Late one night, Moses Broussard heard a ruckus not far from where he was trimming the shrubbery in his backyard. Undaunted, he wiped the perspiration from his glistening, dark brown face and kept trimming, His neighbor, Virgil King, dropped by in passing and informed him that a blond south-side brat was spotted prowling around the backyard of Old Lady Batiste, and that a group of gang-banging Crips had unsuccessfully attempted to capture the elusive Cajun lad.
"But at least we got them critters watchin' their backs now," said Virgil with a grin. Virgil was so black-skinned that only his teeth and white T-shirt were clearly visible in the waning sunlight. "Moses, gettin' the Crips to guard our neighborhood was the best idea you had since you passed out them pamphlets that explained why sex twice a week is good for the heart!"
Virgil nodded mutely. In truth he barely even remembered making the proposal to involve the gang-banging Crips in the affairs of East Lacombe. Trying to forget the fact that it was he who had actually brought a gang into his town, he finished up his gardening. He switched on the porch light, because evening had descended fully by this time, and was carrying his gardening tools out to the shed. It was then that he heard the series of gunshots. Then silence. Moses continued putting his tools away in the shed.
The bistro manager had just finished locking up the small, wooden outbuilding when he heard the sound of several teens painfully wailing in the distance. It sounded like the rather nasal howls of the white south-side teens, but he couldn't be for certain. Not wanting to even consider what the sound of gunshots and the agonized wailing young men might be indicative of, Moses shut his ears to the sounds in the distance and made his way into the house.
The next morning, when he left for work, the neighborhood was unusually quiet. None of his neighbors--who were also leaving out for work at the same time as he--spoke of hearing crying, howling young men the night before. In fact, no one said anything beyond a customary hello.
* * *
Later that evening Moses received a phone call from Virgil King to meet at his garage.
And when Moses finally arrived in the carpenter's carport he was greeted by a familiar group of men from the neighborhood. Virgil King himself, along with Ricky Thibadeaux and Eli Javette and Gerald Johnson and a few others. They were joined by several members of the notorious Crip street gang. A gang of cold eyed urban teens with names like G-Dog and High-Top and D-Bone and Spooky and Little Terror--names they weren't given at birth, but were branded to them even more fixedly than their true appellatives.
Moses-who had arrived with both his son Hubert and reformed Diables member, Jamie Chenier, in tow-realized that the Crips and the Diables Demence teens had one thing in common; they were all throwaways--forgotten young'uns shaped from either foster care and no care at all.
And speaking of the Diables Demence--these teens were also present in the carport. All of the vandalizing young heathens were lined up in the garage. They stood with their hands bound in front of them, their eyes fixed on Ricky Thibadeaux's rifle . . . the rifle that the normally passive electrician was currently aiming at them.
"Our friends the Crips here caught them all last night," said Eli Javette who was going from captive to captive, examining the ropes binding their hands and probing them for any kind of slack. His gold necklace, shaped like the continent of Africa, glinted in the carport's artificial light. "Didn't you hear all that shooting and screaming?"
Moses nodded. He was very glad that the howling he'd heard had not been the sound of Cajun teens being massacred. Yet he still wondered; what were all the gunshots about? And just what had the Crips done to make the Diables teens scream?
Like Jamie Chenier, all the captured young vandals looked almost angelic by `classic all-American' standards. But unlike Jamie, each of these poor Cajun teens wore a pair of worn canvas Converse All-Star sneakers on their feet--sneakers that didn't cost half as much as the Nike footwear that Jamie wore. Jamie's Air Jordans were, perhaps, the last remnant of the so-called "good life" the lad had lived after he and his parents had moved away from Lacombe.
To those who saw them standing on a platform, their hands bound together in front of them, the Diables Demence teens resembled a passel of exceedingly fair-skinned slaves ready to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. They stood side by side, heads bowed with weariness. Their marble-white, slightly-tanned or pinkish skin gleaming with sweat in the reflective light of the carport.
"Okay, so now you've captured 'em," Moses said, warily eyeing both the captive Diables and their surly gang-banging Crip captors. "What are you going to do with 'em?"
As if in answer, Virgil King crouched down on the floor of his garage.
Using a brick as a working surface, the carpenter put down a torn-off corner of a comic book. Then he set a number of tablets (milligram level unknown) composed of some somnolent narcotic upon the colorful piece of slick paper. He ground all of the tablets into fine powder and then folded the paper carefully before handing it to the Crip gang-banger called G-Dog.
"Here, mix that into the orange juice I gave you. And mix it real good--if it isn't thoroughly dissolved into the juice, the powder will blister these young fellers throats when they drink it."
"You plannin' on makin' us drink poisonous orange juice?!" A freckle-faced Diables named EricTrou was horrified. He, like all of the other captive Cajun teens had heard Virgil King's words clearly.
"It's not poison, spot-boy," G-Dog assured him. "It is only a--" "We don't care what it is!" Cried Mason Maciel, leader of the Diables.
"You can take that orange juice, pour it in a dick-shaped bottle and shove it up your ass, nigger!"
Moses cuffed the lad's ear, but not too harshly. It was clear to almost everyone that he was trying to protect this vicious Diables Demence member from a far more serious thrashing.
Mason was still clutching his cuffed, ringing ear when he said, "We're not taking it! Look, why don't y'all jus' let us go. We was only foolin' anyways-our gang ain't the Klan or nuthin' like that. We was just--"
"I'm through playin' around with these critters," said Eli Javette, completely ignoring the lad. "I say we make 'em scream and then pour the juice down their throats while their mouths are wide open."
The other young Cajun captives protested vehemently--some with tears in their eyes. They turned to Mason Maciel for guidance.
But the handsome leader of the Diables Demence shook his head piteously as he stared back at his loyal gang of teenagers. He gave them all a helpless look, and his eyes seemed to say, 'We'd better drink it, fellows. If we don't they'll more than likely torture us until we do'.
So with shaking hands, all the captives took a big swallow from the orange juice bottle, tears of terror ran down their flushed or bloodless cheeks. Tears prompted by the thought that what they were drinking may be poisonous .. . and by the knowledge that when the chips were down, their fearless leader had not been able to protect them.
In less than five minutes after swallowing the orange juice, the Diables Demence teens were nodding and drowsing--jaws loose and slack, heads lolling. When each lad finally lost complete consciousness and fell over, Moses and Ricky were there to catch them.
They stretched out and carefully arranged each lad upon the platform. They untied and slipped off five pairs of sneakers, then secured the teens' socked feet in wooden stocks--locked their sleek ankles into place.
"I told you sedating them before locking them in the stocks would be a good idea, Virgil," Eli Javette said once all five teens were clamped in. If we hadn't put them out they would have put up a devil of a fight, no?"
"Where the hell did you get medieval stocks?" Moses asked, suspiciously eyeing the wooden restraining contraption . . . and then suspiciously eyeing his friend Virgil.
"The school play that I built the sets for," the carpenter replied simply.
"The middle school was putting on their production of Amistad remember? These were the stocks I'd built for the slave-ship scene."
"So what'll we do now?" asked Ricky Thibadeaux.
Eli Javette grinned evilly. "I've caught wind of how these Diables Demence teens initiate new members into their gang. I say we give them a refresher course in their own initiation process. It will be like old home week for them, no?"
* * *
Twelve year-old Hubert Broussard would always remember watching as they clamped the unconscious Cajun teens into the stocks. The sight of them--so pale and motionless--was rather frightening, but Moses had brought him and Jamie Chenier to see the young captives and said, "This is humiliation teens--remember this if you ever get a notion of doing a crime in this neighborhood."
They watched as Eli Javette tickled each of the teens' sock feet, the majority of which were all sweaty and wet. He tickled every toe of every lad slowly and relentlessly, stroking their arches as he did so. Then he resumed tickling each sock-clad sole, and chuckled banefully at the teens' drugged, unconscious laughter. Eventually Eli proceeded to slowly peel the sweaty socks from the feet of each sleeping captive.
Both Jamie and Hubert were sent home soon after this. Neither the twelve-year-old nor the ex-Diables member would be allowed to bear witness to the torture treatment the assembled men had planned for the five young captives. The garage smell had been transformed by a mixture of the bitter body odor of newly-pubescent teens and the innocent, pungent smell of teenfeet sweat.
Teenfeet sweat which was emanating rather loudly from the sneakers and socks that had been removed from the young captives. These sneakers and socks were presently piled in a haphazard manner in the corner.
For a while Moses stared at the leader of the young wannabe hate group, Mason Maciel. Mason had dark brown hair that accented the features of his handsome face. A few light freckles covered the area around his button nose, but unconsciousness was currently hiding his luminescent blue eyes and dimpled smile. The quietly sleeping lad looked so innocent--despite the fact that his hands were bound by ropes and his feet were locked into wooden stocks.
Indeed, all five of the Demence teens looked innocent and angelic in their sleep. Just as Jamie Chenier had at the time of his capture. For a brief moment the bistro manager thought about protesting what was about to become of these unconscious teens.
But the moment passed quickly as two of the assembled men--the ones who had been chosen to administer the torture treatment--stepped forward.
They started in on those five pairs of young, tender, sensitive feet the moment all five Demence teens had regained consciousness. First each lad felt Virgil and Eli's hands gently scraping their soles to wake their nerve endings up a bit. Pressing firmly against the five pairs of young insteps, the men's thumbs rubbed each and every muscle . . . stroking up and down. Next, Virgil and Eli begin to brush their fingertips across the teens' now very sensitized soles, moving them all over the bottoms of their feet. The Demence teens, really feeling the torture now, began to shake. And even their pride and rage and humiliation couldn't keep them from laughing out loud.
Eli and Virgil both grabbed an eagle's feather and began to lightly scrape it up and down the soles of each of the teens' feet. Each brush triggered the tingling, powerful nerve endings which naturally resulted in wave upon wave of tickles being sent up through the five captives' bodies. All pride in the Diables Demence members were gone--they laughed with uncontrollable abandon now.
The feathers slowly traced every little curve of the teens' smooth heels and insteps. Then Eli and Virgil moved the feathers up to the balls of their feet, and to that sensitive, smelly area where their toes connected to their feet. Dragging the feathers back and forth across the area, the two men bore witness as all five pairs of feet belonging to Mason, Jean-Paul, Lee, Joseph and Eric kept wiggling. Wiggling so crazily that their captors could only
guess at how the ticklish sensations were affecting each of their young captives individually. The laughing screams and wiggling grew so intense that Eli and Virgil almost stopped their torture treatment out of pure guilt. But Moses Broussard, surprising himself and his friends, urged them on. The teens had to learn a lesson--and this way seemed the least traumatic and the most effective.
So having decided to INCREASE the torture, Eli and Virgil used one hand to take hold of one foot of each lad. Then they took this same hand and gently pulled the teens' toes back away from the balls of their feet, exposing their soles better and stretching the skin. The adult captors now used the eagle feathers to wedge into those small areas and torment each and every nerve ending more intensely! They slowly and gently brushed every cute toe on all five of the teens' feet. They made sure to get underneath them, on the balls of their feet, and between them . . . with the teens laughing, screaming and wiggling all the while. All the Diables teens tried desperately to curl their toes to fortify their feet against the tickles, but the attempts were in vain. Eli and Virgil alternated from foot to foot on each lad, mercilessly tickling, brushing and scraping.
Soon there were five sets of feet and fifty toes with nerve endings on fire . . . and five teens crying and screaming for mercy, or for at least a moment of relief from the torture. But instead of relief, the teens found their feet assaulted by ice fresh from Mrs. King's freezer! Ricky Thibadeaux and Gerald Johnson grabbed cold, wet ice cubes and slid them up and down the captive teens' insteps, then under and between their bare toes. The five teens screamed in torment and tried with all their might to pull their feet away from the relentless tickling and torture, but the stocks held their feet and ankles tight . . . so the ice, feathers and fingers continued to assail them. Eli, Virgil, Ricky and Gerald didn't stop their torturous onslaught until Eric Trou (the Demence lad with the size twelve feet) fainted from the torment.
"Just remember, critters," Eli warned the teens ominously after the tickling tribulation had ceased. "Mess with our property again and we'll capture you all and tickle each and every one of you again. Oh, we won't tickle you as much as we did today . . . no, we'll tickle you a whole LOT MORE!"
The men used more orange juice to drug the young captives back into unconsciousness. Then they proceeded to put the shoes and socks back onto the feet of the sleeping teens . . . though they hadn't a clue as to which smelly sneaker or which sweaty sock belonged on the feet of which lad. After this, Moses, Virgil, Eli, Gerald and Ricky carried the five captives to a hill overlooking the teens' own south-side neighborhood. The five young Diables would rest comfortably amongst the marsh hay and hibiscus until the tranquilizing narcotic they'd ingested wore off. Then this impudent quintet of young men would make their way towards home on still-tingling feet, humiliated but (hopefully) wiser for the torturous experience they'd suffered through in Virgil King's garage.
* * *
Moses Broussard enjoyed an entire day of peace. On Saturday he took his son Hubert and Jamie Chenier (who basically belonged to him now) and several other east-side boys catfishing, hunting and bowling. On Sunday he arrived back at his house with every intention of relaxing until work at the restaurant the next morning. The bistro manager was NOT a happy camper when he spotted Virgil King and three of the former Diables Demence teens walking towards his back door not two hours following his return home.
"What the hell is going on, Virgil?" Moses asked. The Diables Demence teens were apparently captives again. They were all roped together--securely but not cruelly--and were being forced by the carpenter to march their way up onto the porch of the bistro manager's house.
"I somehow managed to get 'em all single-handedly," Virgil explained with a puzzled expression. "I was walking home from the pier and caught them spray-painting the wall behind the church just a quarter of a mile from here!"
The Demence teens remained silent--neither disputing nor protesting the carpenter's account at all. This captive young trio was barefoot, and all of them were staring down contritely at their own toes.
Virgil harshly tugged at the rope that bound all three of his young prisoners together like a chain gang. He jerked them forward, then ordered them to look into the dark face of the man who owned the porch upon which they were currently standing. These three Cajun teens--Mason Maciel, Lee Taffner and Eric Trou--nervously wiggled their bare toes on the cool concrete of the porch or stared at their bound, spray-paint stained hands while they awaited judgment.
"Look a them, Moses!" Virgil commanded with vehement fury. "Look at these young critters who dared to deface our property again! And after what we did to them last time! Look at them!"
Moses looked at them. What he saw was three sorry barefooted teens bound together, with their heads bowed in shame, and their pink toes wiggling apprehensively on the cool concrete of his porch. They were clearly nervous about having been captured again, but they didn't seem truly afraid. And why were they barefoot? And why had they attempted to spray-paint the church after what had happened to them last time? Didn't they recall having their feet mercilessly tickled? Didn't they recall how they'd all screamed for mercy as the eagle feathers and ice cubes scraped and brushed across their bare toes soles and heels in a tormenting, ticklish tribulation? It was inconceivable that these teens would dare risk being tortured like that again, unless . . . .
Virgil King looked up at Moses Broussard with questioning eyes. "Tell me the reason why, Moses? WHY on Earth would these young'uns deface our property again after we warned them that doing so would surely result in them being tortured in the same manner as before?"
Moses wasn't absolutely certain why they had done it. But, upon noticing the look of anxious anticipation that was currently in the teens' young eyes, he had a pretty good idea. The bound teens were taken into the house and thrown onto the floor on their backs. Moses allowed his son Hubert to use feathers and ice cubes to tickle the feet of the trio of young captives until they begged the twelve-year-old for mercy. But after Hubert was through with the tickle torture, Moses allowed young Jamie Chenier to have a hand at teaching the Diables Demence teens who had once hurt him a lesson. The reformed young vandal stood before their prone, weak bodies and pulled his sneakers and socks off. Jamie then pushed his feet into each teen's face and ordered them to lick each foot . . . to cleanse them thoroughly, and then suck on his toes. The teens moaned as they licked their former fellow compatriot's feet. And after Jamie's two feet had been serviced, the reformed young vandal ordered them to open their mouths before he shoved his rolled-up sweaty socks into them.
After this torture session, the Demence teens had the decency to at least wait a week before committing another crime--and allowing themselves to be captured--again in East Lacombe!
David and L. Pare