The Drinking Game (So Far):
1. I agree with something Doug says
2. Doug tells an outrageous story that sounds incredibly unrealistic
3. When the timeline jumps around in ways that don’t make sense
4. Doug runs away from home
5. Doug gets dragged back or comes back of his own accord
6. Doug (thinks he’s) messing with the occult.
7. Doug shoehorns in paragraphs of theological stuff
Obligatory cat picture (No, she will not be partaking of the vodka. Neither will I, actually, it’s just a prop.)
Settling in some vodka and a
The Arabs Are Coming!
The title is actually not as racist as it sounds. At least, not on Doug’s part.
Doug goes grocery shopping with the $40, and buys mostly canned goods, which he plans to carry in a backpack up the mountain. He learns the hard way that carrying cans up the mountain is a terrible idea. He has trouble remembering the way to the cave, and constantly has to backtrack. He wonders if it’s possible to die of being tired.
Why yes, yes it is, Young Doug. People have been worked to the point of exhaustion and died. They knew this back in 1973.
In any case, Doug does eventually find the cave. He sees no signs of recent occupancy, but knows people have stayed there before because there’s a black stain on the roof of the cave from campfire smoke, and a bible on a little rock ledge.
Doug gets busy setting up, and this is probably the most interesting part of the book. (Really, we could’ve saved ourselves some time and liver by skipping all the “Doug runs away/gets dragged back rinse repeat” parts.)
The cave has two “rooms.” A big one, which is where Doug enters, and then
Off to the left, behind a rock, I found another opening, a low one. I dropped to my knees and crawled through. In a moment I was standing in a low ceilinged room.
Doug shows all the excitement of any young person when they get their first
apartment cave. It’s one of the most realistic parts of the book, actually.
I could hardly wait to get set up. I wanted to stake claim to this little paradise right now! I went back outside, picked up my backpack, and took it into the first room. I took out my cans of food and placed them on a ledge. On the end of the ledge I put a neatly folded towel and a bar of soap. Then I took my sleeping bag and clothes and crawled into the “bedroom.” Folding my clothes, I put them in a stack against the wall and rolled the sleeping bag out onto the floor. With my bedroom and kitchen ready, I fished my hammock out of the backpack and tied it between two trees beyond the pool.
Doug describes for us more of his life as a caveman.
I was kept busier than I had thought possible. An old timer showed me how to make a stove from a large pot with a lid. I started each day by making banana bread for breakfast. There were dishes to wash, and there was food to hide from the little animals. I made a pot scrubber out of a ball of grass that grew by the stream. It worked as well as one from the store. I also made the pool by the cave two feet deeper by damming it where the water ran out. … I made a chair of logs and stones, complete with armrests and a back, then covered it with blankets….
In the summer months, he did all of this naked. Naked Doug is not something I want to picture so we’re not going to dwell on it too much.
One of the things I made was an animal trap. I caught a squirrel, which I cooked and ate, and I made a pouch from the skin. I also killed a large rattlesnake, which I tried eating. It was mostly bones, so I ate only a little, but I Made a sheath for my knife from its skin.
To fund this lifestyle, Doug says he made pipes to sell to a “head shop.” He then has to spell out for his readers what a head shop is. I don’t even know what a head shop is, and I’ve been to “stores that sell pot pipes and other paraphernalia used by the drug culture.” Thus “head shop” is probably 1970s slang.
Doug talks about cooking. Rice and Spaghetti are no problem, but he has a really hard time with dried beans. I have a hard time cooking dried beans, and I have a regular stove! I don’t usually bother with dried beans unless I’m willing to make them in the crock pot. Doug doesn’t have a crock pot. Doug tries boiling them for 15, then 20 minutes, but they were still not done. He eats them anyway, which makes him sick. He tries cooking them for 30 minutes, then an hour. Finally he asks a friend, who tells him that, “you have to cook beans all day at this elevation.”
I’m thinking, at this point, that it might just be easier to haul the damn cans up the mountain than deal with dried beans in a cave. Doug should’ve gotten lentils instead. Lentils are much easier to deal with than dried beans.
Doug turns from cooking to getting high. No, really, those two sentences are right next to each other:
….When they were still crunchy after an hour of boiling, I wondered if something was wrong with the beans. When I told a friend of my problem, he laughed and said, “you have to cook them all day at this elevation.”
Getting high and finding new ways of getting high were almost the sole purpose of my existence.
Not only does Doug learn how to cook, he learns how to GET cooked!
Thank you, I’ll be here all night.
Actually, now that I think about it, these two pages follow a pattern. Paragraph A talks about eating; Doug eats a squirrel and a rattlesnake. Paragraph B talks about how he makes pipes for a shop in Palm Springs, and explains what head shops are. This is drug related. Paragraph C talks about food again, Spaghetti, beans, etc. Paragraph D, we’re back to drugs. Paragraph E he tells us he goes grocery shopping, and then the entire rest of the chapter is about drugs.
Doug jumps back and forth between the two topics so much that we all get whiplash.
Anyway, Doug tries his hand at rolling Jimsen Weed cigars, but that doesn’t really do anything except give him cotton mouth. The tea he makes from the leaves also do nothing. Finally, someone tells him how to make a strong tea from the roots of the plant. So Doug and 2 or 3 of his friends are sitting in a cave drinking Jimsen weed tea. It tastes really terrible and it takes a while to kick in. When it does, vomits, then passes out.
When he wakes up, he starts hallucinating. He sees a coke machine in his cave, and then his grandmother, who tries to get him into a van. Then he hallucinates that pygmies with bows and arrows are going to kill him. As he is running, the pygmies turn into tanks that chase him down the mountainside. Doug decides they are Arabs, for reasons I don’t understand. Brown people are always the enemy, I suppose.
Doug gets to town and finds a bar. He pounds on the door, screaming, “they’re after me! They’re gonna kill me!”
They let him into the bar, and Doug calls the police.
My name is Doug Batchelor,” I yelled into the phone. “I’m from a cave up in the mountains, and the Arabs are after me. They’ve already killed my friends!”
Doug finds the address and tells the 911 operator –actually it doesn’t say he dialed 911, it says he dialed “the emergency number.” I don’t know if California had 911 in the 1970s. I just deleted like 4 paragraphs about the history of 911. I promised to try and not ramble.
When the police arrive, they immediately check him for drugs. They rule out marijuana and alcohol, and take him back to the station. They frisk him, check him for drugs, etc. The police find nothing to indicate drugs, and have a conversation “out of earshot” which Doug hears anyway.
“What do you think?” one said in worried tones. “Do you think this has anything to do with the oil embargo?”
“Could be,” the officer answered. The sergeant opened another door and summoned a 3rd officer. “This is top secret,” he said in a low voice. “You’d better come in and take this down.” The officer came in and inserted some paper into the typewriter. He could type faster than anyone I ever saw. He asks exactly what happened.
Seriously? I get that this was the 1970s, but seriously? I wonder if Doug actually hallucinated this conversation. I highly doubt that the police would rule out drugs without a blood or urine test. Even in 1973, I’m sure they had at least some kind of drug test.
In any case, Doug decides to leave the pygmies out of the story he’s telling, probably because by now he realizes he’s hallucinated the whole thing and is incredibly embarrassed.
Why does the cat always knock her toy mouse into the water dish? Bad kitty!
The other officer broke in, speaking rapidly under his breath…. “the Arabs are mad about the oil embargo. They must be planning to attack palm springs!” all 3 men looked worried. The president had a home there….so they took every report very seriously.
I can’t believe they haven’t figured out he’s high yet. I wonder how much of this story Doug hallucinated and or how much Doug is exaggerating. (DRINK!) Because I have serious doubts about the veracity of the tale. Doug was high, so his memories were probably not the clearest, so I’m gonna cut him some slack on this one, but not much.
“… Then these big boulders turned into tanks and came rumbling down the mountainside to Palm Springs.”
The typing slowed, then stopped. The men looked sheepishly at one another. Finally, one of them spoke. “You must be on something. We’re not sure what, but you’re underage, and we’re going to lock you up for a few days.” With that, he walked over to the telephone and called someone at the Juvenile department to come over and get me.
Because the story wasn’t ridiculous enough in and of itself, what really convinced them is when he said that the rocks turned into tanks!
Like, why would the Arabs want anything to do with Doug? I mean, Doug is the son of a millionaire, but still, unless his father had something to do with this “oil embargo” the police kept going on about, I doubt they’d target him. Otherwise, he’s just some teenager in a cave spouting absolute nonsense.
But maybe this isn’t as implausible as I am thinking. Even today, Adult!Doug still spouts off absolute nonsense. And every day, people believe what he says, falling for the lies* hook, line, and sinker.
*I am inclined to believe that Doug is sincere in his beliefs, and does not believe they are lies. However, believing sincerely in something does not make it the truth, and so I call his beliefs by their rightful name.