She rolls over. The rash that runs splotchy around her ankles grazes the slightly damp sleeping bag, pierces through her dreams and brings the ceiling of the tent into too sharp a focus. She looks over at Gene, even unconscious, he is overly sharp, too… present.
Her intentions for the camp stove outside, with its promise of coffee, crashes into the tent zipper and her thoughts pitch into an increasingly loud pit of aggravation. She had wanted a cabin for their Smokey Mountain weekend…the kind with a Jacuzzi. Of course nature boy has a tent…wouldn’t it be romantic… no this is not romantic!! …what is wrong with this god damned zipper!!!!
“Good morning sweet-pea…you ready for the big hike today?” Gene’s warm southern lilt washes away her aggravation, leaving a vacuum where desperation floods in.
“Good morning…hon…uhhh… I think I have poison ivy… even the thought of hiking boots makes me cringe. You go ahead today; I’ll hang here, lie in the hammock, listen to the creek, and make you a nice hobo dinner when you get back.”
Civilization calls to her like a Schedule I narcotic and lovely Gene is taking his sweet time. She busies herself with calculations. Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg? With the half hour drive to Gatlinburg… that will still give me over three hours in town with return time to spare before Gene gets back. She smiles at him and waits with the same anticipation as sneaking cigarettes in Jr. High.
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“Mommmm Daddddd ! Can we go to Chucky Cheese NOW??? Pleeeaaasssee???”
Visions of pepperoni and cola unencumbered by gravity entered Deanna’s mind as she stood in the doorway of cabin 437b with her stern face in full expression wondering how these children could have come from her body. They were hungry after going to the “Super Galactic!” observation deck to see Earth.
Deanna had had her doubts about “Camp Cosmos!” but Jordan thought it would be fun for the kids. Brochure phrases kept sneaking into conversations: “vacation in the stars!”, “experience the new nature…in space!” While Jordan and the kids thought of adventure, Deanna thought of a giant tin can in space filled with exclamation points. But, the “old nature” was getting crowded. Last year’s vacation had 10 Mc Donald’s cooling stations complete with canyon cones and McWater during the hike down to the floor of the Grand Canyon. Not the experience of Deanna’s youth or the experience she wanted for her children, so why not rocket to the newest frontier?
“Ok!” Deanna said as she allowed a mischievous twinkle to enter the corner of her eye, “Who wants to eat pizza in Zero-G?!” Jordan, Cassie and Max raced out of the cabin headed toward the outer ring while Deanna sauntered behind, realizing her fate as she passed a Chucky Cheese laundromat on the way to the Chucky Cheese pizza playground and pined for the grass stains and her mud covered toddlers of just a few years ago.
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