We were still a hundred yards from the Kinney place at the top of the hill, when we rounded a bend and the trail forked. “This way.” panted Lidge as he took the right fork. Seconds later the three of us stood humped over and gasping for breath at the door of a ramshackle ol’ outhouse. At the sound of hurried footsteps close behind, we crowded into the tiny refuge and Lidge bolted the door. It was pitch black inside, the atmosphere was close and stifling, and the odor was exceedingly unpleasant! I desperately wanted to hold my breath but we were all breathing too heavily for that. I stepped up onto the business seat to help ease the crowding, and Lidge braced himself and leaned against the door.
As I stood up on the bench my head hit a rafter, the heat was oppressive, I was all but smothered in a veil of cobwebs, and an indignant wasp began buzzing threateningly around my ears. I started to speak to Mariah, but she laid her finger against my lips and said “shhhh!” Her finger was only against my lips for an instant, but somehow her touch left me warm all over.
As I stood straddling that outhouse seat and crouching to avoid that pesky wasp, my face was just inches from the top of Mariah’s head. I could feel the warmth from her body and smell her long lustrous hair. I pretended to loose my balance as an excuse to lay my hand on her shoulder. She glanced up at me very briefly and then ever so gently she laid her hand on mine. I held my breath, my pulse quickened, and Ted and the band of ruffians arrived outside the door. There were muffled voices and stifled chuckling, and then in unison they counted “one, two, three,” and leaned heavily into the side of that board and batten john. Our fragile refuge listed dangerously to starboard, that ornery wasp planted his rapier-like stinger deep into the lobe of my ear, and both my feet, new boots and all, slipped into that big black hole!
Seconds later Lidge threw open the outhouse door, Ted and the ruffians let out with war whoops as they disappeared down the path, and the blinding light of day rushed in on a sad and sorry spectacle. That dreadful abyss had engulfed me right up to the armpits, my ribcage was stuck tight as a cork in its’ terrible jaws, and a powerful aroma brought evidence, I was stuck knee-deep in that holes’ contents. Abandon hope all ye who enter here! The bowels of the beast made a hideous sucking sound as Lidge and Mariah laboriously extricated me from my predicament. My clenched toes clung desperately to my left boot, and that Godless pit claimed the other! "Obie's Quest"