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The Trick to Staying Alive

(You can listen to this piece on S2E21 of the podcast)

Hemlock couldn’t escape. The dagger-yielding maniac closed in on him from yards away, his knife catching the glint of the wanning sunlight as day turned to night. Behind him, a chainsaw massacre maniac closed from the same distance. The woods to his left were full of hungry bears. The river to his right teemed with crocodiles. Hemlock’s head swiveled like a charmed snake’s; exuding a calm he did not feel.

The last ounce, no last drop of faith Hemlock had in himself kept him on his feet. With easy flicks of the wrist, he rotated his nunchucks in his right hand. Wielding his weapon in the air, both attackers now rushed him. He’d take out Mr. Dagger first. Hemlock whipped his nunchucks in the air from right to left hand across his body before casting it towards the man’s wrist to disarm him. Mr. Dagger moved fast, taking a step out of the way before lunging at Hemlock’s right abdomen, momentarily unprotected. The chainsaw’s engine sounded inches from Hemlock’s ear, so he tumbled to the ground at an angle, rolling past and behind Mr. Dagger to avoid the saw that was only seconds from slicing him in two. The chainsaw hit the ground with a thud, and with Mr. Dagger temporarily off-balance from his missed blow, Hemlock took that moment to jump up from his dusty spot on the ground.

It wasn’t until he stood that Hemlock noted how close he stood to the river’s edge. A steep drop-off into the awaiting jaws of the scaly animals expecting a human meal. Hemlock shifted away from the edge and swung his nunchucks at the two men who’d joined forces to kill him. Mr. Chainsaw inched towards Hemlock at an angle, rotating blades destined for Hemlock’s midsection just as Mr. Dagger looped around the forest side at the opposite angle to close the gap. They were squeezing him in towards the river’s edge. Hemlock swung his nunchucks in the air, feet shuffling back mere inches from the water.

“Dinner’s ready!”

Jalen’s head swung in the direction of his mom’s voice. “Coming Mommy!” Jalen turned back to the TV screen where Hemlock was dead, and the game was reloading to the start of the mission. “Shoot” 10-year-old Jalen said to himself. The trick to staying alive was to stay focused. “And nunchucks” he added. “I gotta get better at using my nunchucks.”


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