by M. J. Joachim
River rafting was something the boys looked forward to every summer. Three relaxing weeks of rushing white water rapids, camping on the shore and male bonding. Memories like this were all the rage, as stories relayed from years gone by surfaced in anticipation of this year’s reunion.
Roy had other plans for the boys this year, however. He’d watched them come and go, every single year for the last twelve years in a row. He was tired of their ruckus, tired of their fun and just plain tired of them.
Roy was the local homeless man – a guy who’d never settled down, moved from town to town and took up residence in the hills by the river as soon as the sun made it unbearably hot in town. He was a rebel, a man who’d been arrested for disorderly conduct, breaking into businesses and residences to meet his needs and stealing what he wanted, most of the time without ever getting caught, even though everyone knew Roy was to blame.
The first three days on the river couldn’t have gone better for the boys. Then it happened. Their raft burst into flames while they were floating down the river. Dave hollered at Jeff, who quickly reached out to grab Steve before he sunk, after hitting his head on a nearby rock. Rick floated facedown past them both, legs looking like they’d been gnawed to the bone.
Before they could comprehend what was happening, another blast, and then Roy floated out to meet them. He picked up one of Rick’s legs and tossed it toward Dave. “Now this is what I call excitement, boys!” he laughed. “Much more so than all that rafting down the river and camping on the shores you all seem to enjoy so much!” he excitedly declared, as he landed his raft and headed into the woods.
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Photo credit: Alaska range small waterfall on river, U. S. Fish & Wilelife Service, Public Domain
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