THE BIRTHDAY SUIT
It was July 30th and at least two things were going to happen on Eli’s 10th birthday. First; he was going to get a new Schwinn bike that he had picked out at Andy’s Bike store, and the other; he was going to keep secret from everyone….except his two buddies; Bobby and Hank. At least for the time being.
He got his pack all put together for a trip and flew down the stairs. First, to look in the garage to make sure that. “it” was still there. Yup, his beautiful silver mountain bike, with the rack over the chrome back fender……. just raring to go on it’s first journey into the world beyond.
Eli knew it would be his first trip right out of the box, so he would have to be easy on him until he felt sure that the bike knew the ropes. And, was “Silver” in for a surprise!.
Back in the house, he added to his pack some fruit out of the bowl on the table, and started for the door. “Hold on there bud”, his mother’s voice came from the stairs.”Your’e not going anywhere without breakfast!”. Eli waited impatiently for the eggs and bacon, wolfed them down with a big glass of orange juice….then bounded out the door with a “Burp! Thank you mom!”
He swung his long legs over Silver’s shiny leather saddle and blasted down the driveway, amazed at the way he sailed along with just a few pedals.
Shortly, he spotted Bobby out front of his house along with Hank….They were instantly blinded by the Silver flash, as he headed for the nearby mountain. Eli absolutely knew it; he had the fastest bike in captivity, as he looked back at his friends peddling and panting up the hill.
Eli turned to encourage them; “What’s wrong…..You got flat tires?”
They all soon found that they needed a break, and water. He was amazed; Silver hadn’t even broken a sweat, and treated him to a pat on his front fork. Then, off again with the two stragglers in tow.
They had planned for about an hour’s ride, but they hadn’t even reached the trail sign yet. Eli shifted down and Silver sprinted forward. Soon the sign was spotted. The “secret” was out; it read “Logan’s Quarry” .
For those who don’t know what a quarry is: it is a big hole in the ground where people took out tons of rock to build walls and things. Then during rainy times, it fills up with cold water. If you are not scared, you jump in naked and paddle around in it for hours.
The boys arrived at the edge where they parked their bikes, and stowed their gear in the bushes. Eli locked Silver to a convenient tree.
Whoa! there was one big problem; Two girls had arrived there first and were ready to jump in. There was no way this was going to happen in their quarry, the boy’s agreed.
Eli quickly surveyed the situation, and said to the tall girl in the purple bikini: “Too bad about the snakes that always crawl out of these rocks”. Hank picked up on it with; “Yeah, there’s one now”, pointing behind the girls. They didn’t even bother to look, they were screaming down the hill, not even bothering to take a full basket of lunch goodies left behind.
The three of them stripped down to their shorts…then thought better of it, and quickly dropped them being convinced that the girls were miles away….. Eli smiled and joked, “Besides, phony snakes don’t bite really naked boys”.
As they filed over to the edge of the cliff, they became fully aware of the drop to the water……It was huge!
Bobby stepped back and said; “You guys go first.!” Hank replied; “No way, You first Eli, it’s your birthday.”
Eli sized things up, only to discover a heavy rope hanging from a tree above the edge, and Ninja that he is, he instantly grabbed it, let out a whoop!! and swung way out beyond the overhang and plunged deep into the ice cold water.
“Come on in” he called reassuringly, “It’s totally warm!” … Eli laughing his head off as they both plunged in only to turn blue from the freezer-like temperature.
This went on… in and out, in and out ….clear into lunchtime, when the girls basket came in really handy; except for tuna fish and crackers that had started to small funny. “Maybe that’s the way they were born” Hank said, with is mouth full, as they wolfed them down. This unexpected birthday gift gave them a few extra hours of fun and amazingly bad breath.
Then it happened; the wake up call: Bobby was showing off his by now famous upside down- one handed swing, and he caught his leg in the rope and was flung back into the rocks.
Eli heard him yell as he smashed against them. His head was bleeding heavily. He called down; “Bobby, I’m coming ……hold on!”
Hank, the only one who had brought his phone as his mother had insisted, dialed 911 and told them what happened.
By then Eli had arrived on the ledge where Bobby lay, crying in pain. He spoke; “Don’t worry we’ll get you out”, not having any idea just how . He had brought the tablecloth the girls had placed near the food basket, and had begun to tear it into strips to bandage and stop the bleeding. He remembered that well from his scout training.
Within minutes, he was surprised by the whoosh-whoosh of helicopter blades above him and the speaker that called; ” Are you both O.K down there?”
Eli rose to his feet as a man began to lower himself down to the ledge. He answered; “Yeh, but there is no more room here… I’m jumping back into the water. Just get Bobby.”
Well, they got the job done, and minutes later they returned and a ladder dropped to the water beside him. A big hand reached down and the greeting came; “Good job son” he smiled and followed with ” “Where’s your suit?”
Eli just lost it, yelling out……even over the sounds of the copter. ” What a best ever Birthday; Bobby’s O.K. I’m naked on a ladder, high in the sky, under a helicopter! Who’da thought? ” then singing “Haaapy Birthday Dear Eli…
….”Oh, and Silver keep YOUR pants on” …
“I’ll be back, Lord willin'” ………and He always is .