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Sunday, December 8, 2013

SURVIVING CABIN FEVER! Santa's Guide








 SANTA'S GUIDE TO URBAN SURVIVAL - BACK STORIES
_____________________________________________________


SURVIVING CABIN FEVER:
_______________________




    

        "I LANDED IN THAT PLACE - THERE WAS NO DOWNTOWN"

                        "NEWSPAPER TURNED TO POWDER AND THE EDITOR HAD DROWNED."
 
                 Frank rolls out of bed and walks up behind Hank and taps him
on the shoulder.
             Hank jumps to his feet with a spastic move and screams.  It's
a scream that would bring  police cars with sirens on.. speeding
across an eight block radius, if Hank had ever screamed like that in
the City.
             That's one good thing about the North West Territories.... no
police within a thousand miles. Rapine, murder, butchery, buggery and
brutality of all sorts tend to go unnoticed in this HAPPY PLACE.
              ARTIE'S GOT THIS SIGN POSTED ABOVE HIS BAR.

                                                        "HAPPY PLACE
                    
                    If it isn't yet, let's make it so!

                                              &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&





INTERIOR:   In Frank and Hank's fox hole         Frank walks across the room and stares at the antlers on the wall....
         He's staring   at the wall, and talking to himself at the same time:

          Hank, the doomed reporter from the New York Times,
is engaged in doing something on a page. He is so engaged
he has tunnel vision...All he can see is the words
in front of him:

"MY BOSS IS GONE; AND HE CAN'T BE FOUND

ALL GONE, BYE BYE! GONE!  His feet don't touch the ground..
       as he..... as he...."

        It is at this instant that Frank gives him the aforementioned TAP! And Hank lets out his horrific,
blood-freezing scream - like a woman hanging from a
 seventh floor balcony -  as her fiance
dances with her sister inside...
        It's a scream that could peel the bark off a birch
tree, probably did peel the bark off several birch trees...
but no one will notice in this unmitigated wilderland.
        Frank whispers something in Hank's ear.

Goes back to staring at the antlers, talking at the wall:
He's muttering to himself...
In the privacy of his own head, 
"So... ... it's best to be well-balanced, well-provisioned,
well supplied with lined rubber boots and
blankets... well-stocked with sharp knives, ropes,
chains, nails and winches... if you hope
to survive."
        " Not to mention chainsaws, wire, fishhooks,
a trident spear, pliers,  hammock.... boots and a
Walkman. Ha! Ha!"
        "And you'd better be able to shoot in a the
blink of an eye, if the bird that takes off at your
feet is going to be your dinner."
          "Or a polar bear is stalking you. Or a huge
weasel nabs your from behind... and starts
doing unspeakable things to you!" Frank's thinking...

       
          "What did you just say to me?" Hank
asks Frank, a look of alarm in his eyes.
        "What?  Nothing..." says Frank
        "Oh, you said somethun all right! it
sounded like you were giving me a WARNING!"
        "Was I talking out...out loud, again?" Frank asks.
         "You bet you were," Hank insists
         "Well, shit! I guess I talk to myself out loud
 all the time now...I just don't
notice it.... Must have been doing it ever
since Uncle Henry strolled off for greener
pastures... I'll try 'n stop it."
          "I'd appreciate that," Hank says, his
legs still quivering from the tap...
on his shoulder from behind... all
of a sudden...
           "Especially don't speak out loud when you're
reading that South American Veterinarian's 
'Incantations to the Devil beasts'!
 That shit really creeps me out!"

          The silence is so absolute...
when nothing's growling or howling,
and somebody comes up from behind you,
and: "Whack!" Out of nowhere... out
of dead silence comes a tap on your back...
       "It can be a terrible shock, especially
if you're the sort to have a lively
imagination... Or a long memory..."Hank says,
thinking out loud.

        
           "Or if you tend to consider 
all things at once," Frank says
"You'll tend to get a sense of the horrors
closing in on you... the terrors encircling
you ... especially if you've just come
from the city and you pay attention to the
horrendous tales of horror and woe
your neighbours can't help telling."
Hank agrees. He nods his head, 'yes',
in the dark.
          "The problem with these stories
is this not that half of 'em are lies and
lugubrious exaggeration... The problem is,
half of 'em are true! That'll get you
thinking in the dark behind the
tarp!"
       
         " Night or day and day or night, in
your hidey-hole... when you start thinking
of the great world beyond you... just past
your boots. Your thoughts can get
a little warped." Frank drifts on:
        "There are degrees of fear and panic,
not to mention mind-bending anxiety -
up here in the Territories.  We have
names for such things. Just as the Eskimos
have 30 names for snow, we have at least 
seven names for the terrors."
       " First there is: "La Tourista." 
That's kind of  a low-level
panic that wears off pretty quick. Like
the one that Hank got when he arrived.
And he discovered the plane had left
without him.... and he had no job, because
the newspaper building had burned to the 
ground in a bright flash of light...."  
         "Also, his boss was dead; 
he'd skipped off naked into the muskeg, 
naked as a jay bird listening
to 'I believe in Miracles, Where you been
you sexy thing?'"on his Walkman.
         
         "In the utter silence that strikes a newcomer
right away," Hank thinks:  "No plane, no job,
no boss, no money... and the few people
I saw looked like they were suffering from
either a vitamin or a mental deficiency...."
      A sense of panic struck him all at once - and
he needed to run.... That initial panic is 
level one Fear - La Tourista!
       Next level up - level two - is the
Autumn Horror: that's when you feel
a sharp, painful chill in the air - and you
realize that what you're facing is
10 months of winter. Mountains of snow,
so deep you have to crawl like a baby
to move across it. You can't stand up
because then the snow is above your head.
So a major regression is necessary, back
to a pattern of locomotion you haven't
done since you were two - that swimming
crawling motion...
          If you don't learn how to do this
pretty quick - well, you'll keep sinking into
the snow again and again, and then
your first feelings of claustrophobia begin;
          The Autumn Horrors - it's fear,
but not  really deep fear - unless you never
can learn the crawling motion and you can't
make it to the forest to get firewood.
If that happens... well, you're just plain screwed.

          When the snow does come and is actually
with you and not just something you are
anticipating with dread... And you  really can't
 get  out of your dwelling... That's the
time to panic!
        The drifts keep piling up higher and higher
blowing ice up off the river.... snow deeper than
the deep end of any pool. 
It starts as an intense feeling of
 claustrophobia.... 
          Then claustrophobia
grows into a sense of being trapped
And the thought: " I'm in big trouble!"
crosses your mind.
       This what we call: CABIN FEVER,
and I'll get back to that in a while.
Let me tell you, it's no joke. Your
mind does funny things to you
when you've been staring at the same
page of the same...book for about
a month  and you're
all by yourself, in utter solitude...
and maybe you have to ration candles
because you didn't plan on dark 24 
hours a day.
          And, oh yes, the library was decimated
also, in one bright flash, or it might have
been the second bright flash. The place
burned up in an instant... the only
part that was left was about ten square
feet of the children's section. And the one
book you've managed to get your
hands on is:  
                    SEE JANE 

                       SEE DICK

                        SEE DICK RUN!

And  you've been looking at the picture
of the same yellow ball and the same red
balloon for six weeks now... and the
stupid expression on the dog's face

 SEE SPOT

          SEE SPOT RUN!


Is really starting to bug you... and when
you lie back down, you stare off into
the endless darkness, you have
fantasies of shooting SPOT, with
you 12 gauge PUMP-ACTION SHOTGUN!
        And the surprise of the blast from
the shotgun and the bright light from
its muzzle ---might make Hank jump
CLEAN OUT OF HIS SKIN this time.
        And you can't warn Hank, because
the two of you had a fight (can't remember
about what) but you haven't said a word
to each other in eight weeks.
         Then a feeling of claustrophobia might
rise in you... almost to the point of
panic and running off screaming into
the night... Well, this is CABIN FEVER
                I'll describe these next ones better later...
 these next levels of fear, panic, hysteria, and psychotic
thinking, when things really aren't as they seem.
           SNOW-BLIND MADNESS is
like a feeling of drowning in a deep
dark lake.Then the feeling
blossoms into a sense of DOOM.
       A feeling of panic
never is pleasant, at least the way
I experience it...
    
         Fear levels might be a little out of order here,
but that's not important. The chances you are going to
experience any more than two of these
bowel-loosening Dreads in any one winter is slim.
So the order's not a big deal.
         Next up might be "The Autumn Horror".
With the dying of all the wildflowers
and the geese fucking off to the south,
and the ducks, too, and any other
person with a lick of sense and enuff
dollars to hire a plane...running for the
hills to the south.
       But nobody has that kind of money
up here ---- our one investment is the likker,
the shine.. the genie in a bottle....
some of the shine is mixed with other
herbs and buried under a particular
tree, and left there for a year - it'll cure
anything that ails you... and even stuff
that don't ail you... It's a real dandy
powerful purge....
        The idea's fine , but it's pretty
disgusting when people start crawling
on their bellies across the Lane..
and spitting up....
         That's in the spring. In the spring
 it's time to drink the turbo-purge ....
don't ask me why... This is just the way 
people have always done things. 

        I asked Matilda what else is in the
purge... other than the shine and some extreme
form of laxative..
        "Huh!  All the rest of the stuff is herbs
cones and mushrooms to get you so high
you won't remember that you ass is dripping..
like a leaky tap..  for days."
        "It all makes perfect sense now," Frank
the soon to be former mayor says... as he walks
off back towards Artie's Bar and Grill... 
shaking his head.
      

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