The satellite view was deceptive. Google maps reveals an impressive looking patchwork of highways in the Mato Grosso and all throughout Brazil. Labeled with such bureaucratically soporific appellations as MT 101. Yet, these thin lines stretching like gossamer serpents to overgrown pioneer towns were nothing but dust in a vast ocean of green.
So knowing that we could eventually break through to another highway should the need arise, wasn’t as comforting a thought as one might suppose.
These were the things I pondered as I watched Lucas shoo a stick bug the size of a forearm off of his pack.
“That thing is almost as scary as Graham.”
“You mean Jeeves?”
Schmidt chuckled. “Jeeves…?”
“Or maybe he’s more of a Bertie Wooster.”
“What the hell are you talkin bout man?”
“Guess you Krauts are just that uncultured.”
“I’m American man...U..S…A – U….S….A – U…S…A – U…S…A!”
“I wouldn’t be proud of ignoring the glory of Stephen Fry no matter my origin.”
“Can’t ignore what you don’t know.”
“That’s the definition of ignorance.”
We sat for a bit in the fold out chairs appreciating the familiarity of the fire rather than the warmth. The polyglot chatter of the voices mixed with twilight and the occasional cry of howler monkeys had a surreal effect. God, my legs ached. Even more so my feet. Even with the best gear the planet had to offer there was no way, no precaution, no circumspection that would allow you to adequately address the damp. I had athletes foot. I had it bad.
“Fuck.” I cursed.
“I’m not into dudes.”
“Don’t flatter yourself, if I go gay I’m goin for old bedroom eyes over there,” I said flicking a thumb in the direction of one of the Brazilians with especially large liquid brown eyes that seemed to ever be on the verge of weeping.
“Pffft….my ass is better.”
“I thought you weren’t gay.” I laughed.
“Just cause I’m straight doesn’t mean I’m not vain.”
“Glam rock kid?”
Our banter was a silent pact to balm the weirdness. Graham had become eerily good at hunting. I’d never known him to hunt. In all the years I’d spent with him…I’d never heard him mention hunting. Nor did I know that he could carve out, string, and pull a long bow.
What was stranger was that no one stopped him. Brancos were not supposed to hunt on tribal lands. Yet no one stopped him. The Kuikuros and other tribes among us were terrified of him. The Brazilians disliked his taciturn nature, and the terseness of his replies. As for Lobo and his mercenaries they were far too busy keeping watch on the brush. The latin spec-ops guy also seemed to have gained a deep respect for old Hoyt.
Which is why he made no attempt to stay the silent stride that carried the lanky predator beyond the perimeter.
“What I don’t understand is how he’s able to get close to anything with that reek.” Sam remarked.
Hoyt had continued smoking like a chimney throughout the week. I could always smell him before I could hear him.
“So, I guess we have to talk about it…” I said after yet another prolonged silence.
“Let’s not and say we did.” Lucas said.
“Yeah…you tasted that Finnish pussy…you should appreciate Suomi wisdom…silence is sacred.”
“Fancy yourself an ascetic now motormouth?”
Sam flicked his tongue between a piece sign. “Motormouth is what your mom calls me.”
“O yea…score that postmenopousal tang…ya tiger!” Schmidt rolled his eyes.
“Jesus Christ guys…I’m serious what do you think is going on here…”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean you can’t tell me that this is actually real…”
“Well it is…we’re here, wet and miserable as fuck, likely to die of dysentery or oversaturation at any given tickby of a god damn second.”
“No I mean…I don’t think Thornton is a Gman at all…I don’t think we’re really propogandists…or shrinks…or drug manufacturers…”
Each of us eyed our boots uncomfortably.
“I think he’s the arch-druid and we’re bringing him the vestal virgins on a silver fucking platter.”
“You guys wanna…call it quits…”
Slowly we all shook our heads.
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