Caesar's Creek

A story of abuse in the Boy Scouts

Content warning: contains descriptions of sexually abusive behavior

trees on forest with sun rays

“Hey, you up?” Dewayne whispered in the darkened tent. 

“What?” I hesitantly responded. 

“I can’t sleep.”

“I noticed.” I looked around the tent we crawled into, which barely had enough room for two sleeping bags, let alone the ability to sit up. We were in a canvas tomb. “I can’t sleep either.”

“Want to talk?”

“About what?”

“I overheard the Life Scout saying that something was going to go down tonight,” Dewayne said. 

“It’s almost morning.” I rolled over within the confines of my sleeping bag, trying to force myself to get some form of sleep. Still, Dewayne’s constant droning, mosquitoes buzzing around my ears, and the campfire’s choking smoke seeping into our two-person tent added to a sleepless encounter. Let alone the hard ground and damp air. 

“I love nature. And there’s nothing more refreshing than waking up at dawn, going down to the creek, and washing up in the cold water before a hearty Boy Scout breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and greasy hash browns.” 

Mother thought this expedition would be good for me, toughen me up by roughing it with other boys in the woods. It didn’t help that I had some big shoes to follow since Caine achieved the top rank of Eagle Scout before he was seventeen. Everyone expected me to follow the same path. But people didn’t seem to understand that I wasn’t cut out for the Boy Scouts or the great outdoors. The only things I collected on these sleepovers were ticks. I could be with six guys, all sitting in the same area, and within minutes, I would have at least ten ticks crawling on me, and the others would still be tick-free. Something about the ticks’ flat-dark bodies, little legs, and tiny heads always made me cringe.

“Have you noticed how Sharon Wilson’s filled out?”

“What?” I glanced at Dewayne, resting on top of his sleeping bag in his white boxers with his arm crossed behind his head like a pillow. Swatches of dark hair donned his underarms as he gazed at the shadows dancing across the tent’s canvas apex roof. “I’m talking about her jugs.”

“I know what you’re talking about.”

“Have you seen them?”

I hesitantly lied. “Yeah.”

“Don’t they look like swollen watermelons? Damn.” 

tent at the field near trees during night

Photo by Andrew Gloor on Unsplash

Photo by Andrew Gloor on Unsplash

brown tree trunk during daytime

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

A high-pitched Apache cry pierced outside, and the tent’s supports shook. The door flap flipped open as flashlight beams blinded us. Without a word, my sleeping bag, with me in it, was pulled from the tent and dragged past the campfire to the edge of the circular clearing, where the trees thickened. 

Zziiippp. The sleeping bag opened.  

I was pulled out and pushed up against a tree trunk. My wrists were slipped through bowline knots, and my arms lifted over my head. I was hoisted up into the air with trucker’s hitch fastenings until my feet dangled above the ground. A couple of two half-hitch knots secured me to the tree’s thick trunk.  

“Stop struggling, or the ropes will tighten,” advised a harsh voice disguised in low tones. 

I couldn’t see faces but estimated that there had to be six members of this hoax; two kept flashlight beams aimed at my eyes, three tied me securely to the tree, while one directed. After the final knot was secured, there was a sense of merriment and glee, and they huddled in front of me. 

“Nice job, boys. Proceed,” the leader demanded. 

“You’re not serious?” one asked. 

“As a heart attack,” the leader said. 

“No, come on. This is far enough.”

“I’ll tell you when it has gone far enough. Proceed.”

“No way.” One of the flashlight beams clicked off, and steps stomped away. 

“Do I have to do everything myself?” The leader’s voice strained.

“Well, I’m not doing it.”

“Neither am I.”

“Out of my way.” 

The flashlight beams jostled, and a shadow approached. I saw the leader; he was wearing a red bandana around his face, like a bank robber. He ripped my shirt from my chest and tugged my sweatpants and underwear down to my ankles. 

“Oh my God, is that a baseball bat you’ve been hiding? That thing is huge.” He looked over his shoulder. “Give me the jar.” 

“This is far enough,” someone hesitated. 

“The jar. NOW!” Something was handed to the leader. 

“What’s going on?” My voice was weak. 

“Who asked you to talk?” the leader’s voice shot back.

“Why are you doing this?” I bravely asked. 

“Because we can. So shut the hell up. Be a good boy; this will all be over before you know it.”

The tree’s bark pressed into my back, butt, and thighs. I tested the ropes by squirming, but the Boy Scouts have passed their knot-tying merit badges. A bluish glow seeped into the clearing as the sun rose behind the eastern line of trees and backlit the remaining culprits in dark silhouettes.

A sticky gel dripped onto my chest. Hands rubbed the goo over my pecs, abs, along my hips, and groin.

“Look, boys, he likes it. Look at that thing harden.” The leader batted my penis, causing it to smack and stick momentarily to my thigh before rebounding. “Watch out, boys, that thing could poke your eye out.” He laughed as he continued to bat it back and forth. 

Withdrawing my hips from the stinging slaps was impeded by the tree’s trunk. My body jerked with each contact. I squeezed my eyes and pretended I was back home in my room, drawing. 

More sticky gel was applied down my thighs. 

“Dude, you have no hair. Your legs are smoother than my girlfriend’s. Do you shave?” The leader turned to the other contributors. “It has come to our attention that you’ve broken the bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America, and it is our duty to rectify them in order to keep our troop in good standing and accordance with these said bylaws.”

“What are you saying?” one of the minions asked.

“Shut the fuck up!” 

“Not so loud; you’re going to wake everyone up.”

“So what? It might do them some good to see that we’re serious about Troop Seventeen.”

Other Scouts crawled out of the semi-circle of mini tents, in various stages of dress, and gathered behind the demonstrators. 

“Are you all ready?” the leader asked.

The morning light seeped through the trees and filtered the clearing, providing details. The five held long sticks with marshmallows pierced on one end. 

“It has come to our attention that you tend to play for the other team. And for that, we need to make sure that you’re aware that the Boy Scouts of America and Troop Seventeen aren’t compliant with these tendencies. So, we’ve decided to help you redeem yourself through this display of public revealing.”

photography of forest

Photo by Rosie Sun on Unsplash

Photo by Rosie Sun on Unsplash

brown dried flower in tilt shift lens

Photo by Mahad Aamir on Unsplash

Photo by Mahad Aamir on Unsplash

The leader took several steps back and lifted the long stick over his right shoulder next to his ear like a spear. He ran forward toward me, pulled back his arm, planted his foot, and launched the stick. The javelin wobbled through the air, and the marshmallow end pelted against my chest, sticking to the gooey substance. 

“Yes, bull’s eye!” The leader removed his red bandana, revealing his identity. Sonnie Quackenburger, the Life Scout, took charge when the scout leader was called away due to a family emergency. Usually, the Eagle Scout would take over, but Caine had a prior commitment and couldn’t attend. Sonnie was next in line. “Just like that, boys. It’s your turn.”

There was a moment of hesitation as the other four looked at each other. The sun revealed the Star Scouts: Randy, Steve, Seth, and Mark. 

“What are you waiting for, you pussies?” Sonnie taunted. “Pretty boy needs to be reminded that he’s not such a big shot with the Scouts. He’s just a lowly peon scout. He’s not even a Tenderfoot. He doesn’t like to get his dainty fingers dirty, and he’s too good to be a part of us. He’s here because his mommy told him he had to be like his big brother. Where’s his big brother? Ain’t here. So, who’s gonna protect this faggot? Fire away, men!”

The other four reared back their makeshift spears and simultaneously ran toward me, launching the marshmallow-headed spears. Each landed with a plop and stuck to different areas of my nakedness. 

“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Sonnie turned to the gathered crowd. “I want this to be a lesson to all you Tenderfoots and Second Class Scouts. Troop Seventeen is unified, and we work as a team. Now, march to the creek and get washed up for breakfast.”

No one moved. They gaped at me. 

“What’s everyone standing around for?” Sonnie clapped several times and hollered, “That’s an order. Or do you want to be next? Move. Move. Move!” 

The lower-ranked Scouts scampered down the path past the tree to the creek, followed by the four leaders and Sonnie. 

I was left behind. The birds chirped their early morning rituals from the tops of the trees, and the sun filled in more of the clearing.

The ropes eased, and I was gently lowered to the ground. 

Caine’s best friend, Zachary Spence, emerged from behind the tree. A ratty, black-knitted toboggan covered his long dark hair, and he hinted at a smile, causing his eyes to squint and crinkle. He removed the marshmallow spears while I slipped my wrists from the knotted ropes. 

“Pull up your pants,” he said. “Caine told me to watch out for you since he couldn’t be here. I’m sorry for all this. I thought I could stop them."

I tied the sweatpants’ drawstring. “You helped them tie me up.”

“I showed them how to tie the knots.” He hung his head, which made him look like the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz.

“Thanks, I guess.”

“Don’t thank me.” Zach’s head tilted, and he looked curiously at my neck. He leaned in. and I thought he was going to kiss me. “What’s that?”

“What’s what?” I drew back.

“Hold still.” He plucked something from under my jawline and held it between his fingers to examine it. “Oh, it’s just a tick.” He tossed it into the woods. 

green-leafed tree at daytime

Photo by Jan Huber on Unsplash

Photo by Jan Huber on Unsplash

About the Author:

John-Michael Lander is a Survivor, Advocate & Public Speaker

He is also the founder of An Athlete's Silence:

Published by SurvivorSpace, an initiative of Zero Abuse Project