We’d gone north. And we’d go further north and east through the depths of the Xingu national park and perhaps further. The actual journey somewhat retracing the path of Fawcett as corrected by Grann’s findings in Montet-Guerin’s collection and Hoyt’s map.
I thought that the training had reached a plateau when we were forced to do small engine repairs after twenty-mile hikes. I was wrong.
Lobo had a book of common mechanical woes. He would circle our various crafts both aquatic and terrestrial with a look of profound satisfaction as he sabotaged them in ever more intricate ways.
At first, we were rewarded for a swift or sound repair but soon they had to be both swift and sound. And not very long after that our reward for a swift and sound solution was digging ditches and building leantos in the humid air.
Periodically he would leave us to our own devices without warning. Cook, the frog, and the Cajun had gone back to arrange things with native tribes for our arrival in their respective territories during the coming weeks. So when he left it was just us American boys and the jungle.
That’s exactly what we’d felt like as well. Boys.
Though we held various ranks we had trouble assuming the roles they implied. Seniority means little without the real wisdom and skill of cultivated age. Five late twenties martial vagabonds may be captains and colonels but that didn’t mean much. It meant even less in the Amazon.
Oddly enough it was Hoyt that turned out to be the daddy we all needed when Lobo split. This weird alien boffin was so removed from us, and seemingly from all things terrestrial, that we natural used him as supreme court justice when settling various disputes.
I chuckled when I realized we had organically formed our own Amzonian tribe complete with shaman.
I suppose that Lobo ghosted us with the express intent of simulating the mercurial nature of the jungle. We could not learn self-reliance if we relied on him psychologically even if this reliance held too many unhealthy similarities with Stockholm’s famous syndrome.
I doubt that he realized we’d just replace one chief with another. Hierarchy is one of the strongest human instincts and I had never felt the fragile state of my humanity more profoundly than when I tried to sleep. When I tried to sleep in an ancient alien womb with a highly classified version of the Haight Ashbury as the only guards against starvation and the things that crinkled, pussyfooted, and crunched just beyond the flame of the camp.
I had read in Howard Bloom’s ‘Lucifer Principle’ that the top ape would feign disinterest. That his stoic bearing is what ushered the troop into line. Maybe that’s what Graham was doing. But I didn’t think so. Besides I had long thought the strength of the ape and man analogy to be weaker than the giddy proponents of biological determinism would have one think. Not that I was a blank slatist but really even if genes were the whole picture then it must be stressed that even slight variations produce profound spiraling effects. As far as I understood things anyway.
These were the thoughts that were going through my mind as I watched Graham extinguish his millionth cigarette.
He turned to look me in the eye.
I opened my mouth to speak but he held his finger to his lips.
Then he pointed at the line of trees to our immediate right.
No sooner had he done this than a sturdy deeply tanned man with a bowl cut emerged into our clearing. Followed by a silent explosion of feathered brothers wielding clubs, bows, and spears.
Part I – Kentucky Door
1.1 (Intro) The Sketch of Sam Monroe
1.2 The Cajun Prayer
Part II – The Wizard’s Nod
Help a Hipster