Why You Don't Stand Up

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
two guys in a canoe. what could go wrong?

Submitted: March 29, 2017

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Submitted: March 29, 2017



“Dude, please tell me you see the alligator. Please!”

I saw the alligator; however, turning a canoe isn’t the easiest thing in the world. This is especially difficult when your canoe partner is currently losing his mind because he doesn’t want to run over another alligator.

“I see the gator, but I can’t turn if you flip the damn canoe. So calm down, sit down, and put your paddle in the water.” I figured if I scared him into flipping the canoe, he might sit down. This might have been a calculated risk, but I did not realize how bad at math I was.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN FLIP THE CANOE?!” He was now fully losing his cool. Then he made the one mistake you should never make. He stood up in the canoe.

Now this was bad for a couple of reasons. The first being, that canoes are not very stable. They rock in the water and it’s like trying to walk on a water bed. The second reason that this was bad was the fact that if he rocked the canoe, it would mess with the water. If the alligator felt these ripples coming towards it, the gator would disappear underneath the swamp water, and then we would have no idea where it was. The only thing that is scarier than seeing a very large gator in your way is knowing that there is one there, but not seeing it. My friend forgot to consider these reasons before he panicked, and stood up.

It felt like the world was going in slow motion when we tipped over. Thankfully, I hadn’t brought my pack on the canoe, so my phone and wallet were safe. While this helped the situation, it did not take away the fact that we were about to fall into alligator inhabited waters. I would say infested, but the alligators were supposed to be in the swamp while we were not.

As we fell into the water, I swear I saw the alligator chuckle. It wasn’t for long and it wasn’t very noticeable, but I swear it happened. I’d like to say I was graceful when I fell. I'd like to say that I stoically flipped the canoe and got me and my friend back in the canoe before the alligator went under water. In reality, I screamed and continued to scream until I hit the water. It was at this point I saw my life flash before my eyes

Now I’ve done a great many dumb and dangerous things in my life. I’ve fallen off buildings, I’ve climbed mountains, jumped in front of cars, and I’ve been in the E.R. so many times, I have them on speed dial. I never thought that I'd go out like this: all because my friend got a little freaked and flipped a canoe.

Apparently, the universe wanted to mess with me and my panic-driven friend a little bit more, because it was at this moment another canoe showed up. “Are you two ok- OH SHIT.”

Seeing someone look behind you and say “Oh Shit” is never a good thing. When I looked behind me, the gator was gone. It had submerged and I had no idea where it went. It was at this I very stoically and bravely wet myself. My friend didn’t fare much better with the situation, and fainted.

The other canoe flipped our canoe back over and we started to get back into our canoe. It was going well and we were relatively calm, until I felt something scaly brush up against my leg. If you’ve ever been in the ocean and felt something brush against your leg, imagine that feeling but 10 times worse. Before you could blink, I was back in the canoe and making certain I still had all my toes. My friend must have had the same thing happen to him, because he snapped back to reality and leaped into the canoe.

We took a good five minutes to calm ourselves down, or rather, take turns trying to get the other to calm down.

My friend was catching his breath, then he unbowed his head and looked me in the eye. “Hey.”


“Next time I say turn the canoe, turn the damn canoe.”

I slumped my shoulders, rolled my eyes, and turned around. “I hate you right now.”

© Copyright 2018 Joshua Rowe. All rights reserved.

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