Waffling in THREE dimensions.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

To Pitch A Tent

The following is another of the things I wrote in my fiction class. It was intended as a response to To Build a Fire by Jack London, hence the stupid title. He wanted clever he got lame. I'm finding ScribeFire, in addition to this new-ish keyboard, quite troublesome today. I cannot call this keyboard new because it lacks the USB interface I demand in all peripherals to be considered new.

There were three boy scouts: one large in stature, one large in knowledge, and one large in feelings. None were large in judgment. Though experienced in the ways of both first aid and hiking, when it came time to pick a suitable location to pitch their tent, none could agree on the best location. There were older boys in the troop, and many younger, but these were a group offered special privilege by fitting in neither group. They had formed their own patrol, set off to do their own thing, on what they saw as their own mountain. There was nothing new to them about the trip aside from the freedom the scoutmaster had granted them.

It was to be a delightful trip full of adventure and comradery, so long as they could avoid everyone else, and suppress the most passionate thoughts among them, those of a girl with long brown hair and fierce eyes who might have called this weekend to gossip for long hours if his father had coerced him into attendance. This was all supposing they could manage to avoid setting their pancakes ablaze the following morning, an impressive feat in itself for these boys.

The passionate one was brooding, throwing his pocket knife, blade-open, into the snow bank at his feet over and over, while the brains and brawn struggled to assemble their tent. They were wise enough to avoid setting directly under any large trees and prudent enough to choose a place buffered from the younger scouts by a hearty mound of snow. The mind and body shouted at the feeler to cook their dinner or to call the waah-mbulance and get it over with. Their goading provoked strings of swears followed by warm freeze-dried dinners a short time later. Placated by food and deterred by starlight, they went to sleep in their two-man tent.

In the morning, they awoke in uncomfortable proximity to the passionate one, having rolled into his depression during the night. He had hardly noticed, sleeping soundly in dreams of dreams, despite the bellows emitted with each exhalation of the brawn. The thoughtful one aroused first. His body jerked to manifest the repulsion he felt, but was blocked by the collapsed pole of the tent. It had snowed eleven inches in the night.

Goddammit! Mark, wake up. Steve, our tent collapsed. The others were slow to rouse. One was knocked by the jiggling of the other trying to turn over, eliciting murmurs from all three. A slow crescendo of curses was muffled by the powdery prison.

Slowly, they became informed of their situation. The one with muscles was indignant. But I have to pee! He grew increasingly belligerent in his attempts to escape, soon becoming incensed with a ferocious sort of claustrophobia. The more empathetic boy joined in the clamor enthusiastically, shaking the tent with his bulk. The last edged to the corner of the tent, cramped by the fury of his fellows and the cold ceiling, silently wishing that he had resolved the situation without rousing anyone.

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