Mission of Vengeance
Fraser Island, Australia
Maurice “Moman” Valentine has been all over, and encountered many things both good and bad by being a Black American.
I awoke, glancing at the luminous dials on my dive watch. Four a.m., just like I expected. I shook the cobwebs out, unzipping the door to the tent. There was a generous breeze blowing in from the south, along with the light noise of pounding surf in the distance. The moon and the stars were fully out too; they illuminated everything around, causing the trees we were set up nearby to cast long, ungainly shadows.
Perfect concealment to begin my operation.
I woke Raider and asked him to give me the sugar. He gave me more than enough to keep! I dumped out some of it and put the rest in a couple of doggie bags I had. Throwing them in my pockets, he gave me a thumbs-up as I took one quick look at Lisa and Victor, both sleeping like babies. I slithered out, immediately aiming for a dark patch of shadow against a tree.
When I was in Long Range Recon in the Army, I learned that you always have to do a 15-minute stop when you first entered Nature’s landscape to do a mission. It puts you in tune with your surroundings, lets you feel the heartbeat of your environment. And I did it here. I sat there motionless in the darkness and listened, scanned the campground, letting my eyes adjust to the moonlight. The fire we had started earlier in the evening was now smoldering. I could see a few embers hiding underneath the ash, glowing like exposed lava. Spread out all over the place like a metallic rain were all of the empty beer cans we’d tossed around too, along with the rest of the junk we’d littered. I made a note to clean up all of that personally. I’m sure Declan wouldn’t have the ability when he awoke later on in the day, he’d be too hungover!
Then out of the corner of my eyes, I caught several small forms darting around, about 50 yards away. They were continually stopping and going, and if I wasn’t aware of the fact that when you needed to look at something in the darkness never to directly look at it, I would’ve never had recognized what they were. They were dingoes, snooping about, sniffing for scraps of food. The ornery creatures that we couldn’t see earlier in the night were now out in full force, and they were hungry. I’m sure they all saw me sitting there motionless in the shadows. But they didn’t care.
After my 15 minutes were up, I had my senses amplified. I could hear everything. I could see everything. It was almost as if I was one of the dingoes running around the campground!
I was ready for the hunt.
I looked in the direction of the Yobbo’s tent. I couldn’t see it. It was blocked by several sand dunes, most of which really weren’t that high. I knew that I would have to low-crawl up over them, to get to my objective without causing a stir. So I got on all fours, pushing my chest into the dirt, and crept for the first one.
My adrenaline was pumping strongly, and I felt pretty hyped up as I made it to the first dune. At first it was rough going, climbing up the steep embankment. I couldn’t get a grasp of the fine sand, and a lot of effort was put in just to keep some forward motion. But after a few moments I got the hang of it. Within minutes I was on top of the first sand dune, and I slowly peered just over the lip. But I still couldn’t see their tent. Another sand dune blocked it! Like a skittering rat across a kitchen floor, I low-crawled down the dune. But not being able to control my descent I hit the bottom with a small thud, getting sand all over my face, inside my boots, and in my underpants. Great. I was now the ubiquitous sugar cookie. The sand acted like coarse sandpaper (especially in my crotch) as I moved my body slowly up onto the bank leading to the second dune. I had just begun to crawl when I felt a presence just behind me. At first I ignored it, thinking it was my imagination. But soon it became unbearable. I turned around to see that I had company: three dingoes sat there, watching me with curiosity!
“Go away,” I whispered to them. They all just looked at me with inquisitive stares. I then picked up a little sand and tossed it at them. They scattered. However, just as I was about to start moving again, they returned to their exact same positions! Now, they didn’t seem angry at all. No growling teeth, just abject looks that I read as “What the hell is this human crawling on the ground for?”
Then it started to get comedic. Every time I moved, so did they. They seemed all intent on following me to my objective. Finally I said what the hell, and continued along, all the while with these dingoes walking right behind me!
I made it to the top of the second dune, and peered over the lip. I saw my quarry. Their tent was unlit; their fire was out, and everything was dark. I listened carefully and could hear the heavy snoring of those jokers out like lights. Just like I thought. Those dudes must’ve passed out drunk as skunks, after hootin’ and hollerin’ it up when they insulted me. Time to pay the piper!
I looked for the generator, and couldn’t see it. But I figured that those fools wouldn’t have had enough smarts to put away their generator anyway. Shame on them. I crept down the dune, coming to cat-like rest next to a large tree. I scanned the area surrounding it and saw the outline of the generator; it was switched off.
Stooped low, I sneaked over to the generator and pulled out my penlight. I found the cap to it, and poured in the crystalline death. Within moments I was done. I screwed on the cap just like I’d found it, and wiped away any excess sugar that had fallen on the generator. I turned to see my dingo companions had gone. I guess they lost interest!
“Motherfuckers,” I said, returning to camp.
Read Part 2