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Don’t Complain to the Police

April 26, 2017 Leave a comment

The neighbour to the north of the sociopath has been suffering the aggravation for more than 20 years. His way of dealing with the sociopath is to yell and shake fists at him over the fence. He’s an idiot, and that’s why there’s been no improvement in 20 years.

The sociopath has a large diesel tractor. He spends his days on the tractor, dragging a steel beam around, eliminating any chance of grass coming up. The dragging on dry dirt adds clouds of dust to the stench of diesel exhaust. The man is not a farmer. His property is 60 feet by 200 feet, although he regularly transgresses onto neighbouring properties. His property is largely covered with crude sheds and an old school bus. The village is so small and insignificant, there are no bylaws to protect it. The area of the village is considered to be part of the surrounding farmland.

The guy with the tractor is a sociopath. He feels nothing toward the neighbours for whom he makes the days unpleasant. He breaks fences and denies it. He sweeps his dog’s droppings under the fence, onto the neighbour’s property. He pushes all the snow from surrounding areas onto the property to the south of his. This is because it’s the easiest way to get his area cleared, and the neighbours’ areas are of no consequence.

After a few years of trying to get some help from the city manager, the county counsel and even the mayor, the neighbours got a response from the provincial police. They had a couple of interviews at the police station, and one time they were told that the offending neighbour was in the building. Pressure was applied by the police to have the neighbours shake hands with the offender, and the good neighbour was blamed by the police for being unreasonable. The psycho agreed to stop putting snow on the neighbour’s property. That was strictly against the law, so of course he had to stop.

What the police overlooked, was the years of criminal harassment. He redirected rain runoff onto the neighbour’ garden. He used an old oil tank as an amateur incinerator, and burnt garbage in it. Often, he burned plastics and foam rubber, sending clouds of toxic chemicals over the neighbourhood.

The police felt that they had done a good job, blaming the complainant and ignoring the many infractions by the psycho. So don’t go to the police. They’ll blame you, because you make them work.

Terrorists Have Changed My Mind

March 22, 2017 Leave a comment

I’ve enjoyed my life as an adventure. I never took anything too seriously, except my obligations and commitments. Those I took very seriously and fulfilled them promptly, to the best of my ability. To make certain I did the right things for my obligations and commitments, I refrained from wasting time and energy on things that were not my responsibility.

Recently I have been bothered by urges to care about things that are not my responsibility. The behaviour and the words of the Murderous Muslim Fanatics make me care about things that go on far from me and my loved ones. I don’t like to feel that I want to do something to stop them.

Of course I can’t do anything about it. That’s frustrating and irritating. I’m old ‘way beyond my ‘best before’ date, and I’m a peaceful, non-violent person. I can draw and write, but I don’t have access to media distribution. What a feeble thing it would be to write blogs about how I feel about the present state of the world.

The USA is totally nuts. The Eastern areas of the world are totally nuts. The cops are trigger happy. Billionaire sociopaths are ruining morality among lawmakers and courts.

Wealth is an addictive commodity. People who are addicted to it become sociopaths under the illusion that they’re correct about everything and are more important than other people. They are wrong about that, obviously, and must be taught a lesson.

I believe that the pen is mightier than the sword, and the only thing I can do for the resistance against the oligarchs is write. Unfortunately, I haven’t the patience to figure out how one ‘promotes’ their blogs. More importantly, I just don’t want to waste time promoting when I could be writing… which I enjoy very much.

Here I sit, safe from some kinds of attacks. We live in a tiny village of small homes. A wide, former highway runs through the middle of the village. Now it’s just an enormous road that is a quiet ‘main street’. There are no stores, markets, gas stations or restaurants from end to end. There is, however, an enormous, cathedral-like church, and a delightfully picturesque, ancient cemetery behind it. The village is virtually like a little cluster of homes in the midst of broad, fertile farmers’ fields.

We live a lower risk way of life, so we feel fairly safe compared with our former ‘big city’ homes. I can now only fight the oligarchy with my pen. I would never take up a sword.

Treasure Lake – Like a deer in the headlights

March 19, 2017 Leave a comment

The canoes split the water silently as they glided across the small lake seeking cover. With great care, all four paddlers dipped their paddles into the still water with almost complete silence. Whatever sounds their might have been – whispered words or a paddle lightly touching a gunnel – were drowned out by the mating songs of a million insects and amphibians.

Suddenly the lake was alight. The airplane had turned on its landing lights for a last look around, and there they were – two canoes and four young people. They couldn’t see anything when they looked back at the plane because the intense light blinded them. Especially after the complete darkness. The sound of a small outboard motor came across the water.

“Shit!” Solly Cohen said. “They have a motorboat!”

“Paddle like hell for the weeds,” Rob Snitzer ordered.

“The weeds will slow us down!” Phyllis Snitzer said. “It harder to paddle, pushing through the weeds.”

canoe

“Shouldn’t we be looking for the swiftest way to go?” Caroline Rich said.

“The weeds will slow us down,” Rob said, “and if the motorboat guy doesn’t know better and follows us into the weeds, he’s gonna be stopped dead.”

“Why?” Caroline said.

“Those weeds will be caught by his propeller, and it will wrap around and around until the pressure pulls it in through the space between the propeller and its housing. It will stop the engine with sheer pressure, preventing the propeller from spinning,” Rob said.

“How do you know?” Caroline said.

“I’ve done it myself. Motored through a weed patch and took fifteen minutes to cut and pull the weeds out of the propeller shaft,” Rob said.

“What if he has a weedless propeller?” Solly said.

“We’re fucked,” Rob said.

“Well, what are we going to do, Rob?” Phyllis cried.

“We’re gonna paddle like our lives depend on it… because they do!”

With that, Rob plunged his paddle into the water and pushed. The others fell into his rhythm and the canoes cut through the tall weeds and soon they escaped the light from the plane in an area of dense foliage. Rob asked everyone to stop for a moment and listen. The motorboat was approaching. The engine began to sound strained, like it was labouring under an excessive load. At last, it stopped completely, and just in time.

Caroline could see it through the brush. The boat was illuminated by the plane’s lights, and two men were arguing. They tipped up the engine and began reaching back to grasp at the weeds that were tightly wound around the propeller shaft, as hoped.

The way to safety was clearer now, and they paddled steadily and without strain. They discussed the next problem they would have to face.

“If we tell the cops about the dead guy,” Solly said, “they’ll soon know about the gold, too.”

“If we don’t tell the cops,” Phyllis said, “and we keep the gold, what do we do with it?”

“I think I know what the perfect answer should be,” Caroline said.

“So do I,” said Rob. “We tell the authorities about the dead guy, and we turn the Krugerrands in wherever stuff like that goes. They will probably know who owns it, and are probably looking for it as we speak.”

They told the authorities about the corpse and gave them the gold. They expected the corpse to be killed, and the theft had been fairly recent. They solved the murder and the grateful Bank of South Africa gave each of the young canoeists one hundred thousand dollars. Everybody is happy.

Inside Hunter’s Lair

March 18, 2017 Leave a comment

I knew Hunter long before he lived in this lair, so gaining access was not too difficult for me. I know that only a select few could get past the front door. Those few were expected to vet any acquaintance they might want to sponsor into the lair. It was a simple, humble, red brick house on a busy urban street. Although quite far from the center of downtown, it stood on a major artery that ran through the heart of the city. Large, modern street cars rumbled past, back and forth, and the old house trembled slightly.

sackville-street

Behind the house a yard was littered with parts of machines and building materials. There was no grass, just exposed hard earth with tufts of weed and wildflowers poking through at random places. Beside the yard, at the end of the narrow driveway, a rickety looking garage stood surrounded by weeds, steel barrels and some boards. A small pedestrian door was visible in the blocked car-size door. One had to be in very good standing with Hunter to get beyond the house and into the garage. People who didn’t know about the garage didn’t pay it any attention. It appeared to be so broken down even people who were accepted into the house barely noticed it.

Of slightly more interest were two old cars in the driveway in front of the garage. They were obviously not mobile because tall weeds and grass had grown up through them and around them. They were fairly rare, and Hunter was determined to someday finish rebuilding them. One was an original 1962 Austin Mini and the other a 1956 Volvo 544. I had no reason to believe that he wouldn’t complete them when he got to it.

Volvo

Out front, the small lawn was reasonably well-groomed. It was hidden from the busy street by thick foliage on the bushes that bordered the sidewalk outside. The only opening was for the steps up to the walkway that led to the wide wooden steps up to the porch. The porch was virtually filled with boxes, trunks, and parts of machines. There was, however, a clear path to the front door. The door was mostly glass and provided a clear view through the second glass door beyond the small vestibule. Through the vestibule door could be seen the stairs up the left wall to the second and third floors.

Opposite the staircase, on the right, was the only door in that hallway. It led to the lair. The two upper floors were unoccupied for many years. When my own daughter got to be about twenty, he rented the two upper floors to her. He charged her about half what the space was really worth. I assumed it was partly because of some favour I’d done for him decades before and partly because my daughter earned special status with Hunter in her own right. He’d known her since she was four years old, which is when I met him and we became friends. My daughter had earned entry into Hunter’s inner circle, including access to the old garage, totally on her own.

The lair was just a shambles. There was nothing but stuff and boxes stored in the dining room and the living room which was right at the front looking out onto the porch was simply covered with what appeared to be rags. Coats, pants, shirts, quilts, blankets and more hid any furniture that might have been there. A single bed, similarly hidden in blankets and clothes is where Hunter slept.

The walls of both rooms were quite a different story. They were decorated beautifully with a variety of original paintings. Hunter admired art, and several artists were part of his inner circle. He contributed to their growth by purchasing a few paintings that he liked. Some of the paintings were hyper-real and others were impressionist but all were nicely mounted in tasteful frames that complimented the artwork within them. I remember a time when Hunter learned one of the artists he tried to support was not really serious but was just playing the part of the traditional starving artist.

Hunter was so furious at having been duped and for this German guy to be laughing up his sleeve while he slouched around town taking advantage of people. Hunter didn’t hesitate. He gathered up all of Gunnar’s paintings, and literally threw them out into the garbage after he cut them out of their frames. He grumbled about Gunnar for at least a year after.

Over the years I took several people to the lair. Usually it was a woman whom I was dating and knew she would be safe to take there. I knew that Hunter had an interesting background. He had lived in some foreign lands because they moved around as demanded by his father’s international profession. He had gone to prestigious private schools and formed contacts at the very highest level of international business and politics. However, Hunter didn’t follow the family line and struck out on his own early in life.

He had a volatile relationship with his father and was close with his mother. His rebellious activities were at a level that would befit a Hollywood blockbuster. While boarded at some high level private school, he and a schoolmate conspired to commandeer the school radio station and broadcast some very unseemly programs. Hunter was expelled as was his companion, Alexander. Hunter returned home, which was in Quebec at that time. He and his father had a flat-out fist fight. Hunter’s father was a rugged man and no slouch even in his forties. All the same, Hunter whipped his father and left home. He was nineteen.

St.John's Newfie

My third wife was a marginal aristocrat. Her father, although Canadian, joined the British military during the Second World War. He had been living in the Channel Islands to avoid taxes and child support from a previous marriage. He was quite a rogue, as aristocrat wannabes often are. I took my third wife, Penelope to the lair. The moment I introduced them they began to gab together like long-time pals. I was surprised that the rather stiff, aristocratic lady simply fell into mutually animated conversation with this motorcycle tough in this shambles of a kitchen.

I began to pay attention to their conversation. It seems that the aristocratic woman knew some of the rascals with whom Hunter used to run. They had mutual acquaintances and friends. Hunter had a fairly lofty way of life when he was a bit younger. Obviously he didn’t take to it. Instead he got himself a powerful Harley Davidson motorcycle and rode around the mountainous area of Quebec.

There were other unexpected things about Hunter. Aside from the art on the walls there was a large Ford Thunderbird in the front of the driveway for the few occasions when he drove somewhere.  When he drove, it was best not to drive with him. He was recklessly fast and always slammed on the brakes at the dangerously last second. I remember a time when he was driving an old pickup truck for some reason. I was in the passenger seat. He parked in front of my apartment and backed into the spot too fast and too far and the high tailgate smashed the headlights and buckled the hood of a Toyota parked behind us. He lurched forward a few feet and shut off the engine, stepped out of the truck and went into the building without even glancing at the damage to the Toyota or the truck. He didn’t even put the truck in a different spot to avoid detection.

Visiting the lair meant sitting around in the kitchen. A kitchen table was against one wall and Hunter sat in an old office type chair. A large refrigerator at one end of the room was filled with bottles of Heineken beer. The wall at the other end of the kitchen had an old, two-burner gas stove, an old porcelain sink and some shelves. Hunter never cooked so the stove was used only to boil water to make coffee and tea, usually tea.

A large black cat was usually perched on top of the fridge, dozing. One wall was covered with stacks of magazines and newspapers. The wall over the table was covered with several layers of notes, photos, articles and such things. Some were more than five years old and might be several layers beneath more current notes and articles.

There was a plain, black, traditional phone on the table among ashtrays and more current magazines. If there were more than two visitors allowed into the lair at one time, the two simple folding garden chairs were obviously not enough. There were a few white plastic tubs in the room that were originally used for some kind of industrial products. They were the height of the average chair and were pressed into service as seats for visitors when there were more than two.

It was commonplace during a visit with Hunter that some person, usually a young man or woman, would come to the back door of the house. The back door opened onto the kitchen after a small, dark vestibule area that was crammed with boxes of junk. Hunter always seemed to know why the young people were there, and wordlessly set about sending them on their way. If someone was seated on one of the white tubs they would be asked to rise. Hunter would pop the top off the tub and fish out of it a number of ounce and quarter ounce bags of top quality marijuana. He would pass them to the street vendor and send him or her on their way back to work. He’d calmly put the lid back on the tub and invite the guest to take the seat again.

Hunter believed, quite rightly, that the war against marijuana was not legitimate. He was fiercely opposed to the harder drugs, and often did things to interfere with the activities of dealers in cocaine, crack and heroin. He had many good reasons to mistrust the police and knew from first-hand experience that they often rig arrests in their own favour even without legitimate proof. Hunter’s anti-law activities were driven as much by his disgust with the authorities’ mendacity as his desire to earn a good living under the radar.

There were many more eccentricities about Hunter. His diet was most peculiar. He would decide upon a small, home cooking kind of restaurant or diner and would go to that place every day. He would have a set order that was to be brought to his table. One time it was four sunny-side-up eggs and buttered whole wheat toast. He ate that every day for about fourteen months.

One day something in that restaurant bothered him. Perhaps a server annoyed him or the eggs were too loose or too well done. Anything or nothing could put him off. He chose another small restaurant that became his everyday meal. He didn’t stay with the eggs. He had an open-faced Salisbury Steak (hamburger) sandwich every day for another year or so. This transition of place and meal repeated every eighteen to twenty-four months over several decades.

Very often, Hunter would talk to his visitors about various subjects. He would tell a story that proved the police were criminals. He would talk about sailing, which he loved and sometimes did. He would talk about European types of auto racing, which he also did in sedan racing. He would talk about motorcycles which he loved. If one was a close enough insider, one could be invited out to the garage.

Ragnar

The garage was left with its rotting exterior to disguise the interior. The interior was protected by state of the art skill and materials all around. The roof was covered by a single, large rubber membrane that assured protection against leaks. The floor of the garage was heated and there was a small upper level like a mezzanine. The heat rose from the floor and kept the garage comfortable. On the floor was Hunter’s collection of motorcycles. There were six BMWs, each of historic value from as far back as the nineteen-twenties up through the fifties, sixties and eighties. On the walls were framed black and white photos of Hunter in one of his racing cars and some similar photos of me in my car. I don’t remember those photos or how Hunter came to have them.

The final reminiscence before I leave this trip through my relationship with one of my favourite and most trusted people. Yes, he was a criminal. He had served time in prison. But he was more trustworthy and dependable than a lot of respected lawyers and bank managers. I like criminals because they’re exciting and interesting and if they accept you and trust you, even though they know you’re straight within the law, they are an ally. They also show a lot of respect to you if you make your way in the world and earn a living honestly because they find that too difficult for them to do.

We return to the old kitchen from the backyard garage. We pass through to an old white door in a corner of the kitchen. It leads to the basement. At the bottom of the old wooden steps we see that there is a room that fills the entire space except for a long narrow hallway between the wall of the inner room and the exterior basement wall. At the far end of this dark corridor is the electric meter and fuse boxes. The only reason for the hallway was to permit access for the meter-reader.

Hunter opens the hidden door to the inner room. There are six long rows of heavy plastic troughs with liquid in them. Plastic tubes fed some nutrients into the liquid, over the troughs were huge, high intensity light fixtures and in the troughs, reaching for the lights were thousands of dollars worth of hydroponic marijuana plants.

It’s not easy to gain access to Hunter’s lair, but there are a lot of interesting things to experience there if you do get in. I remember other interesting things about Hunter, or Hunter and I together. We were from very different roots and backgrounds but were united by mutual respect and trust. I might write some more about us some time.

Treasure Lake – Moonless

March 17, 2017 Leave a comment

The silence in the afternoon heat on the small river was ominous. The cacophony of bird and insect songs had died away as if on siesta in the midday sun. It was fortuitous however, because Caroline Rich was able to hear a hacking cough and spitting in the dense foliage to their right.

is 1

“Stay quiet,” Caroline whispered. “They’re over there somewhere. I heard a guy coughing.”

“You’re right,” Solly Cohen said. “I smell cigar smoke.”

“I can see it!” Phyllis Snitzer said.

“It’s a good thing we stopped to discuss how to proceed,” Rob Snitzer said.

“How will we proceed, come to think of it?” Solly said.

“I’m sure they don’t want to spend the night,” Caroline said. “They’ll probably take off long before it gets dark.”

They sat in their canoes in the shade of overhanging willows. Quietly, they made ham and cheese sandwiches and drank some of their bottled water. They all took an afternoon nap. They hadn’t realized how much energy they had exhausted, as well as the toll taken by stress. Caroline and Phyllis in their bow positions lay back onto the packs that filled the centre of each canoe. With their hats over their faces, they dozed.

Solly and Rob, in the stern seats, lay back onto the small. They also fell fitfully asleep. Rob was the first to get up, wakened by the active insects that swarm after sundown. Darkness was only an hour away, and the aircraft hadn’t moved. Its engine was so loud, it could not possibly have started up without waking them.

Again, even over the din from the night creatures, coughing could be heard from the plane’s hiding place, and the cigar smoke continued to foul the pristine forest fragrance.

“This might be a break for us,” Rob said. “In the dark, we can cut straight across the lake.”

“What if they hear us?” Phyllis said.

“Solly and I can paddle silently, like the natives did,” Rob said. “We learned how at summer camp, years ago.”

“So if you don’t know how, just don’t paddle,” Solly said.

“It’s no big deal,” Caroline said. “You just have to break the water gently to avoid making an audible splash.”

“And don’t hit the gunnel with the paddle,” Phyllis said.

“Okay,” Rob said, “You know how to do it. So let’s eat light and wait ‘til after eleven to cross.”

morning-moon-oct-20-13

“Why after eleven,” Solly said.

“The moon will be down by then.  It’s going to be bright tonight, and it’s going to set at about ten-thirty.” Rob said.

The time dragged and they were getting stiff from sitting in the canoes for so many hours. Finally, the sky grew darker as the moon sank below the horizon. With the removal of the brightness that obliterated most of the distant stars, the pure sky shed a dim, serene light. There were billions of tiny specks of light beyond the more familiar, closer stars.

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The surface of the lake was absolutely motionless, like a black mirror.  As the four friends set out to stealthily cross the lake, the stars appeared to envelope them. The stars above were reflected flawlessly in the mirror surface, giving the canoeists the sensation of paddling through eternity, with stars all around, above and below them.

Treasure Lake – A Run For The Money

March 17, 2017 Leave a comment

The single engine pontoon plane did not land on the nearby lake. It began to patrol, looking for the two canoes and their one million, six hundred thousand dollars in Krugerrand gold. Rob Snitzer felt they should just stay put until the plane gave up and landed or left. Caroline Rich also thought that was best for the moment. Phyllis Snitzer agreed that it was probably the best thing, but she was not happy about it.

“I just want to get out of this ‘hunted’ thing,” Phyllis said. “It’s wearing me down.”

“We’re all in the same boat – as it were,” Solly Cohen said, “and we should keep positive. Think of all that gold.”

“I don’t think the gold is going to do us any good, financially,” Caroline said. “You could walk into a bank with one Krugerrand, I guess, and get cash for it, but I think walking in with even ten of them would cause an investigation. Walk in with a hundred of them, and it would bring big problems.”

“So what should we do with them?” Rob said.

“Turn them in to the authorities and hope there’s a reward offered,” Caroline said.

“I don’t really trust the authorities,” Solly said.

“What if we divide them up between us, and we each take one every two weeks to different banks or something, and open bank accounts with it,” Phyllis said. “It would be like getting three thousand bucks a month, tax free.”

“That would be, like, four thousand bucks if we had to pay taxes on it,” Caroline said. “To get three thousand clear, we’d need to make four thousand and give one to the government.”

“It sounds like the plane is leaving,” Rob said.

“I think it’s landing, not leaving,” Solly said.

“Whatever it’s doing, it’s not in the air for now, so let’s get going,” Rob said.

The foursome pushed off from under the willow branches and set a steady pace up the small waterway. On one occasion, they came upon a beaver, pulling a small branch to its lodge. An hour later, they came upon a large beaver dam. A small lake had built up behind it.

They didn’t want to do a full portage with loaded canoes for so short a distance. They just had to go around the end of the dam where it’s attached to the shore. Wet grass and mud around the end of the dam would allow for easy sliding of the aluminum bottoms up to the new lake level. On the charts and GPS, there had been no lake there the previous year. The beavers had created it for their own purposes.

It was obvious that the lake was quite deep in places, because the tops of dead mature trees protruded through the surface in several places. Other places, the trees stood in shallow water and the canoeists paddled through and amongst them until the beaver lake opened out into a larger lake that had been there long before.

“What now?” Solly said. “If we go straight across, we’ll be sitting ducks if the plane is around here.”

“What if we hide the chest here somewhere, and return for it another time?” Caroline said.

“That won’t help us get away from these people” Rob said. “Don’t forget we saw them dump the dead guy with the chest. If we go around the edge of the lake, we can hide in the foliage if we have to. The problem is, it will take hours to get to the tributary that will get back to our starting point.”

Several hundred metres from the canoeists, where they paused at the mouth of their tributary, the aircraft rested on its pontoons just out of sight. Its occupants had hunches that the people with their treasure would cross this lake, hoping to gain their freedom from pursuit. If the canoes emerged from cover, the plane would power up and catch them easily.

Treasure Lake – Hunters Hunting

March 16, 2017 Leave a comment

The air boat was cruising slowly down the shallow channel that passed in front of the blind of bulrushes. They listened to its approach, the big propeller spinning slowly – pukata-pukata-pukata – as the vessel drew adjacent to the hiding place where the four young people in their canoes hid behind the rushes.

Lilly Pads

Solly had his slingshot pulled back to maximum, planning to send a knockout hit with the only shot he was likely to have. He arranged for Phyllis and Caroline to part the rushes at the precise moment when he could let fly the stone. The driver of the air boat sat up high in front of the engine while the guy with the gun sat below him. Solly made the best judgement he could, shooting just ahead of the driver’s head to allow for the boat’s forward movement.

“Now,” Solly called. The two girls pulled bundles of rushes to the right and the left, and through the open space, Solly let fly the stone. Before the gunman or the driver could react to the parting of the rushes, the projectile struck the driver in the head, hard. He slumped forward, and knocked the speed control to full speed.  At the same time, he fell from his high seat onto the gunman below him.

They were in a tangle on the floor of the vessel unable to rise because the acceleration of the airboat when the driver’s fall pushed the speed to maximum. They shot forward several meters and struck a floating log.  The impact bounced the nose of the boat up into the air and the fast revolving propeller launched them up and over.  They fell back into the water upside down. The propeller kicked up a mess of froth, water and weeds until it sank back and the engine was choked out with water.

“Okay,” Caroline Rich said, “let’s get out of here.”

“Not so fast,” Rob Snitzer said. “I want to see if those guys are okay, or need help or something.”

“Are you crazy?” Phyllis Snitzer shouted at her brother in the other canoe. “They’re here to kill us!”

At that moment, both men broke the surface, sputtering and wiping their eyes with their hands. They saw Solly Cohen with his slingshot, and the other three, and started to come for them in the waist deep water and weeds.  Progress was slow and laborious.

“Okay,” Rob said.  “They’re okay, so let’s get out of here.” They paddled their canoes out from behind the natural blind of bulrushes and started to stroke briskly away.

“Hey, wait,” the boat owner called, “don’t leave us stuck here! How will we get out of here?” At the same time, the gunman fished his rifle out of the water, shook water out of the barrel and hastily prepared to shoot at the foursome.

The bullets blipped into the water on either side of the canoes. Clearly, the gun was not functioning ideally, and the gunman was soaked, sputtering, and clearly out of his element.

Stroking hard, both canoes moved out of range quite quickly and headed for the tributary that should lead them back to their cars and eventual escape. Within minutes, the drone of the single engine aircraft could be heard approaching. The canoes were guided under some overhanging willow branches where they waited until the aircraft landed or moved on.