Drop #69: What We Do

I went camping with Sylvan and Lucy last weekend. They knew about this music festival and invited me to join them. I hadn’t camped anywhere in years but I had a tent and sleeping bag and packed a few extra things like snacks and drinks and a small folding stool to make the experience more pleasant. I looked forward to sharing these with my new friends. I wanted to be useful.

We set up camp not far from the main stage just before dark. My tent looked a little worn next to their large, sturdy one, in which one could stand upright. They had also hung up some backdrops, spread a tarp between the trees above for shade, placed a carpet on the grass on which they’d set up three large, comfortable fold-out chairs, and dug a fire pit, surrounding it with big, smooth rocks. I opted not bring my little stool out, cracking a bottle of red and opening a packet of chips instead. I didn’t have plastic cups but Sylvan and Lucy each had a few swigs. The wine was a bit warm, especially for a summer evening, but it went down well enough, and I was glad to contribute something. I rolled a joint and we smoked it at the main stage. It was a little harsh but did the job.

After the first act, we went back to camp since nobody wanted to see the next band.

Lucy dug a beautiful Japanese lantern into the dirt and lit it, illuminating the site with a warm shade of yellow. ‘Now I can see what I’m doing!’ she said.

They both disappeared into the tent for a few seconds. Sylvan came out, lean and tan in his funky waistcoat, with a folding table, which he opened on the carpet. Lucy followed, bright-eyed and dreadlocked, with a couple of bottles, a cooler and two plastic bags. ‘Fancy a margarita?’ she asked.

‘Sure.’

She worked quickly, cutting lemons and limes and juicing them with a hand squeezer, pouring salt into a plate, and putting ice cubes into a strange contraption.

‘Ever seen one of these?’

‘No. What is it?’

‘Ice crusher. You just shake it for a while and you end up with perfect crushed ice. Takes a bit of muscle though,’ she added, handing to Sylvan, who put down the joint he had begun rolling to shake the thing vigorously for two minutes.

‘Salt?’ Lucy asked in the meantime.

‘Sure,’ I answered.

She rimmed three lovely lowball glasses with a lime and dipped them into the salt, measured parts of tequila and triple sec into each with a metal double jigger, topped them with perfectly crushed ice and citrus juice, stirred them with a long porcelain stirrer and garnished them with a lime wedge.

‘Here you go,’ she said with a smile, handing one to me and one to Sylvan who had finished rolling his joint and lit it. ‘Cheers,’ he said. Sitting on the comfortable chairs we clinked glasses and took sips. It was a perfect margarita; one that sent shivers through me.

‘Here,’ Sylvan passed me the long, conical joint. ‘It’s charas.’

‘Charas?’

‘Very good hash, from India.’

I took a drag, then another. It was so smooth and creamy, and it smelled wonderful. Then another sip of the icy margarita and one more drag on the joint before passing it to Lucy. It was an impeccable, deeply warm high, complementing the icy freshness of the drink entirely.

‘These are both amazing,’ I said and the two of them just smiled with peaceful faces.

‘Another?’ Lucy asked, noticing I was done. I couldn’t help giving drunk fast; it was too delicious.

‘If it’s not too much trouble.’

‘None at all.’

She made another for Sylvan and for me, nursing her first as we drank our second. Sylvan also rolled another joint.

When we got back to the stage I felt incredible. The band sounded great, as did the next two, and I enjoyed every minute of the show. Sylvan produced another joint and Lucy suddenly appeared with three ice-cold beers. It all kept tasting and making me feel better and better. At three in the morning, we made our way back to the tents and everything in the world was fantastic.

We were all hungry. They had been so generous, and I also wanted to contribute, so I grabbed a box of cookies and bag of pretzels from my tent. We sat on the chairs again and ate for a few minutes before Lucy added some other stuff to the spread: a pretty loaf of sourdough bread, from which she cut a few slices; a trio of spreads: hummus, goat cheese and salmon; a large, gnarly, dark brown heirloom tomato; and a Tupperware of cupcakes with various frostings. She also produced three more frosty beers. It was a feast. I just knew the cupcakes were self-made too. While my pretzels and cookies remained on the table, they were dry and unappetizing compared to everything else. Sylvan and Lucy sampled them once in a while, but they were just being polite.

When I woke up, Sylvan had built a fire, which had collapsed into coals and he was getting ready to grill sausages. I shared the apples I had brought, which, sadly, were a bit mealy. Lucy made a fruit salad with mango, lychee, different berries and figs, all perfectly ripe and served it with yoghurt and honey. As the sausages cooked, Sylvan made eggs to order on a skillet, fried up some mushrooms, caramelized some onions, grilled a tomato and made toast. He gave me a big plate bursting with flavor. Everything was super tasty and my eggs, perfectly over easy.

After breakfast, Sylvan rolled another joint of that lovely charas, Lucy cracked a bottle of champagne, still cold, and put two pies on the table: one strawberry rhubarb; the other, blueberry. She served them with clotted cream. There was no way I was bringing out my supermarket baguette and peanut butter now.

As I tasted the pie and drank from my champagne flute, I stared at the floor and shook my head. It was all just too incredible. It was overwhelming. Looking up, I saw Lucy watching me.

‘It’s just what we do,’ she said shrugging. Then she broke out that magical smile.

 By E.M. Vireo

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About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

4 Responses to Drop #69: What We Do

  1. Ryan says:

    Needless to say, that’s the last time you went camping with them.

  2. This reminds me of another story you’ve done, starting with something small then building and building it up to the point of absurdity. Can’t remember which, but this one was just as enjoyable. How do you ever repay?

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