In my post, On This Day…, I wrote about what happened to me on August 13 each year from 1991 to 2006. In 1991, I went on a 50-mile trip with the Boy Scouts in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, stopping at a lake called Disappointment Lake. I had mentioned that that particular 50-miler had inspired me to write a story called Her Sentinel. Well here it is. At least part one. I’ll post each part, one per day over the next several days. It was a good story, but by no means Pulitzer Prize material, so take it for what it is. 🙂
By Daniel Dubei
Nervousness crept through me. I couldn’t realize what it was that made me fiddle with my fingers all day long that beautiful Sunday afternoon. I had scheduled myself to play some baseball with a few pals, but this thing completely erased the thought of baseball. It couldn’t have been the very long hike coming up in maybe 12 hours. It couldn’t be. I’ve been on these things seven times already. No, it had to be something else.
My sister came up to me and asked what was wrong. I don’t remember if I replied anything with my mind set on other things. I think she walked way with a crazy thought, but I couldn’t tell. I think I rested comfortably that night for I was packed with energy that next day. Waking up at 4:30 in the morning was not the smartest thing in the world to do but for me, I had to do it. For this was the time of year I adored the most—our traditional 50-mile hike in the Sierras. In the past seven years, Frank, Paul, John and of course me, traversed the rugged paths in the Sierras; and let me tell you, some of those paths were rugged, with a giant capital “R!” Like last year’s for instance. It only seems logical to hike up and down the elevation and come out even right? Well, that’s not how it felt. It probably felt so rough and uneven because we traveled 16 miles that last day.
Anyway, I arose at 4:30 and I practiced the typical morning rituals: get up, soft of crawl into the shower, get out feeling fresh, comb hair, brush teeth, and mouthwash that ugly taste, go back and get dressed. One time I did that, my only thoughts were about my date the night before. I mean I just got up thinking only about Khristine, and not about what the heck I was doing. It’s become that much of a regular practice for me. Interesting.
I exited my room and headed for the living room and the kitchen. I drew some left over pizza outta the frig and stuffed it in the microwave for about 2 minutes. I felt kinda weird shutting in all this energy I had in me. I never had so much energy in the morning, especially on a Monday. I strolled into the living room and to the TV to see what type of forgotten faded black and white films I could view. Never in a rush to present what it had in store, this time, our TV contained 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now here’s a cool film. You readers out there know how much a space film these days rushes through everything, never giving you the chance to see that certain special effect, well I envy this Stanley Kubrick, he takes his time.
The beeper beeped off of the microwave and I went to get my pizza. I’ll tell you something; left over pizza is one of the best.
Right then, my step-dad walked in, I’d say by the books, he didn’t wake up yet, having that same appearance I had before the shower.
‘Wake yet?’ I asked with some pizza still in mouth and not in my stomach. Up popped in my mind, ‘Huh?’ Pretending he was not awake, my mind worked on ways to rile him. Nothing personal against my step-dad, he’s cool, but that’s my way to wake people.
‘Not really. But I’ll try,’ replied with much thought to support it. He flashed the light in the bathroom and shut the door.
About fifteen minutes later he exited and watched me glare at 2001. The movie was at the point where Hal killed Frank Poole and would not let Dave in. this was the best part of the movie. My step-dad then turned back to his room.
I talked to him.
‘Hurry up. We have to leave in about five minutes.’
After a few seconds, ‘Okay.’ I smiled as he replied. It was a pretty boring drive to Frank Cox’s home, fortunately a short one. When we arrived we were surprised to see their lights just flicked on. Right then, I figured out what was bothering me so: the girl-types were coming along. Ah, how could I have forgotten! Me! Forget! Those two words never interacted. Oh well.
My dad stopped the car and I told him to wait while I went to inquire on what’s going on. He agreed as I walked away. I don’t know but sometimes I feel this anger towards him, even though he didn’t commit anything bad. I always tried to stop myself from the anger, but something about him always brought my mind, shut up, be quiet, don’t say anymore, and I hated myself for that.
Anyways, I arrived at the doorstep and knocked on their door. It took a while for some footsteps to even be heard but finally the door opening, I discovered a very unusually dull Frank; and he was limping. Uh, oh!
‘Good morning Tom,’ Frank said, not quite awake yet.
‘Frank, what happened?’ I asked suspiciously. Something inside told me Frank did not injure himself on accident. I don’t know. Maybe. That was my own suspicion; although he wasn’t the type to uncommit himself from such an awesome experience.
‘I was chasin’ my brothers around and sort of…tripped over…our dog.’
‘How is it?’
‘The foot is fine. My ankle is sprained pretty bad though.’
‘No, I meant Ben,’ Ben is the dog by the way: poor thing.
‘Oh, he’s fine. Better specify it better next time. Ben’s a “he” not an “it.”’
‘Alright, alright,’ I replied backing off and continued with, ‘so where’s the meeting place supposed to be now?’
‘Still here. Will said that since this happened at such a late time last night, that he didn’t have the courage to call you guys up. He said that John and Paul would pull something bad on him.’
‘I wouldn’t doubt it.’ Paul and John were great jokers. That’s all I could say about them. I mean they pulled pranks on their own parents. Something was wrong with them.
I heard a car pull up then and looked behind me. Will just about hit my dad’s car.
‘It must be will,’ Frank cracked with some laughter. Will jumped out of his car.
‘It is Will!’ I replied laughing as well as I walked to my dad’s car. ‘What is your rush Will?’
‘I thought I was late,’ he answered me and had this weird look on his face, which you really can’t explain. All I can say is that it cracked me up; and that is what I did, I cracked up. With some of Will’s hair falling atop his face, I could tell that he didn’t quite get up until just about maybe 10 minutes ago, just barely putting anything decent on, trying to make a good example of a scout, not being late, and succeeding; but not looking the best. I always say, better being late and looking good than being on time; that’s why I get up a half an hour earlier.
‘Well, ya, but, you see, some people like you and Frank are punctual.’
‘But then you got everybody else, Will,’ I tried to convince him. He walked on over to Frank as I went to get my stuff. After my stuff was out of the car, my dad left giving me twenty dollars before he left. I stuffed the money into my pocket and walked back to the others.
For the next thirty minutes, Will, Frank, and I were enjoying a relaxing conversation as more and more of the trekkers arrived. The conversation was joined in by John and Paul, the sort-of-weirdoes—although they were awesome in the mountaineering activities, Khristine, my very gorgeous and delightful girlfriend, three other girls, who were not that important to me, and by another two guys, Eric and Thomas, twins.
After the total of eleven of us settled down, Will gave a pretty boring speech and then we waited for two more adults. George and Michael, who were okay but sort of like John and Paul, a little bit on the other side of reality.
Finally, we packed up our bags and compacted them into three vans. Then we jumped in and took off for the great white north, although we were heading pretty much south; it was just a lovely phrase, take off to the great white north!