“Je ne savais pas que tu parlais français. ”
I groaned. “Wha..what ?”
” I didn’t know you spoke French. ” Fabres voice was muffled by the fog of sleep.
” Huh… ”
” You were just humming an old French tune. In near perfect French. ”
“I wouldn’t speak Frog if you paid me in gold bullion and Claudia Shiffers pussy. ”
” Are you always this charming when you wake up ? ”
“Are you always an unbearable asshole ?”
” A question with a question with an attitude…you’re sure you’re not French. ”
It was one of those naps that really disoriented you. I mean I knew where I was…slowly. But, everything came in as incomplete jigsaw pieces.
“Are ya ready for the first big hike?”
I wasn’t. I watched the porters stowing the tents and gear with growing horror. The humidity was nauseating and physical exertion was an unwelcome suggestion.
“Cheer up! What…you’d rather play with chemicals in Kentucky?”
I dangled my legs over the side of the hammock. These poor feet would soon be ensconced in boots. And these poor legs would soon be a trekking for a mystic puzzle piece.
Two porters approached the sleeping tent and began working to remove the outermost tarp.
“Looks like you’d better get moving.”
“If you were going to be my reveille you could’ve at least brought some coffee.”
“I’m a cop not a maid.”
“Nah, what you are is an asshole.” I muttered as I checked my boots for bugs.
All that was left of the mess tent was a fold out table with what remained of some pork and eggs and a coupla big thermoses of coffee.
I dumped two huge ladel fulls onto a metal plate and went to town.
“Hungry much?” Lucas voice rang out behind me as he approached.
“Hell yea…I’d suggest ya pig out too…” I said between chomps. “I mean ya shoulda already…you remember how many calories we’re about to burn?”
“That’s why the pot is nearly empty. Your lazy ass was the last to wake up. You got Lobo to thank for us leavin ya as much as we did.”
I chuckled. “Aww…what a sweetie.”
“Sweetie nothin…I think he’s gonna drive us to near breaking. He wants to get this over with as soon as possible. You can almost cut the tension in the air around that dude with a knife.”
“Yea…I figured…he’s worried about revolutionaries or drug runners or both.”
“I’m pretty sure he’s worried about everything.”
“Can ya blame him…” I said motioning a circle around the perimeter with my fork. “Look at the size of all this…ya could see this expedition from space.”
“They say there’s safety in numbers.”
“There’s also mutiny and intrigue and broken gear.”
“Yea…I’m not really sure about this but then again this is one hell of a trip…one hell of an everything…I mean this whole fucking project. I mean I still don’t believe that crazy bullshit we saw in the Pacific. If we’re looking for ultimate origins…I mean hell just show the public one glimpse of that…”
“I think old Thornton is looking more for a way of life. But before that…someone’s gotta live it…I guess we’re the guinea pigs. I kinda think of it like the end of that Doors song…but sorta like the opposite…we must try to find a new answer instead of a way…”
“Yea…” Lucas agreed. “Makes sense I suppose…now that we found the new answer the problem becomes clearing the way.”
“You really think he’s gonna put Mescaline in the water supply?”
“Wouldn’t put it past him.”
“You know…” I said as I gazed at the villagers going about their business despite the high-tech alien bullshit that was going on around them. “This isn’t going to work…it isn’t going to work…there’s just too many different ways to live.”
“…hmmm…but… maybe that’s exactly how it’s gonna work.”
I heard muttering in Portuguese. A couple of porters were approaching.
“Are you finish the coffee?” One of them inquired in halting English.
“Hell no!” I said snatching up one of the thermoses.
The porter laughed.
“We got order to pack up…”
I was done with the food an indicated as much. As for the coffee…there was still a good half hour before we were going to take off.
I wandered over to an overturned canoe. Lucas decided not to follow suit as he was already full of caffeine and opted to buzz with overstimulation over the various affairs that surrounded us like a mad pointillist painting.
As I poured another cup of coffee I heard the sound of approaching rotor blades. It was the bird coming by to pick up the HAG I and our other high-tech toys.
‘Pizzaro could never have imagined this kind of bullshit.’ I chuckled to myself.
To think that we’d be followed by a helicopter full of silicon valley took some of the romance out of it. But, as my eye danced from lapping river to canopy I regained a sense of mystic thrill. As the caffeine began to work its way through my system I became cautiously excited again.