Garrick and the Dare

Garrick once ate a live frog.  It was a dare following a day of learning about Mark Twain.  He missed the metaphor of the story.  His friends were rather impressed and terribly disgusted at once.  As he ate the slippery beast he thought not of how truly mortifying the event was, but on the laughs and guffaws of his pre-teen fellows.  He was hooked.

Through the rest of his life, Garrick sought after trouble and danger.  Anything that made people cringe or cackle, he wanted to do it.

It was this that brought him to the top of Mt. Prosperity.  The locals called it “Mount Don’t Look Down” for fun and warning.  The mountain went up, fast.  Garrick’s purpose for the visit was to climb to the top, place himself inside a barrel and roll down the hill before hitting a ramp and, with luck, launch himself over three trucks.  His wife nixed the idea to fill the truck beds with cobras and medical waste.  She had to help the crew clean up afterward and wanted nothing to do with cobras.  She also had no idea where to rent a truck bed’s worth of cobras in southern Wyoming.  She especially did not want to learn how to find a truck bed’s worth of cobras in southern Wyoming. She loved her stupid husband, but not to “shop the black market” levels.

Garrick climbed the mountain with a barrel strapped to his back.  The entire climb up he resisted the urge to throw the barrel down, shouting “eat this, Mario!”  It was more restraint than he was known for.  He reached the top, kicked the orange dirt and looked at the grassland surrounding him.  It was gorgeous.  The entire scene made him feel like a better human, tuned to nature and experiencing nothing more than existential glee.

He grinned and nodded.  “Yes,” he told himself, “life is good.”  Then he stuffed himself inside an unused oil drum and ate his elbows.

He rocked the barrel back and forth until it toppled over.  He was in place and ready for the fall. With one mighty push he began his downward roll.  The world whirred by.  His head spun and lunch eaten hours earlier found its way back on his face.  He fell and fell, and screamed.  He had done many dumb things in his life, but every currently happening dumb thing felt like the dumbest of them all.

He felt the barrel hit the ramp and for a brief, glorious moment he felt weightless.  He landed on the opposite ramp, the barrel shattered on impact and he was sent flying.  Limbs flailed wildly as he continued to spin.  He skipped over the asphalt of the small town road he was not supposed to land on, but flew onto anyway.

He slowed to a stop and could do nothing but moan.

When his wife’s face appeared against the blue sky above him he smiled.

“You were right about the cobras,” he said.

“Of course I was,” she replied, “let’s get you to the ER.”


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