Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012: [Pargons Of Virtue: book #1] Day #13

I hope that you enjoy this.

As we pulled up to the tourist information centre, a park ranger waved at us.

He came over to the passenger window, and said, “Pull over there. We have plenty room. Keep to one side, so that the fire trucks can turn around, and so that they have plenty of space to unload things. We are expecting several more trucks. When you are ready, come around back of this building, and come up the stairs. Our office is there. We'll brief you.”

After we parked, we climbed down the back of the truck. We stretched our legs and arms. The smokey air still had a nice forest scent.

# # #

“This is the area that is on fire,” he said, pointing to the northwest quadrant of the map. “We have conducted controlled burns here.”

One of us asked, “Sir?”


“What about the spot between the latter areas?”

“They don't need it. The area is covered in gravel and rock. It's kind of like the Canadian Shield.” He looked to make sure that we had no other questions. “We had first encountered the arsonists in here. We didn't think much of it at the time, because a lot of homeless people were trying to stay away from downtown. They were getting too much harassment from the business improvement association. We spoke with them, and ordered them to leave. We would escort them out of the park, but they would be back, and somebody else would fill the spots a few days later.”

“They really settled in later in the fall. They started lighting fires. The even chopped a few trees. They survived the winter and spring, and they kept on going with their fires, even though it was way too dry. We could tell that they had been careless with their cigarette butts. They would just flick them away. We'd find them a while later, with a tiny burnt area surrounding the cigarette butts.”

“We are way too understaffed to do anything big about it, and so the underlying problem just keeps going on and on.”

I said, “And what do you believe the problem to be?”

“It's just that society doesn't care enough to produce a group of elite men who can follow up with these guys on a continuously daily basis.”

I stroked my chin; especially where the five o' clock shadow was already starting to show.

# # #

John knocked on Sally's door.

She answered it, wearing a black pea coat that came down to her hips. Underneath, she wore a skintight spandex scarlet dress that came down to her upper thigh. Underneath that, she wore shimmery black tights. She had smokey eye shadow, and red lipstick to match.

She took one look at his grubby shirt and worn jeans, and he face conveyed disbelief. “Come in. I still have to get my boots on.”

When he stepped inside...

John walked into the floral department of the supermarket, and stopped next to Sally. “I got the card.”

She took it, and noticed that he held something behind him. “What are you doing?”

He smiled mischievously, and said, “Nothing.”

She smiled, and reached around him, and tried to grab whatever he was holding. “What?”


She tried to look around him, and said, “What is it?”

“I can't tell you.” He held tightly, and said in a hushed tone, “Behave, and I might tell you.”

She turned her face down to the card, but her eyes looked into his.

He leaned forward, and kissed her.

She stroked his arm, and then slowly worked it to his shoulder, and then down to his lower back.

He grabbed her arm firmly. “Nah! Uh uh. I was just going to tell you, but you had to ruin it.”

She wrestled her arm away, and examined the card.

The front said, “Thanks, for your time.” The inside said, “Much more valuable than that, though was you.” She checked the back. It cost $2.85.

She nodded. “I like it.”

She smiled mischievously at him again. She then put on a straight face, and said, “Okay, where do we need to go now?”

He pointed with his thumb. “Produce.”

She looked in that direction. “Where?”

He pointed.

She gestured with an open hand. “You'd better show me.”

“Yeah, I will. I'll walk behind you. Now...” He teasingly kicked her bum, and said, “...go!”

She shrieked, and laughed loudly. She began the walk, and he followed along.

“There! See? Nothing bad is going to happen. It's just straight ahead.”

She stopped, and turned. “Oh, we forgot to get the flowers, remember? Now, you lead.”

He looked at her in disbelief. “Wh-wh-what?”

“We came here for flowers, and we forgot them. You said to stand on this side of you, so now you have to lead. Remember?”

“You have got to be kidding me.”

She pointed, and said, “You said.”

He pretended to bite at her outstretched finger, while he said, “Argh...nom nom nom...” He shook his head and said, “I can't believe the things that you try to pass off on me. Go!”

She put on a pouty face, and he pushed her along.

The floral department had an array colours and arrangements. He wanted just a card, but she had suggested adding a floral arrangement to brighten Tom's room.

“I like this one. The orange would be a welcome relief from that orange drab that you described.”

“What about this?”

“It looks good, but it's kind of busy. There are so many tiny details in it, and the room will be so big in comparison. With this, you just have orange and green. That will become like background noise.” She looked at him. “What do you think?”

“Yeah, you're right. I was thinking the same thing, but wanted to make sure, since my mom tends to like the busier one.”

She took it, and held it out to me. The smirk on her face was a dead give away. John moved his empty hand back, and she stepped forward, and tried to put it in his hand. She firmly said, “Take it.”

“You know, that's still cute, but it's beginning to reek of of desperation. Why do you--”

She pressed up against him.

He could feel her breasts squeeze between them.

She said in a hushed tone, “Take it.”

He reached down and kissed her.

She stepped back, with a smile of delight, but held the potted flower out.

He took it.

She turned and led them to the produce aisle.

# # #

“We are going to break up into teams of two.” He pointed to the map, which had many lines separating the ski and toboggan runs, and dividing them up. He traced out the inside of a section with his finger. “Each team is assigned a small area. We will activate the chair lift for you guys working that half, when we head out, and when it is time to come back. We could leave it on, but we don't want to make it easy for arsonists to move about. I doubt that they will want to use the chair lift, but I don't want to take any chances.” He looked at us paladins, and said, “We are going to pair you up with some of our guys. They the mountain best, so I expect that they'll be able to get through the area fastest and most safely. Any questions so far?”

Nobody said anything.

He pointed to his assistant, who continued. “The arsonists tend to congregate around this area. They don't carry weapons. They try to pass themselves as friendly, but don't be fooled. The main motive behind all of this is just ordinary vandalism. They probably have a grudge. We did ask them, but they never explained.” He looked at the ranger.

The ranger then looked at the clock. “Okay. Our guys should be here any minute now. Are there any questions?”

I, and I am sure that all of my fellow paladins, were mainly focused on getting out into the field to put our tracking skills to good use, so we never bothered to ask any questions.

# # #

He had a bit of a baby face, and he had this expression that hadn't changed since we were kids. He always seemed to be afraid of how people might respond, so he would look at people and wait to be absolutely sure that things would be okay. It was kind of sad, because he never did seem to find that comfort.

I said, “So, what did they say, when you ask them why they do this?”


“So, they just keep silent and look at you?”

“They say nothing.”

“If there is one kind of person that I hate, it is a rebel. I consider them to be destructive to the community. I wish all curses upon them. I also think that stubbornness is just evil.” I felt kind of guilty for basically venting while we were supposed to be working.

“Yep. I hear ya, buddy. Well, if we keep our eyes peeled, and with some luck, we'll find them, and bring them to justice.”


“Payback will be sweet.”


We arrived at the area that we were assigned to. It was steep, and the forest was dense. It made me a little uncomfortable. There wasn't a lot of light shining through. If we slipped, then would probably roll for quite a ways, and maybe land on a sharp piece of wood.

He said, “Okay. So, the boss told you the path that we would follow, right?”


“Well, he might not have mentioned it, but for things like that he really is just suggesting. I'd like us to zigzag along the top, and work out way down, instead of zigging down and then zagging up. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yeah, it'll be all down hill.”

“Are you okay with that?”

I scrunched my face up, and put a hand up in surrender. “Hey, don't ask me. You're in charge, remember?”

He looked away in embarrassment, and laughed nervously. “Yeah, I suppose.”

“And that's an order.” I pat him on the back firmly.

He nodded, and led the way. He looked over his shoulder, and said, “Thanks. I appreciate you letting go of this.”

“What do you mean? I'm still here.”

“No. I mean not trying to take charge.”

“I don't think that I ever did that.”

He stopped, and turned. “Are you kidding me?”

I smiled, but I also creased my brow. “I'm serious.”

“You did it all the time.”

I shook my head, as I thought about this, and then I said, “Actually, I don't think so.”

“You did. Remember the times we went to the malt shop? You'd make me get a large.”

“No, man. It was just a better deal. I didn't want you to miss out.” My eyes flashed open wide, when I realized that I had just repeated the same words that my dad said to me. I turned my head to give myself some private time to think, but in my peripheral vision, I saw a confident smirk on his face, that said, “See?” What bothered me the most is that I was so sure that I would never utter those words, and here I was saying them and meaning them with all my heart. I turned back, and said, “No. That doesn't count.” I couldn't believe it. My dad said that, too, and I turned away again, in the other direction. As before, I saw him smiling at me. I snapped back, and shook my head. “It's just different. Look. I wasn't ordering you. Now, I'm sorry if you felt...felt under my thumb, but you can't act as if I was...telling you what to do.”

“Hey, I get it. I appreciate it. I don't hold it against you. You helped; probably more than I can imagine. The thing is though, that all those years kind of scarred know? It's not to say that it was bad. If you weren't my friend...well, I don't know where I'd be. I'm just being honest. That's all.”

“Sorry, man.”

“Hey, hey. None of that. I'm just talking. That's all.”

I held out my hand. We shook. I gave him a hug. That was weird.

# # #

The crowds were gathered in the school yard, which had one and a half soccer fields, plus a small playground, and various other outdoor exercise equipment. Four of us stood guard.

Sergeant Hatfield, came up to me, and said, “Corporal, we'll need to round them and corral into the school.”

# # #

We lined up at the armoury, to bring out weapons. When it was my turn, I stepped inside the vault, and pulled out rifle #734, which was the one assigned to me. I took a bolt, a strap, some magazines, and a bayonet. All these things were part of the standard issue, when checking out rifles. I signed on the dotted line, and then stepped out for the next person to come in.

I tucked the parts in various pouches and pockets. I opened up the rifle, and inserted the bolt. I ran a safety precautionary drill to ensure that it was basically working.

# # #

We patrolled back and forth along the slope. I slipped a few times, but I managed to keep from falling and my rifle from getting any moist decomposing debris in it.

The sky was grey.

As we went, I let my mind wander occasionally to listen to the radio chatter. There was the occasional jargon that I didn't grasp, but I could tell that the firemen seemed to be making progress in extinguishing the fire.

David bent down to examine something. I honestly did not expect to see anything here, since we were on such a steep incline, that I had to lean into the slope, and touch the ground.

“It's a boot lace. It looks like it was dropped here just today. There was nothing on it, and it as sitting gently on on this log.” He scanned immediately ahead, as did I.

“Do you see? They didn't even bother to pick it up, or make sure that nothing fell. Once we bring them in, then they'll have a lot to answer for.”

I did not know how to respond to that, so I kept quiet.

"Come on.”

A few moments later, I said to him, “How do you know that these guys are the arsonists?”

“They pretty much admit it to us.”

I thought, “Pretty much?” Those two words were supposed to help justify something, by they only made the problem standout like a red flag. That made me so uncomfortable inside. I remember that he said that they were evasive, and I could not get any new information back then, so I dropped the issue.

The rest of the hike went by uneventfully.

He led us to a clearing, and said, “Let's take a break, before we head back.”

I sat down on a log, and propped my legs up, and leaned sideways against a tree. It was so uncomfortable, but it felt good. I breathed deeply, and relaxed. The fact that I didn't get much sleep the night before, combined with the punishing hike, and our patrol gear, made me shut down very quickly. I managed to get some water into me, but I struggled to shove the canteen back in its pouch.

He was ahead of me, looking down the mountain. I could hear him talking about something being something...or something..

He slapped my shoulder.

I freaked out, and tried to get my bearings. It took me a moment to figure out who David was. It all came back to me: I was sleeping, and we were on patrol.

He had a smirk on his face, like he just played the best of all time. “Wake up man.”

“What about the break?”

“You were asleep; for fifteen minutes.”

I found it hard to believe, but I got up to leave, anyways. I turned to go back to the top of the chair lift.

He gestured down the mountain, said, “No. It's actually faster to just walk down. I know how it looks on the map, but by time we fight our way up that hill, and then ride back, which is just backtracking, we'd be back at the base.”

I nodded, and followed.

“Besides, I'd like to show you around. Besides, it's on the way.”

I nodded and realized that I had no clue of what he was talking about. I did wonder, but I was also exhausted, so I just gave up, and let him surprise me.

# # #

The rest of the shopping trip transpired as if nothing had happened. It was as if two siblings were running an errand.

The end. Thank you for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment