Update: a slightly more edited version of this post to read instead.
The boatman assured the men, Victor, Lars, and Daniel, there was a bike trail on the other side. Daniel pressed him for details.
“First part hard?” Daniel asked. He pointed to the bank where the bow of the longtail was headed then sketched a diagonal grade up the cliff wall where he imagined the trail might be.
The boatman waggled his head and said something in Vietnamese accented French. He pointed to the same spot on the bank then sketched a vertical line up the wall instead. Four hours later the three made camp at the top of that wall by collapsing in the leaves and mud next to the last motorcycle hauled up.
“We should of paid him,” Daniel said.
Lars grunted and asked, “To take us back across?”
Lars grunted again.
“We should have,” Victor echoed without lifting he head out of the dirt or taking his eyes out of the canopy and clouds.
“Jesus. You too? You two kill me sometimes.” Lars pulled himself into a sitting position, back leaning on Daniel’s bike. “I mean, fine, we all know Danny’s a pussy, but you Victor?”
“What, me? I’m no pussy. That was four hours we could have ridden. Gotten somewhere.” Victor’s muddy bloody arm went up at the elbow and dropped pointing in the direction of their climb.
Lars fingernailed mud out of the shocks on Daniel’s front fork and sighed. “But the long way. I say this four hours saved us twenty or more down that road.” Daniel and Victor had heard this plea of Lars’ several times before breakfast, before they came across, before they climbed half a day.
“So you say, so says the pussy.” Daniel pointed to himself.
Lars snorted a laugh through his nose faster than he could get out of his mouth, but Victor didn’t give him a chance to recover before he again echoed his twin brother, “So says the pussy.” Lars choked and sputtered after that.
[a paragraph of description for pace]
“Well, we’re here now.” Everyone knew that. “Burning daylight.” Everyone knew that too.
349 words on day 731