Originally posted Wed., July 30 2008 as a recollection of a childhood memory:
The rules were simple: Complete and total annihilation and revenge. Revenge from last summer’s events, and the year before (we couldn’t let it become a pattern). Well, there was one other rule out of necessity: Stealth. We had to hide well from the enemy.
The other club, (we’ll just call the south-side gang to protect friendships that formed in later years) had completely dismantled our fort the previous year (and the previous year to that) and used the materials to build their own. Our fort was gone without a trace. Yes, the one we carefully built from the rotting wood we found in a vacant lot leftover from a failed building project. Because this had happened multiple years, we had to take a stand. We would take no more of this abuse.
It took us well into November to find the new location of their fort. The goal was simple: we had to stealthily dismantle theirs and take the stuff to the new location of our fort. There we would enjoy the spoils of our efforts and expand our fort into the awesomest-coolest, most radical fort that any of us had ever seen – complete with a trampoline level, rope fire pole exit and skateboard ramp. But we also faced worry that yet another club (which we’ll call the north-side BMX Bike gang) would find our fort as we built it in the gulley in their unspoken territory.
We got an early start on that balmy June day. It was 7:30 a.m. and we knew that our enemies were distracted watching the latest re-run of Voltron. But we had seen in the weekly paper’s TV guide that it was an episode we had all seen already. The planets were aligning perfectly. Revenge was nearly ours.
So we set out that fateful day in search of the fort. It was easily found from previous spying expeditions. These scouting expeditions had also revealed the location of each of the carefully placed booby traps meant for us and the Even-farther south gang that threatened this fort’s unnatural habitat.
We went quickly to work, dismantling each and every nail, every knot and freeing each board from its wrongful imprisonment. We then loaded it all up on the wagons, bikes and skateboards we were able to bring with us that day. We carefully and quickly took the materials to our fort’s new location and started building. Deep into the day we worked until the mansion-fort was completed. It was a masterpiece. It was perfect. It was the fort of all forts. The builders of Fort Knox and Captain Moroni would be proud.
The rest of the summer we enjoyed the fruits of our spoils. The fort was great. And then one day in September it was gone without a trace. The cursed treasure of wood could not be held by any one man (or club) for long. It was not the BMX gang. It was not the South-side gang, or the Even-farther south gang who took it. In later years we came to believe it was some of the older kids – perhaps even by best friend's older brothers – who took the loot for their own use. But the mystery remains until this day….