"Rob, I've got something to tell you."
Glancing up from his plate of hastily scrambled eggs, Rob eyed his friend, said, "yeah?" then went back to eating.
"This coffee is absolutely terrible."
"Screw you." Without looking up from his eggs, Rob leaned over, picked up his mug and held it out, shaking it like a collection can.
Another shake of the mug.
They had been camping for less than a day. The plan--as plans often went with them--had not materialized the way they had hoped. An "earlier start" had been stunted by Rob and Mike's inability to get to the camp ground by seven. Instead, Mike had arrived at Rob's house a little after 7:30 and sat in his car until 8 when Rob finally popped his head out his the front door and waved him in.
It was his folk's place. He'd lived there since he was ten but since moving out for college spent as little time there as was necessary. A proposal from Mike brought him back for the long weekend. Growing up in Dawes, neither of them had ever spent time in the woods, let alone camping. Mike had fallen for the TA in his freshman year Intro to Writing class and in an attempt to woe her spent his entire savings from his summer job on camping gear.
When he arrived at the campsite a month later to find the woman of his dreams arm in arm with her boyfriend of three years--he had just been accepted to John Hopkins for a grad program and came out to surprise Vivian and celebrate--the wind went out of his sails.
Rob had made him promise not to return the stuff until they had had a chance to use it for themselves. Begrudgingly, Mike agreed. And with the level of planning two young men were capable of, they set a date, packed their bags, and head out.
Though not after first getting breakfast at a local diner; picking up coffee and other last minute supplies; and getting lost halfway to the campsite.
Still, they were here, enjoying the great outdoors and drinking bad coffee.
As soon as it hit his lips, Rob spit the coffee out. "Must have been the beans."
"Must have." Mike took the pot off the fire and threw the rest away into a nearby bush. "You think coffee attracts bears."
"Maybe. Not that coffee, though."
"No. In fact we should probably put some of this on our clothes. It'll rebel every living thing in this place."
"You we'll run into any girls out here?"
"I dunno. Maybe?"
"Do girls go camping?"
"One or two. But I think half of them are ghosts. Or wait, I think that's hitchhikers."
"Like, I know girl's go camping with their boyfriends. You found that out."
"I'm well aware Backpacking Girlfriend phenomena."
"But, like, do a group of girls just go out camping together?"
"Maybe. I'm sure it's bigger in places like Montana."
"Yeah. Don't see too many girls like that."
Mike coughed up a forkful of eggs.
"Where exactly would you run into the type of girl who goes camping?"
"What?" Rob threw up his hands, defensive. "I know people."
"Do any of your How-To-Talk-To-Girls books include camping question ice breakers."
"Oh yeah, when?" Mike asked.
"Plenty of the times." Rob said, and he waved his hand in the air to indicate the numerous times it had worked.
They sat in silence. The early morning had been crisp, but as they sat and struggled through breakfast the sun had risen and lowered a thick, humid blanket over the woods. Dew misted, and whether it was the still dense foliage clinging to the trees or some law of thermodynamics that escaped them, the fog seemed to remain trapped inside the forest, hovering in the undergrowth like an uncomfortable truth.
"You know," Mike began. He had taken out his pen and was scribbling in a notebook. "I don't want to ask for too much, but I'd like time to just sit and write while we're out here."
Surprisingly, Rob nodded enthusiastically. He had packed another round of coffee into the making and was plac