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The Last Camping Trip 2
by Julie Michaelson
05/18/11
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Do not
desire
her beauty
in your
heart,
and
do not let
her
capture you
with her
eyelashes......
He who
commits
adultery
has no
sense;
he who
does it
destroys
himself.
[Proverbs 6:25-32]
**********************
For a moment,
the spicy scent of Christine
came to his memory,
making him forget the
stench of the charred
smoke of the small pistol:
her hot, pale skin
with the rich, heady
midsummers' afternoon smell
of a chlorinated swimming pool,
and the ripe coconut scent
of her thick bubbly shampoo,
and round glowing bath beads....
and warm suntan oil.

The gun slipped out
of Donald's trembling fingers,
and fell with a hard
thud onto the bottom
of the aluminum canoe.
Clumsily slipping off
the boat seat, and
falling hard on his
denim-covered knees,
Donald cursed loudly to himself.
Ignoring the pain in knees,
he began crawling slowly to
the front of the boat
where his wife had been,
just moments
before.

What WAS this?
Where WAS she?

The world suddenly
seemed quite surreal,
and off balance,
as if a mighty hand
had gently tipped the
earth to one side:
pushing all the continents
into one another.

Donald stopped crawling
for a moment;
he grabbed one of the
mineral water bottles
that had rolled to the
bottom of the canoe.
Gripping the
bottle top so hard
that the skin along
his palm tore and began to bleed,
Donald turned the
cold wet bottle upside down,
and began noisily swallowing
like a man who had
just come out of the desert.
For several long, silent
moments he drank:
the ice cold water
slipping past his parched
throat, and
the dried, thick saliva
on his tongue.

Two minutes later
Donald heaved himself
over the side of the boat,
and vomited.

Where WAS SHE?
What had HAPPENED? The
beautiful blue sky
above Donald began
to spin, unmercilessly.
Groaning, he pushed
himself once more
over the side of
his canoe, and
began wretching,
again. Closing his
eyes to blot out the
strengthening sunlight,
and spinning sky, Donald
lay back against the
hard bottom of the
canoe, and groaned,
once more.

It was such a beautiful,
idyllic day: just like the
scene out of
a picture postcard.
The mountains,
bearing little lovely
violet and yellow flowers,
majestically surrounded
the cold, deep blue lake.
There was no
evidence that a gun
had just been fired,
or that a human
being had just been
killed. It was a peaceful,
lovely early spring day:
the air around the
canoe smelled fresh, and clean,
and almost like a
small flower shop
in the middle of a
busy, downtown
avenue. It was like
heaven.

Very cautiously,
Donald began to open
his tight eyelids. Thank God;
the sky was no longer spinning.
Taking deep, long breaths,
Donald began to slowly
make his way
along the canoe's bottom.

He had to find out
where the bullet
had gone; if it hadn't
sliced through Marge's
forehead......where
had it GONE?

Persuasive sweat was
still dripping
down Donald's forehead:
its burning saltiness
stinging both his
eyes and lips. His right
palm was ripped and bleeding.
Both his knees were bruised
from where he fallen from his seat,
and a bump on his head was forming
where handle of his canoe
paddle had smacked him on the
head after he had
dropped to his knees
on the bottom of the canoe.

"Oh, my GOD!"
Donald was still
on his knees:
crawling along the
bottom of the boat.
There, in front of him,
just a few
inches away and
under the Marge's
canoe seat cushion,
were her bright red
cotton canvas shirt
and light-blue demin
jeans. Even the
little red-flowered
scarf, which Marge
had been wearing
around her neck to
ward against sunburn,
was delicately lying a
little ways' away:
as if it had floated
down from the sky.

"WHAT THE........?"
Donald reached out
for the little red-
flowered scarf; he
began to scrutinize
the thick cotton
material as if he
were searching for
a hidden speck of
diamond.....or,
gold dust. He took
a sniff; it smelled
of gunsmoke: there
was no doubt about it.
But, no hole
had penetrated the
soft, pretty material,
and there were no ragged edges,
or torn threads.

Donald, feeling
a little better and
clammoring up onto
Marge's canoe seat
cushion, began to
examine his wife's
other clothes.
Her expensive red
cotton campshirt was
still buttoned
securely, and her
blue jeans were
still zipped; even
the gold-toned snap,
above the pants' zipper, was
still snugly clipped.
And, yes, her white
underwear was still
sitting neatly inside her
shirt, and slacks.
Margie's white cotton crew socks
and expensive hiking shoes were
neatly placed under
the seat cushion,
as if someone had
put them there.

Nothing was gone:
nothing. Even the
plain gold wedding
band and large
diamond engagement
ring, that Marge
never took off, was
lying on top of her
red campshirt and
and demin slacks:
as if she had decided to
take them off before
sliding into the deep, cold lake.

Is that what had
HAPPENED?

Donald, feeling a bit
more like himself,
scrambled hurridly
to the side of the
big canoe. Had she
fallen off the BOAT? Had she,
seeing her husband
beginning to hold up
the small black pistol,
thought quickly and
dived off the edge of the
boat?

Donald peered down
over the warm aluminum edge of
the canoe. His face
reflected back at him:
grim, very
anxious, and full of
deep, leathery wrinkles. For
a moment, the softly undulating
water, splashing in little
curly-cues rhythmically against
the side of his boat,
nauseated Donald
again. He pulled his
eyes away from the
shimmering, sparkly
surface, sat back down again on the
hard bottom of the
brand-new, well-
stocked canoe.

"OH."
Donald put his scraped
and bleeding palm to his
stomach; he felt as
if he might never feel
like eating, again. Suddenly,
his tired eyes lighted
on the forgotten gun; when
he had dropped it,
it had skittered away
under Margie's seat to the
other side of the boat.

Donald's heart began
to pound so
painfully that for
a moment he thought
he was having a heart attack.
THE GUN!
He NEEDED TO GET RID OF THE GUN!
JUST AS HE HAD PLANNED!

As if he had just
heard the starting
gun fire at the
beginning of one of
his marathons, Donald,
remembering to stay low so
as not to rock the boat, leapt over
Marge's seat cushion
and grabbed the gun's
small steel handle.
Then gathering up
all his runner's strength,
he lifted his right arm high
and threw the small
pistol as far as he
could: it made a
soft plopping sound
as it fell headlong
into the eastern side
of the deep blue lake.

Then, all was quiet:
Eerily so. Even the
birds had stopped
chattering for a
moment. It was if
the whole world had
stopped.......and
Donald were the
only human being
left..........
on the planet.
*****************
For the Lord
Himself
will
descend
from heaven
with a
cry
of command...
with the
sound
of the
trumphet.
[1 Thessalonians 4:16]


Copyright 2011.

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