Day Seven Hundred Forty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lung and Mei parted company from us midday. I thought I detected a little reluctance on the part of Mei to do so.

As I thought, their destination was the glacier on this mountain. They will survey the feasibilities of getting the water locked within, down the mountain to their tanker trucks.

The Captain told me that he saw a flamethrower in the pack that Lung was carrying. He lamented to me that he hoped that they knew what they were doing.

We kept on our way with frequent backward glances. And soon we could no longer make out the figures of our former companions trekking up the mountain, for our trail took us around and down the other side.

Advertisements

Day Seven Hundred Thirty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

By the time we went into camp last night, the view of our surroundings was cut off by a thick fog. Or they may have been clouds, given our elevation.

This morning, whether it was clouds or fog, they had all dissipated under the gaze of the rising sun. And we could then see the lake winking at us far below.

The way ahead was more difficult, narrowing down to a mere track. Beside us water splashed down the rock bed of the ever present brook.

I looked ahead and could see Tomas stopped on a precipice. And guessed the destination our army companions.

Flashes of white behind Tomas drew my eye to a glacier on the next mountain peak.

Day Seven Hundred Thirty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Mei remained at the rear of our troop, while Lung kept by Elijah’s side most of the day. He had many questions and appeared eager to listen to Elijah’s answers.

At one point I dropped back to keep her company. She remained taciturn to most of my comments. She only became animated either during those times when Tomas returned from the advance, or when she raised her rifle at the slightest hint of danger. And she almost blushed when Tomas joined us to inform me about a fork ahead in the road.

We left her company to confer with Elijah and the Captain about which direction we should take.

The main road continues paved. We will take the unpaved one.

Day Seven Hundred Thirty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The lake has shrunken. Due to our distance from it, not because of the water taken out of it. Though I suppose, given time, that will have its effect too.

Three tanker trucks were visible, applying their pumps, upon our last view before we descended into a valley the other side of the foothills. Perhaps we will see it again when we climb into the next pass.

Our road parallels a river which carries scarcely a trickle. If it ever reached the lake below, I don’t think it could now.

It seems to me that Tomas is returning to check in more often than he used to. He converses with Elijah almost always. And sometimes the Captain.

Mei notices him.

Day Seven Hundred Thirty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas led the way, as usual, around the lake and into the foothills. Our guests carried on behind us. Each fully armed and with heavy packs. They’ve been instructed to follow us until they reach the goal of their mission. Besides themselves, Elijah is the only one with that knowledge.

Their names are Lung and Mei. I really was bowled over to learn that Mei is not a man, but a woman. Both had been guards over Elijah, and Mei was always barking commands and gave no hint of her gender.

Elijah knew, of course, and was greatly amused at my discovery.

Our road is a good one. It has been surfaced for vehicles, and we are making good progress.

Day Seven Hundred Thirty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Word was received back from the Supreme Commander this morning. The commander of this unit has been ordered to supply our needs and to release us to go our way.

This outcome has greatly relieved the mind of my young friend. Tomas had been called for, told the gist of the message and asked to list our needs.

After a brief consultation with us – so as not to forget anything essential – he submitted our requests.

In short order the commander supplied our needs and knowing that we were heading into the mountains added some warmer clothing. However, he also made one request himself. He wants us to take two of his men with us.

To our surprise Elijah said yes.

Day Seven Hundred Thirty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The attitude of our guards changed after our interchange with their commander. They deferred to our needs in all interactions since then.

Another tanker truck arrived this morning, just as the first finished filling up. The commander will be staying here while sending the full one back. (The second belongs to his command also).

He will keep us here until he receives an answer to his communication.

Elijah has made it known to everyone his decision not to go backward. He is open to accepting any provisions the Supreme Commander may release for our use, but he won’t appear before him as a condition to receive them.

Tomas took me aside to ask if he had made the right decision.

Day Seven Hundred Thirty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

At the least we were not taken down to the chamber to be locked up again. The unit attached to the tanker truck held no interest about the dam other than their immediate security.

Once its commander had his mission underway, the collection of water from the lake, he finally deigned to speak to us.

Tomas had been insistent with anyone within earshot until cuffed into silence by one of our guards.

So he was gratified at last to have the chance to request a communication with the Supreme Commander.

The unit commander was at first skeptical and almost dismissed his request out of hand.  That is until Tomas pressed him with the emergency code word.

The message was sent.

Day Seven Hundred Thirty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We kept on the move all night, and only stopped (or dropped) when exhaustion overtook us.

Our discussions along the way had not yet resolved the two different options that divide our company. Tomas and the Captain were for seeking out the help of the Supreme Commander. Elijah and I thought we should not go back the way we came, but rather continue north.

The decision was taken away from us at the appearance on the road of a tanker truck. Its support troops had us surrounded before we had a chance to react.

Though clearly harmless they kept us with them to their destination, the dam at the end of the lake.

Thus we landed back where we began.

I Boil Water

I Boil Water

1n 1977 we left behind our little apartment on the Monorail in downtown Seattle and moved into our first home – a cinder block affair up in the Highlands area of Renton, WA. It was a simple rectangle comprised of – a living room, kitchen/dining room, bath, and two bedrooms. We’d been married only three years, and were expecting our first child (hence the need for a bigger place).

We were familiar with the area – down NE 6th St to Monroe Avenue NE, then west took us to Bethlehem Lutheran Church, where we were married. (And by a singular curiosity, going left on Monroe took us by Greenwood Memorial Park, and the gravesite of Jimi Hendrix).

I wasn’t much of a cook or a baker or even a bottle-washer. But I did pride myself that I could do breakfast – i. e. boil water.

I was going about this task one morning. The wife was out and I had the kitchen all to myself, and I had decided to make some oatmeal for my breakfast. So, I completed steps one through three –

1- put the water in a pot

2 – placed the pot on the stove, and

3 – turned the burner to high.

Something distracted my attention before step four, putting the oatmeal in. The exact detail escapes me. Newspaper delivery, perhaps. Something that needed my attention out in front of the house, anyway. That’s how I found myself out on the front yard, doing whatever it was – only come time to turn back and re-enter the house, I found a locked front door staring me in the face.

For some reason I pounded on the door – (maybe just to test if it really were locked, and not just stuck closed instead). Then panic sunk in as I realized that that pot of water was merrily bubbling away full blast on the stove. What could happen if I did not get back in, in time? And how much time would be too much time?

I waited too long under that particular sword of Damacles until I screwed up the resolve and broke a window in the back door and gained access to the kitchen.

But sadly, it was too late for the pot. The water had had enough time to boil completely off, destroying the pot (one of our wedding presents, of course). I had to explain the reason behind its demise and the state of the window to my wife upon her return.

I still make oatmeal for myself. It is still a favorite for breakfast. But these days, I always use the microwave.