I liked yesterday’s effort enough to return to it to fill in some blanks. The one obvious hole I placemarked and the lack of concrete character description, Please note: the French phrase title of this entry and it’s use in the body is purposefully misspelled.
The boatman assured the men, Victor, Lars, and Daniel, there was a bike trail on the other side, but Daniel continued to press him for details.
“First part hard…pah facilè?” 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 swapped grips on the motor, waggled his head, and said something in Vietnamese accented French. He pointed to the same spot on the bank then drew 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. He brushed sweat from his forehead and red face with an equally wet arm. A patch of mud transferred as a stripe from his eyebrow to the part in his blonde hair.
Lars grunted and asked, “To take us back across?”
Lars grunted again.
“We should have,” Victor echoed without lifting his head out of the dirt or taking his eyes out of the canopy and clouds. His stale blue t-shirt read “The Best Ride in Vietnam”; a new hole at the shoulder showed a little blood beneath.
“Jesus. You too? You two kill me sometimes.” Lars pulled himself into a sitting position, back leaning on Daniel’s bike. They were ten days into their journey and his once crisp Fu Manchu had begun to blend back in to the rest of his dark beard. “I mean, fine, we all know Danny’s a pussy, but you Victor?”
“What, me? I’m no pussy. That—” Victor’s muddy and bloody forearm went up at the elbow and dropped pointing in the direction of their climb. “—was four hours we could have ridden, Lars. Gotten somewhere.”
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 your 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 it 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. Gah! Ran out of time again. Well this awesome mystery paragraph would have been packed with jungle sounds and ambience. It would have ended with an air horn sound coming from a boat in the river below; I probably would have made a deft, elegant, and ironic parallel to the sound of a factory whistle.]
“Well, we’re here now.” Everyone knew that. “Burning daylight.” Everyone knew that too.
519 words on day 732