Written by Bob Brumfield
Yesterday was pretty much like every other day in my humdrum life with one small exception. I awoke to the clamor of my alarm reminding me of my otherwise mediocre job for a mid-management firm with no chance of promotion, a below scale paying position and a boss twelve years younger than myself.
I dressed quickly not wishing to upset anyone at work bringing down the ire of Mr. Clemmons, the aforementioned nice gentleman. I left my apartment at 9:15 am sharp barely making the 9:20 express to downtown Detroit. I took my usual seat behind Carol, a lady I struck up a conversation with in one of my braver moments. I wanted so much to ask her out but as to date did not summon the courage.
I managed to say, “Good morning, Carol, it looks like it’s going to be a nice day.”
“What’s good about it?“ she replied testily.
“I, I just thought, I mean, I didn’t mean anything by it, I was just saying.” I let the sentence die, I was so taken aback by her tone.
“Elm Street “ the bus driver announced
“Well, this is my stop. I’ll see you tomorrow.“
“Whatever” she said with little enthusiasm.
I got off the bus and immediately stepped into a puddle that went above my shoes soaking my socks. Clop, slush, clop, slush I went all the way to the office leaving a wet trail behind me. All day long I expected a dressing down, but it didn’t come .
“ Clifford,“ Mr. Clemmons said, “You and your sloppy shoes can go home now.” He did notice.
I left the office as quickly as I could and hurried to the bus stop. Not necessary, the bus was late, a half hour late. To make matters worse it started to rain, cold rain, torrential rain. The kind that cuts to the bone rain. Thankfully the bus finally came, and I reveled in the heat of its interior .
“Next stop Racine”, the driver announced.
My stop. I got up to get off and realized someone had spit their gum on my seat and my suit was stuck to it. Just perfect I thought. The rest of my walk to the apartment was uneventful. Up the stairs there it was A256, home sweet home.
Taking off my suit and surveying the damage the only help would be dry cleaning . Resigning myself to spending another lonely night I thought tonight I would fix a feast fit for a king. Only I had the kind of food fit for a dog, frozen French fries, a can of corn, a can of turkey spam and a half loaf of white bread.
I heated the French fries in the oven, the corn on the stove, sliced the spam, fried it and made myself two sandwiches. Settled in front of the TV and turned on the 22nd season of Survivor wishing I was there instead of here. Anyplace would be better.
Sometime around ten o’clock I dozed off. It was the wind that woke me up. I opened my eyes only to see palm trees swaying in the breeze above me. For a moment I just enjoyed the feeling of freedom. But freedom comes at a price. Where was I? How did I get here? Why am I naked? Where are my clothes? All these questions plagued me
“I’ll bet you’re wondering where you are and how you got here aren’t you?” asked the voice behind me.
Startled , I turned around and there were three people standing behind me. The voice announced himself as Joel, the other man as Phil and a woman named Enid .
“Wishing got us here,” Phil said .
“Where’s here? “ came my lame reply.
“We don’t know,” Enid put in her two cents worth. “All we know is we all wished we were somewhere else, and here we are.”
“Another question with no answer.” Joel continued, “Right now, our biggest concern is food and water. None of us has ever seen a jungle much less been in one. I suggest we split up and go in four directions within sight of each other and give it a look.”
Right, I thought. I missed the jungle of the Detroit streets already. The rain, the job, even Mr. Clemmons. Most of all I missed Carol and our chatting on the bus. Enid was attractive enough but being rather homely I stood little chance of being noticed by her compared to my competition . Oh well. So sucks my life anyway. Going through the thick grass which was cutting at my legs and the insects were eating me alive. I found a fig tree. I gathered some and took them back to the group. Phil and Enid found nothing. Joel found some coconuts but opening them proved to be a problem. They were rotten inside. Still, we had no water. We wolfed down the figs and within 3 hours they had the expected effect, something else to worry about .
Enid said, “ I’m about to go crazy “
I couldn’t stand it anymore. I went out again, farther this time and came across a downed plane. How long it had been there is anyone’s guess. I went inside. The remains of the pilot and co-pilot were still in their seats quite dead for some time. I also found this logbook that I’m writing this narrative in. I found the pilot’s gun in his holster still loaded. I left it there. I knew where to find it if worse came to worse .
When I returned to camp such as it was, I told them of the plane, and we decided to make it our new home . On Joel’s last foray into the jungle, he found a small stream and thirstily we all drank. There were flares in the plane, and we used one to make a fire and saved one for an emergency. At least we were warm. Joel stripped the ragged uniforms from the dead bodies and dressed himself and gave one to Enid. It proved to be a handicap instead of a blessing. The figs dysentery set in and our clothes became an encumbrance, much to everyone’s embarrassment .
“Let’s get some sleep; tomorrow has to be better than today,“ said Phil .
“Who says so?” I parried as I thought of Carol .
I realized no one even asked my name . Even here I was nobody and there seemed no escape How I missed my life. The bus, the job, the rain, oh how I missed the rain, spam sandwiches and tv. That was living. Now, I don’t know if there is a tomorrow or even if I want there to be. I’m afraid to go to sleep dreaming of the life I had or will I still be caught up in this nightmare. I wish and now I’m going to sleep .