...::: 7 :::...
Willy took the sling off his arm and stuffed it in his pocket as soon as he was out of sight. His arm didn't really hurt much, but he wasn’t feeling up to a hard day of manual labor. Besides, he figured, Ron was always much happier when he had a mind-numbingly difficult task to occupy him. Willy on the other hand was much happier when doing something relaxing. Like going for a stroll.
He walked into the jungle humming quietly and extracted his tobacco pouch and pipe. For no particular reason he decided today was the day to walk up the mountain and see if he could make it up to those flowered slopes above the treeline.
Pipe preparation complete, he dug the North American River Trout lighter out of his pocket and paused in the shade to light up. The tobacco lit slowly in the humid air and he lingered a moment to make sure everything was in good working order. After a few puffs he set off again at a leisurely pace. Wisps of white smoke snaked up through the trees behind him.
Isle de Willy was shaped sort of like a fat crescent moon. There were, of course, abnormalities here and there, but that's the basic idea. It was shaped this way because it was actually the very top of a massive volcano. A dormant volcano, to be sure but a volcano that had once spewed forth great molten ejaculations of liquid hot magma. Some of which did not spew so much as seep over the edges, accumulate just outside the rim and eventually settle to form the complex system of reefs which pretty much surrounded the island creating violent breaking tides in just about every direction.
These are just some tectonic factoids in case you find the story boring. You can just contemplate the majesty of the earth for awhile. Volcanos are pretty crazy.
The further north one traveled on the island the elevation increased until the multi-tiered summit of the mountain. North of that the island terminated abruptly in a sheer cliff face that plunged straight into the ocean. Not convenient for launching rafts, canoes, rowboats, yachts, schooners, battleships or any seagoing vessel currently known to man. The shortest cliff face they had yet located was some fifty or sixty feet above the high-water mark and at it’s highest it was some twelve hundred feet above the ocean.
In addition to the inconvenient shoreline and the formidable surf breaks, the reef system was also home to hundreds of species of extremely violent sea life, many of which didn’t exist anywhere else on the planet. A marine biologist would have given his left pinky toe for a chance to study such pristine, untouched wilderness. Ron had already given a pinky toe because one of those scaly little fuckers ate it during their second escape attempt. So even though Ron and Willy were pretty much the only modern men to have come into contact with these creatures, they didn’t appreciate it. They took it all for granted. Actually, they loathed it. Ron would have decimated the entire ecosystem with thermonuclear warfare.
Willy smoked his pipe and sauntered through the jungle, stopping occasionally to play with this or smell of that. Every so often he would take his bearings from the top of the mountain, but for the most part he had the same casual attitude towards navigation he had towards most things in life. Like, for instance, conserving tobacco. So it's wasn’t very long into his hike he tried to refill his pipe and found the tobacco pouch empty.
"Damn," he proclaimed to no one. He turned the pouch upside down, explored it with his finger and came up with nothing but a few loose nuggets.
What terrible timing. He really felt he was just starting to get the hang of this whole tobacco thing. “Well that tears it!” Willy decided right then and there that he would find something to smoke on this island. Yes! A mission, a quest, a purpose to his day.
Willy set off towards the mountain with renewed vigor. For the first time in many days he felt like a man with a clear sense of purpose. Even if that purpose was kind of idiotic.
...::: 8 :::...
Ron had developed a method of approaching the trees.
After the Jessup encounter he had started to wonder why none of the other trees had any objection to being cut down. It vexed him. After pondering it for a while he decided to play it safe and just ask each tree before he started chopping. So upon approaching a new bunch of trees he would stop a respectable distance away and proclaim, “If there’s anyone here who objects to being cut down just speak up now and I’ll leave you to your business.” Then after waiting a respectable amount of time, he would begin chopping.
So far he had received no objections.
He had been going at it for a few hours and decided on just a couple more trees before calling it a day. He wiped sweat from his brow, scanned the beach and picked out a nice little grove of trees a little further inland. He walked over, stopped at ten paces and let the head of the axe rest in the sand, casually leaning on it. “Excuse me, but if there’s anyone here who objects to being cut down-”
The first coconut hit him square in the face and sent him straight over on his back. Blood squirted from his nose almost instantly.
“Cut that down, ya jerk!” a voice yelled.
“Yeah, you ain’t cutting down nuttin’ else on dis island pal,” another voice chimed in.
Ron gasped, wind knocked from his lungs and struggled to sit up. He tried to curse but more blood just fell out of his nose. His eyes filled with water, blinding him.
He cupped both hands over his nose and face. “Ow. Dammit. I think you guys broke my-”
This coconut hit him in the side of the head. The world went all screwy and he slumped over into the sand, which at least caused the next flying coconut to miss.
As previously mentioned, Ron could have quite a temper when his appropriate button was pressed and somebody just pressed it with a big damn coconut.
He let out something between a grunt and a roar then pushed off the sand and lept to his feet. He whirled around, grabbed the ax and yelled, “Alright, who did that?”
A low blow to the stomach, not quite a shot in the balls, but close. Ron doubled over, stomach lurching into his throat but he didn’t fall. He took a step back to steady himself, raised the ax, sucked in a huge lungful of air and bellowed, “Alright! That’s it! You’re all dead!”
He then commenced to chopping the ever-loving shit out of every tree in sight.
...::: 9 :::...
Willy plucked another flower and began to pull off the petals. This particular flower was red and kind of reminded him of a daisy. At least he thought maybe it was daisy. Willy wasn’t good with flowers. At any rate he took the part of the flower he deemed most flammable and stuffed it into his pipe with the smoldering remains of the last random flower he had smoked.
He was somewhere in the jungle working his way up the mountain. In his search for something yummy to smoke he adopted the method of just randomly grabbing whatever vegetation happened to look nice and stuffing it into his pipe. It had not yet occurred to him what a terribly dangerous idea this might be because he was having fun. And for Willy having fun always trumped good judgement.
...::: 10 :::...
Ron had angered the trees and the trees had pissed Ron off. War had begun. Every tree within coconut range was trying like hell to pummel him with its husk-covered bounty. Ron was trying like hell to stop them.
There were no cease fires. No peace talks. No treaties put forward. Just sun, sand, surf and one severely concussed human chopping down trees like nobody’s business.
“Timber! Ha ha ha!” That man screamed as another tree fell.
...::: 11 :::...
Willy was above the treeline. He was walking through flowers. Surrounded by a groundswell of swaying colors. The breeze moved him. Moved everything with him. It was dazzlingly beautiful. He gazed around, uncharacteristically introspective, lost in the cacophony of stimulus. He strolled until he reached the upper reaches of the flower fields where the incline increased sharply. He looked ahead, up to the summit where the ground ended and the sky began . It looked steep. He turned and waded back into the expanse of flowers.
As he walked he continued stuffing ever more exotic-looking plants into his pipe.
He reached the jungle again and turned to look back at the field once more. The entire field pulsed and moved with a life all its own. The colors were electric. He felt the wind in his pores and sensed the vibrations of every single stem, every blade of grass rubbing against its neighbor.
A bird swooped low in his field of vision and said, “Hello! Hello!”
“Oh, hey man!” Willy called lazily, smiling after the bird. As it winged away on the breeze he waved to it and noticed his fingers were all tingly. In fact, now that he came to think about it, his whole body was warm and buzzing. His skin felt carbonated. It was an extremely pleasant sensation.
He heard something behind him and turned just in time to see a large, pink camel trotting by. It spit in his general direction and disappeared down the hillside.
“Cool,” Willy said.
He took a step but was stopped short when several hundred butterflies zoomed by his face. “Whoa!” He reached out to touch one and his hand smeared into one continuous arc of blurry light.
A man with lesser pharmaceutical experience might have chosen that moment to freak the fuck out, but Willy was no such man. Willy was no stranger to taking the ticket and riding the ride.
“That is the coolest thing I have ever seen in my whole freaking life!” he laughed.
After playing with the butterflies for a while he wandered off into the jungle. He pinballed around from one interesting thing to another. Or at least, they were interesting things to him.
...::: 12 :::...
There was little doubt now, the tide was turning against him. Ron was fatigued and beaten but more determined than ever. He sidestepped a slow moving coconut and pushed forth into another grove of trees. He swung the ax into an exposed trunk and more sap splattered onto his arms, already sticky with it.
He took a hard shot to the shoulder for his efforts. “Do you worst you dirty pansies!” he yelled. At that point in the conflict all witty banter had been used, reused, refined and worn-out. In short, it had just come down to name-calling.
“Once more into the breach dear friends!” a nearby tree called out.
“You’re outnumbered and outclassed little man,” another added.
“Stuff it toothpick,” Ron grunted.
“Oh, aren’t you a clever one? Why don’t you suck a - AHHH!” Ron cut the tree off, literally, with a thundering crack as the trunk shattered beneath his ax.
“Bet you’re not so tough without that pointy rock, are you?” a tree yelled as it blasted Ron between the shoulder blades with a real zinger of a shot.
Ron whirled on it, winded and sucking air but did not hesitate in launching himself towards that slender trunk.
The battled raged on...
...::: 13 :::...
Willy was lying on the ground convulsing. With laughter. Tears streamed down his face and his breath came in gasps between fits of giggling. After long moments of that, he got himself up to his hands and knees. He leaned forward, staring intently at some tiny thing on the ground, total concentration. He extended a finger ever so slowly towards a tiny beetle walking across a leaf. The instant before his finger touched it, it rolled up into a ball and fell over on its side.
The jungle rang with laughter. That was somewhere between the third and thirtieth time this had brought him to tears with joy. In medical terminology, Willy was tripping balls.
Eventually the beetle got away and Willy moved on. As he wandered aimlessly, he pulled out the sling Ron had made for his arm. He ran his fingers over the fabric, appreciating the texture. He smelled it, rubbed it on his cheek and decided to tie it around his head. He didn’t tie it like a normal bandana however, he tied it like a bonnet, knotted under his chin. It made his head feel as though it was being cuddled. Gave him a sense of security.
Happy with his new head apparel he started to whistle. Which made his lips tingle. He enjoyed that very much so he tried making motorboat noises. That was a little too much excitement so he went back to whistling. He was balancing on the trunk of a fallen tree when something caught his attention.
“What the heck fire?” There appeared to be a large yellow blob melting down from the branches of a nearby tree. He squinted at it but the pesky thing wouldn’t focus properly.
“Well let’s just go have a lookie see what you could be sir,” He giggled again, hopping of the log to check it out.
...::: 14 :::...
Willy poked his head around the tree as if playing peek-a-boo with a child. He jerked it back again. He was trying to decide if it was safe to confront the large yellow blob. He had been taking peeks at it for a while and even though it was only a couple yards away, he still had no idea what the hell it was. It was just a huge yellow blob hanging about ten feet of the ground, not moving, not doing anything. He furrowed his forehead in thought. Weighed the pros and cons of the situation. Got intensely interested in his left elbow for a couple seconds. Realized he had to pee something fierce. While peeing he totally forgot what the hell he had been doing, zipped up and walked around the tree.
He stopped short immediately.
There was a huge yellow blob hanging from the tree in front of him. He remembered the yellow blob. He had been watching it and it seemed pretty cool. Now that he was here in front of it, it didn’t bother him too much. The man hanging underneath it though, that disturbed him rather a lot. How had he not noticed that little detail before?
The man was very, very skinny.
Willy took a step back and considered making a run for it when he realized what the yellow blob was.
“Hey man, nice parachute!” he called. He flashed a broad smile at the man who he now realized was hanging from a parachute harness.
The thin man did not respond. He seemed to have other things on his mind. He made no response at all to Willy’s presence but Willy took no notice and forged ahead.
“How’s it going man? I thought me and Ron were the only people on the island. Were you on a plane too? Are you a pilot?”
The man said nothing.
“Yeah, so um… whatcha doing hanging around in that tree there buddy? You stuck?”
“Um… are you alright man?”
Willy decided the guy might need some help. He moved closer to get a better look at him. He was really very skinny. Willy thought there was just something off about the dude, but then again, in Willy’s eyes at that moment the entire forest was fluctuating through the colors of the rainbow, humming softly and vibrating every time he moved. So he had to admit his baseline for normality was pretty screwed at the moment.
As he got close he saw the guy had a nifty web belt with various pieces of cool looking gear hanging from it. Willy spotted a canteen and inspiration struck him.
“Maybe you need a drink buddy.”
He reached over carefully and slipped the canteen from it’s pouch. He shook it and it gave him a satisfying sloshing sound. He was just about to unscrew the cap when there was a blood-curdling scream and a chaos of rustling jungle as a monkey flew by overhead. Willy jumped, startled and turned to watch it haul ass through the trees like its little monkey life depended on it.
“Crazy ass monkey,” Willy smiled. He watched just long enough to again forget what the hell he had been doing.
He turned around again and was scared half to death by the skinny guy hanging in the tree. He lept back, dropped the canteen, tripped and fell on his butt while yelping like a kicked puppy. He lay there stunned until he remember what he had been doing, then he laughed at himself, found the canteen and got to his feet.
“Sorry about that man, I smoked a little flower earlier, don’t mind me. Here ya go now, nice little drinkie winkie.”
Willy reached over gently and poured some water into the man’s mouth. It fell directly out of his jaw and splashed down the front of his shirt. Willy tried it again with similar results.
Neurons fired. Connections were forged through the psychedelic haze. Realization came.
“Hey, you’re dead man,” Willy blurted. He didn’t know what else to do so he giggled. He looked from the skeleton (so clear to him now what it was) to the canteen in his hand. “Was I just giving you a drink of water? You’re dead man!” He laughed harder at that for a few moments then stopped abruptly. “Wait, that’s not funny is it? Sorry man.”
He stood there awkwardly, not sure what to do next. Another monkey came flying by, screaming at the top of his lungs. At it passed it threw a banana at Willy. It missed Willy but hit the dead man in the chest, and fell onto the ground at their feet.
“Now that’s funny!” Willy said and broke into laughter again.
He picked up the banana, peeled it and took a bite. While happily munching he broke off another piece and put it in the skeleton’s mouth. It fell out of the bottom of his head.
Willy squealed with laughter.
...::: 15 :::...
Ron pressed on. Smashing, chopping, hacking, spitting, cursing, swelling, ducking, dodging and just generally having it out with every tree in sight. The only change in his situation was that he now had a goal. He raged towards that goal with blind determination.
...::: 16 :::...
Willy had decided to take the skeletons stuff since the skeleton probably didn’t need it anymore. The problem was that good old Trippin’ Willy’s brain had convinced him that if he touched the skeleton, he’d get death cooties.
Willy didn’t know much, but he knew he didn’t want no fucking death cooties.
“Sorry you got the death cooties Irving- um, I mean Mr. Skeleton.”
Willy didn’t know why, but he had started thinking of the skeleton as Irving and it was starting to creep him out. He was trying to force himself to maintain a professional level of detachment.
While he pondered the cootie situation he sat down, got out his pipe and smoked the rest of whatever was in the bowl. Luckily, this gave him an idea. He went off and searched the underbrush until he found a solid, four foot long branch. He took a couple warm up swings, giggled a bit then started whacking the hell out of the skeleton. The skull flew off into a nearby bush. The left arm broke free, cartwheeled up into the air and landed behind Willy with a thud. He glanced back at it and giggled again before delivering a huge swing into Irving’s (sorry, the skeleton’s) rib cage.
It pretty much exploded as the rotten old clothes ripped apart, spilling bones all over the ground. Once it was a just a pile of bones and stuff, Willy used to branch to flick most of the larger bones away and stood back to survey the carnage.
“Well I guess I kick your ass, huh Irving?”
“Sure you did there Wild Willy,” Irving’s skull replied from the bush in a lovely British accent.
“Damn right I did,” Willy said this then everything went black for him. He reeled, dropped the branch and tripped on a femur. “Oh shit I’m blind! Help! Help me! Irving, help me. Get me outta here!”
“Jeez o’ peeps man,” Irving cried. “The parachutes on your head, ya boob!”
Frantic flailing of appendages ensued and Willy managed to pull of chute from his head. He kicked it away from him and scrambled to his feet. He went over to the bush and picked up Irving’s skull. He held it up in front of his face and smiled at it warmly.
“Thanks Irv. Appreciate the assist there.”
“Don’t mention it William. Happy to help.”
“Well,” Willy continued. “time to get down to business. Lets see what kind of stuff you’ve got for me there buddy.”
He carried Irving back over to the pile of bones, clothes and gear and bent down to examine it.
“Oh some great stuff I assure you William,” Irving said cheerfully. “Not that it did me much good, mind you. But then again, I seem to have broken my bloody neck on the way down didn’t I?”
“That’s a bummer Irv,” Willy frowned, genuinely sad for Irving’s predicament.
“Yes. It was quite a bummer.”
Willy reached out and sat Irving down on the yellow parachute for safekeeping. He started sorting through the web belt and gear.
“By the way William, that yellow looked smashing on you if you don’t mind me saying. And the bonnet you’re sporting? Quite the stylish statement for this season.”
“You really think so Irving? Being after Labor Day and all?” Willy touched his bonnet sheepishly.
“Is it after labor day?” Irving asked.
“I have no idea,” Willy admitted and they shared a laugh.
“No but seriously, the bonnet’s great,” Irving continued, “and I really think you can do something with this yellow…”
...::: 17 :::...
The last tree feel with a crack. One thin piece of bark tried desperately to hold but as the tree toppled, it snapped under the strain. Dust and sand billowed out in a small cloud as the trunk slammed to the ground.
The sun crouched low in the afternoon sky, burning crimson with the first touches of sunset. Ron appreciated the angry red color with an evil grin and turned down the beach towards his arch enemy. One of his eyes was swollen shut. There were so many knots on his head they had basically combined to make his entire head one massive, swollen bump. Dried blood caked his mouth, nose and chin. He didn’t think he had lost any teeth but his jaw ached so much he really couldn’t tell. He tried not to think about all the places where his body was turning black and blue at that very moment.
But he pushed all that aside. Time for the finale. Showdown at sunset. He shouldered the ax, stood as tall as his battered body would allow and gathered his breath.
There was a long moment of silence before Jessup replied, quite casually, “What? You again? I thought I told you to leave me alone.”
“See what happened to all your little friends, you belligerent turd?” Ron swept his arm wide indicating the hundred or so yards of waylaid trees.
“Wow. You’ve been a busy boy,” Jessup said. “You sure you didn’t miss any?”
Another beat while that hung in the air and Jessup absorbed it. “Now wait just a minute buddy boy. What does this have to do with me? All I did was ask you to leave me alone!”
“Well here are the facts as I see them… buddy boy. I have never, in my entire life had any trouble with any sort of tree before. I’ve never fallen out of a tree, never had an apple fall on my head, never had a bird poop on me from a tree branch and I have certainly never had a tree call me a ‘mouth-breathing, turd-burgling, ninny-hammer. In fact, you are the first tree I have ever spoken to and within an hour of meeting you I am assailed by every fucking tree I encounter! I have been insulted, attacked, beaten, berated and utterly confused by your kind in general! So when I review the facts, as I see them, I am forced to this conclusion: it started with you, it ends with you.”
“Whoa, hold it right there chief,” Jessup began but Ron was having none of it.
“Shut it cretin! You’re not talking your way out of this.”
“Look you’ve got it all wrong man, I’m not even a-”
“I said shut it!” Ron bellowed. “Time to die tree!” Ron charged, ax raised and screamed with rage.
Jessup hurled a coconut with all his might. Ron managed to parry it with the ax handle but the force was startling. The coconut shattered when it hit the handle and sprayed Ron with its milk. It didn’t fell him, but knocked him off balance and stopped his advance cold. He knew there was no way he was going to shake one of those off. If he took a shot like that to the head it might kill him. Or at least knock him out and who knew what kind of sick shit this tree might do to him while he was unconscious.
He strengthened his grip on the ax and looked Jessup up and down. He felt strangely satisfied with the worthiness of his arch enemy.
“Just hold it right there ya psycho,” Jessup warned. “You take one more step and I’ll clobber you.”
Ron spit blood towards him. “Give it up man. I’m gonna get you eventually. Why don’t you just stand there and take it like an oak.”
“Just try it hero. You’ll be sorry.”
Ron bent slightly forward, ready to spring into action. Jessup stood, well… exactly the same way he always stood but the general air of the situation suggested that he was equally ready for anything Ron might throw at him. The seconds crept by. Occasionally Ron would make a jerking feint trying to catch the tree off guard but Jessup never reacted. This tree had nerves of steel.
Beads of sweat rolled down Ron’s face. He licked his lips and gripped the ax until his knuckles went white. The wind rustled Jessup's palms leaves and one broke free falling to the sand. Ron took that as a sign of nervousness and grinned.
They were locked in a battle of wills. A standoff. A game of chicken with dire consequences. The tension grated slowly, building towards the inevitable moment of climax. Ron didn’t know how much longer he could bare it. He could feel a terrible cry building in his chest and he knew with a certainty that when it erupted he would charge. Ready or not.
He could feel, more than hear his teeth grinding. It reverberated in his skull. His fingers registered the texture of the handle. His leg muscles tensed. His feet flexed in the sand. He began the long, hard intake of air that would explode in his war cry.
It was time. Do or die. Here we go.
“Hi Ron!” Willy said cheerfully from about three feet behind him.
“JESUS!” Ron screamed as he jumped and executed a really impressive mid-air turn towards Willy.
Jessup saw his chance and took it without hesitation.
“Willy?” Ron stammered. “What the fu-”
The coconut connected with the back of his head, split in two and fell in the sand. His face went slack. He stared dumb questions at Willy. Ron sank to his knees and looked at Willy standing there with the sling tied around his head like a bonnet, wrapped in a bright yellow toga and holding what appeared to be a human skull.
“Ron, don’t be rude, say hello to Irving,” Willy said.
Something like two thousand questions stampeded directly to the front of Ron’s mind and their weight toppled him into the twilight. He pitched forward on his face in the sand.
Willy smiled, puzzled by Ron’s very immediate decision to take a nap. He couldn’t help but feel that something was wrong with this picture. He looked around the beach trying to figure out what it could be.
“Hey Irv, it must be nap time. All the trees are asleep too.”
“I didn’t know trees slept,” Irving replied.
“They don’t,” Jessup said.
“Oh. Who said that?” Willy asked.
“I did,” Jessup answered.
Willy managed to pinpoint the direction of the voice but was still unclear on the source. All he saw was a palm tree standing there. But in the context of his day thus far, this really didn’t rate all that high on the weird scale. “Oh, hi there. My name is Willy and this is Irving.”
“Great,” Jessup replied. “do you guys know this fellow lying on his face here?”
“Oh sure, that’s my buddy Ron. He’s supposed to be working on a raft but it seems he’s slacking off a little bit.” Willy held out the skull and gave it a conspiratorial wink. He looked back to the tree, then back to Ron and giggled for no good reason.
There was an awkward few moments when nothing was said. What was there to say at that point?
“Say, that’s a lovely spot you’ve chosen to put down roots,” Irving commented, just in the way of conversation.
Jessup said nothing.
“Come on Jessup, don’t be rude. Irving is speaking to you,” Willy seemed embarrassed.
Jessup really didn’t know how to play this one so he decided to go with blunt honesty. Maybe this idiot really didn’t know his friend was dead. “Look pal, I don’t mean to burst your bubble or anything but your friend Irving appears to be very, very dead.”
Willy seemed genuinely confused and held Irving up to regard him again.
“It’s alright William,” Irving said. “I don’t really care for trees anyway to tell the truth. Quite dislike them actually.”
“Is he talking to you right now?” Jessup asked.
“Of course he is,” Willy said.
“And what does he say?”
“Says he doesn’t like trees anyway. Probably because he died in one.”
“Can’t say I blame him for that. I don’t much like the idea of dying in a tree myself.”
“Um… wait a minute. I thought you were a tree. Didn’t I? I’m very confused.”
“What is it with you people? Have a lot of conversations with trees do you?” Jessup said and with that he leaped down from his palm tree. Jessup turned out to be a little brown monkey about three and three-quarters feet tall with a long tail and lighter brown fur framing his intelligent little face. He blinked at them with big, brown eyes that regarded Willy with suspicious amusement for a long moment. His long, slender toes clenched in the sand and his tail twitched around with a mind of its own.
“There. Are you happy? I am not a tree, I am a monkey,” Jessup shook his head. “Honestly, have you ever heard of a talking tree?”
“I’ve never heard of a talking monkey,” Willy replied.
“Oh, but you’re perfectly comfortable chatting up a skull?”
“Good point,” Willy conceded. “You’ve got cute feet.”
Willy snorted laughter then held the skull up to his ear for a few seconds.
“What does Irving have to say about it?” Jessup asked.
“He agrees,” Willy said before consulting the skull again. “He says the tail is a nice touch too.”
“Wonderful. Um… thanks?”
Jessup couldn’t help but grin at the obviously insane, toga-clad human in front of him. He didn’t know why, maybe it was some scent-based, animal thing but he decided on the spot that he liked this human. Even if he was bat-shit crazy.
“I have Irving’s backpack,” Willy volunteered.
“Yeah? Is that good?”
“Oh yes. It’s full of goodies,” Willy said in delight.
“Really? Have anything we can use to tie up your friend here before he wakes up?”
“Probably!” Willy laughed again assuming they were going to play a funny joke on Ron.
The two, or three of them depending on how accepting you are of the supernatural when taking a headcount, sat down and began to rummage through the pack. By that time the sunset was brilliant over the western horizon ushering a cool breeze over them, the sleeping trees and the sleeping Ron.