Get My Drift
The Holyground Highlander Forum Midweek Challenge
Archivist’s Note: The stories and vignettes offered here from various Holyground Forumlanders have not been edited or changed other than having a spell-check performed and being reformatted for this website.
The Challenge by Leah CWPack
Boys’ Week Away by bookmom
Rub-A-Dub-Dub by CER
Bones by Palladia
MID-WEEK CHALLENGE: GET MY DRIFT
Kilena provided the spark for this week's challenge, should you choose to participate:
Write a short scene or story about any three characters from HIGHLANDER. The focus activity is tubing down a river on a lazy summer day. Any river will do.
(Hint: I would leave this one to those who are familiar with this activity! Sit back and enjoy.)
Disclaimer: If you wish to have your entry archived, remember to put "MWC" in your subject line of the posting.
MWC Boys’ Week Away
Posted By: bookmom <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wednesday, 1 August 2001, at 4:48 p.m.
This is my first MWC and post (finally delurking) having just come back from “ cottaging up north” myself, I couldn’t resist having my fav Immortals “Tubing” Muskoka style, having never been “tubing” on a river.(Muskoka being cottage country north of Toronto.)
Boys’ Week Away
They had rented a cottage in the north country, in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the greenest of trees and the bluest of lakes, hoping for some respite from the game, not to mention a little R & R.
Methos whistled as they drove up the bumpy dusty access road and the cottage came into view. “Whoa, MacLeod, you have really outdone yourself this time!”
The “cottage” was more like a palace. It was styled like a chalet, boasting walk around decks on both upper and lower levels. Richie bounded out of the van and headed straight for the lake. The view was breathtaking. The sun glittered on the lake making it sparkle like millions of diamonds. There was an island halfway across the lake begging him to come and explore.
“Can’t wait to get in the boat and go,” thought Richie to himself.
Duncan and Methos were still unloading when he finally dragged himself away
“Hey Rich, give us a hand eh?” called Duncan. “Mac, you gotta see the view!” cried Richie as he grabbed a couple of cases of beer. “The quicker this is unloaded the quicker I’ll be able to,” grunted Duncan as he also hefted a couple cases of beer.
With beers in hand they made their way down to the dock. A boathouse was tucked under a huge wall of rock. They opened it up and peered into the darkness following the wooden planks inside. Methos whistled again. “Big toys for big boys. You really know how to pick ‘em, Mac.”
Moored in the middle was a huge motor boat and a jet ski. The back of the
boathouse wall was covered with water noodles, flutterboards, floating chairs,
air mattresses, water-skis, kneeboards and two huge inner tubes. “ Who’s up for
tubing? shouted Richie. Duncan smiled at his two friends. This was going to be
a great week.
Methos pulled a tube off the wall and walked to the end of the dock. Richie had coiled the rope and laid it out just so. He was already in the water waiting for Methos to throw the tube to him. Mac started up the CrissCraft marveling at the throaty sound the twin engines gave off. When everything had been connected, Richie climbed on. “I’ll drive and you spot? Mac asked Methos.
“No way MacLeod, you know I don’t do boats. I’ll watch from here and drink
“You can’t watch from there Methos and you know it. Just get in. Spotting is a safety issue.”
“He’s Immortal! I don’t think we have a safety issue!! thundered Methos.
“Look, Methos, I can’t drive the boat safely and watch Richie. How am I
going to know if he wants to go faster or slower? What if he falls off?” Duncan
glared at the older Immortal. “This isn’t some skiff in the Atlantic Ocean you
“All right, all right. Just this once,” he muttered. Duncan thought he heard the words “damned boy scout”.
Richie’s heart pounded as the boat pulled away and the rope slowly uncoiled. He had never done anything like this before and he wasn’t too sure what to expect. The rope became taut and Duncan increased his speed slowly. “He’s giving the “thumbs up” Mac,” yelled Methos over the roar of the engines.
The tube gave a little lurch and was slowly picking up speed. Richie knew speed was the thrill of this ride so he gave the “thumbs up” to Methos. Duncan pushed the throttle up to half speed going around the island and up the lake. Richie couldn’t get enough of the wind in his face and the feel of the tube skimming along the water. Even with the slight turn, the tube started to slide from directly behind the boat over the wake. “Ah,” he thought, “this is the real ride.” Shifting his weight he was able to direct the tube only slightly. Richie wondered if Duncan knew this.
Duncan circled the boat around and they met their own wake causing the tube to bump merrily over them. Richie was traveling almost level with the boat. “Whoo Hoo!” he screeched, as the tube became airborne. He gave the “thumbs up” again and Duncan took her to full speed. The tube crashed over the waves as they headed back to the cottage. By this time Methos was screaming for Duncan to slow down.
Richie made a circular motion with his hand. “Oh no,” groaned Methos. “He wants to go around again.” He tapped Mac on the shoulder and copied Richie’s gesture. Mac broke into a wide grin, taking in Methos’ rather green look. Instead of heading back out for the island, Duncan drove the boat in a complete circle making sure he hit their own wake head on. He could see Richie hanging on for dear life, a big grin splitting his face as he bounced off the ever rising waves. Methos was gripping the seat with white knuckles trying not to become airborne himself. Around and around Duncan went trying to throw Richie off the tube. Finally, when Duncan didn’t think Methos could take anymore he straightened out and headed back for the dock. But Methos had an idea and had stood up to take matters into his own hands.
He was thrown off balance by Mac’s sudden change of direction and was thrown overboard. Sputtering and cursing in a dozen dead languages Methos was swamped by the huge swells. As Duncan was pulling closer to the dock he turned to ask Methos to catch the dock, only to realize that he was gone. Shaking with laughter Mac spotted Methos swimming for the shore. He turned the boat around and pulled the tube along side him. “What?” he yelled. “You’re not going to pick me up with the boat?” Mac gestured for him to hang on with Richie for the ride back. Richie gestured for another go round. Mac smiled wickedly and floored it.
Posted By: CER <Hilandr2@AOL.com>
Date: Wednesday, 1 August 2001, at 11:29 p.m.
“You want me to do…WHAT!”
“As a favor,” she wheedled, drawing a caressing finger down his cheek, “just for me. For Duncan’s birthday.”
“Amanda, you know very well that MacLeod’s birthday is in December and this is plainly August.” With some effort he turned away from her pleading look. “Besides, I hate boats.”
“But, Methos honey, it isn’t a boat. It is an inner-tube.”
“Even worse,” he huffed.
“I have a cooler full of beer,” she tried enticement.
“Tell me again what I have to do for all this…um…fun.”
She tried not to look too triumphant at this small capitulation. “We take a picnic in one car and park it along side the river where we want to eat. Then we take the cooler full of beer, and comfortable, people size inner-tubes and drive up river in another car as far as we like. Then we all get in the tubes with the cooler roped between us and lazily drift down to the picnic spot.”
“Why don’t we just drink the beer and eat the picnic at MacLeod’s loft and bypass the whole water thing?”
“It will be fun.”
“Oh, sure. Damp clothes. Bug bites. Sharing food with ants. Sand in my—“
“But it’s August and it’s hot,” she interrupted, “and the river is cool.” She stepped closer and ran a hand down his chest. “And the company is really good.”
“Mac has air conditioning.”
“Don’t be a poop,” she pouted prettily.
“Who is doing the cooking for this picnic?” he asked suspiciously.
“Relax. I wouldn’t ask you to do that.”
“Not you!” his eyebrows rose in alarm.
“Of course not. Mac is providing the food and the tubes.”
“I thought this was for his birthday. Why is he doing all the work?”
“Well, I didn’t think I could talk you into it.” She smiled widely and kissed him on the cheek. “Come on. We have to go shopping.”
“Shopping?” he asked as she dragged him toward the door
“Yes, You are buying the cooler full of beer.”
Managing to snag his coat and sword before being whisked off to her car, he protested, “I thought you said you HAD a cooler full a beer.”
- - - - -
They arrived at the meeting point with a large, brand new cooler full of ice and beer, and another smaller one full of junk food that Amanda insisted was part of the experience.
MacLeod was already there leaning against the shiny, dark surface of his immaculate SUV. Waiting. He peered over the top of his dark glasses at them as they drove up.
Amanda hummed under breath at the sight of him dressed only in a neon blue Speedo, sandals, and a light shirt that he hadn’t bothered to button. “Hope we aren’t too late,” she called out as she got out of her car.
He smiled that lazy smile she loved and said, “I’ve known you a long time, Amanda.”
She stuck out her tongue at him.
Chuckling, he turned to Methos, “I think we need to put the picnic in your car and the river party in mine. Don’t think the river transportation will fit in Amanda’s.”
Methos nodded and muscled the cooler out of the trunk and carried it to Mac’s car while Duncan moved the food baskets to the smaller vehicle.
After carefully locking the car, they all piled into Mac’s roomy front seat. “It’s your party, Amanda, where to?”
She directed them up river and eventually picked out a shady spot to park the car. They pulled out the beer and snacks, looped the rope around them, then turned to the back of the SUV to get the tubes.
“You’ll have to help me with this, Methos. I had a lot of trouble finding one that would fit the three of us.”
“All of us? Together?” Methos was intrigued. “Where did you ever find one that size?”
“It wasn’t easy,” he admitted. “I had to go all the way to Vancouver to get it.”
He opened the back and both Amanda and Methos gasped. There sat the biggest, old fashioned, galvanized bathtub either had ever seen.
“What do you think?” he asked proudly. “Isn’t it a beauty?” He took in their open-mouthed stares. “Well,” he conceded, “I suppose it might be a little crowded.”
Amanda was the first to find her voice. “That’s a TUB!”
Mac looked confused. “Of course.”
“I said TUBE, MacLeod, not TUB.”
Posted By: Palladia <email@example.com>
Date: Saturday, 4 August 2001, at 10:51 a.m.
"Whoa! Wait a minute! The deal was, we go see Fallingwater. Nobody said anything about rafting." Methos voice was dripping resistance, and his steps dragged with reluctance. MacLeod was all but carrying him toward the car in the parking lot that served the Conservancy.
"Not rafting. Tubing. Ohiopyle is right around the corner, and the Upper Youghiogheny is beautiful," MacLeod's voice was cheerful, persuasive, and falling on deaf ears.
"Corner? MacLeod, we're fifty miles from any sidewalks, let alone corners. And what about Joe?"
"What about Joe? He'll float. Especially with an inner tube." Mac's enthusiasm was lost on Methos.
"You know how I feel about water travel."
"This isn't water travel. It's fun. It's relaxing. It's. . ."
* * *
Built in 1936 by Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater still looked remarkably avant-garde at the turn of the century. Its cantilevered lines followed the terrain, as if its own bones grew from the stone of the Pennsylvania hills, and it stood astride a waterfall. After seeing Taliesen West, Duncan MacLeod was zigzagging around the country, looking at the architect's work.
When he'd found out that Ohiopyle was only about ten miles down the road from Mill Run, he'd kept quiet about it, figuring that what Methos didn't know wouldn't hurt him. Methos could, if he wished, wander around the quiet little town for a couple hours if he really didn't want to come on the river.
Joe Dawson seemed to be looking forward to it, but said nothing, sitting in the back seat, playing an acoustic guitar, idly.
They pulled into Ohiopyle, picked one of the whitewater rental places, signed the release, and MacLeod left his driver's license as surety for the tube return. The tubes were roped onto the top of the stretched van with rafts and canoes and a dozen other people piled in for the trip up the river: they would drift down to the take-out at Ohiopyle, turn in their equipment, and go have dinner. Water runs downhill, MacLeod thought, what could be simpler?
At the put-in, they stood placidly by the river's edge, listening with half an ear to the instructions the driver gave about how to tell they were arriving at Ohiopyle: the Elephant, a distinctively-shaped rock in the river, would tell them to start to work their way to the left, because they did not want to go over the dam after the sharp turn at Ohiopyle. One more thing, the driver said: if you capsize, try not to put your feet down. It's possible to get a foot caught between slippery rocks, but not be able to stand up because of the current. Drift until you can stand on a dry rock, and reconnoiter, he advised.
Methos and MacLeod exchanged silent glances, and set Joe off in one of the tractor-tire inner tubes, to go down the river ahead of them. Should anything go wrong, it was much easier to go downstream than up.
It was one of the rare, utterly clear days when the air, often hazy in a Western Pennsylvania summer, seemed to disappear. High overhead as they put into the river, a hawk wheeled and occasionally skreed at another, out of sight somewhere. The biker's trail followed the river on the left, and a railroad on the right. Methos and MacLeod, knees lopped over one side of the tube, shoulders and arms sprawled along the other, drifted after Joe.
The river was so clear, they could watch fish swimming beneath them. Granite boulders were strewn at random, as though the skeleton of the earth stuck through the flesh of its soil to bask greyly in the sun. Through slitted eyes, MacLeod could see Joe, ahead, a slouch hat pulled down over his eyes, trailing his hands in the water, cupping them, occasionally, to direct his tube away from the larger rocks.
He could also see the face of Methos, when the occasional eddy spun his tube, wearing an expression that was almost a smile: he wasn't entirely unhappy in the serenity of the day.
For MacLeod, there was a deep pleasure in drifting, aimless, in no danger from the gentle river, letting his senses reach out into the trees, sliding from sun to shadow from the overhanging trees, pushing off the rocks that split the flow. The hawk that had screamed at them at put-in was still pacing the tubers, lazily gyring in the sky, just hanging in the air as they hung in the river.
MacLeod found himself wondering if this hawk had somehow learned how to see the fish in the river, allow for the diffraction of the water, and pick them off as it would a rabbit, on land. He heard the heavy splash of a returning fish that had picked off some of the mayflies that swarmed over the shady pools near the banks.
The rate of drop of the river increased, suddenly, after they had been drifting for about an hour, and the water got a little more lively. MacLeod was drifting backwards, got spun in a little whirlpool by a rock, found himself giggling at the spinning sensation, When he looked downstream, he saw Methos, standing, throwing his tube onto a rock, and an empty tube, drifting, followed by a familiar slouch hat.
To the left, he saw a splashing, nothing like a fish, too big for a fish in these waters, anyhow. A strangled yell, a cough, and Methos floundering across the mossy rocks, slipping, fighting his way to Dawson. The water was too shallow for swimming, too deep for walking, and MacLeod, too, thrashed his way to the churning by one of the boulders. Holding Dawson's head up, Methos shielded Joe's face from the oncoming water with his own body, braced against the flow.
"Caught," Joe said, coughing, hard, trying to clear his throat of the water he'd been forced to swallow. "My left leg's caught. Twisted."
MacLeod took a deep breath, knelt with his face underwater, looked at the problem in the crystalline water, felt his way down the prosthesis which was, indeed, twisted. If it had been Joe's actual leg, it would have been an awful spiral fracture. The shoe, the ankle, and half-way to the knee was wedged in a crevice between the rocks. At the least, it was going to have to be rotated to release, and it might not come free, then. The foot was pointed downriver, and Joe, himself, faced upstream.
It was hard to stand on the rounded, slippery rocks, trying to resist the pushing current, and the half-heard warning of the van driver was coming into sharper focus as the two men fought to release Dawson from the trap the placid river had set.
They finally just got him out of the prosthesis, clambered with him onto one of the flatter rocks, and went back to take turns trying to pry loose the removable leg that had been both catch and freedom for Joe Dawson. Together, they pulled on it, but it wasn't going to happen. It was simply caught too tightly. If it had been Joe's actual foot, it would have taken hours and outside help to free him.
To continue downstream, all of them on two large inner tubes would be a doable thing. Automatically, from long experience with each other, the three men organized themselves to get the rest of the way down the river. In about a quarter of a mile, they passed a group of picnickers who had beached the other tube for them. This time, they lashed the tubes together with their belts for safety.
"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea," MacLeod said.
"It's just the way water is, Mac. You don't ever want to give it the upper hand. It'll get you, every time. It's older than we are, and nastier."
Another skree from the hawk floating in the sky made MacLeod look up, suddenly, just in time to catch it folding its wings to stoop toward the river. It dropped like a stone, spread its wings to stop the dive just as it splashed the surface, and screamed with frustration as it came up empty. The fish it had come down for wasn't where it seemed to be.
"They never are, bird," Methos commiserated. "Even when it's transparent, water is a liar. Things are never as they seem."
"So, that's why you drink so much of my beer!"
"With age comes wisdom, MacLeod. Live and learn."