The Fort. Part Two.
Larry Flynt had special issues of his magazine called “War the Real Obscenity”. Graphic photos of soldiers wearing combat gear fallen in muddy trenches and jungle fields, wounded, bloody, limbs blown off, faces in agony; photos of villagers and other victims from both sides of the battle.
This was among the magazine collection in the fort. The original fort was something of a treehouse, having tree branches as supports on the corners, with the entrance reached by rope through the floor. If someone pulled the rope up, there was no access except to get a ladder. The magazines were of course in a secret compartment and there was a trick to getting the rope down from the floor trap door at all times.
We used the fort solitary and together. I learned through relatives in other towns of my age that they used their tree forts for group masturbation, or circle jerks. That is, a group in a circle not touching each other but each masturbating themselves towards the center of the tree fort. This always seemed quite weird to us. Nonetheless, privacy and access to the fort entailed a certain loyalty to work and improvements.
The underground secret fort was built upon the significant absence of a founding inner member of the fort community. It was also perhaps a factor of paranoia to more deeply hide the magazine collection on the part of Dan. Frankly, Dan’s dad was somewhat snoopy. No one else’s parents would really step a foot in the woods except perhaps to check a property boundary marker.
Maybe it isn’t fair to say Dan’s dad was snoopy. I suspect more, he was jealous of us. He wanted his own tree fort and he missed walking about in the woods for the purpose of getting away from the rest of the world. He didn’t have a hunting cabin and was a truck driver, so he pretty much needed to be home when he could be home to ensure his domestic tranquility.
How we were able to dig the underground fort, put in the roof and hide the entrance from everyone for as long as we did, I am not sure. We were able to fit in a small chimney to have underground fires. Weird and strange mold and mushrooms we had never seen before grew in the corners. The point was that no one knew where we were.
I suppose a fort implies war. Why didn’t we call it a house? There’s an attraction there, for young middle class boys who were raised to be very patriotic. We were living and building our small forts on land which a hundred years before had been the province of Pottawatomie Indians living in bark and twig wigwam domes. We were living under a nebulous threat of a nuclear war which made any kind of fort we knew about obsolete.
Our town was on a supposed list of Russian targets due to the tank assembly facility. I later learned this news was simply CIA domestic counter-propaganda. An over-reaction to some other false news story planted elsewhere. Anymore they say kids have tree houses, not tree forts and going underground refers to strategically placed blasts to release natural gas we believe is trapped far below the Earth. The natural gas is there of course, or else the effort wouldn’t be made to blast for it. You could question whether it is trapped, or just resting there. Either way, it seems to get into the ground drinking water for people who haven’t been included in any direct way with the plumbing of this resource. But then, that is no news for the good old world. Also not news would be Larry Flynt’s opinions regarding women spreading their legs to reveal split pussies as being less obscene than the mutilated bodies of soldiers.
I have read of various cases regarding exploitation. I hold no final opinion other than as to that I’d rather look at generally speaking. Was the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War a wake-up call regarding War, or a wake-up call as to how to motivate people to engage in and support war? Was Larry Flynt creating a new ethic or morality as to depictions, exposure and use of genitalia or was he similarly heralding a new age of mass media to our increasing mass.
One day, Dan’s dad stepped upon a weak spot of the roof of our underground fort. The entirety was burned and buried. We never rebuilt, we only grew older, too old for play forts.
The Fort. Part Two.