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Elite: A Trip Down Memory Lane with Mamerro

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by imported_El Mamerro, Nov 25, 2002.

  1. The Corsair: Chapter 1

    For years he had marveled at the group of boys who stood still atop the rocky outcropping, in defiance at the violent show of nature unfolding below them. He had watched in admiration how the spray of the sea peppered their dark figures while they nodded their heads and sang in unison. As the climax of their chant resounded in their chests, a powerful wave would smash against the cliff underneath them. The boy at the center of the group dove into the froth feetfirst, arms pinned close to his side and feet pointed like an African spear. The rest of the boys would bow down their heads and pray softly, while below them, the crashing wave retreated with the boy's body deep within its grasp. Seconds, sometimes minutes, would pass in almost total silence, the voices of the beach crowd and the crashing of the waves muffled by the intensity of expectation. At last, far away from the cliff, the head of the young boy would burst out of the water, oscillating with the rise and fall of the crests, screaming and shouting praises to the Lord. The rest of the boys would glance up, give off a relieved smile and a few goodhearted claps, and would resume their prayers. Then the boy on the water would swim back in through a distant channel in the reef that crowned the crescent shaped beach. He would join them, exchange hugs and words, and the chanting would start again, with another of the boys taking the turn to dive.

    The diving spot was called the Corsair. Three crooked crosses painted on craggy stumps at the top of the rock waved their limbs at the kid who stood below in the sand watching in awe. The immense rock before him was not exactly tall, no more than twenty feet high, but it spread across his view like the upended hull of a pirate ship. The rock formed part of a large coral reef that shielded the entire beach from the grisly waves, allowing calm waters to form a pristine white sand beach. The reef itself would pop out of the water at seemingly arranged unifrom intervals, the last one connecting the reef to the land on one corner of the beach. This last one was the by far the largest, and in its center, facing out to the sea, was the section known as the Corsair. Above it, the ship's crew continued their chanting, and the boy in the center began to breathe deeply, preparing his lungs for the turmoil ahead. The kid watching remained standing still on the sand, surrounded by families and tourists who preferred the calm turquoise waters on the inside part of the rock. Other people were climbing the safer sections of the rock, looking out towards the endless open sea and the flocks of seagulls or inwards at the beachgoing crowd with their shiny swimsuits. He had climbed the rock millions of times, but had always avoided going anywhere near the Corsair and its curved crucifixes. No one ever did, actually, except the group of boys who stood there now. The rest of the beachgoers seemed to completely ignore them, and they in turn ignored everyone else. They came in every Sunday morning, headed directly for the Corsair, performed their ritual at noon, and left the beach promptly. In all of his entire twelve years, the kid could not remember a single Sunday ever passing without the group of young men congregating at the cliff. And in all of his twelve years, the kid had never felt such a strong desire to challenge the Corsair as he did now.

    He finished the warm can of Pepsi he held in his hand and tossed it in a metal garbage can nearby. Striding towards the monolithic boulder, he was careful to avoid colliding into the swarms of small children with arm floaties and plastic shovels. He walked past middle aged women reading paperback novels under beach umbrellas and groups of drunk college freshmen searching frantically in their ice coolers for that last beer. The singing of the diving boys filtered through among the cacophony of the crowd, and he looked up to see one of them dive and disappear down the other side of the rock. He reached the base of the rock and began climbing its gently sloping surface.

    The side that faced the beach, he knew, was a cinch to climb. You didn't even need to use your hands, you just had to look out to step on the smooth spots and avoid cutting your feet on the ragged sections. The side that faced the open sea, however, was another story. The waves that crashed against it had carved a steep, jagged wall into the rock, with small inlets and balconies of greenish rock highlighting the wall's length. He quickly reached the top, scanned the horizon with his eyes, and caught sight of the diving boy's head bobbing up and down on the water's surface, about a hundred feet away from the cliff. He looked over at the yellowish crosses painted on the stumps of rock atop the Corsair, and for a second considered going back to his house and forgetting he even thought about going there. He stared down at his legs, which were starting to sport the faintest strands of hair, let out a deep sigh, and began walking over to the unfamiliar section of rock that was home to the Corsair.

    Small droplets of water sprayed his face as he got closer to the wall's edge. Walking alongside the brink, he could begin to discern the elated prayers of the boys.

    "O Lord, we thank you for blessing Josiah's soul today. Please forgive his sins and shepherd his spirit towards everlasting life... We beg you now to protect and guide Khalil throught the journey he's about to undertake..."

    The roar of an oncoming wave muffled the boys' voices. He stopped paying attention to the sounds and instead concentrated on where he was stepping, paying close attention to the shards of glass from bottles left behind by sloppy visitors. The next wave approached, and their voices rose accordingly, perfectly synchronized with the rythm of the tide. Just before the wave hit the cliff, they all shouted "God be with you, Khalil!!'", and the boy jumped.

    The kid reached the group of boys while they held their heads low and prayed. Afraid to interrupt what seemed like a sacred moment, he sat down close to them and gazed out into the open sea, looking to find Khalil among the waves. The young man popped up and let out an exhuberant yell, just like the others had done. The remaining boys started to clap, but one of them noticed the stranger sitting down next to the group.

    "Whoa, kid, are you crazy!! This is a really dangerous place to be in, what are you trying to do?!?", the young man said.

    "Oh, uh, nothing, just wanted to see you guys a little closer, that's all." the kid responded, standing up defensively.

    "Well you should walk back a little farther, you don't wanna slip and fall down this wall into the rocks below." the boy said. "You can just as well watch us from over there."

    "I want to jump."


    "I said, I wanna jump. I want you to teach me."
  2. Poop Man Bob

    Poop Man Bob Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Nov 16, 2000 Messages: 10,259 Likes Received: 18
    I think it's enough to say that I have 9 songs on my Winamp that begin with "El Mamerro."
  3. http://newcamp.net/hector/images/halloween.jpg'>





  4. http://www.bogwomen.com/TheStar/Issue2/images/originalspud.jpg'>










  5. The Corsair: Chapter 2

    Turning back to the rest of the guys, who had joined in the discussion, the young man exclaimed "Whaddaya know, he wants to jump." They all laughed quietly as if the whole idea was absurd. "Well, tell you what," the boy said, turning back to him, "you sit there while we finish, we only got one more to go, and I'll explain the whole deal to you. But keep in mind, you sure ain't jumping today." And with that, they resumed their prayers.

    He sat down again to wait for the ceremony to end. They were six in all, all of them much older than him, probably around 17 or 18 year olds. They were black, or at least very dark skinned, the kid thought as he looked at his own pale knees. The boys weren't huge, but they were certainly healthy and athletic boys, although their tattered denim shorts and faded swimming trunks suggested a very modest lifestyle. He was intimidated by their size, their color, their ruggedness, their bravery, but the gentle sounds of their voices as they invoked God seemed to override all the rough qualities, and he felt strangely soothed. Khalil, the boy who had just jumped, was climbing up the rock to meet the others, obviously confused at the sight of the kid sitting next to them. He seemed to mouth some silent words before joining the group, and pretty soon the last boy was ready to dive.

    The routine went as usual, and after the last boy had returned, they recited one last prayer. Exchanging hugs and handshakes, they each began walking away on their own, but the boy who had confronted him stayed behind and sat down.

    "So why do you wanna jump? You know people have died trying this, right?" the young man asked.

    "Uh, yeah, I know...", he answered nervously, pretending to understand what was obvioulsy unknown to him. "What hap..."

    "Those three crosses, they're in honor of the three boys who died here, God bless their souls." the boy interrupted. "One of them was my brother. He was the first person to ever attempt the jump... and the first one to die in it. He used to do it by himself, never told anyone, until one day he asked me to come with him. He brought me here and showed me how to do it, although I never had the courage to try it myself. Then one day he went alone, and never came back. I never told anyone that he was jumping off the cliff that afternoon, I was too scared and felt guilty for not stopping him. Fishermen found his body floating the next morning, and they told my family that it was miraculously intact, no sharks or barracudas had gotten to him, and that his face was frozen in a smile. I didn't pay much attention though, I said that was just stuff that happens to corpses when their faces stiffen up in a grimace, especially ones who've been in the water for some time.

    "So I felt terrible and never found a way to tell my mother and father what must've happened. I couldn't find a way to deal with it, so I just came here every morning before school and stared down at the water, wondering what had attracted him to try this crazy jump. I mean, look at it, no one in their right mind would consicer this as a dive spot." He pointed down the wall at the waves crashing underneath.

    He was certainly right about that, the kid thought. The Corsair was located in one of the many inlets carved into the face of the rock, the landing area being a pool of violent whitewater no more than ten feet in diameter. Even the entrance to the inlet was guarded by rocks whose outlines he could see under the surface. A small channel barely wide enough to let a man through was all that kept the rebounding wave from dragging a diver's body against the rocky fringe. And even the inlet itself didn't seem to be any deeper than six feet or so. The jumping spot was no more than fifteen feet above the surface of the water, hardly an intimidating jump, but the treacherous landing area more than made up for it.

    "So one day I just jumped." the boy continued. "I knew I wouldn't be able to face my guilt if I didn't go through with it myself. I dove right in, just thinking about the things my brother had said, about keeping your body straight but at an angle, etc. I made it out alive, but really bruised up. Banged against so many rocks I thought my body would break apart. I was dragged underwater for about a minute, and came close to passing out..." he lingered for a moment, as if trying to catch a fleeting thought. "I really can't describe with words what happened afterwards. The whole feeling, the calmness... I was so close to death and so scared; and then... nothing, just silence. I felt someone embracing me, protecting me. I was easily more than twenty feet underwater, paralyzed by the currents and completely helpless, but I knew I wouldn't die. I just knew it. For the first time ever in my life, I knew God. He was there, and he cleared out the water and let me float to the surface. Just like that, there's no other way to explain it. I was going to die. And God let me live.

    "I never felt more alive than that day, floating in the water and bleeding, God, even the pain was beautiful. I managed to swim back to shore and... you know, ever since, man. All the stuff in church that I didn't care about just started making sense. I got closer to God and his Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, and began reading the Bible every day. I know there's a lot of people out there who are very religious and have the same love for Jesus as we do, but I don't know if they've ever felt the hand of God on their shoulders like I did that day. God showed Himself to me more clearly than any priest had ever done before.

    "I began to dive every Sunday after church, even though my family didn't want me to. After telling my mother the truth about my brother and seeing how I ended up after trying it myself, she absolutely forbid me to do it. But I kept coming here regardless, and I got better at it. The thing is, every time I jump, I get that same feeling. Always. The Lord is addictive; experiencing God's love is the best high you can ever get. Used to smoke and drink with my boys and whatever, now I've left it all behind, thanks to the Lord.

    "So anyways, I joined a youth group, and began bringing some of the guys here, taught them about the jump. All of them have felt it, and to this day we come every single Sund..."

    "But wait," the kid blurted out, "didn't two other people die here? Who were those?"

    "Ah, right. Well, those two others I didn't personally know. Apparently they had seen us do the jump and wanted a little adrenaline rush. Jumped with no clue whatsoever of how dangerous it was. From what I've heard, the first guy jumped and never came up, so the other guy went after him immediately and disappeared as well. Their bodies never showed up, not a single trace. Everyone thought sharks got em quickly or something, but one summer, during the low tide season, divers searching for lobster around the reef said that there's hundreds of small caves and crevices on the rock where a body can fit. And with the currents that form when waves hit, there's a big possibility they were forcefully jammed in one of them and never got out. I'm telling you, this is not a kiddie pool hop. This jump takes a lot of skill, confidence, and above all, complete faith in God. Why do you want to risk your life here, if I may ask?

    The kid was stunned for a few seconds. He had no idea what to say, he simply wanted to prove to himself that he could; but after hearing the young man's story, his own purposes seemed so banal and unjustified he felt ashamed to admit it. "Well, uh, I guess I just found it really interesting.", he said. "But what you told me sounds really intense, man. Sounds scary as hell, I dunno if I wan..."

    The young man laughed softly at this. "The thing is, it's exactly the opposite. It may look scary as hell, but it's actually joyful as heaven. Look behind you, look at all the drunken fools out there on the beach.", the young man said while pointing back at the beach crowd. "The warm water, the warm beer, the warm bodies. That's scary as hell. That's where I was before I found Jesus. All comfortable in the calm and warm world, indulging in needless stuff, only commenting and noticing things in the world whenever something bad happens. They only get reality checks when things go wrong. All the fun they're having right now will seem so small compared to the pain they'll feel when a loved one dies or when they make a serious mistake. Over on this side," he said, turning back to the open sea, "wild water, hard reefs, dangerous animals. Pure, untarnished nature in all its violent glory. You dive into this world of viciousness, and reality spreads open before your eyes like blanket. The realness of God's love, the beauty of the world, the perfection of His work, all become apparent when things go right amid the chaos. When the strength of those waves envelop you, you glimpse into heaven, for a fraction of a second that stretches forever." He went silent for a few seconds, then came back. "So anyways, here I am telling you all of this, and I don't even know your name. Mine's Jonathan." he said, holding out his hand.

    "Oh, yeah. I'm Alex," the kid responded. "Nice to meet you."

    "Tell you what, Alex, let's go eat something, and I'll tell you everything you want to know about God. That is, if you're still interested."

    Although the whole God deal wasn't what Alex had in mind, he was nevertheless impressed by the sincere intensity of Jonathan's words, and was eager to hear more. He said "Sure", and they both headed back down the face of the rock and through the hot sand.
  6. Devilush

    Devilush 12oz Legend

    Joined: Feb 1, 2001 Messages: 17,035 Likes Received: 3
  7. http://newcamp.net/hector/images/2cuteedge.jpg'>
    *check the pictures in the back









  8. The Corsair: Chapter 3

    The next few nights Alex slept uneasily. He had gone with Jonathan to eat at the local burguer joint, where they sat down for almost the entire afternoon. Jonathan had continued his lengthy monologue, trying to convince Alex that the essential aspect of jumping the Corsair was the search for God, not the stimulating rush of adrenaline. Alex had finally agreed to accompany him to church the following Sunday and the one after that, at which point Jonathan would allow him to jump. In the meantime, he had to train his mind and body daily in preparation for the event. "Your lungs are gonna be stressed the hardest they'll ever be in your life." Jonathan had said. "Those are ten-foot-plus waves you're dealing with, and they will certainly keep you underwater for quite some time. And when your heart is racing as fast as it will when you hit the water, believe me, you'll feel the need for more air instantly."

    As practice, he had suggested that Alex try swimming every day underwater as fast and long as he could, which he did. Everyday after school he would go down to the beach, which was no more than three minutes away from his house, and he would dive straight into the water, breast-stroking as far as his lungs allowed him to. Alex was a considerably healthy boy, and he noticed his lungs quickly adjusted and developed endurance during the task. In just three days, he had almost doubled his original distance, not because he could swim faster, but because he could regulate his oxygen consumption better.

    Other exercises suggested by Jonathan included learning how to deal with claustrophobia. He would have to swim out to a spot he knew out in the middle of the beach, about halfway between the shore and the reef, that was good for snorkeling. About twenty feet deep, the area was littered with large flat stone slabs that were once part of a wall that stood as a wave barrier more than two centuries ago. Since then, the global rise of the sea level had eventually overpowered the man-made barricade and converted it into its own underwater habitat, bristling with tropical fish and coral. Some of the slabs lay on top of one another at various angles, forming overhangs and dark little caves. All by himself, he would swim down to one of these caves, look around for signs of life ("Scope out the rocks, you don't want to wander into a moray eel nest by accident", Jonathan had told him), and proceed to lodge himself in the shadows in a fetal position for as long as he could, and stay until lights started to spark in his head from lack of air. The first few times he was immediately terrified when he went inside, feeling the weight of the heavy rocks against his back and imagining all sorts of unspeakable menaces waiting to pounce on him. Nevertheless, it only took him a couple of days before he found the activity rather enjoyable. Having lived all his life in the ocean, Alex was very knowledgeable about the marine world, and felt just as comfortable in the water as he did on land. He had never stuffed himself willingly into dark underwater crevices, but the fear to do so turned out to be temporary; by the time Friday came, he would crawl into the cave and reflect on things, paying no attention to his oppressing surroudings. He'd think about his day at school, his little sister smearing her cereal all over her face and bib in the morning, how it would feel to be in the air after jumping the Corsair, and he'd wonder about God Himself. Is He real? Did these boys actually experience God? Or was it all a cerebral hallucination that kicked in from lack of oxygen and sense of direction? His lungs would tighten and white flashes would snap in the back of his head, and he knew he had to get to the surface. He would kick up towards the surface, very calmly, considering his entire system was on the verge of shutting down, and would pop out of the water, lungs filling to their bursting point in a single massive breath. He would glance down at his wristwatch and notice he'd spent five seconds more down under than the day before, as he felt his racing heart slow down to a gentle pace. Certainly good progress for a week, he thought.

    The next Sunday came, and Alex got up early for church. He was certainly no regular churchgoer, but he'd been there a couple of time for special occasions and the few times his grandmother asked him to accompany her. He ate his breakfast hastily and left, leaving his mother dumbfounded at his bizarre early-bird conduct. A few minutes before 8 am, he met Jonathan and the rest of the group at the church entrance, where the regular crowd was already walking in.

    "Guys, this is Alex, the kid who you saw last week at the Corsair," began Jonathan. "He's interested in God and wants us to help him find the Way. I know he's young, but age is of no importance. I talked to him a lot last Sunday, and I think we should let him come along with us today." The others looked around at each other, looking slightly confused at the sudden appearance of the young kid among them. "Alex, this is Zeke, Josiah, Manuel, Khalil, and Peter." They all stepped forward and shook his hand, the look of confusion changing to one of respect and understanding. They all went inside for the day's sermon, which Alex could hardly pay attention to. He would often glance at the others, who were quite immersed in the priest's lecture. Alex was one of those people who could go to church with no complaining, but once there would let his mind drift away throughout the entire sermon and leave the place no wiser than when he entered. This time he made a conscious effort to listen, but the words from the priest would start blurring away after a few sentences. Whenever the crowd had to respond, Alex nervously mumbled along whatever words he could remember. Thankfully, the other guys seemed so engrossed in the ceremony they paid no attention to him. The hour passed uneventfully, save for the Eucharist, which Alex hadn't taken part of in almost a year, and at the end people stood up and began to leave. The boys picked up their belongings, a bundle of dirty duffel bags in one corner of the building, and headed down the street towards the shoreline. Alex walked alongside them, feeling uncomfortably young and pale among the dark, tall figures.

    Not a single word was uttered on the way to the Corsair. The weekend crowd was in full effect once again, the hordes of people congregating under the tropical winter sun to celebrate their one free day. They walked among the crowd, eyes fixed straight ahead on the crosses atop the rock. Once up there, they began their ritual with a preliminary prayer to invoke the presence of God, and one by one, they jumped. Alex sat down just like he did the week before, staring at the crashing waves below him. He had imagined the place to look less intimidating after the intense training he had been doing the past week, but the toothy rocks below looked more menacing than before. One of the kids, Manuel, made it back with a bloody scrape all along the length of his arm. "Right when I landed in, leaned back too much, and the wave flushed me out of the channel too close to the top. Must've caught my arm on an edge." he said with a gentle smile, before rejoining them. Twenty minutes later, all of them had taken their turns, and they concluded their ceremony.

    "Alright guys, catch you all later," said Jonathan, "I'm gonna go show Alex the Abe Lincoln now, I think he's ready for it. God bless." The guys all smiled at Alex and wished him luck. Manuel walked up and patted him on the back. "Don't worry bout a thing, man. This little scrape was just bad technique from my part, but the Lord still pulled me through. He'll pull you through as well, just allow Him to do it. Good luck, man, and God bless." And with that, they all parted on their own.

    "The Abe Lincoln?", asked Alex, turning to Jonathan. "What the heck is that?"

    "Oh, c'mon, you've lived here for twelve years and you haven't heard of the Abe Lincoln?", he responded. "C'mon, I'll take you there. Let's go to the docks to get the dinghy."
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  10. Pistol

    Pistol Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Jul 12, 2001 Messages: 19,364 Likes Received: 299
    Bravo Mr. Mamerro!