As Promised Here's a new 1/2 page of my book just to prove to you guys I'm not letting up!!
As they approached the guards Jerry started laughing, he told some joke in Japanese and both guards bent over double with laughter. The one guy almost lost his cigarette. William followed behind with a sheepish grin on his face. Of all the guides he could have picked, Jerry was turning out to be a godsend. As closely as William could make out, Jerry next announced that he would be taking this “Round eye” into the Aokigahara for a little sightseeing trip. Both guards saluted and let them go by without a search. William stared dumbfounded at Jerry, walking ahead with a triumphant look on his face. “You sure handled that well.” “I know those guys. “ He said laughing.
Three miles in and William was panting for breath. He couldn’t believe how out of shape he’d let himself become. His backpack and pup tent weighed heavily against his spine and he would have traded all the days he spent in a recliner with his beer while the family was away for a month’s worth of daily 10K. jogs. Jerry wasn’t even breaking a sweat. The hike to their eventual destination would require them to press on for at least another seven miles.
He asked Jerry if there was a midway point at which they might be able to stop and rest up a bit before continuing. Jerry laughed. “What’s the matter old timer?” He grinned back at William. “Getting tired?” “What’s the matter?” Returned William angrily. “This tent weighs a ton, I’m seventy six years old not twenty five and my back’s killin’ me. In my army days I could run circles around you with this pack on while you were still walkin'. "
Jerry ignored the comment, “There’s a ranger hut about two miles up.” His voice turned serious. “It’s off path a ways and at the top of a pretty steep hill. The trees get sorta thick in there and I can’t guarantee you won’t get scratched around a little. Sure you’re feeling up to it?” William winced. Jerry continued. “We can get some water and there’s a toilet. They may even have a few beers and some power bars.” “Is that all you eat?” William grumbled. “I live on those things man.” Jerry laughed. “I’m up for it.” Said William determinedly. “Ok…but we’re gonna have to pick up the pace a bit, you good with that?” “Let’s go.” Replied William.
The “ranger hut” was a cobweb filled shack, strewn with industrial sized garbage bags loaded to the brim with empty beer cans. Dirt was tracked onto the floors, which looked as though they hadn’t been swept out in at least a year. There was no electricity and no beer. What passed for a toilet looked more like a pile of dried vomit. Furnishings consisted of two folding chairs and a turn of the century desk top computer with a cracked screen adjacent to a CB radio that had long outlived its usefulness. William wasn’t feeling picky. At least the tap worked after you let it run for a while and it was a place to unshoulder his backpack and have a smoke.
He thought of the lavish accommodations he’d left several hours ago at the Osaka Intercontinental with a grim smile and lit one of his cigarillos. “You know the best part about this place?” Jerry mused, grinning sarcastically. William shook his head. “There’s no one here.” William imagined he expected a laugh but returned the comment with a dismissive glance. Jerry’s voice quieted. “Most of those guys just come up here to drink..” His voice trailed off as he took a long drag off his cigarette and they both sat quiet for a while.