The Outpost Days

It was basically our home that summer. The last occupant, Outpost, ran out of business about a year earlier, and so we called the place ours (we even adopted the company’s name). Only we never went inside. Our spot was the courtyard out back. Two walls of the building making a right angle accounted for half of the location’s closure; the other sides were walled by large trees. Behind one of the tree-walls laid Bear’s house, our second base, which made it very convenient. One of the building walls was cut off short, leaving a gap about as wide as two roads which stopped perpendicular at the trees in front of Bear’s. So picture an enclosed giant square, with tiny openings through the trees from Bear’s and one main aperture that allowed access to town.

Inside the fortress were many things. The fundamentals were the four circular stone tables with broken-up lower rings surrounding each table for seats, the canopy connecting the two building walls creating a shade spot, a grass lawn (taking up three-fourths of the fort’s ground), and the paved surface between the lawn and the tree wall in front of Bear’s. The temporary items included the rotating members of our crew, Frisbees, bicycles, markers, food, drinks, and at times several other miscellaneous objects. I often found myself sitting alone at the back table just relaxing and drawing; it never got boring. Most of us experienced this Outpost solitude, but it was impossible to be there alone for very long; others would eventually turn up. However, the place was made notable by our youthful vigor. The back table’s coat of markered graffiti spilled onto the other three, windows had been pierced by B.B.s, and if you saw the place just before the routine trash clean up, you’d assume we didn’t have a routine trash clean up. These things were not problems to us, of course.

Although I’ve never attempted to prove the phrase “all good things come to an end” right or wrong, it sure works out in this situation. I wasn’t even there for the first time we were bothered, but Dirt and Bear told me all about it. Bob Garrity, a local real estate agent who was representing the spot, threatened to call the police if he saw us there again. We were a little weary at first, but after a few days we reclaimed our spot. A long time passed without any other invasions, but as the school year began things stated to change. At first we would just sit around laughing at one of the tables about how we ran through the trees and hid at Bear’s the day before, but when the police visits became as regular as ours, our fort turned into a danger zone.

Everyone was real bummed about Outpost, but I’m starting to look at the circumstances differently. The way Outpost came and left defines that period of my youth, and as a result I will always remember that summer as the Outpost days.

Written in 2008 for a creative writing course.


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