As I descend into the boiling water I try to plan it out to lessen the damage.
Rules for being dipped in boiling water:
- Don’t panic. Ignore the clumps of hair already scalded off your noggin and floating in the water below. It might not grow back, but the bald look is cool, right?
- Keep the eyes closed. Don’t want the peepers turning into hard boiled eggs.
- Keep the mouth shut and exhale through the nose. Don’t want to inhale boiling water. Skin burns are bad enough. Don’t need internal lung blisters to go with it.
- Figure some way to stop being dipped in boiling water.
The descent pauses just before I touch the water. The hippies all start jumping up and down counting backwards from 10.
Stop staring at the naked people...
She might be alright if she’d shave...
FOCUS. “Free Willy!”
Nothing. Think faster.
“I can’t believe you let Exxon talk you into this sort of bourgeois exercise in corporate Republican oppression of the environmental dolphins!”
“What would Che Guverra do!?” (someone hollers back, ‘dunk your ass’.)
At first, the water feels almost cool as my central nervous system tries to figure out what the hell to do when the amp gets turned to 11. The spinal cord looks at the brain stem, and asks, “Are you fuckin serious? Who filed this request?” The brain stem stares right back at the spinal cord and says, “Who fucking cares. I was supposed to be outta here an hour ago. Let’s just get this done, get some blow, and head to the strip club already.” The spinal cord looks at the orders, looks back at the brain stem, thinks about blow and strippers, and says, “Fuck it. Let’s crank this motha and get outta here.”
Turns out, as long as you keep screaming your eyes stay closed and no water can get into your nose or mouth.
They pull me out and a couple of minutes later I finally stop screaming.
As I force my eyes open, the blisters covering my eyelids rupture.
I scream a bit more.
About half the crowd is chanting for me to be dunked again. The other half is looking bored. I decide I don’t want to be dipped into boiling water anymore.
“Praise Vishnu, I Have Been Cleansed!”
The hippy with the dirty wang looks at me confused. “Praise who?”
“Brothers and Sisters! I have seen the light. Thank you! Thank you all for, umm... for realigning my cosmo-magnetic... shakras!”
A few people are still hollering for me to be dunked, but a lot of people are looking confused. Dirty wang asks, “Ummm... are you Buddhist?” One of the unshaved girls spits on me and tells dirty wang to stop being such a tool.
“Thank you sister for your cooling fluids. The turtles that go all the way down will reward you. Thanks to you and, ummm... The Eternal Buddha, Lady Gaia has accepted me into her Wiccan ways and, ummm... I am once again at peace with the earth mother.”
No one’s hollering to dunk me anymore, so I figure something must be working. I see dirty wang’s brother in his “Five of your fattest, cheapest hookers, please.” t-shirt. He's lighting a cigarette and smiling.
Questions are coming from the crowd now. Am I Buddha? Am I Wiccan? Am I from outerspace?
I figure I might as well go for broke. “Children! All shall become clear. I have passed through the crucible and touched the face of the univeral spirit. She has given me demands for her children. Thus, umm... Spake Zarathusa!”
Someone yells from the crowd, “Demands? Fuck that. Dunk him!”
“The Spirit's first, ummm, request is for us all to smoke some righteous bud!”
A few scattered cheers.
“The Sprit's second request is for us to all hold hands and sing Kum By Ya, and thus bring about the healing of the bear spirit which has been deeply wounded by the Alaskan pipeline!”
A few more cheers. This shit is easy.
“The Spirit's third request is for us to march to Harveyville, Ohio for a Hemp Fest Pro-Peace War Against Slavery!”
They’re eating out of my hands now. I think about it, but only for a moment. I’m an evil prick.
“Finally, the Great Spirit has asked me to choose two servants to supply all my needs for my fight against the oppression of the weak!” I smile. My burned lips crack and bleed. “The kind soul with the dirty wang and his lady friend, Sunshine, who so graciously brought me to this gathering of enlightenment and tolerance shall be annointed in lady Gaia’s boiling cauldron of ultimate friendship as I have been until they also see the great universal spirit. You will know when this has occurred because they will swear everlasting devotion to me!”
The cheers swell to a roar.
Dirty Wang and his lady don’t look happy.
They cut me down and a couple of the cleaner girls help me hobble off to a tent. They keep talking about the color of my aura and I’m glad when they leave me alone in the semi-darkness listening to Dirty Wang’s screams.
The tent flap pulls back and Dirty Wang’s brother walks into the tent. He closes the flap behind him and stands over me.
“Thanks for all your help out there, prick.” I say.
He stares down at me. I’m feeling uncomfortable.
“Look buddy, if you wanna blow me, I’m really too tired. It’s been a rough day. Why don’t you come back tomorrow. I’ll try to find you some chapstick.”
He reaches behind him and pulls out a really big knife. “I could gut you right here. I should after what you did to my brother out there.”
“Fuck you.” I say. “Your brother was dunking me in boiling water. I’m probably gonna be bald now. He deserved it. And if you do anything to me, that mob out there will tear you to pieces. If you’d done something to stop the shit in the first place, maybe it wouldn’t have come to this. Old Dirty Wang out there will be just fine once he wises up and tells em he’s seen the universal whathafuck.”
“His name’s not Dirty Wang. His name is Steve, just like mine. And I thought maybe you weren’t like that pink bastard, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe I should just bleed you real quite like, and leave you here.”
He looks serious. I say, “Or maybe you and I should get this rabble to Harveyville.”
“What’s in Harveyville?” he asks.
I laugh, it hurts but I can’t help it. “The crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows...”
“What are you babbling about?”
“Moloch. Solitude. Filth. Ugliness. Better known as that evil pink fuck, The Cupcake.”