“This is some bull…”
Let me introduce you to a friend of mine. He’s that heavy-set fellow with thick arms and a belly hanging out of his grease-stained shirt. Yep, the one shouting, that’s him.
“…when I agreed to a ‘boat trip’ I thought ascots and smoking jackets, maybe, maybe a navy peacoat…”
He lives in my stomach and is the head of all maintenance, repair, and building projects across my body.
“…definitely sitting by the pool on the Lido deck and definitely talking to mysterious women with strange accents…”
He’s been with me since the beginning, all the way back to 1981. Built me from scratch. His name’s Wally.
“…buffets for sure…”
He’s part mechanic, part manager, part dumpster diver. Whatever needs to be fixed, Wally fixes it. When a muscle tears or a rock slices open my skin, Wally and his boys are there to patch things up. All they need is a pint of ice cream or a chocolate bar.
“…but no, ‘boat trip’ means toting 65 pounds of plastic through the forest like were on the flippin’ Appalachian Trail…”
He likes to complain a bit.
“Oh, look who it is! Not too busy having imaginary conversations with your boat to pay me a visit down here in the gut, eh?”
Just coming to say hi. Can’t an old friend stop by once in a while?
“Oh really? Just stopping by, eh? Not stopping by ’cause yesterday’s portage left you feeling ’bout three inches shorter? Not checking in ’cause you could barely move ’til 4pm this afternoon?”
Maybe I was a little concerned.
“Let me tell ya how it is, Out of Order, I’ve been doing this for a long time and these portages are fu…fu…why hey strangers! You didn’t tell me we had company!”
We have company.
“This is my place of business, you know, you can’t just be springing strangers on me out of nowhere. It’s a mess, half-digested granola all over, mashed potatoes on the floor. “
Don’t worry about it, what were you saying about the portages?
“Ok, well, um, these portages are fu…fu…functionally difficult.”
That bad, huh?
“You know how much overtime I’m paying out just for nerve work along the spine? Don’t even get me started on your right shoulder. I’ve got a crew on your left foot right now, another on each wrist, and your neck has been sending in maintenance requests for a week.”
Good thing you guys work for mac and cheese then.
“That’s a lot of mac and cheese, kid, a lot of mac and cheese, more than you got in that little bag of yours. You better send down a burger or something soon. The union ain’t happy. I ain’t happy. No one down here is happy.”
I’ll see what I can do.
“See what you can do? We’ve got vertebrae sliding in every direction, been ripping apart leg muscle to patch up your back, got a twingy wrist to work on, shoulders are more sore than not…”
“…I haven’t seen a spare bit of calcium in weeks, two banged up shins, three blisters, five cuts on the left hand, and you will see what you can do? We had to fight a dang sea monster off your foot today with a lighter.”
You mean the leech?
“What do I look like, a scientist? Call it whatever you want. It looked like a B horror movie down there with all that blood. Pardon my French, but the boys and I need a posé every once in a while.”
“It’s French, look it up. It’s what they used to call breaks on the portage trails. Consider hanging around camp today until 4pm an extended posé courtesy of Wally and the boys.”
You mean a pipe?
“No, I mean a posé. A pipe is a break on the water when paddling. Don’t you know anything? They measured the lakes by the number of smoking breaks.”
You sure know a lot about the voyageurs.
“Bah! I know about taking breaks!”
Is that a red cap in your pocket?
“What are you talking about? This old thing? Naw, it’s, it’s nothing.”
Looks kinda like the ones the voyageurs used to wear. Why are you trying to hide it in your pocket there? Come on, put the hat on, Wally, let’s see it!
“I don’t have time for childish fantasies, I’ve got a body to keep operational. Get the hell out of here and let me work, I need to get on this cut before it gets infected.”
Fine, fine. Before I go though, I almost forgot, happy one month out, Wally. We should celebrate.
“There better be burgers involved.”
You got it.
“And ice cream.”
“Well hell then, happy one month out, Out of Order.”
That’s the Wally I know and love! We’ll celebrate soon, all the burgers and ice cream you can handle.
Just gotta get through the Grand Portage.
“Wait, wait, what? The grand what?”
You don’t want to know.