In terms of poo-related catastrophes, camping and alcohol together are akin to a jackhammer in a nitroglycerine warehouse. I have never been on a camping/drinking trip where something nightmarish didn't happen involving poop. In fact, one of our favorite camping buddies is nicknamed Pancake because he left a pile of poo that looked interestingly like a stack of pancakes. But this isn't about dear Pancake and his complicated creation you would hope not to find on an IHOP menu. This story is about my sister--and The Hole.
I often go camping with large groups of friends. I am the safety net; I don't drink, so my job is to confiscate car keys, drive if needed, man the camera, hold all cigarettes so they don't get stolen/stepped on/taken swimming. I help keep the peace when drunken tempers rise (which is saying something, as I'm very petite). I comfort people when they begin spewing like something out of The Exorcist. I also never fail to bring ibuprofen and make sure everyone is supplementing their liquor with at least a little water and food.
I am Lord of the Bar Flies ... Actually, I feel like I'm babysitting demon spawn and not getting paid.
The worst, by far, is my sister. She is a very temperamental drunk. If her shoe gets wet just before Jack Daniels pimp-slaps her, you can bet it will be a very long, unpleasant evening with her shouting at everyone in a drunken rage. Sometimes things go well enough, and she'll be a happy drunk, willing to crawl across broken glass and thumb tacks to get you a snack. What is consistent when she drinks is that she's batshit crazy. Absolutely no regard for her own or others' safety, which has lead me to do some pretty weird things, such as steal her shoes, tackle her like a freaking linebacker, pull a fishing hook out of her eyebrow, and jump into a lake, fully clothed, to rescue her dumb ass. I love my sister ... when she's sober. When she's drunk I just want to duct tape her to a tree and poke her mercilessly with pointy sticks.
On one of these camping trips, I and nine other friends visit an obscure lake. Before any drinking begins, everyone makes sure the tents are pitched, we have ample firewood, and that The Hole is dug. Ah, The Hole. The Crater of Calamity. The shallow grave for the mass burial of used beer and hot dogs. Literally, a shit hole. Another of my sober-person jobs was to make sure the inebriated did not fall in The Hole.
Sister is drinking like a fish. Crap, she's loose! She's on the move, waving her arms like a manic monkey made out of Bubble Yum. I keep a close eye on her. I also have to keep an eye on Asshole, who steals CDs, and he's already looking suspicious. I'm at the point of no return: I have all the car keys and enough packs of cigarettes to give lung cancer to a small country. The beer is already gone. Shit! Now they're latching onto the liquor bottles like a mynock on the Millennium Falcon. Dana is showing talent by swimming, drinking, and smoking all at the same time ... Wait a minute ... Dana is only in her bra and underoos. Where the hell are her clothes? I should find them before they get trampled. Fish On John and Pancake are hurling themselves down a dirt hill--WTF? Why? Stilts is already throwing up on a rock; I hold her hair back and assure her puke is biodegradable. KC is muttering to herself again, staring blankly into the fire ... creepy whore. Where the hell is my sister? Oh, goodie ... Matt is trying to flirt with me again ... freaking loser needs a job. There's my sister. Oh dear God No! She's clumsily climbing the dirt hill toward Fish On John and Pancake ... gotta stop her! Asshole will steal my CDs while I'm gone, but screw it. Dana is raging at the night sky; her cigarette got wet. I think I might have to save her from drowning. Stilts is using our bottled water to wash the barfy rock. KC is gone! Please, God, don't let her be eating poisonous mushrooms in the woods. Smurfette is throwing cheese puffs into the fire, happily watching them burst into blue-green flames. Glad I don't eat that crap. But at least Smurfette is entertained and not doing anything insurmountably stupid. Can't say the same for my sister--Get your stank-ass back here, you filthy drunkard!
Oh, but that is okay. I'm used to it. As long as I get lots of pictures and nobody dies, I consider my job well done. Eventually they migrate back to the fire and slur conspiracy theories involving anything ranging from badminton racquets being used in satanic rituals to secret meth labs hidden in the local laundromat. I usually spend this more peaceful period writing down the conversations and reciting them back to the idiots when they're sober. Some people get up and leave, stating they have to use The Hole. They always announce it so I can start the timer in my head; if they're gone too long, I have to go look for them.
Smurfette timidly taps me on the shoulder. She looks perturbed, wringing her hands together. Smurfette is always oddly intimidated by sober people when she's drunk, even me. She looks like a deer in the headlights of a Mack truck, so I take a picture and ask what she wants. I still wish I hadn't.
"Yer shishter ... fell."
"Is she hurt?"
"Mmmmwell ... noooooo ... not reeeaaally ...."
"Out with it, woman! Where is she?"
"She wash takin' a pish an' she fell in da' hole! I can't getter out!"
Oh, Lord, why have you forsaken me! I make Smurfette help me, her punishment for delivering this horror to me. Grab a flashlight and make the short hike through the woods to The Hole. Behold! There is my sister, laying flat on her back on the piss-dampened, turd-mottled dirt floor of The Hole, giggling like a loon, but thankfully not rolling around. I think she still holds onto some instinct that is telling her she is in a very bad place and moving around is not the best idea. With some help from Smurfette, we haul my sister out of The Hole. All she can do is giggle maniacally and gesture at her stupid self. She doesn't make excuses, doesn't try to explain herself, doesn't offer any lighthearted humor about falling in a shit-hole. Doesn't attempt any verbal communication, really; she just giggles. Probably a good thing, for I might strangle her if she tries to talk. Small brown stains on her back. She smells like a dead ferret that had been baked in the dirty heat of Satan's asshole and left to ferment in a Calcutta latrine. I do what any loving sister would do ...
I take a picture.
Then I help her get cleaned up. I sleep in the Cherokee; there was no way I am sharing a tent with any of those goofballs. The next day I am bought breakfast, recite the written conversations, get my film developed, find six of my CDs missing, and swear I will never do this again.
But I swear that every time. I always do it again. Even your sibling covered in shit makes a good memory, and blackmail material. Smurfette has that picture I took, enlarged and framed, hanging in her living room.
They are why I don't drink.