There was an incredible story I remember from Kamloops, BC, which I had heard back in about 1995. It still lives in my memory as one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard and a verified true story, not an urban legend.
It all begins when I was hanging with a girl-friend named Jenifer and we had nothing to do that summer except have fun. We just happened to be walking downtown when we came upon a fellow named Gerry, of the most light-hearted and comical-goofy nature you’d ever seen. He was something of a rough character, wearing a ragged jean jacket and baseball cap. One distinctive feature was a slightly curved set of teeth, but he had the most sparkling blue eyes you’d ever seen. I think we had met at party or something and another new friend of the summer, “Jason,” needed a place to stay so we found ourselves visiting frequently at Gerry’s house downtown with the guitar and few bottles of suds.
It was there in his first floor apartment room with his girlfriend backing up every fact and detail of this story as he expressed it with an extreme amount of animation, partially due to the excessive number drinks he had consumed, but also his absolutely hilarious manner of telling stories. It began like this….
He was alone in the city of Kamloops in the middle of an icy cold Winter with nothing to do but drink beer. The only thing or place he could think of going to was a little nightclub on Victoria street called the Juke Box Jive. Kamloops folk will likely remember it from the 90’s. It was at “J.J’s” that Gerry went inside to “get drunk.” It was after midnight we were told and things were getting boring for Gerry as he sat alone at a long counter over-looking the dance-floor. He looked across at another lonely fellow a few chairs down.
“Hey buddy! How’s it going?” he said. “This place sucks doesn’t it?”
“Totally!” answered the other lonely, scruffy fellow. The name of this guy remains unknown and that’s probably a good thing for him.
“Wanna get some “off-sales” and get out this place?” asked Gerry.
“Where you wanna go?” replied the stranger.
“Let’s go down to “Mission Flats” by the River. Maybe light a fire and drink some beer!” suggested Gerry.
The stranger accepted and off they went with 18 cold ones loaded and Gerry riding “shotgun” in this stranger’s noisy truck. Across the Overlander bridge they did go, taking a right turn in the darkness, heading along the Thompson River towards Kamloops Lake, past the Pulp Mill and the Septic Fields through that lonely, Godforsaken, Industrial area in the middle of a -40 Kamloops Winter! People of Canada know this isn’t a joke either, especially with a wind-chill-factor blowing right through a jacket and Gerry was the kind of guy who wore a ragged jean-jacket and cap 365 days a year!
Once they arrived about 5 kms along the river from the bridge, they pulled down the tailgate of the stranger’s truck and began to drink beer and light cigarettes.
Gerry said, “Damn it’s freezing! Let’s get a fire going, but first I gotta go take a piss!”
Gerry walked around the corner of a bush to relieve himself when he heard the distinct sound of the truck tailgate slamming and the engine roaring to life. Gerry was confused for a moment, got worried and suddenly came running back to see the truck spitting rocks and peeling out of there!
“What the heck!” Gerry stood there wondering in disbelief as the snow, dirt and dust began to settle. By this time he was really starting to get cold he said. “There was nothing to do but try and walk back or die in the extreme cold…”
In the first kilometer, Gerry said, “It felt like I was going into a mild hypothermia!” He couldn’t feel his hands or his feet, his face and skin was all stinging as he trudged along the abandoned industrial area of Kamloops. Unfortunately the Stranger had also peeled off with not just his beer, but all his cigarettes and lighter too. What he wouldn’t give for a warm cigarette right there? During the next kilometer things were getting even more desperate as Gerry was also feeling the extreme effects of over 10 beer in his system, a lack of sleep, extreme cold and fatigue. He knew he was done for if he didn’t find help soon!
But then as he rounded the next corner of that windy, stinky road he saw dim lights off to the right hand side of the road beside the hill. As he got closer, the smell grew stronger and he suddenly remembered this was the light of the Kamloops Septic Treatment Facility.
At this life or death moment Gerry rightfully concluded, “Any light is better than nothing!” as he tried to quicken the pace of his aching, dull clumsy feet. The light got closer and closer and his hope started to build but when he reached the sewer treatment facility he was met with a 15ft barbed-wired fence and the light was coming from a little office on the inside about 30 meters away!
“Hey Hey!!!” Gerry shouted at the house, but to no avail. Nobody heard him or expected to hear anybody at that late hour of about 2:30am. Gerry was sure there was someone in there, whether they be sleeping on the job or not, he had to try and reach them or die!
Desperately Gerry began to climb up the frosty, slippery wire fencing towards the 2 feet of barbed wire bent outwards. After slipping down a few times he successfully made it up to the top and with one big “ally-oop” managed to throw his legs and most of his body over the barbed-wire, but not without a severe snag on his pants! Pants or not, Gerry had to get over that fence and he knew it. He gave one final heave of his freezing body and flew over with his pants catching again at the top and ripping off his body as he came flying down the other side and went slipping right into the septic pool of steaming human waste!
“Ahhhhhhhh!!!” Gerry thought as he felt the instant warmth go through his clothes and warm his frozen body. “Now I can die. It’s ok now!” he decided as he began to sink to the bottom of the pool, out of the biting grip of the freezing cold, Canadian hinterland and into an inviting, warm abyss of human waste….
Gerry closed his eyes and resigned himself to a comforting death when he suddenly tried to breathe and gulped down a mouthful of human toilet-waste!
“Acckkk! I’m still alive!” remarked Gerry to himself as he suddenly transformed and metamorphized spontaneously into a real living Swamp Monster with super-human strength!
He bolted off the bottom of the septic pool and shot straight to the surface, swam to the edge and flew out of the water in one super-human vault!
He stood there dripping with shit and piss all over his body like a real, life Swamp Monster, suddenly sober, blinking and re-born as he focused on the light of the office and door in front of him! He went over to it straight-away with all the determination of a Terminator and knocked on the door! BANG BANG BANG!
Meanwhile, the innocent office-work dozing inside awoke from his nap for some reason unfathomable to himself. He was suddenly startled to hear again the sound…BANG BANG BANG AT THE DOOR!
“Who could that possibly be outside that door?” thought Charlie, the simple office worker. “It’s all locked out there and fenced in…” he puzzled to himself.
BANG BANG BANG! Again he heard. It sounded desperate so he immediately went over and opened the door and sure as shit, it was some kind a “Swamp Monster” standing there blinking and dripping from out of the black depths of Hades!
Charlie grabbed a chair. “Get back you swamp thing!” he shouted as he suddenly slammed the door again out of fear as fast as he had opened it! He ran to the phone and called 911.
10 minutes later, with the assistance of the boys in blue, Kamloops Detachment, RCMP, they opened the door again to find the near frozen Gerry dripping and stinking dreadfully before them. The RCMP interrogated and gathered the facts of his situation. But since he was nearly in a state of shock they gave him blankets to warm up first. But before they let him ride in any police cruiser, they radioed for a Bio-Hazard Suit to be brought in and made him get changed before riding off to the “drunk tank.”
Once there in the Police Station holding cell, Gerry said there were other dubious people there that didn’t like the looks or smell of him sitting there like some kind of Astronaut in the Bio-hazard suit. They tried to pick fights with him but he stunk so badly they left him alone.
Right then and there Jenifer and I looked at each other in disbelief thinking this story can’t be real!
But right there, Gerry’s girlfriend piped up her part of the story so emphatically saying, “Oh man our place stunk so bad after he came home with his dirty clothes in a bag we had to move to a different apartment all together!
I don’t think Jen and I had ever laughed so hard in our lives as we did that summer evening. I shared this story so many times over big laughs, fondly referring to it from then on, (paraphrasing Gerry himself), as
“Gerry and the Poo Factory!”.