A Short Story
By: Lucas Ragusa
"What do you think?" His voice was serious, but the context was downright unorthodox. His name is Taylor. He is a carpenter in his profession, but his hobby is mountain climbing. Based on his recent projects, it's safe to say he takes mountain climbing more seriously. He has climbed every mountain in New England over 4,000 feet, and until he climbs Mount Washington, in New Hampshire, he is only a mountaineer. Climbing Washington will make him a member of the 4,000 foot Club. By doing this, it will make his lifelong dream come true. He asked one ore time "What do you think?" He is asking his buddy, Larry, about climbing all compass points of the mountain with in one week. That will mean that he has to climb a 6,300 ft, snowcapped, brutal mountain, four times in one week. "You're kidding, right? You might as well sign your own death warrant!"
Larry, one might say, is more reasonable with his thoughts. He understands that humans can only go so far, and he realizes that not only does no human enjoy climbing a mountain four times in a week; humans also can't endure that kind of pounding. Taylor, however, is a man of nature; nothing is an inconvenience to him. A week before, Taylor went to New York and climbed Mount Marcy, a similar mountain, for practice, and he made record time, but he did not follow any protocol that made it an official climb. He did not follow a main compass point, and he did not climb that last few hundred feet beyond the timber line. Its Thursday now, his last climb, and he is weak, he is frail, and he's pissed. Pissed because he's hungry, but he can't gain any excess weight. For his final climb, he asked Larry to go with him. "Hmm, fine, on one condition." Larry said. "What's that?" "Bring toilet paper."
They are around 3,000 feet now, the October wind is blowing hard and snow and ice is pelting their faces, so badly they had to make camp. "Wind's a bitch" said Larry. "I'd take this over Aruba any day" said Taylor. They sat under the tent, listening to the wind whipping at the canvas, eating tomato soup from a thermos. "Do you think we'll make it?" asked Larry, "Of course, probably by tomorrow." Taylor was right, by noon they made it to the top, a winter squall blowing in their face, rime ice coating the weather station. "How does it feel Taylor?" Larry asked. "What, the accomplishment?" "Yeah" Taylor finally added "recognition is one thing, but personal satisfaction is my one love."
© Copyright 2016 Lucas Ragusa. All rights reserved.
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