"We should find a place to fish first. That way you can write while I catch dinner."
Mike smiled. In all their years fishing together he'd never seen Rob actually catch a fish. Not one worth eating. He started to say so, but stopped himself. That Rob couldn't fish to save his life--let alone skin, debone, and cook one--was known to both of them and something he felt the need to share. But Rob's previous choice to pass on ribbing Mike about writing rung in his ears. Maybe things were changing he thought. And a thrill shot through him. Maybe they were actually maturing.
"Yeah," Mike agreed. "That'd be nice."
"Right!" Rob hurled the coffee carelessly behind him, picking the remaining crumbs out with his fingers. "That'd be something. Camping out in the woods. Catching our own food."
For all the trouble Mike gave him--much of it warranted--he couldn't deny the enthusiasm he felt whenever Rob got excited about something. He had a way of making people believe that not only would something work, but it would be the best time imaginable. Just like in the movies.
"Would be nice to have some coffee while we fish."
"I'm working on it!"
"Drinkable coffee, I mean."
"Yeah, yeah." Rob raised the filter to eye level and slowly poured the beans in, his tongue half out of his mouth in concentration.
"I got it."
"You sure? It looks like that thing might explode if you pour it too quickly."
Rob's hands began to shake and his breathes grew more focused.
The kettle whistled and Rob's hands faltered.
"It's alright, it's alright." Finishing his pour of the beans, Rob ran a finger over the grounds, evening them out.
"Well, there's your problem. Your grubby hands are all over it now."
"It's fine. The water'll sterilize that."
"It's cooling off. You gotta hurry."
Raising his eyebrows--effectively calling timeout on their playtime--"actually, I read you're supposed to let it cool. Otherwise you burn the beans."
"So how long are you supposed to wait."
Rob shook his head cartoonishly. "I dunno. It's probably bullshit."
"Yeah. They want you to make bad coffee so you feel compelled to buy their stuff."
"Exactly." Still eyeing the coffee, Rob brought the kettle over and, raising it slowly, poured the water lovingly over the beans. "And now, we wait."
"Beautiful. Well done."
They'd been walking for fifteen minutes before the thought that they were lost dawned on either of them. They hadn't brought a map. Neither thought woods got big enough in Mass to warrant one. But half a mile into their trek that thought had begun to melt away with the early morning clouds, and despite the sun streaming through the dappled tree line, the fog remained, forcing them to confront the possibility that they were hopelessly lost.
"Are there, like, rules for getting lost in the woods?"
"You mean like, a sang you're supposed to remember?"
"Yeah, like stop, drop, and roll. But for getting lost."
It was a good question. Mike had no idea.
"I think if we just keep going straight, eventually we'll come to something."
Rob considered that for a second. When nothing better came to him he nodded in agreement and they continued on.
"So, uh, how's school been going?"
"Good. You know, it's a lot like I thought it would be, but not."
Mike shook his head. Since they'd first met in middle school, he couldn't remember a time when they didn't have something come up between them. Petty things, mostly, but the sort of things young men always found themselves fighting. Still, despite that, few people could put into words what Mike was feeling better than Rob. In one sentence he could sum up a semester's worth of angst and fear and frustration.
"Yeah." Mike's voice sounded a little too eager. A little too agreeable. He shied away from continuing, hoping the pause in conversation would help dismiss any notion that things were not going well for him. Finally, he said, "I know what you mean."
"It's fun though."
"Yeah. Yeah it is."
The woods opened a bit for them further along. Fewer trees meant better visibility but with the fog still crawling along the forest floor true insight into where they were going still felt unattainable.
When they reached a clearing, Rob threw out a hand, lightly tapping Mike on the arm and suggested stopping. They dropped their bags by a fallen tree. Mike hopped up on the trunk and sat, his leg beside him.
Rob walked around in small circles around the tree, inspecting their surroundings. Mike watched him.
Nothing. Trees and fog for as far as they could see.
"You think we've been going in circles?"
Mike opened his mouth to answer but stopped himself. He had no idea. Thinking about it, he finally said, "I think this looks different than other parts of the woods. Right?
Looking around, Rob shrugged then nodded in tacit agreement.
"So, if this is new then we've got to be d
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Location A forest
Letter Use the letter S
Words Reach 50 words
Words Reach 100 words
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Event Breakfast is served
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Words Reach 800 words
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