pumpie part 3
It was dark by the time we all made it to the cabin. It's a miracle everybody made it. Especially Scott, who was outvoted, tied and gagged. I still think some goody two-shoes carried him, but they are carrying that secret to the grave if that is how it happened.
Jim Lawson built a fire in the stove and found a box of candles, and everybody settled in for a night of drinking and lying. I'm not crazy about beer, but I was thirsty enough to enjoy a couple. Then I realized I was starving. Then I realized there was nothing to eat! Mark Bode found a pile of dusty old walnuts in the back of a cabinet that some rodent had stashed there when Jesus was a lad. They were still edible, but cracking the shells with old soft fire logs proved to be too much work. If I ever have to work that hard for a bitter old walnut I'll go ahead and just die.
Along about midnight everybody got to feeling pretty charitable and all agreed to untie Scott if he promised not to think. It got real quiet when Jim took the gag off. Everybody was holding their breath to see if Scott would start Declaring when something CRACKed so loud I thought it was Judgment Day Hallelujah. That crack was followed by a maniacal laugh that instantly convinced me the judging had not gone well for me, but it turned out it was just Bode laughing at everybody else. "What's the matter, you buncha sissies? Never heard anybody crack a walnut before?" At this point in the narrative I would like to phonetically spell out the infamous Bode laugh, but it is one of those sounds that just has to be heard. Nasal. Burp gun. Wicked. Jerry Lee Lewis on acid.
Bode was cracking walnuts on the hearth with what looked like a hand grenade. I said "Where the hell did you get that?"
"Out of Kevin's backpack."
"Well stop banging it around like that! You'll kill us all!"
(insert Bode laugh I can't spell here) "It's not a real grenade! It's just a cigarette lighter, see?" he chortled as he flipped at the pin with his thumb.
When the pin fell out and pinged on the floor, time did that weird expanding contracting thing where it seemed like everyone was frozen in space for a very very long time before everything accelerated and Kevin was just a blur zipping across the room and over to the window all at once and then
it all slowed again . Again, it seemed like a very long time, but it could only have taken a second or two for Kevin to trip on Steve Bissette's foot and crash his head into the window sill as he tossed the grenade out the window. But I remember thinking so many things during that second. They say most dreams only last a few seconds, even the ones that seem like movies. I guess it's like that. I remember thinking that I had BEEN thinking, in the PREVIOUS chunk of time, that Kevin was hurling himself on the grenade to save everyone else, and I had had the time to think "Wow, that is one dedicated paintball warrior!" And I remember thinking "You were stupid to think that, and you should have grabbed the grenade! You were closer! You saw Bissette's foot, you could have avoided the foot! STUPID STUPID!!!" and going through my entire awareness / regret / apathy / fuck it anyway routine with myself, all in that split second.
Next there was a ka-boom outside the window. It was not as deafening as I always imagined a hand grenade exploding right outside the window would be. Really more like a ka-crack than a ka-boom.
It was the after-echos rumbling through the mountain that seemed so much louder and thunderous than one would expect. They grew louder and closer until the old cabin was transformed into a washing machine off-balance, then a cement mixer, then boulders, ice and mud smashed through one end pushing the wall and Kevin and Bissette and Bissette's foot in to the center of the cabin.
Then it was deathly still and quiet in that cabin buried under half a Berkshire Mountain in the middle of nowhere in the winter.
next: the reeking tomb