Heart in throat, Lucille clenched both ropes tightly in her fists and moved cautiously forward. The fragile board sagged precariously beneath her weight, its brittle wood grains squealing in protest.
He yelled. "CHILLAX!"
She screamed again, vexed by the unexpected outburst. A blunt knee pressed into the back of her leg, prodding her forward.
Lucille groaned. "Lighten up. I'm going as fast as I can." The rough threads burned her hands as she inched them along the line, treading carefully.
"I said, 'CHILLAX!' As in, let go your worry ax, before you spazz me out!" boomed the expert travel guide behind her. A pungent fog obscured the view, urging her to proceed with utmost caution.
Another step. Another dip. A swallowed yelp. The narrow road was shaky, but she might survive, if only he'd allow more wiggle room. She took shallow breaths of smoky air, scorning the cigar smell.
"For the umpteenth time, CHILLAX. I know it's a rush job, but with a little power hustle we can leave those freak-in' banshees in the dust."
Lucille felt her world reel as her partner shifted his weight and, using her back as a spring board, did a quick flip. He landed with a bounce that flung her to her knees. "So move with the groove and just do it," he added with a chuckle.
But Lucille was in no mood for jokes. A bitter taste filled her mouth as she slowly filled her lungs and struggled to regain her equilibrium.
"Ow, I got a splinter in my toe," she cried, furious with the inconsiderate lout who'd trampled on her feelings as he would a trampoline. "Do me a favor and pass the peroxide."
She could hear him roll his eyes.
"Would you ditch the rotten attitude already and CHILLAX?"
"No, Larry. You CHILLAX. Walking barefoot over his footbridge was your idea, not mine."
"Aw, stop blowing this out of proportion. I know it's a bear, but where's your sense of adventure? We could have tackled the problem from a different angle, you know."
With a voice as frigid as an icicle in January, Lucy answered, "And I suppose it's my fault for being too chicken to pole vault across this canyon! But then again, who gives a hoot about my acrophobia or the fact that I can't see two feet in front of me? This jumbled maze of warped support beams requires serious repair, but I don't suppose we two could backtrack and start over."
"Oh, stop whining. Learn to let go, we'll be fine," came Larry's glib reply. "All it needs is a few screws and a little wood glue."
"We should have gotten counsel long ago," Lucille muttered. At every trip and slip she berated herself. Why, oh why, had she agreed to this crazy, hare-brained scheme? He was the expert Sherpa. Why had he forced her, the novice scout, to take the lead?
"Don't be a wimp, Cindy. You can handle it. CHILLAX. Where's your trust in God?"
Lucille groaned. He couldn't even get her name right! But he was right about one thing: as a Christian she must place her trust in God, not him, because she never knew what Larry would throw at her next.
Zzzip! Fumble. Whoosh!
With no warning, a small, brown UFO flew over her head. She instinctively released the ropes, made a grab for it, and with a shriek fell through an unseen gap between two badly fastened boards. Knocked totally off balance, Larry followed.
"You dropped the peroxide!" he yelled, finally directing his comments at Lucille and away from the cell phone still glued to his ear and fingers.
"It's not my fault, but I forgive you for abusing and ignoring me!" cried his wife. "Now I see who you were really telling to chillax." Her prayers shot up like rockets as the two zoomed through the gloom toward their doom.
"Lord, save us, or we're crocodile food!"
Much to her relief, she and Larry suddenly stopped falling. Blue skies replaced the mist, and as their minds cleared, so did their vision. The couple saw themselves in the grip of a mighty hand. A voice calm as a summer breeze whispered in their ears.
"CHILLAX. I have your marriage in my nail-pierced palms, Lucille and Larry. So stop striving to fix it and let me be bridge your communication gap. You can rest secure. I've got it all under control."
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