His brother aimed for the spot a few inches from his foot. He was good at throwing the knife in this game of narrowing the opponent’s territory by chipping it away after securing the blade to the ground. But not today. His aim was off by those few inches. I saw it cut straight through Dag’s shoe, through his foot, up between the bones of the bog toe and the next. Through the sole of the shoe and into the ground. A solid Bowie knife stood vibrating through Dag’s foot. He looked annoyingly at his brother, reached down, pulled the knife straight out, handed it to his older brother and said “Stay right there“. He limped down the hill, into the house, up on the second floor, got treated with lots of band aid, and then he was back out again. To resume the game.
Another day, Dag was playing in the stairs where he lived. He was never really careful and managed to trip over the railing and fall two floors down only to hit the concrete with his head and shoulder first. He got up after a short while, staggering up the stairs. When his mother opened the door, he said in a daze “Mommy, I’m tired, I wanna go to bed“.
We were sitting in a slope making small boats out of pine bark. Dag suddenly said “Geir, could you hand me that big leaf over there and those branches“. I reached for the items he requested while I looked at him. His knee! Holy crap! His knee was hemorrhaging. He had cut the knife deep into the flesh just above his right knee. And now he was asking me for some stuff to limit the bleeding and cover the wound. I fumbled some leafs and twigs over to him and he got going with some first aid. After a minute or two he said “Could you help me up the slope, it’s a bit difficult to move now.”
The warriors from the red apartment buildings came toward us. They must have been two, maybe three years older than us, in native American war paint, carrying bows and arrows. We knew we wouldn’t stand a chance. Quick on our feet, we ran as fast as we could to the stairs beside our white apartment building. Dag was a few yards in front of me. Even so, the arrow hit him. It went an inch or so into the side of his right knee. Dag kept running. Faster than me, while he reached down with his right hand and pulled the arrow out. I was still a few yards behind him, puffing, while he shouted “Come on!”
It was winter. We were in our usual adventurous mood and decided to walk down the forest slope and explore the industrial area down there. On the other side of the mechanical repair shops and whatnot, there was a heavily polluted river trying to run its course. There was sheets of ice on the river, thick enough to hold a young boy or two. Dag got the bright idea to get onto a floating sheet of ice and try to surf slowly down the molasses. He jumped the long yard and… the sheet flipped and Dag went straight down into the liquid. And he was gone. And gone. And I felt the pangs of panic. Took off my right glove and swirled my arm around down there to see if I could grab him somehow. I got hold of some hair and pulled as hard as I could with both hands. I managed to get Dag out of the chemical stream even though his boots were still stuck down there. He gasped for air and said “Thank you“. And we walked home.
It was my idea. I had seen in one of those cowboy and Indians cartoons – this white man becoming a blood brother with his redskin friend. Time for Geir and Dag to take the big leap. Dag first. No sweat. He simply took the big knife and sliced his right index finger and it started bleeding in a steady small stream. My turn. Shit! What had I gotten myself into. Sissy as I was, I kept at it for several minutes trying to puncture the skin on my right index finger. The skin was too thick, the knife too dull, or the action just too damn painful. Dag looked kinda irritated at me and said “Need some help?” “NO-NO, I got this!“, I lied right back.
“What’s that“, I asked, looking at two big packs of sandwiches. “Lunch and dinner“, he replied, “Time to get that elevator fear of yours handled once and for all“. Dag commanded me into the elevator of the first of three tall buildings not far from where we lived. I was terrified, sweaty like a pig and protesty. Dag would have none of it. He took us to the thirteenth floor. Down to the basement, stopped between floors, down to the basement again, handed me a sandwich and drowe that elevator like there was no tomorrow. After a few hours we got kicked out of that building. No problem, We had two other identical buildings were Dag could push my elevator button until it was no more. For thirteen hours. It took freakin’ thirteen hours to cure my stupid fear of a lift. But I got cured. Thanks to the amazing Dag Øynes.
It all happened around the time when I was 10. He was 8.