Last Fall: A last minute adventure tale.
I opened the door that morning preparing to step outside. I was temporarily blinded and took an uneasy step back. It was very bright outside. Cold and windy, too. I could feel it coming in through the open doorway. I hoped I dressed well enough for the conditions. I took a quick mental inventory. Long underwear, insulated liner, wind-breaker jacket. I was pretty sure I was all set. Yet, I had an uneasy feeling I was forgetting something.
I had two friends with me that morning. First there was Sergio “Spaghetti” Pavan, a tall, lanky fellow who played soccer — though he called it football. And then there was Stanley “Popsicle” McCormick, a friend since childhood. Stanley’s a mountain climber. He attempted Mt. Everest last year and the line of people to the summit was so long he nearly froze to death as he waited. In fact, had he not tripped on a discarded oxygen bottle and slid halfway down the mountain, losing his place in line, he would have surely died of frostbite. Since then, we swear the man has a blue-ish tint.
My friends planned on coming with me that morning, but I had other ideas. They were dressed and ready to go, but they stood next to a nearly empty box of doughnuts. Despite the noise of the wind and obvious drop in temperature, they were preoccupied so I was going to use the opportunity to leave early. I had a camera with me and decided it’d be more fun to film them chasing after me if I could get a head start. I did, however, have to get them to chase me. I had a plan.
I stood next to the door, wind howling, and looked over at my friends. I waited in the doorway, feet firmly planted, and I raised my right hand and extended my middle finger. I waited for them to look my way. It seemed to take a long time. While I waited a door at the other end of where I stood opened a little and a man stuck his head out and said something to Spaghetti and Popsicle. As he did this he looked up and saw me. The other fellow wasn’t my intended target but since he looked so shocked I laughed and waggled my finger at him too. My buddies turned around quickly, following the third fellow’s stare. They, too, looked as if they were in shock. Weird. It’s not like the first time one of us has flipped off the other in jest. What are friends for?
I waggled my finger wildly for a second, then gloved my hand, stepped outside, and sped away. It worked. All three men dashed after me shouting something, with utter surprise pasted on their faces. What poor sports, I thought to myself. Catch me if you can, suckers! I kept moving, picking up the pace, now and then glancing back at the ever-diminishing doorway, camera in hand. Come on… chase me, you fools. My friends didn’t disappoint me for long. Both poured out of the opening and gave chase. I loved it. It was windy and cold and bright, my two best friends were chasing me down adding a hint more adventure to the whole thing, and the camera was rolling. It just doesn’t get much better than this.
I sped away faster and faster but the distance between us was growing smaller, my friends were going all out, like missiles, but not fast enough. I was surely going to beat them. They drew closer, close enough for me to make out their faces, though not clearly. Their faces looked contorted with… rage, shock, they looked serious. I didn’t get it, and I couldn’t place my finger on it so put it out of my mind. They seemed to shout something at me but I couldn’t hear anything but the wind rushing by my ears. Oh, well. Grinning, I flipped them off again. I withdrew my gloved finger and placed my hand back on the camera to make sure I didn’t drop it. I put my eye to the eyepiece and made sure the camera was still in focus. This was going to be priceless footage we’d all get a kick out of for years to come. If only I had… what? That uneasy feeling of forgetting something returned with a vengeance. It was there. Close. I could almost grab the thought, but then it was gone. Fleeting. My train of thought had been broken by a strange sound.
I looked again towards my two friends — the third fellow had to stay back — and realized they were getting very close. The strange sound was the combined voices of my buddies trying to rise above the sound of the wind. It was no longer cold at all, but the wind still rushed by with a roar. The best I could make out was the word forgot, forget, faggot, something like that. I don’t know exactly what they were shouting at me — or calling me. They sure looked serious. Some guys just can’t take a joke. I wasn’t going to let them live this one down, that much was certain.
From that point on things progressed quickly. My friends weren’t going to catch me that much was guaranteed. They had both, in fact, put on the brakes and were now falling way behind me. Slowing down in earnest. Looking at my fancy, multi-function wristwatch I determined it was time for me to do the same. I transferred the camera to my left hand, keeping it rolling and trained on my friends the best I could, of course, and reached across my chest with my right. I grabbed my windbreaker. I grasped again, groping to find it, but it wasn’t there. Nothing was there except my jacket. No straps, no D-ring, no fucking brakes! I now remembered what I had forgotten. I looked back at my friends, terrified. I came to a stop. My personal director said cut. Fade to black.
They said I bounced twenty feet in the air that day. The camera didn’t make it. Neither did I. I don’t know if you can even hear me down there, but when you’re certain you’ve forgotten something, think hard and remember what it is, before leaving the safety of the airplane.