Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Inheritance

Derrick set the phone down on the sofa and blinked. He had a strange look on his face; as if he wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.

Gonga pulled a banana off the bunch sitting in the kitchen and threw one at his friend.

Instinctively, Derrick reached up to catch it before it smacked him in the face. “That was my Mom,” he said. “Apparently Great Uncle Hubert just died.”


“That’s exactly what I’m thinking. I’m not even sure how I’m really related to him. But apparently he had a heart attack last night. They’ve set a date for the funeral and now they want me to come up and help clean out all his junk.” Derrick grimaced.

“Did he do cool stuff, kayaking, climb mountains? Did he like bananas?”

“Oh yeah, just go paw through his junk and take stuff I want, huh?”

“Well, did you know him very well?”

“Naw. Not really sure what he did. No. Wait. He wrote textbooks. He helped edit a bunch of them too, I think. Something about biology. Not sure really.” He kicked his feet up on the sofa and put his hands behind his head. His mouth twisted as he studied the ceiling.

“Well, if you want to get cash for textbooks, Gonga can help.”

“Thanks,” Derrick rolled his eyes. Then he sat up. “Actually, that might not be a bad idea. Want to come on up to Kirksville tomorrow and help me load up a trailer full of stuff?”


“Yeah. Trailer. That guy’s got a whole basement full of boxes of books. At least, he did five years ago when I saw him last. I doubt anyone else will want them. I’ll double check.” He pulled out his cell phone.

“Trailer how big?”

“He’s got a trailer up there I can probably borrow. I bet it’s big enough for just three trips. Hello Mom?” Derrick swiveled away.

Gonga stared at his friend. What in the world was he getting himself into?

Monday, July 18, 2011

River Running

It was time.

Gonga looked forlornly at the bright red kayak penciled into his calendar. The 340 mile long Missouri River race was scheduled for this week. At least, it had been. That was before the flooding began. Now the ground was parched, but the river had never stopped running strong. It was high. Too high.

Gonga sighed.

The MR-340 was postponed. And Derick no longer had any incentive to show back up in Columbia. Gonga was doomed to boredom.

He kicked the dry bag full of camping food across the room. It was over. He was tired of the whole thing. Tired of having his hopes up. Tired of packing. Tired of planning. Tired of things falling through at the last minute. This was not how the summer was supposed to progress!!!

Something thumped against the door to Gonga’s apartment.

Gonga growled.

It thumped again, harder.

“Dude, hurry up!” Derick’s voice sounded muffled by the door. “I can’t hold this thing forever!”

Gonga jerked the door open to see a bright red tandem kayak hull sailing towards him. Derick stumbled inside with the kayak on his back and flipped it over onto the living room floor. He shrugged off a couple backpacks and dropped the paddles before pausing to straighten his back.

“How’s it going?” Derrick asked, grinning broadly.

“It’s cancelled.” Gonga glowered. He was not going to let his hopes rise again just to get crushed. He was sick of the rollercoaster.

“So, we’ll pick a different river. I was thinking about doing the Gasconade. Or maybe the Current. What do you think?”

Gonga stared at him.

“Oh come on dude. Just ‘cause they cancel the race doesn’t mean we can’t have fun!” Derrick punched Gonga in the shoulder. “We just have to come up with plan B.”

Gonga shook his head, still reeling from the shock. No. He couldn’t believe it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Textbook Imagination

Gonga slouched in his chair, staring out the window of his apartment. He looked away, blinking at the dancing bits of darkness imprinted by the sun. He was bored. So, so bored. He had survivled his trip to South Dakota and now he was just waiting for Derick to show up again. Waiting for Derick to come crashing through the doors with his energy and spunk and a whole boatload of new adventure stories to share.

A page flapped in the breeze of the fan rotating above.

Gonga glanced down. It was an old, old textbook about horticulture. He guessed it was copyright 1972 based on the design on the cover.


Now there was an idea!

Gonga bent down and stripped a page out of the book. It had pictures of some sort of roses on both sides. He bent it between his fingers, swiftly crumpling and shaping the paper. The red splotches blended together with the black and white text, creating a mottled surface for the flower petals that began to appear between his hands.

The next couple hours were a flurry of tearing and shaping and cutting and pasting and more tearing. Gonga paused to admire the boquet of Cowslips that rose out of the glass in front of him. Then he started working on something a bit more complicated. Roses.

Before he knew it, his eyes were straining in the dark to see the next page. Gonga blinked. Had the day really flown by so fast?

OK, time to put away the flowers and go enjoy the outdoors while the sun way gone.

Actually, no! Don't put the flowers away. What was he thinking!?! He knew exactly where to take them. He grinned broadly and set out.