• Dzama


Jake, Jerry, and Mel had climbed near the top of the tallest trees just to get some kind of a view of the sky above. Hanging precariously, they watched for the planes to return. Jake had the binoculars and he scanned the patches of blue through the branches. May called something unintelligible from below and Mel shouted, “Can’t hear,” but she went on talking.

Eventually the planes did come and Jerry went crazy with the mirror. They couldn’t tell if the pilots saw the light flashing up from their mirror or not. They waited for another two hours, branches digging in to their legs and butts, but the planes didn’t return and they slowly climbed all the way back down to the jungle floor.

When they got down May was gone and this angered Jake because they had all agreed never to stray from base camp alone. They started up a campfire and boiled water for coffee, all expecting her to return any minute, especially with the smell of coffee wafting through the trees, but she didn’t.

Jerry sat on a rotting stump and polished the mirror with his chamois cloth and they all drank the coffee without speaking. Jake went to pour himself the last cup but Mel said, “save that for May,” and he set the pot back down at the edge of the fire pit.

The last cup was still in the pot when the light began to fail and the jungle’s strange  night orchestra started in. “What do you think, Jake?” Mel finally asked. Jake looked out into the trees. “Let’s find her before it gets too dark.”

“I ain’t goin’ out there,” said Jerry.

“We gotta stick together, Jerr. We got no choice, right Jake?” asked Mel. Jake stared at Jerry. “You stay here then,” Jerry said. “Man the fort.”

“I’ll protect your shit,” Jerry said, grinning.

Jake and Mel set off, with a flashlight and both machetes.

Jerry added more chopped vines to the fire and kicked back on his sleeping bag. He played his harmonica a while and then went for Jake’s whiskey. He woke up shivering in the early hours of the morning. Everything was blue in the twilight. Above the jungle cacophony he thought he heard a plane coming so he stumbled over to Mel’s mirror. Gazing into the mirror he was surprised to see several figures behind him. He spun around but was not fast enough and when Jake and Mel returned with May they found Jerry’s corpse torn up and spread around camp.

They struck the camp without a word and buried what they could. “Rest in peace, Jerry,” Jake said, standing over the mound. Mel cried but May just stared, tossing Jerry’s harmonica on top of the dirt.

Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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