Wrecked – Chapter 12
Sgt. Dewey Beverage & suspected Taliban soldier Akhbar Ali have washed up on a deserted island.
Chapter Twelve – Darn
Dewey & Akhbar are hacking through thick jungle towards the base of the mountain at the center of the island, Dewey swinging the torch around wildly.
“Careful with that thing,” Akhbar warns. “I used up the last of the gunpowder to produce that flame.”
A rumbling growl causes the shipwreckees to spin around, coming face to face with the dreaded, and surprisingly small, panther; which actually turns out to be a jaguar.
“That’s the beast?” Dewey scoffs. “It’s the size of a house cat.”
The tiny jungle cat hisses and swings a clawed paw at them. Dewey shrieks and tosses the torch. It lands at the jaguar’s feet and fizzles out as the cat looks down at the dead torch and back up at the now-torchless men.
Akhbar shakes his head. “Well that’s just grea–”
The torch suddenly springs back to life and a nearby bush is completely engulfed in flames. The jaguar tears off as the fire quickly spreads to a palm tree and from there to another and then another. The now-towering blaze spreads beyond the tree canopy in both the direction of the beach and the direction of the still-motionless men.
“Well, that…worked,” Dewey mumbles, flames close enough to lick at his face.
Akhbar pulls Dewey’s arm back towards the mountain base behind them. “I hope you’re a fast climber.”
“You see how I scared off that pussy-ass panther?”
“Yes yes, great jungle warrior. Let’s move.”
“The only reason I’m on this ship is because of her. Because of Jerrah. The only woman I ever loved.”
Akhbar has finished his lengthy explanation of his situation to a half-listening Sgt. Dewey Beverage, who’s doodling big tits in the margins of his government questionnaire.
“Uh huh,” Dewey responds.
“Don’t you have someone you love, Sgt.? Someone you’d go to the ends of the earth for?”
Dewey looks up, staring at Akhbar, then staring through him, thinking of Michelle Dunwoody back in Tallahatchee, Florida. “No.” He gets up and heads for the door. “I now have to make a phone call for a completely unrelated matter.”
A thirty-minute vertical scramble later and Akhbar & Dewey are at the peak of the island mountain, the now-island-engulfing wildfire reaching the tree line below…and continuing along the rocky mountainside, creeping closer toward them.
“Why isn’t the fire stopping? Why isn’t it stopping?”
“Ohhh, shit,” Dewey blurts, picking up a handful of the rocks at their feet. “I think this might be volcanic ash, actually.”
“So we’re just…going to burn to death on this mountain.”
“Oopsie-daisy!” Dewey shrugs, pouring out a bump of heroin in his palm.
“Are the last words I’m going to hear on this green earth ‘Oopsie-daisy’?”
Dewey snorts the dope and sits down, cross-legged. “Well, no. ‘Cause you kept talking. And now I’m talking. And then you’ll probably say something else. Whew! It’s hot up here!”
Akhbar sighs and sits down next to his shipwreck mate, consigned to his fate.
A couple hours after the blaze was ignited, it has fizzled out. A German sailing vessel anchored on the now-blackened husk of a formerly-lush island. Captain Jimmy Van Heusen scales the charred mountain and comes across two skeletons laying next to each other at the peak.
“Ach du lieber!” Capt. Van Heusen exclaims. “Der shmolderin boneren!” He pulls a bulky brass ring that survived the fire off one of the skeleton’s fingers, holds it up to the light and smiles. “Unt prizen minezen.”
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