Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26, 2016 - The Command Center


The sun slants low on an old shack that hasn’t been used in many years.  At some point, it was important enough to build, but now its only companions are the elements.  It’s still sturdy, though, with some life left in it, and that sure brings me back . . .

A perfect place to plot the revolution.

This was exactly the kind of shack I would seek out when I was younger.  I think I told you once about my secret hideouts.  I had several of them.  In case one got confiscated, there was always another one to go to.  I made shacks like these my “command centers.”  I would make them as livable as possible.  I’d bring in old sheets or pieces of fabric and make curtains and table cloths.  I’d find old crates for tables and chairs.  I’d do it up just right, I would.

Once I got comfortable in my shack, I’d need a “purpose” for being there.  In a young child, the imagination runs wild.  That’s where the command center part comes in.  I’d always have my trusty transistor radio with me where I’d get all sorts of important information about the world.  I’d also have a set of walkie-talkies.  Then I’d stake out the whole area and draw a map.  I’d include people’s houses, areas where other kids were known to play, schools, other secret hideouts (some which belonged to me and some which belonged to the enemy).  It was all very official, you see.

Then a campaign would begin.  If I’d allowed others to know about my command center, we’d work as a team using the walkie-talkies.  We’d usually start with a spy mission on any other hideouts in the area and also on people we deemed to be suspicious adults.  Sometimes our missions got quite elaborate, and it’s a good thing we were just kids because if we weren’t, we surely would have ended up in jail.  We peeped in windows, listened under eaves, and kept meticulous records of all the strange goings on in the neighborhood.  If a couple were fighting, we’d know about it.

Survival skills were also practiced.  I’d make primitive bows and arrows as well as traps for birds.  I’d practice my fire making skills a lot.  I’d make lean-tos and whittle small utensils.  One time a man caught me trying to set a fire.  He was wearing a long trench coat and had a black hat.  He told me he was a detective and that he was going to call the police and tell them I was an arsonist.  I told him I wasn’t an arsonist but that if he called the police, he might as well just kill me because if he didn’t, my mother would.  He left me alone.

I’d store food in my shacks and eat out there, pretending I was shipwrecked.  I’d make plans for the village I was going to build and the people I’d be ruling.  They were sophisticated plans that included all kinds of community building and municipal forces.  I was never one to dream small.  I always went for the gusto.

Eventually, as always, the farmer whose shack I had commandeered would discover me as a squatter and throw me out.  He’d board the place up or tear it down, or worse, he’d threaten to call my mother.  He might as well just have killed me because if he didn’t, she would have.

And another saga would come to a close.  Until I hunted and sniffed around again for a new command center.  Oh, the things I could have done with a place like this!  That shack in the photo is like the Hilton compared to some places I had.  Just imagine the kingdoms I would have ruled . . .

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