAVE THE HIGH GROUND JUST SURRENDER!” and no one surrenders and then there’s a massacre only we didn’t give them a chance to surrender, no, not after the Great Tamponing of 2008.


Part of the young men were on water duty. They came out of a trailer we used to haul stuff in and covered the girls head to toe with water. Soaked them up real well…and then…


We had agents stationed on the roof with tons of leftover flour from the kitchen. As it rained down on the soaked young ladies, I was reminded of snow…and of winter.


Obviously an update. Still appropriate.

The flour covered the girls, and unfortunately most of the awards they were given, turning everyone and everything into a sticky sort of glue. The girls, being ever brilliant, quickly decided to start hugging the guys, and since teenage boys LIVE for hugs from girls, their dichotomous natures betrayed them and they ended up floury as well.
A group was outside their cabin having devotion when all of this happened. In retrospect, I feel really bad for that YM. You really can’t bring your kids back to Jesus after they’ve just witnessed Falls Creek history.

They loved it though, and were really excited about it. One of them even claimed to have gotten the whole thing on video and agreed to send it to us. We never got it. I like to think though that somewhere out there is a church who has a Flour on the Roof Sunday, where they put the tape in and watch it, laughing hysterically.

We spent the rest of the evening and into the wee hours cleaning flour from our patio, the cabin next door, the van, and everywhere but our minds. The flour on our minds will live in infamy.

Immediately after, The Missus and I had an enormous fight about ruining her awards ceremony (which I still feel kind of bad about), and the fact that I violated almost every rule at the camp in one fell swoop.

1. No running in the cabins
2. No yelling in the cabins
3. No tying people to things
4. No water throwing unless in designated areas
5. No wasting of precious food commodities

and the list really just goes on.

The rest of the week, all that was talked about, aside from God, was Flour on the Roof, and its other name, The Battle at Finkery Hill. To my knowledge, it has never been topped, nay attempted, ever. I don’t think it ever will be.Unless some poor sap lets me take kids to Falls Creek again.

It was like Scarface sneezed on our cabin.