I found myself stuck in the bottom of a ravine. I had decided to hike, alone, in the area of Apache Junction near the Superstition Mountains. I am an experienced climber and made the fatal mistake: Arrogance.
I had slipped on some shale and fell forward and then my body swiveled and I went straight down a ravine. Looking up, it seemed like at least 20 feet. I was covered in cuts and bruises.I gathered my senses and began to climb up. I had risen 5 feet when a large rock dislodged and I fell again, this time with the rock lodging my forearm between the wedged rock and the wall of the ravine.
I couldn’t move my arm. I struggled for over an hour. It seemed like a
good time to stop and think and come up with a plan. I pulled a cigar out of my pack with my good hand. An Alabao. Made by Nick Perdomo for Famous-Smoke only. It was one of my regular go-to’s.
The prelight aroma was wonderful, under the circumstances, with a faint espresso going on. It helped me block out the pain. Distraction. I had no way to pop the cap. So I bit off the end.
At first light, I tasted cedar and a mild sweet tobacco flavor. Very mild. Huge billows of white smoke emitted from the end. As I smoked, I could taste coffee bean and cocoa. Every now and then I tugged my arm to see if I could dislodge it. No way.
The sweet spice stayed with me. But at the half way point, it became more medium in body while the flavors began to spread out. My nerves were shot but the Alaboa had a calming effect.
I could taste the Criollo wrapper. Always tangy. Delicious.
I love it when cigars provide a creaminess to the back of the mouth. Like suckling on mother’s milk.The stick portrayed some hint of nuts…alomonds and cashews…with that creaminess swirling around it.
As the cigar wound down, it ramped up in flavor and strength but never getting harsh or hot. The sweet spice and nuts kicked in big time. I smoked it to the nub. And then reality set back in.
It was late in the afternoon. A small rodent was at my foot. It was gnawing at my boot. I shooed it away. And then more congregated. I began to panic. My obituary would read I was eaten by rodents.
I grabbed another cigar and ripped it apart and spit the pieces to the ground. The rodents started chewing on the pieces and seemed to like it. Then, when they finished, they stopped and looked up at me. Laughingly, I asked them if they could get help? Several nodded up and down. Obviously, I was hallucinating. I asked the others to start chewing my right arm off just in case the other rodents forgot what their mission was. I read the other idiot that did this to himself waited for about a week before he decided to saw his hand off. I wasn’t going to wait that long. Hygiene issues.
Maybe 7 or 8 climbed the rock and started chewing my flesh. I screamed out in pain. One of the rodents ran away and returned with a strange looking cactus flower and stuck it in my mouth. I chewed it and the pain lessened. Before long, I felt pretty good.
I sang the entire Rogers & Hammerstein song book followed by Billy Joel, Billie Holliday, and Rush. It was getting dark and no sign of help.
I smoked another Alabao and it helped calm me but then, whatever I took ,started to make me chatty. I asked the rodents, who I named, Moe, Curly, Larry, Zeppo, Dick, Beyonce, and Irving about their lives. “How’s the family? You guys doing alright?” I heard one say, “I do alright, but try and find a decent bagel.” I nodded.
The bone was exposed. The rodents spread out as a very large rodent, who I named Mongo, sauntered towards the exposed bone. I heard him ask if I was ready? I told him I could use a little more of that cactus flower. He turned his head and was handed the flower and then he stuffed it in my mouth. He waited a few minutes for it to kick in.
And then I heard him and a smaller female rodent sing “I know I stand in line until you think you have the time to spend an evening with me. And then I go and spoil it all by saying somethin’ stupid like I love you!”
Holy crap. They were doing Frank and Nancy Sinatra. I gotta’ bring some of this cactus home. And with that, I heard a crunching sound as Mongo went to work on my bone.As he finished, I heard human voices above, yelling, “Katman! Can you hear us? Where are you?”
They found me!
I yelled out my location. Flashlights flooded the ravine and my rodent friends scattered.
“Yeah…a bunch of funny looking rodents came and got us. They scratched out a map with their noses and we followed it. Are you alright?”
I waved my stump and yelled. “I’m just peachy! Owie.”
“Mongo…I love you!”
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