Two men walked side by side, along a cold, windswept path, never saying a word to one another. Occasionally, when a dried Russian thistle tumbleweed rolled across the deserted highway in front of them, they exchanged glances, but no words were spoken. After ten miles, they came to sign on the path, a mile marker that read: “Pretoria: 160 KM.”
“What the hell! This is not good!”
The other man looked at his vocal friend, but said nothing for a long time. They continued walking. Finally, he spoke.
“Well, we’re surely in remote territory, but that’s what we were after, isn’t is? We have ample provisions. Our feet will hurt by the time we get there, but it could be worse. Just imagine how far we’d have to go if we were on our way to Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.”
“All right, I’ll bite. What and where is Edinburgh of the Seven Seas?”
“It’s the main settlement on the island of Tristan da Cunha, which is in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. It’s a British Overseas Territory and it’s the most remote human settlement in the world. It’s a bitch to get there. I went as a passenger on a cargo ship; took us six-days to get there from Capetown.
“Only 275 people live there and no new settlers are permitted. An interesting bit of trivia about the place is that there are only seven surnames on the island: Glass, Green, Hagan, Lavarello, Repetto, Rogers and Swain. I picked that up while I was having a pint at the Albatross Bar. And they have a newspaper, the Tristan Times.”
The other man’s eyes betrayed annoyance with the conversation.
“I don’t give a rat’s ass about Edinburgh of the Ocean and its newspaper, Charlie. How do you figure we have ample provisions to get to Pretoria? I’ve only two and a half bottles of water and maybe three packets crackers in my knapsack. Are you carrying a fifty-gallon drum of water I don’t know about?”
“Well, I have more water than you do! I told you to bring plenty of water and togo easy on drinking it, that we’d need it. But don’t sweat it. We can collect more when we camp this evening. If we make twenty miles a day, we’ll get there in five days.”
“Shit, Charlie, we should have taken the R511 from Thabazimbi! We could have hitched a ride and been there by now.”
“I thought you were an adventurer, Nick. C’mon, it’ll be fine! This trek is part of what makes it fun!”
[TRYING TO WRITE SOMETHING ABOUT WHICH I KNOW VIRTUALLY NOTHING. I THINK IT SHOWS; THE “FACTS” SHARED NEED TO BE DROPPED IN, BIT BY BIT, INSTEAD OF FLOODING IN AS I’VE DONE. THERE’S MORE, BUT I NEED TO REWORK WHERE THEY ARE, HOW LONG THEY’VE BEEN WALKING, ETC. CHARLIE WILL CONVINCE NICK TO GO WITH HIM TO EDINBURGH OF THE SEVEN SEAS, WHERE, WHILE THEY ARE THERE, THE FIRST RAPE AND THE FIRST MURDER IN THE HISTORY OF THE ISLAND WILL TAKE PLACE.]