I’m not sure why. We had drifted apart. I hadn’t seen you in person since the 2013 reunion. Our last discussion was the the night before you died about a dumbass traffic ticket. The next day you chose to leave.
I say I don’t know why but that isn’t true. Dying loses it’s menace when you see it up close often enough. There comes a time when it’s easier to lie down at the bottom of a hole than to fight your way up and out.
From the bottom you can’t see the people that need you. You only see the things that live in the hole, needles, bottles, and bad dreams.
But those things won’t miss you. They won’t cry for you when you’re gone. They won’t have to smile at birthday parties and weddings, wishing you were there. We have to carry that now.
If I sound pissed off it’s because I am. You are my brother and you never gave me a chance to help. Did you think I wouldn’t come if you asked? I would have ran into a gunfight with you when we were younger, nothing has changed.
Was it pride? You think I would look down on my brother for being stuck in a place I used to live?
You were surrounded by brothers who would carry any weight to keep you alive. Now you’re one more memory calling me back to that hole, and I can’t go back there.
So here’s the deal. I’m going to lay out my wing, strap into my harness, and run into the sky.
At 3,000 feet, where no one can hear me,I’m going to scream at the clouds until I can’t talk. And then I’m going to leave you there in the sky. With the rest of our brothers.
And I know you’ll come visit somedays, they all do. And I’ll talk for awhile, then I’ll make you leave. Because I’ve got work to do here, and I can’t let myself slide back into that hole. I worked to hard to get out.
I stood tense. Surveying the battlefield. My heart quickened by the thought of the upcoming duels. The war dog Guinness at my side. “Stay here” I said. The war dog’s courage had not failed him, he was just ill equipped to destroy our current foe. There would be other days to unleash the hound.
The horde of
Locust(trees) had wrought much heartache across the land. More than
one muck boot had fallen victim to their bloodthirsty daggers. This
war wasn’t new. It had been marked by many battles, many victories.
But the cursed vermin refused to surrender. No matter, they will all
fall before us. Along with all of their heirs.
With the sun sinking
towards the horizon there was no time to waste. I gripped Trudy, my
freshly honed double bit ax, and charged the edge edge of the nearest
encampment. “DEFEND YOURSELVES!!!”
I swung at the
nearest attacker, a clean kill. As it fell away I targeted the next.
Every swing well aimed, calculated to create the most destruction
with the least amount of effort. The fight would not be short. I
would need my strength.
One by one I
advanced on my enemies. They lashed out with razor sharp spears as my
blade bit deep into their hide. The war dog whined at the edge of the
battle. Not from fear, from frustration at not being allowed to take
his revenge on the terrible menace invading the land. “Don’t
worry my friend, you’ll have your chance soon enough”
By now I had settled into the rhythm of battle. Locating the beast and felling them with carefully aimed blows. An Ax is a weapon of skill, not strength. You don’t use your body weight like a hammer or splitting maw. An ax is swung from the elbows and wrist. Relying on speed and an accurate angle of attack to slice it’s victim rather than crush. Trudy was doing her part well.
As I moved deeper
into the area the cowardly monsters started hiding amongst civilians.
I had to be careful. This was a war of attrition, numbers, and they
had more. I could not afford to sacrifice a single maple, poplar or
pine to an errant swing. Every strike must be surgical. No collateral
As the battle grew my strength waned. The enemy was relentless. Soon I was surrounded, but I knew the price of failure. No tractor tire would sink low to the earth due to my failure. This I swore as I slashed at the vicious beast!
Soon I was face to face with their greatest champion. Towering overhead more than 12 feet high she glared down at me, daring me to approach. Her twisted spidery arms reached out three feet in every direction, keeping me from maneuvering Trudy close enough to strike a blow at the root of the monster.
But I knew something she did not. I had chosen the timing for this battle, and it wasn’t at random. During the fall and summer this tyrant is most dangerous. It’s daggers are hard and sharp as needles. Some stretching out several inches.
But it was not fall.
In the spring Locust are more vulnerable. They surrender some of their thorns to sprout leaves which they use to steal the precious solar sustenance needed by the civilian population. This is the time to strike.
I saw the fear in their champion’s eyes as she realized this. She had not brought enough armament to keep me from my goal. Again and again I struck. Clipping off branches, parrying her blows and ever so slowly weakening her massive 6″ trunk.
Finally with a shudder she fell. Her descent from the heavens seemed to stretch on for hours( or a second or two). As she fell she reached out one last horrible time, trying to inflict a final pointless slash. But I was also ready for this. I sidestepped her weak attempt and stood triumphant over her massive corpse.
After dragging her still deadly body out of the path of unsuspecting tractors I surveyed the damage.
The field was littered with the bodies of my enemy. My muscles ached happily and Trudy was ready for some delicate attention on the bench grinder.
I warned my foe I would be back then rejoined Guinness the war dog as we marched back to Castle Manshop to store our weaponry and acquire a flagon of hearty ale.
The battle was hard but good. And I will sleep soundly knowing the threat to tractors everywhere has been lessened this day.