“When all’s said and nothing done.”
Don was sitting at home feeling sorry for himself when the front door crashed open and Ed’s cheerful voice called, “You decent?” This was followed by several thumps, the front door slamming shut and then the sound of someone stomping laboriously up the stairs.
Don, sarcastic, called, “You packing an elk or something?”
His old friend, Ed, appeared. He was operating crutches and a large cast on his right leg. Don said, “Ooo! Twins.” But he was curious. He too was nursing a broken leg, the same side: the right one.
Uninvited, Ed eased himself down beside his old buddy. “Got a beer?” he asked, but had to re-arrange himself and fetch the drinks from the fridge. He flopped back down and said, “So what happened to you, then?”
But he wasn’t going to wait for his buddy’s story; he launched right into his own.
He’d decided to climb Fisher Peak on his own a couple of weeks back and opted to start late so to avoid the crowds. Don tried to imagine crowds on the laborious slopes of Fisher. “Weekends in the summer and the place is crawling with folks knocking rocks down, if you’re not careful,” explained Ed. “I wait till they’re all off the mountain before I start. It’s a four hour romp if you’re fit.” He scratched at his unruly hair which appeared to Don to be in the act of abandoning his head.
“Anyway, I made it to the top without getting severely killed but things went wrong on the way down.” Ed picked up a ball-point pen from the table beside him and poked experimentally into the cast on his leg where, Don noted, someone had written ‘Your a credit to your lunacy’. He also noted the grammatical error but agreed with the sentiments of the author.
It seems that Ed had had a little incident on the way down the long talus slopes and this incident resulted in a broken leg. He slurped at his beer and said, “There I was, no one in sight and wondering if this was the end of my shelf-life. I couldn’t move.”
He attempted to make a splint from the ski-pole he’d been packing, but it was too long. He’d rummaged in his day-pack to see if he had enough in it to survive the night out in the open. “Didn’t fancy my chances.” He explained.
Don heaved himself out of his seat and went to look for something to eat. Ed is inclined to be long winded in his stories.
And he was.
“But then,” he said as Don was making sandwiches, “I heard voices. Couldn’t believe my ears. Anyways, I yelled and these three guys wandered up. No idea what they were doing on Fisher that late in the afternoon but they tried to help me and one of them had a cell phone but couldn’t get a signal. I told him he’d have to try higher up and he wandered off, making a hash of getting up that rock-slide. I nearly got buried in the avalanche he started.”
The sandwiches went down fast enough and Ed complained that all that talking was making him thirsty, so Don had to fetch more beer.
To cut a long story short, something that Ed could never do, the fellow with the cellphone got through and, just before dark, a helicopter flew in with paramedics. The search and rescue team piled him into a stretcher and, according to Ed, ‘threw him into the chopper’. “Saved my sorry ass,” he added.Then, “How come you didn’t know this?”
Don explained that he’d been out of town on a course in Montreal. He then found a moment to admit that he’d caught a taxi from the airport and, when it delivered him home, it was dark and he’d taken a short-cut across his neighbour’s lawn where he’d fallen over a kid’s toy and broken his stupid leg. “Pretty lame story, eh?” he joked.
“Gives us something to talk about. Right?” said Ed.