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The Construction Site © May 2004
By The Hitman

It all started innocently enough. It was a brilliant Saturday morning, the kind where cool breezes muss your hair, the smell of new mown grass wafts in the air, the kind where kids should not have a care … and honestly, I didn't. My mum had just turned off the television, telling me it was much too fine of a day to spend wasting my time away watching the idiot tube as she called it. "Now get out there and have some fun," she said, snapping at my bum with her kitchen towel, smiling at me the whole time. That was just like my mum, she had a good heart and a good aim, the smack of the towel against my flesh practically making me jump the last few inches out the door. I hit the ground running, my free spirit ready to see what trouble I could get into.

That's when I ran into Marvin and Kenny, a couple of ruffians in the neighborhood. They weren't my first choice of pals to bum around with but they would certainly do in a pinch. "Hey, want to go down to the new construction site," one of them asked? All three of us knew that place was off limits, something about the danger of getting hurt, which of course, made it all that more alluring. I shrugged 'why not' and off we ran, the forbidden site the only thing on our minds. At least on mine, that is.

The construction site was actually a new sub-division of homes being built in the area, with about ten frames already well under way. Being a Saturday, the site was deserted, protected only by a flimsy chain link fence with a gate that hung open wide enough even an elephant could manage to squeeze through without touching either side. Needless to say, we were in like flint. Running through the structures, we ran upstairs and downstairs, jumped out of second story windows crashing onto piles of scrap lumber below, all the while laughing and screaming as we took turns being it, rapidly being pursued by the other two. The hours wiled away until we finally took a break, sitting on the ground just past the final structure.

That's when we discovered the odd layout of four stakes pounded deep within the ground. They were just a bit apart from each other but had enough room between them for a body to lie down, limbs outstretched. "Hey, let's play cowboys and Indians," one of the two suggested, I really don't recall if it was Marvin or Kenny. "We'll be the Indians and tie you up like on an anthill, how's that?" I wasn't so sure, especially two against one, but I didn't want to sound like a wimp so I shook my head yes. As I lie down, the other two looked around the site for something to tie me up with. I was willing to simply use my imagination but they wanted it to be more realistic. I finally gave in when they came back with a small handful of twine cut into various lengths. After all, what was the worst that could happen; we'd have some fun playing and then head home for lunch.

I lie obediently as they tied me up, working together on each knot, making sure I wouldn't be able to escape too easily. After all, every good Indian knew that cowboys were tougher and that two against one odds really wasn't a guarantee that they would win. Every western on Television showed the same result, the cowboys ending up beating up on the Indians. I looked forward to that part of the play time. Soon enough, I was tied securely in place and everyone was ready to fall into character.

Marvin and Kenny began to circle me, putting on their best Indian dance, whooping and hollering, making Indian sounds by tapping their hands against their mouths as they jumped around. "Ugh, time to torture cowboy," Kenny said as they tired of circling me. He dropped down beside me while Marvin went down by my feet, pulling my shoes off. I thought I had a pretty good idea of how they intended to torture me. I steeled myself for a good tickling.

True to form, they began to tickle me. Against my every attempt to keep them from being successful at making me laugh, I was soon suffering from a splitting side ache from laughing so much, finding it hard to get a good breath as they tickled me mercilessly. They were laughing right along with me as their fingers dug into my flesh causing me further discomfort which I could only laugh at. "Cowboy ready to give in," Marvin asked as he played with some of the leftover twine, tired of the game. After all, there really wasn't much challenge to tickling a tied up cowboy. I was pretty sure he would agree with me, that wrestling would have been a lot more fun and challenging.

"Indian not done torturing poor cowboy," Kenny replied. There was something about his tone I didn't like. I was about to find out why. Without warning, Kenny punched me right in the gut with a balled up fist. Caught totally by surprise, what limited breath I had was knocked right out of me. My body involuntarily tried to curl up in a ball but the twine holding my limbs kept me from moving much. "That hurt, Kenny," I managed to grunt out, trying to fight back the tears of pain. That's when he smiled, not a pleasant or friendly one, but one that made cold chills run up and down my spine. What had I got myself into, I wondered? A second punch but I was more ready for it, holding my breath and tightening my gut. It still hurt but not nearly as much. "Let me go now guys."

This time I yelled it at them. Game over, they won, whatever, I wanted loose. But it wasn't to be. Kenny looked back at Marvin and while Marvin didn't look as sure about it as Kenny, he didn't make a move to untie me. Kenny straddled my midsection, sitting just far enough down on my torso that my abdomen was like a sitting duck. He doubled up both fists and began to slug away. I held my breath and struggled to keep my gut tight but it was to no avail. Finally I had to suck in some air and when I did, Kenny redoubled his efforts, putting his full weight behind the punches. I was pretty sure I could feel his fist hitting the ground behind me they were penetrating so far in. Then Marvin stood up. He grabbed Kenny by the shoulder and knocked him off. The sounds of hurrah swelled up in my head as I envisioned him cutting me free. "Think you get to have all the fun, mate," he said as he plopped himself down on me in Kenny's place. No rescue there I realized.

Worse, Marvin was actually the bigger and stronger of the two boys. Kenny's fists had done a pretty good job of softening me up so when Marvin waylaid into me, it was like being hit by sledge hammers. His blows dug in deep, moving my internal organs around until I wondered if I would ever be able to eat, drink, or even piss again. But Marvin was also more inventive. While Kenny had simply thrown fist after fist into my midsection, Marvin started trying different ways to make his fist go in deeper. He would aim his arm, then pull it back and rise up some off me. As his fist came down, he would drop as well, adding the weight of his body behind the blow. Each time he did, a little 'whoomph' sound would escape my lips as the air was forced out. I only had the time between hits to get any air in and as the morning progressed, even that became difficult for me, requiring most of my concentration to make it happen. My breathing was no more automatic, filling my lungs with life-giving oxygen, but ragged and stinted, barely sucking in enough to survive.

"Give me another turn," Kenny said, as Marvin stood one more time, his fist at the ready. He hesitated, looking at Kenny with a mad kind of glare in his eye but then he stepped over and off of me. I sighed in relief. That is until Kenny dropped from a full standing position into my gut with his knees. It was more than I could stand and the lightheadedness from lack of oxygen won out as darkness carried me away from the pain. When I came to, there was no sign of Kenny or Marvin. It wasn't until I pulled in with my arms that I realized I was no longer tied down either. It took a bit but I was finally able to move and hauled myself up off the ground, my wrists and ankles rubbed raw from struggling against the twine. As I hobbled home, my mind dwelled only on one thing, vengeance.