Skippy Goes on Retreat
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
In accordance with the rules of our parent company, the Sincmil News Network, the NewsBlog 5000 senior staff is required to go on a retreat once per year. We were able to rent a cabin at a fine public park, the name of which I must leave out for liability reasons. So Dr Maynard, Alice Humbees, Darrel Schrong, Adrian Chevelle and I packed into our new vehicle, NewsAudi 5000 and headed for the cabin.
Most of Friday was spent traveling. Darrel Schrong, our NewsBlog 5000 fact checker drove most of the way, while Alice Humbees fed him these funny smelling maraschino cherries, she had brought along. By the end of the day, Darrel must have been quite tired of driving, because NewsAudi 5000 was swerving all over the road.
We arrived that evening at our cabin and unpacked. We grabbed snacks out of a vending machine and Adrian told us a scary story about a couple named Ben and Jay Low. We turned in early, expecting to get an early start.
The next morning, we all woke up ready for the sharing of group building activities, except of course for Alice Humbees, who hit me with a shoe when I tried to awake her and Darrel Schrong, who claimed to be sick from all the cherries he had eaten. Dr. Maynard made us eggs.
As we made our way outside the air was still quite chilly. Dr. Maynard, who I do not think is a fan of the cold, had donned an oversized parka. The fresh air and crispness of the fall morning was only slightly marred by the complaining of Alice Humbees and Darrel Schrong’s moaning. Dr. Maynard chose an inspirational spot next to a ravine with a little stream below.
We started with the most simple of trust exercises. First I fell back and Adrian caught me. He told me that it was not the first time he had been a catcher. Then Alice Humbees possibly tried to kill Dr. Maynard.
Now I don’t really like to point fingers, but it seems to me that Alice did not try very hard to catch Dr. Maynard. It could even be said that she side stepped him. Although in fairness, it was Dr. Maynard who had decided to hold the exercise so close to the edge of a ravine. It is perhaps partially due to his enormous parka that he made the trip down the ravine relatively unscathed, but it was also due to the parka’s waterproofing, which acted much like an inner tube and carried him away with the current of the stream below.
In a daze, we watched Dr. Maynard bob away in silence. Finally, Alice Humbees said, “Well, I guess the retreat is over.” However, Darrel would have nothing to do with that. He insisted that we all climb down the ravine and look for Dr. Maynard.
Now, I don’t claim to be any experts on reptiles, but I was sure that rattlesnakes did not come out in the cold weather. Apparently the one that bit Darrel Schrong did not know this. Fortunately, we knew that if we made a shallow cut into the wound and sucked out the poison, Darrel would be all right. Unfortunately, we did not have any knives, so we tried to use a sharp piece of rock. I believe we must have cut too deep, because at the point, Darrel began to bleed quite profusely and was dead within a matter of minutes. After Darrel began to turn quite pale, Alice Humbees suggested that we try a tourniquet. Tourniquets are probably more effective when not put around the neck.
So we attempted to tastefully lay out Darrel’s body, and again set out after Dr. Maynard. Because of the thick canopy of trees, even in the morning light the woods were dark, and as we made our way though the thick underbrush, my mind strayed to the horrifying tale that Adrian had told us the night before. A dark primal part of me knew that there was a Jay Low hiding behind the next tree, waiting to attack. On the pretense of needing a walking stick, I picked up a dead tree limb to protect myself.
As we continued through the woods, morning became afternoon, which then became night. I wanted to keep looking, but Alice and Adrian insisted that we camp for the night. Because we did not have any method to make fire, we were forced to huddle together for warmth. However, I should have been more insistent that we leave our clothes on.
By the next day, our spirits were running low. It was again a cold morning as we pulled our nude bodies out of the pile of coats. Just as I had gotten my clothes on, a figure covered in leaves and pine needles came out of the woods with a quick limping gait. Remembering my fear of the Jay Low, I grabbed my walking stick and attacked the beast, which it turns out was Dr. Maynard.
When Dr. Maynard came to, he explained that he had been keeping warm by covering himself in leaves. Unfortunately, just like us, he had no idea of how to get out of the woods.
We had not eaten since yesterday’s breakfast of eggs, and Alice had barely touched hers. As the day went on our hunger increased. Finally salvation, late in the day, we came upon some Japanese tourists. None of us speak Japanese, so Alice Humbees beat them up and took their stuff. Not only did they have energy bars and juice boxes, they also had a GPS unit that traced the path back to the cabins, which were only 50 feet away.
So, we did get lost in the woods, and I did lose a little bit of my innocence, and a member of our news team is still dead in a ravine somewhere, and we are probably wanted for murder and mugging, but otherwise, our first corporate retreat did not go so bad. We can only hope next year goes this well.
I wish I was more like you and took everything in stride.
--Bye B. Cadjacovith