Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Duh duh duh DUUUUUH!

"Alaskiwi Adventures"

Episode Two: The Rescue....Drags On...and on...

Scene: The cabin of Jim and Deirdre Buebner of Squarebanks, Alaska.

10:30 PM [Jim and Gary, Sigmund's teenaged son, burst through the door]

Deirdre: You're back! How did it go?

G: The truck started on the third try. Sandra followed us to Coldcream General Store and filled up the tank. Now she's heading out to Livenbaad.

D: Well, that will take a few hours, but I'm sure we'll see your dad in the morning. What a brave young woman!

[The three share a late supper after which Gary walks back to his cabin for much-needed rest].

[The next morning, 7:30 AM. A crisp, cloudy morning. About 4 inches of fresh snow have fallen overnight. Jim is dusting snow off his trusty Jeep Kaneekwa and Deirdre is making coffee. They see Sigmund's truck pass by down the road.]

D [waving her spotless white apron after the truck]: They're back, hooray!

[A few minutes later, Sandra comes walking up the drive. Her face is pale, she obviously hasn't slept.]

D: Is everyone back?

S [dejectedly]: I drove and drove up and down the road to where I was sure I'd left Sigmund and the dogs, calling and calling. I drove and drove and looked and looked. There was no sign of them anywhere. The roads were so slippery I thought the truck was going to slide right down the mountain. Finally I pulled over and tried to sleep a couple of hours, it was really hard to keep my eyes on the road. I couldn't fall asleep, the diesel fumes of the truck made me think I might pass out, and I was so tired I couldn't think of what else to do, so I just came back.

D & J [in unison]: Oh, dear. Well, you certainly tried, and we're glad you made it back safe and sound. You should get some rest.

[S goes back to Sigmund's to have a couple of hours rest and plug in her car. She is expected at work today and has classes. Gary has meanwhile caught the bus to East Valley High School where he is a sophomore. Jim and Deirdre get in the Jeep and drive off. Deidre has brought her skis with her to ski home from work. Jim has a doctor's appointment and needs to run several errands before work. Their thoughts, however, are with their friend Sigmund, stuck out somewhere beyond the reach of any ordinary cell phone...]

[cut to Sigmund and the dogs, camped out somewhere in the vast snowfields dotted with stunted black spruce near Livenbaad... Staked near the dogsled is a canvas tent, sagging under the weight of fresh snow and bulging with eleven snoring dogs and one snoring man...]

[Later that day, a mild clear evening around 7:00 PM, the sun is still out.]

[Deirdre comes skiing down the trail to the driveway of their cabin. Jim, coincidentally, is just coming home in Kaneekwa. Just then, Gary comes walking over. He reports that he cannot get the truck started. He waits at half hour intervals to try again. Deirdre goes in to prepare dinner, Jim lights his tobacco pipe and puffs thoughtfully on the porch, stroking his long beard and thinking...]

[Later. 8:00 PM. The sun has just set. Deirdre and Jim have just finished dinner and wonder about Gary. They invited him over to eat with them but he hasn't shown. Jim walks over to their place and a few minutes later so does Deirdre, carrying a hot plate of food for Gary.

When she walks into the yard she sees Jim, Gary and their friend Dave, a tall, rugged, take-charge sort of guy who has come to lend his assistance. Dave's white pickup truck is there, engine running. The hoods of both trucks are up, there are jumper cables running between them, and strewn about are bottles and cans of oil and gas and starter fluid.

Dave [waving his hand]: OK, start it!

[Jim tries to to start the truck. The starter churns but the engine doesn't fire. After a few more tries, Dave grabs a large electric heater and Gary plugs it into the porch outlet. The powerful fan blows hot air and a few sparks in the direction of the truck's engine.]

Dave [rolling an empty 50 gallon oil drum over to the truck]: We need to concentrate the heat more. Let's raise er up!

[Dave, Jim and Gary hoist the big heater onto the oil drum. They get an old tree stump and put that on top of the oil drum to raise the heater even higher. Gary gets a plywood board and angles it to concentrate the hot air at the engine's air intake. After several long minutes, Dave signals Jim to turn the ignition key. There is a mighty groan of the starter, but still the engine refuses to fire.]

[Another hour passes as the men try everything they can think of. All this time the phones in Sigmund and Gary's house have been ringing off the hook. Since the accidental Fakebook posting, friends, acquaintances, and well wishers have been calling to offer advice and assistance on how to rescue Sigmund and his eleven sled dogs. Meanwhile, Sigmund has been flagging down passing motorists and giving them his phone number along with messages to pass onto Gary. Some of the messages end up being rather disjointed.]

Gary[on the cell phone]: Ok, Ok, I'll try that. Thank you. Goodbye.

Deirdre: Who was that?

Gary [shrugging]: Some nutjob. Oh, now the landline is ringing!

[He picks up the phone. A passing trucker is giving him a message from his dad.]

Trucker #1: Are you Jerry? OK, I gotta message for you from uh, Steve I think his name was. He say's: "I'm at.."

G: OK, at where?

Trucker #1: Sorry, that's all he gave me.

[the cellphone rings. Another trucker]

Trucker #2: Hi can I speak to Mike? I gotta message from your dad Sidney. Here's the message: "I'm at milepost"

G [irritatedly]: Milepost WHAT?

Trucker #2: Sorry man, that's all he gave me.

[Gary lets out a Kiwi swearword. The phone rings, another passing trucker.]

Trucker #3: Hiya George? This is Don. I gotta message for ya from yer Dad, I think he said his name is Quincy? The message is: "57." [he hangs up]

Gary and Deirdre: "I'M...AT...MILEPOST...57!!!"

[Just then, the truck lets out a mighty roar, indicating that it has started.]

[Gary, Deirdre, Jim and Dave let out a whoop of joy, not realizing it's now 10:30 PM and all the neighbors are really pissed off at them. Deirdre gives Jim a thermos of hot tea for the journey. Jim is going single-handedly to get Sigmund and the dogs. Gary is going to stay by the phone and try to get more than the two hours of sleep he got the night before. Dave yells: GOOD LUCK! and drives off gallantly in his spotless white pickup.]

[3:43 AM. Jim & Deirdre's cabin.]

[Deidre is awakened by Jim coming to bed. Jim groans a little, turns over and falls instantly asleep. Deirdre is worried. Did he find Sigmund?? Or will he remain forever lost in the Arctic, just like Lord Franklin??

As she ponders this, the familiar sound of eleven tired hungry huskies--Pokey, Smorkey, Sassie, Blackie, Blubber, Pig, Foodha, Tubby, Smellsie, Spazzy, and Poo-Boy--howling in unison, floats from the dog yard at Sigmund's house just beyond the tops of the trees. She lets out a sigh of relief, turns over, and instantly falls asleep.]

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