Friday, July 9, 2010

Larry the Lobster and Obi Barn Kenobi's early adventure

Tales of Larry the Lobster and Obi Barn Kenobi are a camping tradition.  Here is the latest saga, made up by DH for bedtime on the camping trip.  If you make it all the way to the end, you may recognize elements from my prior post.

First of all, it was a tale of days gone by, before Barney the Bat and Larry the Lobster were sucked through the wormhole under the bridge and received their Jedi training.  This was a tale of bygone days of simple mosquito-eating and crawdad-net avoiding, where the biggest challenge our two heroes usually had was how to find time together, given their opposing sleeping schedules.  
Once in a while, either Larry the Lobster (who was, as you will recall, simply a crawdad with big dreams) or Barney the Bat would push against their natural circadian rhythms in order to allow for extra play time together.  In this instance, it was Larry who stayed up a bit late (for him) in order to invite Barney on an Adventure.  He was rather excited to do so, because, you see, Larry had discovered something fascinating along the riverside that day: a bright blue plastic boat that seemed to be just big enough for him and his friend Barney.  

A long rope was attached to the front end of the boat, and had become caught under a large rock at the water's edge, effectively "docking" the boat near Larry's underwater home.  Larry showed Barney the boat as soon as the bat awoke that evening, and immediately proposed that they take it for an important Scientific Expedition, Exclamation and Exploration of all places, known and unknown, in that great wilderness known as "Downstream."  Larry thought that even if he wasn't precisely sure of all of the meanings of those large words, that they made a boat ride sound more serious and meaningful, and he hoped that would encourage Barney to join him for the trip.

As it so happened, Barney didn't need convincing.  He flew down and settled into the boat, fitting perfectly along the side opposite Larry.  Together, the friends rocked the boat until the rope came loose and the boat floated free with the current of the river.  In moments, the ship was bobbing and darting through the lively  water, bouncing over rocks and running fast down shoots in the stream.  Larry and Barney hooted and hollered like good friends do on any fast ride, whether it is a boat ride, bicycles racing downhill, or a roller coaster looping upside-down.  It didn't take long for the boat to make its way out of the familiar area where they had spent their entire lives; the friends had found their way to Downstream.
After the rapids slowed a bit, and the river widened, they looked around and were astonished at what they saw.  Everything--every stone, every plant--EVERYTHING looked, somehow, different.  Neither Larry nor Barney could put a finger (or claw, or wing, as the case may be) on what the difference was, but they both felt it.  When they came around a bend in the river, it suddenly became clear.  Because there, waddling up between two large boulders near the water's edge, was a massive, humongous, GIGANTIC...skunk. This skunk must have been 25 feet high at the shoulder, if it was an inch.  It sniffed, its outrageously large nose, moving over the ground as if looking for a giant bowl of dog food to eat.  
Too scared to even squeak, the friends froze as their boat drifted downstream closer and closer to the mammoth skunk.  As they got within easy skunk-spray range, the beast suddenly, without warning...turned and ambled away from the water and out of sight between boulders.  Barney and Larry looked at each other, their eyes wide, relieved at their close escape.

Their boat cleared the narrow canyon filled with giant boulders; a large beach, strewn with thousands of large boulders, opened on the left bank of the river.  To Larry and Barney's astonishment, the beach was occupied by 5 or 6 mind-bendingly ginormous boys.  The giants were at least 200 feet tall, and they ran along the beach, picking up boulders and shouting to each other.  Their voices were like thunder and each footfall shook the earth, sending rocks spraying in all directions.  And then, there was a terrible moment...because one of the giant boys turned his mountainous head and saw the bright blue boat, bobbing cheerfully along in the current.  The giant's mouth opened and he bellowed "A BO00000AT....GEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTT  IT!!!!!!" 
Instantly the giants traversed the half-mile from where they had been, and one of them grabbed the rope attached to the front of the boat.  Larry and Barney held on for dear life as the boat was dragged through the water, faster than any engine could have moved it.  When the giant who dragged them reached the end of a spar of the beach that reached out into the stream, he allowed the boat to drift once more, still holding on to the end of the rope.  Meanwhile, one of the other giants roared "REAAAAAAAADDY?   AAAAAIIIIMMMMMMM!     FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRREEEE!!!!!"  Barney and Larry didn't like the sound of that, and they liked it even less when they saw what was being fired.  The other giants stood along the river's edge, a mile or more away, and hurled gigantic boulders--each at least the size of a building--high up into the air and in the direction of the boat.  As each one struck in the river, it sent water hurling up a hundred feet in the air, and pulverized large rocks along the riverbed.  The waves from the nearby impacts nearly made the boat founder, but as Larry and Barney held on tight, the boat somehow managed to stay afloat.  Boulders fell all around them, to the point where they had no time or energy to fear the next fall--all they could do was hang on and hope the rain of rock ended soon.
But then Barney had . . .a sudden, dreadful, realization.  If he wanted to escape the terrifying situation in which they had found themselves, all he had to do was spread his wings and fly.  He could be safe. The boulders were massive enough that avoiding them mid-air wouldn't have been difficult for him.  All it would require him to do would be...abandon his friend Larry.  As that thought became clear to Barney, so did his decision.  He gripped the railing of his side of the boat, more determined than ever that the two of them would see their way through this peril...together.  He grinned at Larry, who appeared at that moment as if he were so scared he was tempted to jump overboard himself.  
The boulders continued to fall, and the friends could feel that they were now being pulled back upstream, against the current, by the strength of the giant's grip on the rope.  Suddenly, they heard a crash of a boulder against solid land, followed by a shrieking howl.  The giant who had been holding the rope was now, instead, holding onto his acre-sized foot and leaping up and down on the other good foot, shouting "YOU HIT MY FOOT, YOU OAF!!!!"  Each bounce by the giant caused an earthquake, and the resulting wave of water pushed behind the freed boat and shot it downstream like a rocket.  The friends rode the crest of the giant wave as if they were on a surfboard, until it went around several bends and eventually settled down into a more regular fast current.  The giants were, thankfully, many miles behind them.
Exhausted and relieved, Larry and Barney collapsed into their waterlogged boat and let the current just carry them.  They were never sure whether they slept or stayed awake, but time passed without anyone marking the hours, as it often does in Big Sur.  The next time either of them looked around at the surroundings, they looked quite a bit more familiar.  In fact, they were approaching the bridge that served as Barney's home--but it was looming up _downstream_ of them!  They had somehow gone Downstream so far that they wound up Upstream.  At the time, all they could imagine was that they had gone, quite literally, around the entire Earth on their voyage.  Later on, when they became more aware of the existence of certain wormholes in the area, they had reason to reconsider the possibilities.  In all, it was an adventure they were glad to see end, but one they would never forget.
The End.

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