Thursday, December 23, 2010


Chris Mazzone was taller than I was, and he should not have attempted it.

Chris Mazzone towered over me. He was over six feet tall. Surely that was problematic given what we were trying to do.

Surely Chris understood that we were warning him against it, against trying what we had almost seriously injured ourselves doing. It was all in the name of fun and adventurous thrills, and Chris should not have tried it.

But now Jason, John and myself were sitting in the woods were we had landed, each of us alone but aware that others who had tried it were nearby. It was midnight and the barren trees were black against the snow lit by the floodlights in the backyard. We sat and waited for the sound of Chris Mazzone hitting one of the two things you always find in woods like these: a stone wall or a tree trunk.

People talk of miracles at Christmas, and Jason, John and I had just been handed three at once. It was a miracle that Jason and John had not broken their arms or hit their heads. It was a miracle I had not broken both my legs or sent tiny fragments of bone deep into my ligaments when both my feet collided with a tree trunk jutting out from behind a boulder.

I had merely done just what Jason and John had done before me. I followed their lead, and why wouldn't I? Jason and John had as much common sense as anyone I had ever met. I would trust them in the outdoors any day.

Their sense of deliberation and knack for well-esecuted plans had always been inspiring. If I saw them attempt to steal a grizzly bear's cubs I would probably consider jumping right in on the action.

They were also two of the most spiritual people I had ever met. If they asked a crowd of people to join them in drinking the Kool Aid I would just assume it was a substitute for the wine received at communion.

So I drank the Kool Aid. They tried to offer me some sound advice from the spots where they crashed. They had told me not to try it. "Spit the Kool Aid out, Dan," they pleaded.

Shortly thereafter my two feet met the hard trunk of a tree jutting out of a boulder soles first, and I became the third recipient of a miracle that night.

Surely Chris would not do the same.

Surely Chris would see that his tall frame would be even more difficult to maneuver on that icy slope. Surely Chris could picture himself being carried down the slippery sheet of ice like a white birch tree pulled down a cascading waterfall.

Maybe his height didn't endanger him at all. I don't know; I know little about physics. I was just about convinced he stood greater chances of busting his long limbs in a place like that.

Anyway, what group of people receives four miracles in one night? Talk about a crapshoot.

And yet there he was beside us in the snow, limbs intact after he had slid feet first down that hill. He had rode that layer of frozen rain covering the ground like it was a bobsled track, and he was alright. He was miracle number four.

So after we had all spent a moment taking in just how dangerous our cheap thrills had been, after our palpitating heartbeats slowed and disbelief sent us into a mental stupor, we walked back up and out of the woods into Shea Quinn's backyard. We walked up the steps of his back deck and entered his kitchen. Shea was inside doing just what he often did around midnight whenever he was home on leave- he was drinking black coffee and cooking.

The four of us that were lucky to be standing on two feet were about to do what any group of people who received multiple miracles deserved to do- eat a pancake breakfast before 1 a.m.

"You guys are fucking idiots," said Jeremy Slonski.

Chris and I looked at one another and smirked. Jeremy must have been more surprised at Jason and John, the two people with a lot of common sense between them.

Chris and I were not surprised at what we had done. We were used to doing stupid things.

No comments:

Post a Comment