Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Entry #64

Vision Quest
by John Hammel

A guy could learn a lot about himself out in the woods. Legend says the Wampanoag sent their young out here on vision quests, alone to fend for themselves for weeks. Armed with only your wits and a sleeping bag, you find out what you’re really made of.

I mean, everyone’s heard the stories…campfire tales of Shrieking Susie, the vengeful spirit of a murdered young woman said to haunt these parts. Her mournful cry is enough to stop all who hear it dead in their tracks; frozen and helpless as she drags them into the darkness to roam the woods with her forever. That’s what they say.

But those are just stories. Right? Just silly children’s ghost stories that…wait…did you hear that? Probably just the wind. Nothing to worry about.

Anyway, there’s a lot more tangible threats out here. Like crazed transients hopped up on amphetamines. Groups of them. They had a thing on the news. They stalk around out here, wait for some poor sap to set up camp, and BAM! Next thing you know, you’re aching, bleeding, and minus one wallet. And that’s if you’re lucky. My cousin’s friend was camping out here a few years ago; woke up without a kidney. True story.

Or bears! My God, there’s bears out here! And poisonous snakes! What was I thinking? I could be eaten by a freaking bear. Best case scenario, a mosquito bites me and I die of Malaria. Maybe West Nile Virus.

Screw this, I’m going home.


Josh said...

Hah! Great reaction. Very humorous.

Rob said...

I like it. I figured he'd have his own vision quest by the end of it, and then you went in the opposite direction. Good job!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Very funny - nice dawning of realisation and reality!

JLB said...

The conversational tone works well for this one; well done.

Katherine Napier said...

Sounds like he DID learn a lot about himself in the woods (brave Sir Robin in M.P.H.G.). Great read.

SzélsőFa said...

I thought Shrieking Susie caught him, and although not, he was frightened off anyway. Funny. He did learn a thing about himself.

John said...

The first line was always "A guy could learn a lot about himself out in the woods," but the vision quest part was almost an afterthought. I had about eighty more words that I could work with, so I expanded a bit on why he might be out there to begin with.

While I'm sure many entries found inspiration in classical sources, I got the idea for the story after watching the monorail episode of The Simpsons. Marge was worried that something could go wrong when Homer was conducting the train, and he responds with, "Pffft... what if. What if I'm taking a shower and I slip on a bar of soap? Oh my god, I'd be killed!"

I liked the idea of someone starting off confident and brave, only to frighten themselves with their own hypothetical situations. There may or may not have been ghosts, bears, or liver-stealing vagrants in the woods, but the narrator wasn't going to stick around to find out.

c.s. said...

i like this, a lot!

jason evans said...

Love the "true story" thrown in there. I can hear/see that so clearly.