Friday, April 22, 2016

Jack Thompson, Part One

"Hello, world!" Jack Thompson said into the camera, his words almost drowned out by the dull roar of a plane engine. "This is Jack Shit Survival, where you don't know jack-shit of how to survive in the wilderness! But that's where I come in. You see I'm a survival expert, and I'll be showing you how to survive in the wild. Try to keep up!"

Jack leapt from the plane's doors and the sound of whipping wind tore past him. The camera built into his shoulder mount was small and capable of surviving massive trauma, but Jack wasn't about to let something like jumping from a plane two thousand feet above the Amazon Rainforest stop him. His webcast regularly drew in tens of thousands of people a day, earning him sponsorships and deals for appearances, as well as a decent salary from his merchandise that was sold around the globe.

Pulling the ripcord of his parachute, Jack grunted as he was suddenly halted mid-air, lazily drifting down towards the rainforest. Looking into the camera, he smiled. "Now that's exciting! Really gets the blood pumping! Now according to my compass North is... that way, which will lead deeper into the Basin itself. Our goal over the next few days: find the Tumi Huacas, a village of people said to have existed in the Amazon for thousands of years, a branch of Inca that never settled in the mountains."

Pulling a flimsy map with hand written instructions in Portuguese on the sides, Jack smiled. "I found a man who not only claims to have met these elusive buggers but trades with them. According to him, they prefer fresh meat from a recent hunt. They see it as a sign of bravery to hunt and take great pleasure in doing so. He also told me they're experts at hiding their villages and crafting dangerous traps, so we'll have to think quick on our feet!"

Jack tucked and rolled as he struck the ground, landing in a marsh adjacent to a tributary. Shaking the much off of him and wiping a thumb off the lens, he smiled into the camera and nodded. "Let's go survive in the wild!"

Jack plodded through the marsh, stopping once he reached dry land to check for leeches (he had three) before explaining that the nasty little bloodsuckers were great sources of protein. He dropped them in a pouch and patted it softly. "Those'll roast up nice and good later by the fire!"

Pulling his machete from its scabbard, he began hacking and slicing his way through the brush. "Now our first stop will be at a giant rock marked by a statue of a panther. The ancient Inca and Maya regarded the panther in high regard as it was the greatest hunter in all of the jungle. Once we find that statue, we'll be in for a bit of rock climbing!"

An hour passed to footage of Jack hacking down foliage and cutting down the occasional snake or lizard, which he would pack away in his pouch for later. By the time the jungle was growing dark, Jack was sweating and tired.

"Now if you follow me, you'll notice we're still close to the river. The reason is that the rock will be separating the river further North. But for now, I just need to get my bearings and find a cozy spot to sleep for the night."

Kneeling down by the rushing water, Jack filled up his canteen. "Now you'll want to bring your water to a boil before you drink it. No telling what kind of nasty vermin are swimming around in the Amazon river."

Jack set up camp and started a fire from gathered wood and grass, using a zippo lighter to start the thing off. "What? Just because I'm roughing it doesn't mean I come unprepared! Now let's see what we have for food tonight..."

Three skewered leeches, a chameleon, a section of the snake, and some small fruit sat on spits over the fire and boiling water, the pot he'd kept in his bag proving useful. He spent the next half an hour sharpening his machete while telling stories of past adventures. After his water was roiling, he pulled it off of the fire using thick leaves as handles, setting it aside. 

He ate the smoldering leeches with quiet dignity and savored the roasted fruit while taking bites from the snake. "The Chameleon, that's for tomorrow's hike."

After eating and sharpening his blade, Jack stood up and smiled, revealing one missing tooth. His wide green eyes and angular face would have been attractive, had he not been covered in ash and slime from the leaves. In his cameo jacket, shirt and pants, he was an awful mess.

"Now it's time for bed I think, but where to sleep?" He asked, looking back at the jungle from the shoreline where his fire was crackling merrily. "I have the ground, which no thank you Mr. Wandering Spider! And we have the trees... I think I'll climb a tree like our ancestors did, find a sturdy branch, and lash myself to it with some of the rope I brought.

Jack packed away his gear and doused his fire with water from the river, before walking back into the jungle, hands stretched out for a tree. Smiling when he felt one, he quickly began climbing it, finding footholds and handholds slowly but surely.

If only he could hear those watching his live stream, he'd know of the strange figure that had been witnessed during the twelve-hour stream. It was tall and dark, with elaborate face paint, six dots going up from the eyes and a central symbol on the brow. Already people on the internet were arguing over whether this was real or made up, but the one person that it mattered to the most was tying himself off to a tree branch.

"Well folks, good night and wish me luck!" He said, clicking the power button on his camera. "Might just get me a reality TV show out of this if I play my cards right..."

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