27 Feb

From the Swamp (part 2)

The commotion started just as Chris was drifting off to sleep. He dreamt of a ninja leaping onto his car and smashing the windshield with a hammer. And though it would only take a second or two for him to realize that, in reality, someone across the campground had broken a beer bottle, the dream logic persisted long enough to cross over into the waking world. He had to save his car. He would need help. He shouted Mike’s name.

It was unfortunate, really. The ninja scenario had provided a common enemy, a reason to band together again. And the hope of being of one mind with Mike outweighed the dread of discovering the car’s windshield in pieces on the dashboard.

But outside the tent, putting away his toothbrush, was Mike, who, unaware of such amicable intentions on Chris’s part, felt that the shout was one more demand, one more instance of Chris holding him back. What would happen, once they got to Hood River, if Mike were to hook up with some hottie and take her back to the hotel? Would Chris emerge from the closet, shouting “Mike”?

“Did you hear that glass break?” Chris spoke to the flimsy wall of the tent.

“Yes.” They were in a campground. A bottle broke. Big fucking deal.

A thick silence punctuated Mike’s yes, as the entire campground held its breath, listening as if more bottles would break. And then more bottles broke. Three of them, actually. Each shrill crash came at a regular interval: one, one-thousand, two, one-thousand, three. And then came the first shout: “God damn it, Sherri!”

Dogs barked in the distance, probably somewhere across the lake. Mike exhaled audibly, vowing that if shit like this continued throughout the night, he’d kill someone. Of course, a part of him wanted it all to go south; it would make his anger just.

“I was just having the weirdest dream,” Chris said. Like Mike cared.

A woman in the distance implored someone to relax.

“Fuck you, Sherri!” came the reply.

“Mike, are you there?” Chris’s voice once again rose from the darkness, disembodied – like a conscience.

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