Kelly Seale (12-17-1958 / Norfolk, Va. USA)
"Expose yourself to your deepest fear, after that fear has no power, and the fear of
freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free." - Jim Morrison.
Four boys are gathered closely around a makeshift circle drawn in the dirt.
Kyle MacIntyre holds his ‘Old Timer' pocketknife in his right hand, all three
blades open, small blade to the rear, middle blade to the front, long blade at a ninety-
degree angle from the other two. Kyle is a master at mumblety-peg.
"Eat dirt! Eat dirt! Eat dirt! " they all chant, except for one. The unfortunate looser
of the game, about to be humiliated as he desperately tries for the second time,
pulls the tiny stick pounded to oblivion from the middle of the circle. Mark's teeth
are impacted with dirt as he comes up empty on his second try.
David leads the relentless chant. "Eat dirt! Eat dirt! Eat dirt! " he eggs the
others on. Mark wipes and spits dirt from his mouth and goes down for the third time.
When he comes up, everybody cheers. He emerges victorious, the tiny wooden peg
between his teeth.
"New game! " Mark proclaims, blackened dirt filling a teeth bearing a grin. He balances
the blade on his finger tip and flips the knife within the circle. "Fifty points! Yeah! "
He wasn't going to lose this time. Each player takes his turn, points adding up until
someone reaches three hundred. This time, it's Chris who is on the loosing end.
"Eat dirt! Eat dirt! Eat dirt! " Mark cries, leading the chant this time.
While Kyle, David, Chris, and Mark played mumblety-peg by the lake, Billy
and Ray put up tents at the camp. With two completed, they decide to split and set
up the last two individually as a sort of competition.
"Hey! No fair, you've got a hammer! " Ray complains, as Billy gets a head start on the
"Well, why don't you use that hatchet over by the firewood pile? "
"Cool! " Ray says, and runs to get the hatchet. He quickly set the stakes to
his tent, desperately trying to catch up with Billy, who finished with the outside of his
tent and erects the poles on the inside. Ray, busy struggling with the guide ropes,
is unaware that someone is approaching the campsite.
Billy's startled when Dan Briton suddenly appears inside his tent, his immense
body blocking the sunlight from the tent's entrance.
"Oh! You scared me, Dan! "
Not saying a word, a half grin on his face, Dan's eyes are wide and frenzied. Dan is the
Troop's Regional Scoutmaster, who sometimes joins the scouts on their monthly camping
trips at Four Feather‘s Camp. Dan Briton, well respected among the entire scouting
community, possesses over thirty years of scouting experience.
All the boys seem to worship him, with his vast knowledge of the outdoors and the way
of the woods. Four Feather's Camp is home base for six of the area's scout troops. It is a
boy scout's haven for unlimited adventures and, later that summer, would be the boy's
nightmare to unimaginable horrors.
"Where's Ray? " Billy asks, with false hope cracking his voice.
"Ah, he's too busy to worry about you Billy" Dan ties the flap of the tent closed
and starts to unbuckle his pants. "Now, just relax Billy, and we'll be done in a jiffy."
Billy's eyes widen with fear at the thought of what is to come.
When Ray finishes erecting his tent, he steps out and admires his work.
"Ta da! " he announces triumphantly. "Hey Billy! You might of beaten me puttin' ‘em
up, but check mine out, it's perfect! " he says loudly to the next tent. Ray waits for a reply,
but none comes.
The axe still in his hand, he walks over to Billy's tent. Stops dead in his tracks when he
reaches the tent flaps. Suddenly, he‘s sick to his stomach. He hears what is going on
inside. He looks down at the axe in his hand as his mind races with thoughts he is unable
to conceive, or comprehend. Ray raises his hand, raises the axe, takes a step toward the
tent, and drops to the dirt, vomiting.
An hour later, Ray and Billy walk the well-worn path to the lake in silence. Reaching
the clearing where the mumblety-peg game was played, they find clothes strewn over
bushes and on tree limbs. The others are skinny-dipping in the lake, clowning around,
dunking and splashing each other.
"Hey guys! " Ray calls drawing their attention. "I'm commin' in! "
Billy sits by the abandoned mumblety-peg circle drawn in the dirt, and flips the knife
over and over. Much to his relief, Ray quickly doffs his clothes and is in the water with
"Hey Billy! Come on in! " Kyle motions Billy to join them. Billy ignores them; he just
kept flipping the mumblety-peg knife over and over.
Kyle MacIntyre pours himself his morning bowl of Raisin Bran and plops down in
front of the TV to watch his favorite Saturday morning cartoon, Johnny Quest.
The phone rings as Kyle‘s mom, in the middle of cooking scrambled eggs for the rest of
the family, calls out to him.
"Kyle, could you get that for me? "
"Yeah, sure! " Kyle hollers back.
"Hullo? " Kyle says into the receiver.
"Kyle? This is Dan Briton."
"Oh- ah, hi! " Kyle says, ignoring his gut feeling to give the phone to his mom.
"Hey Kyle, a bunch of us are going out to the lake and do some work out there
in preparation for next month's Summer Camp Jamboree, " Dan explains.
"And I was wondering if you want to join in and help out? "
"Ah, I dunno, what kind of work you guys gonna' be doing'? " Kyle answers, still
"Uh, you know, planting pine trees, clearing away brush, stuff like that, " Dan tells him.
"Yeah, sure, I guess so, when? "
"This morning, " Dan says.
"Well, I'd have to ask my folks, " Kyle replies.
"Tell them I'll pick you up in half an hour and have you back in time for church on
Sunday morning, " Dan says, convincingly.
"Ok, hold on, I'll go ask them." He sets the receiver on the table and
heads to the kitchen, to ask his mom.
Moments later, grabbing his sleeping bag from his closet, Kyle stuffs it in the
bottom of his pack. Next, he stuffs in extra clothes. Last to go in his pack, is his Argus C3
camera his uncle gave him last Christmas. He slips on his cut-off shorts, and hiking
boots and grabs his snake tongs, just in case he comes across a timber rattler, or more
likely, a copperhead. Two things he loves more than camping are photography, and
He especially liked the poisonous kind, because he'd caught several copperheads the
previous summer at camp and earned the reputation of being a ‘snake handler.' While
other kids, and even most adults, were afraid of all snakes, Kyle's knowledge of
nonpoisonous and poisonous snakes made him comfortable in the catching and handling
of the serpents. It also made him very sought after if one was ever spotted. To say, he
enjoyed the spotlight was an understatement. It made him feel famous.
Hearing a horn honk in his driveway, Kyle grabs his gear and on his way out the
door, pauses to kiss his mom goodbye, and almost forgets his ‘Old Timer' pocket knife
on the kitchen counter. "Bye Mom! "
"Kyle! " His mother calls after him as he runs out to Dan‘s car. "You be careful! "
Kyle knows she worries about his dangerous obsession for snakes, as well as his tendency
for always taking it to the edge.
As he climbs into Dan's station wagon, Kyle thinks it's strange that he would be the
first one of the scouts to be picked up.
"Hi Kyle! " Dan greets him. "Just throw your gear in the back and climb in! "
"Hey, where are the other guys? " He asks Dan, as he gets himself situated in the front
seat of the station wagon.
"As it turns out, none of the others can make it, " Dan smiles at him. "So, it's just you
and me, pal! " Dan puts the car into gear and makes his way out of the neighborhood,
through the small college town, and heads to the lake. Kyle fiddles with his pocket knife,
opening and closing the three blades, a queasy feeling gnawing at his gut.
Twenty minutes later they cross the bridge over the lake to where the camp was
located. Dan reaches over Kyle and opens his glove box, pulls out a small stack of
magazines, and tosses them onto the seat.
"Take a look at these if you want to, " he says casually, like it's no big deal.
Kyle looks down at the magazines and picks one up. They‘re all ‘nudie'
magazines. The kind where everybody is totally nude, doing things like playing
volleyball, acting totally natural, as if this kind of life is normal.
Disgusted, and uninterested, Kyle tosses them back onto the seat.
The morning is spent planting small pine trees along side the entrance to the camp.
Kyle leisurely walks the path, planting a tree here and there. He's more
interested in taking pictures of wildlife than planting dumb trees.
Once the tree project is complete, they sit inside the newly completed
mess hall and eat lunch with about a dozen other adults and a couple of kids there to help
out with the preparation of the camp's opening next month.
After lunch, Dan and Kyle work on the dense brush thicket next to the mess hall. Using
sharp weed-whacker sickles, they clear the brush away. Suddenly, Kyle uncovers a large
copperhead hiding in the thick brush. As he attempts to catch it, Dan quickly steps in and
chops it's head off with one swing of his sickle.
Irritated, Kyle glares up at him "I coulda' caught him ya' know! " He never kills
snakes, not even the poisonous ones.
"With all the Scouts coming soon, I can't have him lurking around, " Dan says
authoritatively, trying to justify his actions. "Besides, the only good snake is a dead
Kyle examines the thickness of the decapitated snake's body and the beautiful hour-
glass markings. Taking out his pocket knife, he promptly proceeds skinning the snake.
"Well, at least you'll have something to show off tonight at the campfire social, "
Dan smiles at him, knowing he's crushed Kyle's sensitivity, his love for snakes.
The campfire social is Kyle's moment in the spotlight. He moves from campfire to
campfire showing off his snakeskin. While Dan was busy smoking his after dinner cigar,
Kyle shows off his prized snakeskin to a pretty girl at the campfire next to their's.
She came with her father and seems impressed with his story of how he came to be
in possession of the snakeskin. Then he notices Dan glaring at him.
"Hey Kyle! " Dan calls after him. "It's been a long day, don't you think we ought to be
bedding down? " Kyle reluctantly says his goodnights, and he and Dan make the long
walk back to their campsite down by the lake.
As Kyle and Dan were walking, there was an awkward silence between them. Kyle
felt uneasy, that queasy sickening feeling in his gut was back again. He reacts abruptly,
as Dan puts his arm around his shoulders, pulling away and stopping to tie his shoe. It
was an unconscious gut reaction Kyle had; yet he knew that something was not as it
They finally arrive at their campsite and Kyle goes straight for his pack, rummaging
around inside it, getting his nighttime necessities around. He watches Dan quickly
assemble the makings for a small campfire, and before he knew it, it was crackling with
life, the flames dancing brightly, and a warmth beckoning his presence.
Sitting on the ground beside the fire, Kyle pulls out his pocket knife, opening the
blades one at a time. He has a routine in which he religiously follows, small blade to the
rear, middle blade to the front, and long blade to the middle. Dan pulls a log up beside
Kyle and lights his cigar. Kyle changes his blade order, putting the long blade to the front,
the middle blade to the middle. Flipping it proves to be a challenge, the balance thrown
off, but Kyle soon has it mastered.
Dan scoots down next to Kyle, cuddling up to him, casually placing his hand on
Kyle's lap, and starts rubbing Kyle's groin, fondling him.
"Come on Kyle, can't you get a big stiff? " Dan says, stroking him. Kyle had heard the
stories and yet, he just could not believe that this was happening to him, his heartbeat
racing as his mind searches for a way out of this nightmare.
"Excuse me Dan, " Kyle interrupts him. "I gotta go take a piss! " Kyle gets up from the
fire, hurries over towards the tent, pretends to go pee, then digs in his pack for extra
clothing. Finding his jeans and a large sweatshirt, Kyle slips them on and doesn't go back
to the campfire.
"Dan, I'm beat, " he says. "I'm gonna turn in for the night! " Kyle then proceeds to climb
into his sleeping bag, curling up inside in a tight ball, hoping Dan will get the message.
Sometime during the night, Kyle gets too hot; in his sleep, he unzips his sleeping
bag, and falls back into a deep sleep. An hour before sunup, Kyle awakens to the sound
of ripping fabric, then the coldness of steel against his skin. He realizes that Dan is
cutting his clothes from his body and is sickened with the feeling of flesh against flesh.
Kyle screams, as a massive hand clamps over his mouth, silencing his futile plea for help.
Kyle feels as though his heart is going to explode; his eyes wide with terror, tears
stream down his cheeks. He hates the man on top of him with all his being; he hates
himself even more.
"Now, Kyle, you be a good boy scout, and be quiet when I remove my hand."
Dan's voice a desperate whisper, his day-old stubble abrading Kyle's face. Kyle could
smell the sour stench of cheap cigars on Dan's breath.
"Kyle, I want you to do something for me, " Dan says to him. "I want you to recite the
Scout's Law for me. Nothing else is to come out of your mouth. Do not scream,
understand? " Dan removes his massive paw from Kyle's mouth and, for a split second,
Kyle panics and struggles to break free from Dan.
His heart sinks, realizing he's helpless in the grasp of the monster behind him, feeling
sick to his stomach and confused at the thought of what this man; whom he once admired,
is doing to him.
"The Scout's Law, " Dan starts for him. "A Scout is…"
"A Scout is tru- trustworthy, " Kyle swallows hard. The pain and disgust he feels are
more than he can handle as he fights back the bile in the back of his throat. His hands
shake, tears stream down his face, his mind in utter chaos, trying to comprehend this
madness. "Oh! " he groans. "Loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind! "
His lids squeezed together tightly, he prays that saying the words quickly, it will all be
over. "Obedient, cheerful, thrifty-" Opening his tear filled eyes, he sees his pocket knife,
blades still open. The intense pain from the rape, the shame, even the silent screams, are
forever blocked from his mind.
Focusing on the knife with everything he has, feeling nothing but his outreached hand
grasping for the knife.
"A Scout is Brave! " Kyle's fear rockets into rage, his hand grabs the knife. He plunges
it with all his might, deep into Dan's throat.
Naked, and covered in Dan's blood, Kyle backs away, his eyes glare at him with hate,
as he watches Dan's life quickly drain from his body. He sees Dan's eyes are filled with
fear, acknowledging he knows he is dying.
"A Scout is brave, clean, and reverent! " Kyle finishes the Law; then adds, "Don't
forget the Boy Scout's Motto, Dan." He rises and retrieves his pocket knife and closes
the blades. "Be Prepared! "
An unmarked SUV, along with a State Police car, pull up to a screeching
halt, red and blue lights flashing. The image of Dan Briton, blood soaked and lifeless,
will forever be burned into Kyle's mind. He would spend the next 40 years of his life
fighting those memories, wishing he could forget, but knowing that he could not ever
Detective Kyle MacIntyre and his partner emerge from the SUV, guns drawn. The
two State Police officers follow them as they prepare to enter the church basement.
Inside, they observe a backpack and a Tennessee Titan's jacket on a table by the door.
The room, which is set up for scouting ceremonies, is empty. Three other doors are
shut. They begin the search of each room methodically until they come to the last door.
Detective MacIntyre silently motions a count of three, then they burst into the room.
"Freeze! You son-of-a-bitch! " Kyle commands with his gun drawn and pointing at the
pathetic form of a man caught quite literally, with his pants down. "Jeffery Miller. You
are under arrest for criminal sexual assault of a minor! " Kyle holsters his weapon as the
Troopers cuff him. Beads of sweat drip down Kyle's brow, into his eye. Wiping his eye
with his sleeve, Kyle spits out, "Read him his rights, and get this piece of crap out of my
He turns his attention to the young boy trying to cover up what dignity he has left.
"Hey, it's ok, " he calmly reassures the scared boy. "He will never be able to hurt you
again, and you must know this, " he pauses. "It's not your fault, " he says as he places a
blanket around the boy.
"My name is Detective Kyle MacIntyre. You can call me Kyle." He was good at this by
now, but he would never, ever, get used to it. "What's your name son? "
"Jason, " the boy quietly replies. "Jason Miller."
Kyle's stomach lurches at the possibility.
"He‘s- he's my father."
Over the following two years, Kyle and Jason had become close. Kyle, feeling a
personal and moral obligation towards Jason after putting his father behind bars, and
Jason, needing not only a father figure in his life, but a mentor, and a friend.
The church banquet hall is filled to capacity; and the ceremony is about to begin.
The Scoutmaster of Troop 55 taps the microphone, tests it, clears his throat, and begins.
"May I have your attention please! " The murmurs in the audience start to die down as
he continues. "Please stand for our National Anthem, " he cues up the cd player, then
pauses for effect. "Color Guards, present the colors! " Everyone stands reverently, as the
song plays out.
"Ladies and gentlemen, honored guest, fellow scouts, family and friends, it is with great
pleasure that I present our keynote speaker for this evening, Detective Kyle MacIntyre."
He waits for the applause to die, before continuing. "An Eagle Scout, and current
Scoutmaster for our brother Troop 99, Detective MacIntyre is head of the area's Sexual
Assault Prevention and Apprehension Unit.
Kyle is in an especially good mood because his wife Andria and his two sons,
both scouts, are by his side tonight. He experiences a special sense of pride to be the
honored speaker for this evening's ceremony. As he takes the podium, he looks at the two
rows of scouts and at one scout in particular, Jason Miller.
"Thank you. Tonight, we are here to witness a milestone in one young man's life.
Jason Miller's advancement to the Boy Scout's most prestigious and highest rank, Eagle
He approaches Jason, with tears in his eyes, he pins the medal onto his
shirt, shakes the boy's hand, and whispers words meant only for Jason.
"Today, you are a leader. You lead by your example, by your faith, and by your
courage, " he pauses, smiles at the fine young man before him.
"Eagle Scout, Jason Miller, would you please step forward and lead us in receiting the
Boy Scout's Oath! " Jason steps forward, smiling, eyes pinned directly on his mother in
the audience. Jason shakes hands again with Kyle, his friend and his savior and, with
tears in his eyes, proudly begins.
"On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country,
and to obey the Scout Law: to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically
strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Comments about this poem ('Scout's Honor' by Kelly Seale )
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