You've met Jimmy
in my last 2 HNT
posts. This is Stan- my left foot. (Yes, there are more body parts with names... sometimes I feel like legion.) Stan is a whole size smaller than Sam (my right foot) as a result of polio (affected but not defected) and was bestowed the moniker by a cousin. "Skinny Stanley!" Here is the story of Stan's scar.
I was 8 or 9 and living in my birth country of Malaysia
. One day, I hopped on my child-sized bike to visit my buddies who lived in a squatter village not far from home. I was on a mission to show-off that the training wheels had been removed and I was now a badass biker rolling on 2 wheels! This was major stuff for a kid. As little boys are wont to do, I left home without informing my parents of my intended expedition. Besides, they would have insisted that I not leave unless my feet were enveloped in some manner of footwear. What was the point of that???
To get to the village, I had to ride the "tunnel". (The actual colloquial term used, translates directly as "The Long Hole.") This was a dirt path that snaked through about 100 yards of lush, tropical foliage on either side that eventually opened up to the shacks that made up the village.
There was a local lore about a creature that lived in the thick of the "Long Hole." Many claimed to have seen its devil eyes watching as they traveled through in the dark of night. Others felt they were being followed... and when they turned to look, there was nothing there. There were even reports of attacks, though none were ever substantiated. Still, it spooked most of the people living in the area. The conventional wisdom was, "Never go in alone and no matter what... move slow."
It was a bright afternoon, so, I confidently ventured in and rode along the dirt path toward my destination... riding a little faster than usual. As I turned a blind bend, I heard what sounded like a muffled yelp behind me. I didn't stop but rode even faster as my young, but fertile imagination was bouncing the lore of "the creature" frantically through my brain. Then I heard panting and spied something out of the corner of my eye. It got closer fast. I caught a quick look and it was a dog! The creature I had heard so much about was of the canine persuasion... and was now chasing after my bike! This only spurred me to pedal faster. My focus entirely trained on the path ahead looking out for potholes or rocks that could instantly derail my efforts to escape.
She came closer and closer. My legs pumped with as much gusto as my young body could muster. Soon the crazed barking canine was running beside me. Just as I approached the end of the tunnel, I saw the bitch turn it's head toward my furiously peddling left foot, Stan. I then felt what I thought was the cold wetness of her nose. The dog suddenly decelerated, probably not wanting to venture past the safety of the "tunnel." I was convinced I had won the race with the mangy monster and stopped the bike a safe distance away to gloat triumphant. Besides, it was a dog! It was only a dog. I had busted the myth of the creature.
No sooner had I stopped, when my friend's dad (who had witnessed the whole thing) bolted from his rattan chair on the verandah and was grabbing Stan with both hands. I was suddenly surrounded by what seemed to be the entire village. There was a lot of frantic gesturing and raised excited voices. I felt like a hero until I realized that the tone in the voices around me were not raised in jubilation but in panicked concern.
I looked at my friend's father's pained expression and shifted my gaze further down to his hands cupping Stan. It was then I saw the sticky crimson life nectar slowly ooze between his fingers. I pulled his hand away from my foot to expose a little bloody flap of skin that once covered the bones and flesh underneath. It was then I felt the pain and began to scream. 12 stitches and a painful rabies shot later, I decided that it was a bad idea to ride my bike without wearing shoes.Postscript
: The dog met it's demise several weeks later. Felled by the hand of a villager who was tired of being terrorized and convinced that the dog was more dangerous now that she had tasted human blood. I was told that Stan was the one and only thing she bit. A few days later, 7 hungry pups emerged along the dirt path of the tunnel. One had a bent tail. They were all eventually adopted by the folks of the village.