[Ken Kifer's Writing Pages]

ARTICLE: How to Get into Any Cave

Cave explorers and property owners come from greatly different backgrounds and thus have quite different methods of evaluating each other's behavior, a difference which is highlighted here.

How to Get into Any Cave

(The following story needs a couple of notes for the non-caver: 1. Since cavers come from the city, they are viewed with suspicion by the farmer whose land they visit. 2. The Paint Rock Valley Grotto was a collection of Alabama cavers kicked out of other grottoes -- caving groups -- for their scandalous behavior. Their newsletter articles told of being too drunk or stoned to find the cave entrance at three in the morning. One final note can be added: cavers are the only people who cannot stand the word "spelunker".)
While living in Scottsboro, I have made friends with a fellow named Billy Hayes, who is an enthusiastic caver, a non-stop talker, and an all-out hick. I think of him as a back country Milo Washington.

At any rate, Billy and I were looking through the cave survey and at some topos when he found a cave he wanted to see. "We can't go in that one, Billy," I told him, "It's closed." Well, Billy vowed that he would never try to enter another cave if he couldn't get into that one. "I have a plan," he said, "Just put on a suit when you get up tomorrow, and I'll be by to pick you up by eight."

The next morning, both of us wearing suits, we stopped at Mr. Jones' house. Billy handed me a Bible. "Billy," I began, "This isn't going to work." "Just be quiet and don't say a word," he replied.

At that moment, Mr. Jones came to the door in his overalls and Billy began. "Mr. Jones, I have heard from some pretty reliable sources that you have absolutely refused to let anyone enter the cave or cavern which is on your property; is this true?" Mr. Jones got out half a nod and began to open his mouth before Billy continued.

"Well, Mr. Jones, I want to commend you on your fine stance in this situation and outstanding bravery in the face of threats of violence or vandalism, whether spoken or implied, from an assorted bunch of hippies, perverts, welfare bums, and weirdoes, who were ready to overrun your property leaving behind all kinds of trash, opened gates, poisoned animals, and smoldering fires. And they would have been here from late at night till the Lord's Day morning, honking their horns, shouting curses, and making your lives, if you'll excuse the blunt language, a hell on earth. And what would they be doing in your cave?

"Well, Mr. Jones, there are things no honest, decent, Christian man is willing to talk about and that even these heathens are too ashamed to do in the light of day, in God's sight, and so they crawl into these loathsome damp holes, the underworld belonging to the Devil, to do their unnatural acts, carrying all sorts of drugs and alcohol with them. I know you knew, the first time you saw a girl with them, why they had her along. But do you know how fallen the world has become? They're just as content with only boys. And mind you, watch your animals.

"Then some of them, as a way of defying God and man, have gone to collecting bugs and lizards out of the caves. And these they say prove that God did not create the world, just as it says in the Bible, but that it evolved: that man evolved in sin and darkness out of such loathsome creatures as they dug from that cave.

"But Mr. Jones, you and I know that's wrong. Somehow, good honest Christian folk are going to have to find evidence that proves Mr. Darwin and those so-called scientists are the children of the Devil, even if it takes our last dollar and our last breath.

"Now Mr. Jones, this is exactly what I came to see you about. Now don't start, I'm not asking for a dime, much as we need the money, and I'm afraid I don't have the time to do a Bible study with you, much as I'd love to do it.

"Let me introduce myself: I'm brother Billy Hayes and this here's brother Ken Kifer. Now you may wonder why brother Ken looks so much like one of them despised hippies like I was telling you about, and the reason is, much as brother Ken has pleaded with me for a shave and a haircut so he could look like a decent man again -- yes, I've seen brother Ken on his knees and crying like a child for a shave and a haircut -- the good Lord needs him just as he is to carry on a vital mission. For you see, brother Ken was a drug addict only a short time ago and only the healing power of God's holy name changed him into the Christian he is today. By not cutting that despicable hair, he can reach out to other drug addicts and, if they refuse to see the Lord, he can turn them in.

"But to explain why we are here, we belong to the Christian Foundation for Science Studies, a group that is determined once and for all to stop the rot that is undermining the nation by demonstrating once and for all and beyond any shadow of a doubt that the world was created in six days and later covered by a flood.

"You may wonder how we can do this, since these same atheists who call themselves scientists have dug up and perverted every natural site on the face of the earth, and the answer is this: We have discovered that some caves have existed from the very beginning of time and contain conclusive and overwhelming evidence both of the creation and of the flood. Who knows but that your cave might be the very one to establish that evolution is a myth and stop this flood of murder, abortion, and theft which is sweeping this country?

"Now brother Ken and I both hate the idea of crawling into such a nasty dark hole, but we will do anything for the Lord, if that is his will. Mr. Jones, would you be willing to help us?"

At that point, Mr. Jones left the front door, and I saw him in the next room getting his gun out of the rack. "He's getting his gun, Billy. Run!" I cried. Billy was slow on the uptake, but passed me going out the gate, just as a shot went overhead.

Later we talked about it, Billy very depressed and taking it hard. "Well, Billy," I said, "It wasn't your fault. You did the best anyone could have done. I just wished you'd given me a chance to tell you that he is a former member of the Paint Rock Valley Grotto."

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