Suggested Audio Candy
 Guns ‘N’ Roses “Welcome To The Jungle”
 Chuck Berry “Long Tall Sally”
Fate really can be quite the entrepreneur. Recently, before my short stay at a motel I’d rather not speak about, I enjoyed some leisurely pursuits at the mall. You may remember I wore out my welcome mat pretty swiftly and was forced into running, tail between legs and heading for the nearest evac point, namely the heliport. I haven’t eaten a Greek salad since, come to think of it, I never did. Anyhoots, digression aside, I made an acquaintance that dawn. The chopper pilot, I believe he said his name was Biff or Brett, something with a B, was a delightful fellow and couldn’t have been more helpful, given my rotten set of circumstances. We made small talk, exchanged digits and hugged like men hug as he dropped me off at the nearest car rental establishment. We bonded.
So I was heading off from the motel, with more urgency than when I arrived, pondering my next move and coming up blank. Bonus Brain hadn’t uttered a word right along the interstate and my rented wheels were running on vapors. I considered my options without him and came up with squat, after the shit I’ve been made privy to over the course of the past few moons, nothing was jumping out at me. I couldn’t simply sleep in the car, there had to be a place distant enough for me to put these indignities behind me. Somewhere scenic, a place where I can smell the morning napalm and brush against dew-doused foliage. Still nothing, until I passed a conveniently placed billboard and suddenly my trajectory was clear once more.
It read “Welcome to the Jungle” in bold italic font punctuating a lush vista, dense with enticing green undergrowth. There was no sign of an old log cabin and, despite my shrubbing at the thorny hands of the Deadites, I figured no harm, no foul. Just a short hiatus in a place not tampered with or tainted by civilization. Untouched, thriving, natural, you can see the appeal right? Course you can, forget any malignant arachnids or huge pythons, just focus on the bushy-tailed squirrels and harmless green flies. It was a no-brainer and, considering Bonus Brain’s puerile vow of silence, that kind of worked in my favor. He’d only douse my fire, remind me of eight million ways to die in the jungle and stamp his shitty little feet so why bother? I really outta have wised up by now as to why I should definitely be bothered.
At any rate, I swiftly called Bert, Bill, whatever his fucking name is. He informed me that he was only about fifteen minutes from my coordinates and that he would be honored to drop me off at the nearest rain forest. Suddenly the spring returned to my stride, I pulled up in the hard shoulder and rifled through my travel bag for a vest, some flip-flops and all-important insect repellent. Suck it Bonus Brain, he could sit there and sulk all you like, but I would be the one catching rays and sipping from coconut shells. I was determined that nothing would put a dampener on this expedition. He was welcome to give it his best shot of course. Fuck, he could watch Bambi on loop and it still wouldn’t deter me. I was doing this, with or without his help, and I was more than comfortable with the notion of flying solo.
Boris or Barry dropped me off as planned, a few feet above the tallest pine in this Amazonian utopia and I parachuted down with a shit-chomping grin, all set to embark on my jungle jollies. It got a little hairy on my descent and a few trees became a little friskier than I would have liked but I made it in one piece, albeit a little frayed around the trim. It’s funny how the mind works at moments like that as my primary consideration was that there was nowhere for me to plug my iPhone charger and I was running on a less than hospitable 10%. Then I took a cursory look around me, drunk in my surroundings. Nectar, pure ocular honey for as far as the eye could discern. What could possibly be worthy of being frustrated about? This was paradise.
What a difference a day makes. It was all going swimmingly and I had fashioned a sarong from berries, twigs, leaves and sap. I hunted myself a boar using my trusty machete and wits, swam naked in the lagoon and made love to myself under the ravishing night stars. It appeared the perfect getaway, bereft of incident and offering just the kind of downtime I had craved for so long. Then something inexplicable happened. I always endeavor to believe my eyes, after all, they’re mine and have never let me down before. Yet they relayed back something which had me discombobulated in the extreme. Actually, my ears were first on the scene as I began hearing audio which suggested I may well not be alone in this place.
At first I discarded it as an echo as it sounded remarkably like exactly the words which I was uttering. When alone for long enough, one can have a tendency to run off at the mouth and talk to oneself. Some regard it as the first sign of madness but, in truth, it’s nothing of the sort. I love my own company and all, but too much of a good thing can have adverse effects and loneliness can come creeping in pretty sharpish when separated from society for too long. I’d make a rubbish monk, lifelong vows of celibacy are one thing but it’s the total lack of interaction which would have me fleeing the monastery. But every last word that left my flapping lips was being reintroduced moments later from an entirely different direction.
Ventriloquism is not something in my repertoire, I tried it with Monsieur Heureux once and he gave me a blank look as if to say “You need to get out of the house more son” so I took up street miming instead. No, somebody else was out here, concealed but vigilant and watching my every move with gnarled intent. I became perplexed and, against my better judgement, Bonus Brain was called into play. He only had the one retort lined up “I’ve known sloths quicker off the draw than you McGraw”. My feelings were bruised momentarily but this sadness soon turned to outright disparagement as the words “I’ve known sloths quicker off the draw than you McGraw” came bounding back from the other side of the thicket.
I squinted, honed in on the apparent location of this repetitive ramble and scanned for parakeets. No flapping wings, no stunted beaks, not a Pretty Polly in sight. Just a vague shimmer, directly adjacent to my coordinates. From its elevated vantage were emanating three flailing red beams, attempting to form a lock-on about my forehead. I couldn’t help but become mesmerized by their triangular formation and watched to see if they’d settle. They settled, two clicks from my brow and dead center of my punnet. “Duck!” cried Bonus Brain and I span 180 on my feet, searching for this elusive mallard. Nothing, just an explosive charge whistling past my ear lugs accompanied by the returned audio “Duck!”
“Alright then Bonus Brain, it is high time we have a little us time. I don’t appreciate you constantly undermining me and, more importantly, I take great exception to you throwing red herrings about like a frivolous fisherman. This has to stop NOW!” I didn’t like taking the hard-line but something had to be said before he got me into serious strife”. He swiftly responded “You and me ain’t hot topic at the moment you bag of elks, right now you need to get your face in that mud”. Was he totally deranged, had the last poppy-seed bagel plummeted from his hamper? I was done with taking instruction from him but I didn’t credit him with the lack of scruples he displayed next. Bastard tied my flip-flops together, don’t ask me how, I won’t be able to give a legitimate answer but he did it.
I fell like a dyspraxic trapeze artist face long into what can only accurately described as shit. It’s a different set of rules in the jungle, there are no urinals, no commodes, not a b-day in sight. If you need to dump then dump you bloody do, and they bloody did. I will say this, there is nothing like a grillful of sloppy feces to put a dampener on one’s afternoon jaunt in the jungle. Gag reflex to the rescue and this was a fairly lousy rescue, in all honesty, as I would have rather remained purse-lipped than masticate manure. If it looks like shit, smells like shit and tastes like shit, then chances are it’s shit.
That shimmering came back, only this time it was within touching distance. It wasn’t aware of my position whilst submerged in dung and I would have sat up and introduced myself but was far too busy retching up a kidney. I had had a change of heart and was actually gearing up for a nice tête-à-tête with my new-found friend but once again Bonus Brain just had to have his ten cents worth. My translucent buddy walked on by and our moment passed in that instant. This saddened me to my very core as imitation is the most delectable form of flattery and I had been psyched about chewing the fat with my transparent pal. All that was left now was to call Basil or Barney and get him to swing by to pick me up. After all, it would take a month of flannel baths to remove the excrement from my nooks and crannies.
He said he would be about ten minutes so I took a stroll to the lagoon for one more refreshing dip. The smell in my nostrils was far too peppery for my liking and I wasn’t sure my relationship with Benedict or Bartholomew had reached the point where I could drudge the stool of a thousand rectums through his chopper. Bonus Brain started blathering on about staying out of the bayou but I figured there wasn’t a crocodile this side of Yemen who would fancy taking a hunk out of this right now so I blanked his incessant whining out and carried on scrubbing. I felt revitalized straight after my dip, still no reason to be biting my nails for a day or two but at least the surplus had been washed away. Now I was ready to make tracks once more, chalk this down to experience and take away the positives.
Now I think I hear him coming. Yes, it’s him. He’s currently hovering above the clearing and preparing to make his descent. What a treasure, this fella has proved himself invaluable in the short time we’ve known each other and I know I can count on him in a fix, unlike a certain cantankerous number crunching numskull. “Hop on in, this is as low as I can get, you need to be quick as I can’t hold her steady for long”. Then, through the sound of percolating propeller blades, I discern the mimicked words “I can’t hold her steady for long” bounding back my way. My friend, the other one. He’s come to see me off, how delightful. “Cooey”. He’s heard me and his lambent light display seems again to be operational. I’m really going to miss this guy. I climb aboard, still waving goodbye as he does the same with his desperately configuring crimson beams. Alas, we are hoiked high into the sky before he could lock-on those charming love rays.
I turn to my friend. “I really appreciate the ride Blake, Byron, ahem buddy” I let my words trail off inconspicuously. “No problem my friend. You looked like you got yourself in spot of bother out there. You alright?” I cast my mind back to that meadow muffin face mask and shudder. “Yeah it wasn’t all bad though. I made an unspoken connection. Charming he seemed. Never did find out his name.” I sigh and took one last opulent gaze across the broad vista below us. “Never mind, there will be other adventures I’m sure. You seem to like battling the elements and I’m never far away should you feel like busting loose again. Oh and by the way, my name, it’s Alan”. I knew it was Alan, I fucking knew it.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014