Stolen Wallpaper

Words but a whisper, deafness a shout

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Location: Zeeland, Michigan, United States

Hi. I wish I had a job selling squirrels. They're so furry, and give you toothy grins. Unless they're rabid, in which case they will eat your face off and then find the rest of your family. That's not so good, I guess.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Same Creek, Different Paddle

He paddled. Desultorily, ineptly. Out on a character building trip with the church youth group, out with all the kids who mocked and shunned him all week at school but had to tolerate him under the watchful eyes of the Deacons. Well don't do me any favors, you yuppie scum, he moped, lifting the oar out of the water and gingerly dipping it back in. Sitting behind him, Lisa, queen beeyotch of the eighth grade, keeping up a steady stream of criticism: go left, go straight, harder, not so hard, my god you're a useless CHUD. He was a timid, downtrodden sort of person, but he came from proud farm stock, and even he reached a point, once in a while, where pride made him do things, almost always with disastrous results. He carefully locked the oar into its mooring inside the canoe, turned, looked Lisa in the eye, then jumped out of the canoe into the river, overturning it behind him, listening with satisfaction to her splash and splutter. He floated down the swift current on his back, life preserver as his vessel, knowing he was in for it later. But, right now, he could only smile as the sound of the girl's invective faded around the bend. The woods seem greener, somehow, when you're free.

He paddled. Decisively, ineptly. He and Monika were soaked to the skin, water squelching in their unprepared shoes, her camera surely ruined, her mood black. What a great idea, he'd thought, we'll rent a canoe and spend a lazy sultry day careening down a slow river. (The same river.) How wrong he was. The current was swift, the river clogged with treedebris and underbrushy tendrils. A canoe was harder to keep upright than he'd been led to expect. And the city girl was freakin' furious. She barked out instructions: go left, paddle opposite me in the other direction, watch that stump. He knew better than to argue, or even say a word, lest he not survive this day. But he had no skills, and if she had any they were negated by his, and again, over they went, the cold cold water delivering a now expected shock to his lungs. This jaunt was a bad, bad idea. Someday he might be able to laugh about it, but he didn't really think she would.