THE MANLY ADVENTURES OF ABNER DEGGENT
Island of the Toroga
Al Bruno III
The decade after the second world war was a period of unlimited prosperity. For a rugged few individuals it was also a time of unlimited adventure and the manliest of those adventurers was the mercenary, treasure hunter and unlicensed electrician named Abner Deggent.
It would be fair to say that he fascinated me from the very first. As an amateur writer I had become an avid observer of humanity and I knew from the very first glance that this was a man that lived life on the edge.
It began in the summer of 1947, once I had been one of the most decorated chefs in the navy but I had recently been dishonorably discharged. You might think a man like General McArthur would be more forgiving of a few tapeworms but you would be wrong.
My aimless wanderings had brought me to a bar in Singapore that was owned by a retired trainer of fighting chickens, which was why he had named his establishment ‘The Brutal Cock.’ This was an establishment that catered to the jaded desires of soldiers of fortune and modern day pirates.
Everyone looked up when the man strode into the bar; some noticed his whipcord muscles, others noticed his steely eyed expression, many more noticed that when he kicked the door open it hit a waitress and knocked her unconscious.
He walked up to the bar and began talking to the owner, his mastery of the Malay language was clumsy but he spoke with the kind of confidence only a man that doesn’t realize he’s accidentally ordered a Shirley Temple with Tabasco sauce can have.
I left my table and introduced myself.
“Deggent’s the name,” he shook my hand with crushing force. His was as deep and rich as a good souffle, “Abner Deggent.”
I introduced myself, “Ralph Brooks.”
The owner brought over his drink, Deggent sipped from it contemplatively, then coughed for a few minutes.
When his eyes had stopped watering I ordered him an expensive beer.
He smiled thinly “Much obliged Brooks.”
“Please, you may call me Ralph,” I paid for our drinks, “and if you don’t mind my saying so it looks as though you are either coming back from an adventure or are about to set out on one.”
“Everyday is an adventure for me Brooks,” he took a long swig of beer. If the mustache of dripping foam bothered him he gave no sign.
“Really? I’d like to hear more.” I said.
Deggent explained to me that he had recently undertaken a mission to help recover the twin idols from the natives of Togora Island.
“I’m sorry if I’m a bit confused,” I interrupted, “but you said you were recovering these idols.”
“Yes,” he grunted, “those artifacts were solid gold, they were priceless. Better to have them in a museum than to have them being worshiped by a bunch of savages for another two hundred years.”
I nodded with understanding and he continued his story. The expedition, he explained, had been organized by Professor Eisenhart working from the notes of a previous expedition that had disappeared without a trace. Other men might have been scared off knowing something like that but not Deggent!
Besides, no one told him anything about it until they were already on the island of the Toroga The expedition consisted of Deggent, Professor Eisenhart and their translator, a lovely native girl named Weena. They lacked the funds for native bearers and bodyguards but the Professor got around that by recruiting a small force of unpaid interns.
Occasionally Deggent would pause in the telling of his tale to place another drink order on my tab and try to entice our waitress into having sex with him for money. He started out by waving a ten dollar bill under her nose and worked his way up in increments of five.
My narrative skills could never fully capture the tale of their journey through that savage land. They encountered quicksand and ravenous beasts, clever deathtraps and rock slides, the crossed swords with another group of treasure hunters and wandering Toroga warriors. Our heroes braved it all, venturing deeper and deeper into the jungle leaving nothing but a trail of mutilated unpaid interns in their wake.
When they reached the village of the Toroga they were immediately set upon and captured, their translator having betrayed them. Deggent could only speculate to her reasons but he suspected that the check he had prepaid her with bouncing had something to do with it.
The chief of the Toroga spoke perfect English and he explained that his people were weary of one group of adventurers after another raiding their quiet village. He meant to make an example of our heroes by subjecting them to the Death Of A Thousand Screams.
Abner Deggent laughed fearlessly at this causing the chief of the Toroga to re-sentence him to the Death Of One Really Big Scream but before that could happen Deggent challenged the man, infact he challenged the honor of the entire Toroga people.
“I told him that we would have our champion fight theirs, if we won we would go free, if they won they would go forward with the executions,” Deggent explained, “luckily he fell for it.”
“Well, what happened?” I asked.
Deggent shrugged, “Damned if I know, we told them the last surviving intern was our champion and we made our escape as he battled the tribal champion in a pit full of flaming vipers.”
Of course there was more to the story? Did they ever find the treasure? How did they escape the island?
Before I could ask the owner of the bar appeared before us waving a rusty machete. It was only then that Abner Deggent discovered he had been propositioning the man’s daughter for sexual favors all night.
What happened then? That is a story for another time.