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Gather ‘Round

The Urban Campfire

October 12, 2017

In our modern, overly-socially networked society, if you want a “scary story” all you have to do is “Google it.” And the internet will readily dish you up a piping hot helping of Creepy Pasta. Usually served to a party of one and consumed hunched over a monitor or phone, most of these meals lack a skilled storyteller’s ability to prepare them properly. Thus they are bland and lack suspenseful flavor. The reader of course will never “tell” the story to others. Instead they will share it with their friends by sending them a link with #really creepy/won’t sleep tonight.

Long ago, in the days before dial-up (which is a horror story in itself); scary stories were warmed up and served fresh by fireside, later to become the stuff of urban legend, these stories often came with a dark moral and were sure to keep young campers in their tents at night. What follows is one such tale with origins dating back to the early 1950s. Many of you have heard this subtle tale of terror in one form or another. Complete with its implicit moral message of, “Sex is naughty; bad boys and girls will be punished!” For our purposes here it has been slightly revised with an alternate ending and a darker moral to better suit the current era. So grab a seat on the log, warm yourself by the fire and roast a marshmallow for courage, if you like. Camp Counselor Chainsaw has the flashlight in hand…

The Hook: A teenage boy had scored a quarter-bag; so he and his girl decided to find somewhere private to get wasted and fool around. He drove them out to an old barn at the end of a dirt road where they were sure to be undisturbed.

There was no cell service in the area, so they tuned the radio to a local station for some background noise and lit up. Minutes and several hits later the music suddenly stopped mid-song. An announcer’s voice came on, warning in an ominous tone, that a convicted murderer had just escaped from the state insane asylum, which happened to be located less than a mile away from where the couple had parked, and urging that anyone who notices a man wearing a stainless steel hook in place of his right hand should immediately report his whereabouts to the police (because insane, convicted murderers would be allowed to keep such a prosthetic).

They sat in silence for a moment, then broke into hysterical laughter, too high to care. That’s when they heard a scraping sound from the back of the car. They stared at each other wide-eyed trying not to giggle, when a dark figure suddenly appeared at the girl’s door and begin tapping on the passenger’s side window with…a hook. The girl screamed as the boy’s paranoia took hold and he threw the car into drive. The car lurched forward smashing through some split rail fencing as the boy attempted to get back to the main road. As they sped away in a cloud of dust, they could hear a blood-curdling scream.

A few miles down the road they regained cell service and pulled over to a gas station. Here the girl frantically dialed 911 and relayed their encounter. They were instructed to come to the police station at once. When they arrived at the station, as the girl and boy were getting out of the car, the girl was horrified to discover a hooked prosthetic limb, with torn flesh and dripping blood, hanging on the car’s door handle. She staggered backwards but before she could scream, she and her boyfriend were swarmed by police, handcuffed and taken into custody.

As it turned out the girl’s call to the authorities had been preceded by one from an ambulance attendant. The medical official was attending to a disabled one-armed farmer who had been brutally assaulted. This had occurred when he had gone out to a couple’s parked car to ask them to leave the premises. He feared for their safety; because his homeowners insurance would be compromised if either of them were injured in his rickety old barn. When they had speed away, his prosthetic “hook” had gotten hung on the door handle and torn it from his arm taking part of his stump with it. Yet he had managed to provide a description of the driver, passenger, vehicle and license plate number all of which mated up to the young couple.

The boy and girl both were arrested and convicted of possession with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, trespassing, reckless driving, driving under the influence of an illegal substance, assault with a motor vehicle, wanton destruction of private property and of course…armed robbery.

So what is the moral of this cautionary tale of terror? In order of appearance: Don’t buy drugs, don’t do drugs, don’t have sex in old barns, don’t go to places you are not invited, get a better cellular provider, don’t do drugs and have sex in old barns near insane asylums, be kind to and have respect for the handicapped, look where you’re going and finally, if you have bought and used drugs be sure to get rid of said drugs before you drive to a police station.

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or email me at or you can FRIEND me on Facebook under Saw’s Brood!

Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!



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