Friday, July 30, 2010
~~~Magpie #25~~~The Stubborn Lock~~~
"On where'd I put that darn key?" asked the Sargeant Major somewhat distracted.
"What do you mean you haven't a spare?" Ellen looked dumbfounded her mouth as
frozen in time as the great northern tundra.
"Don't give me that look Ellen, I implore you! Keep it together, Ellen, I need you to be put together now...Ellen!
"What...?" asked Ellen her voice trailing off and with a vague wimper, soon becoming sequentially louder.
"How dare you Ellen...stop your crying right now... this is an order! Ellen...stop crying this minute!". The Sargeant Major could not stand to hear Ellen cry.
"I'll try..." Ellen struggled to quell her hiccup-like cries and whimpers.
"Quick fetch me that piece of metal by the fence over there" the Sargaent sounded in his usual take-charge kind of way.
"Maybe I can jimmy the lock" the Sargeant's voice frozen hands were showing signs of hypothermia, his skin turning a pale blue.
"Damn! Tt's stuck! The Sargaent swore a nasty cuss word under his breath.
"Ellen, could you please see if you can do this, my hands don't seem to be...well they aren't working properly at all." The Sargeant for the first time in his life finally asked a woman to help him to do something, anything. As the Sargeant had never before done, not in this way. The Sargeant felt for the first time in his life a tinge of vulnerability. He did not like it at all and was starting to feel angry. He knew this was a clue; he was loosing control over the situation.
At this moment. the Sargeant stuggled for his once commanding place in the world. He tried to distance himself from this desperate situation. For the first time in his life he felt himself praying outloud and this time not only for swearing purposes;
"Oh dear God, please help us!" the Sargeant said at the top of his voice.
"What's that you sayin', are you swearing or praying? Ellen looked even more puzzled than her usual permanent furled question mark wrinkle on her forehead.
"I should have taught her more survival tactics" the Sargeant thought to himself in hindsight. He was hoping, praying for a miracle; that the better half would come to his aid and save him.
"I'll try, Sir...What do you want me to do exactly?" Ellen sounded shy and unsure of herself and of the required task to come. Ellen was puzzled by The Sargeant's request.
"Ellen, I want you to put the metal bar under the lock and pull up, can you do that?"
Ellen started to whimper again.
"Now what, Ellen?" the Sargaent said in an exasperated tone.
"Oh, darn, I broke my fingernail!" Ellen's startled and muffled wimpers than started to cry again.
"Don't worry Ellen, it's not that bad, we'll try something else...". There was a slight hint of subtle desperation in the Sargaent's voice.
"Well, I guess there is only one other thing I can do Ellen..." the Sargeant said point blank expression.
"What's that, Sir?" Ellen asked in an innocent way.
"Give me your bobbypin from your hair, Ellen" the Sargeant with much concentration grabbed and struggled to hold the bobbypin with his numb, bluish tinged fingers.
"I'm going to see if I can unscrew this infernal lock from the outside this time" the Sargeant said with much aplumb and determined focus.
"Good thing nobody is watching!" Ellen said with much child-like naivety her way of dealing with the emergent situation.
"Who is going to be watching us Ellen, really? We're in the back forty on some long- forgotten outpost to nowhere by an isolated cabin this side of north of Tete de Ha-Ha near some off-season tourist town, I believe near Roden Quebec in the middle of a snowstorm in January. "Don't worry Ellen, nobody gives a damn!". The Sargeant sounded humourous if it were not for the dire consequences of their plight.
"Where's Tete de Ha-Ha?" Ellen asked in a child-like way.
"Sorry, I should have said "Saint Tete de Ha-Ha! Obviously this place is blessed!"the Sargeant said sarcastically to Ellen who never understood his jokes.
"What a truly great and Wonderful Winter Wonderland it is" said the Sargaent slowly loosing his grip on reality, started to dance around the cabin the size of an outhouse.
The Sargeant's sarcastic intonation did not phase Ellen at all and as she continued to fumble in her purse for her lipstick. The subzero cold was taunting his resolve and his regular of dealing with this situation. The situation tested the Sargeant's usual determined and resolute moxy.
"Well I just thought we might get into trouble, breaking in like this" Ellen's blue lips muttered incoherently, still pursing her lips as was her usual habit.
"Never mind Ellen! Not to worry, the Sargaent has solved the stubborn lock problem!Oh, look! The darn thing is finally, I don't believe this; the lock is loosening! Ah there, now I've got the lock off and the door is opening, Voila! We can finally get some warmth" the Sargaent replied with satisfied earnestness in his voice.
"Oh Sargaent..." Ellen quered.
"Yes, Ellen..." The Sargeant sounding defensive.
"It doesn't look to be too warm in there, Sir" Ellen said in matter-of-fact manner.
"What do you mean?" the Sargaent glanced sideways unaware of Ellen's findings.
"See that on the bed? Ellen stated plainly.
"Yes, Ellen..." the Sargaent tried to coax Ellen as if she were a five year old child.
"Well they look sort of frozen to death, Sir, those two frozen carcasses on the bed". Ellen continued to regress into a child-like if not baby-like intelligence, unaware of the immediate danger she and the Sargeant were facing, and the horrible consequences of her illogical reactions to her circumstances.
"Well that doesn't mean we will! I'll just light a match, we'll get warm in no time!" the Sargaent sounding very relieved and confident.
"Damn, where did I put my damn matches...Ellen..." the Sargaent's eyes started to bug out of his head like a fly.
"Sorry. No matches, Sir, I just used the last one for a cigarette by the river" Ellen stated calmly.
"Ellen!!!" the Sargaent sounded incredulously.
"We'll I hear it is a good way to go" Ellen said bashfully.
"What's that Ellen?" the Sargaent asked as if he could not hear a thing she was saying, all blurry and incoherent to his newly dumbfounded mind.
"Sweet death fresh or frozen like a Lobster Newburg entre? What's your preference tonight Ellen?" the Sargaent sounded like a sous chef pretending to cook up a fantastic feast.
"Oh I think I'll go for Sweet death, Sargeant, it's always best to go out on a happy note!".
Ellen suggested with much sophistication, finding her own brand of stark profund reality.
The Sargaent casually shoved the frozen bodies nonchalantly from the bed like unwanted baggage. As the two ancient and frozen solid carcasses slid onto the plain plywood floor of the trapper's cabin with a loud "thud". The Sargeant let out a huge sigh, resounding into the deep dark night and embraced the silence. Then the Sargaent proceeded to pat the dilapidated bed.
"Come here Ellen" he said solemnly.