Carol Alt

Guest Post- The Treehouse

By admin / Post / February 15, 2017
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I’ve decided that today is a very, very tiring day. Keeping blogs like this going takes it out of you. So I’ve asked my editor Jake to put together a post, and he’s chosen to present a short story for this week. I hope you all enjoy! I’ll be back to regularly scheduled posts on Monday.

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A light salvaged from a ‘56 Chevy flickered and turned red on the instrument panel above Ray’s head. He turned up to look at it.

“Well that’s not good…” he muttered, intent on- for the moment- not dying. The makeshift spacecraft shuddered and bucked around his small frame, worn canvas straps holding him to a musty old couch. Above Ray’s head, armored by what looked suspiciously like the grate from a barbecue, a haunting red glow slowly built through a small crack in the “hull,” the second hint of the atmosphere quickly thickening beneath his feet. The first hint had been what commercial pilots referred to as “severe turbulence.” Ray liked to think of it as the rough ride that had knocked over his juice.

It’s not as if he’d volunteered for this, either. It had started as an innocent childhood activity. The neighborhood kids came over every day after school, and between them, a treehouse slowly rose. It wasn’t the most beautiful of structures; mostly just a bunch of plywood nailed to the upper branches of the tall ash tree in Ray’s back yard. Pirate adventures, daring dogfights, that sort of thing.

And then Mark’s dad brought over his carpentry equipment. What once was a fairly accurate tree-borne approximation of a refugee camp became something entirely different. Walls went up, windows were installed, and Ray’s world was turned on its head. Who needed to go home when you had Richard Branson’s treehouse in your yard? His parents saw less and less of him, sending bowls of macaroni up the pulley into Ray and Mark’s sanctuary.

Weeks passed, the summer months free of school. Ray and Mark started to plan. What if, just what if, their modest villa, once the site of pitched sea battles, could be something more? Ray had seen a show the previous week on the Apollo astronauts, instantly fascinated with the idea of a “final frontier.” Plus he had been watching Star Trek for years, so who was he kidding? In his sugar-addled mind, he was as good as hired by NASA.

And so construction began. Various bits of metal nicked from junkyards graced the tree’s burdened branches. Mark brought over some tubing, the perfect fit for the “anterior gimbal mount,” according to Ray. Ray’s dad donated a few car parts that were fitted in the cockpit, and even helped them nail the parts in.

When “launch day” finally came, Ray and Mark got up early for the big moment. Mark biked over to Ray’s at around seven in the morning, much the chagrin of their parents. Denied a full week’s ration by Ray’s mom, the boys clambered into the tree with a few PB&J’s provided by Mark’s less skeptical mother. Mark checked some gauges after settling in on the command bench- really just a junked couch thrown out by some stoners down the street- calling out various important-sounding readings to the assembled audience. Ray snugged down his foil-plated football helmet, turning to nod at Mark.

The countdown commenced. Mark’s mom shouted out the numbers, with Ray’s mother and Mark’s father begrudgingly joining in at the “six” mark.

“3…, 2…, 1…, Blastoff!” shouted the parents. Ray pushed the makeshift throttle all the way forward, the bike handlebar tapping against his knee. Mark clenched the bench with his gloved hands, body braced.

A blast of sound and light from the bottom of the tree shook it loose from its roots, slowly rising off the ground in a great pillar of smoke. Mark screamed, Ray held the spaceship steady with white-knuckled hands, and the rocket soared upward.

That had been the start to the last three days. Ray shook the control stick, piloting the bucking ship down through miles of open sky. Needless to say, he wasn’t a fan of zero gravity. Mark wasn’t either, curled up on the couch next to his friend, moaning occasionally. They’d run out of food the first day in orbit, and had been hungry since.

It took most of their orbital experience for Ray to figure out the reentry procedure, hastily scribbled on his forearm with a pen. The ship started to heat up, red glow turning orange above their heads. The vibration became more intense, and Ray’s helmet bounced against the wood behind his head. The small cockpit rattled, buffeted by air. Ray struggled to keep the small craft in line, the tree not lending itself to aerodynamic efficiency.

And the, with all the grace of a bull moose in heels and a cocktail dress, the parachute (Leaves, really, let’s be realistic.) deployed. Mark shot forward, not strapped in, and smacked his face on the control panel. Mark’s canvas strap harness strained against the sofa, holding him to the seat as the treehouse swung and swayed on the “parachute lines.”

The small craft touched down just outside of Rochester to the surprise of many a commuter. The boys, now covered in blood (mostly Mark’s) and bruises, crawled out of the smoking wreckage of their makeshift spaceship onto the highway. A woman in a blue tracksuit driving a Suburban rushed to them.

“Boys! What… W-Are you okay?” She picked Mark up.

“Can you take us home,” Ray coughed.

“Of course! Where do you live?” She whipped out a cell phone, ready to call.

“Erm… Albuquerque.” The woman looked surprised.

One awkward dropoff at the airport, plane ride, and bus trip later, Ray and Mark, battered but otherwise alive, stepped on to the porch of Ray’s house. Ray tucked his scorched helmet under his arm and rung the doorbell. His mother answered.

“Holy sweet Jesus!” She broke down in tears, hugging them both tightly.

“Who is it, Martha,” his father hollered from his easy chair in the living room.

“It’s the boys! They made it!”

“I told you they’d be fine.” He grunted and turned his attention back to the game.

“If it wouldn’t trouble you, ma’am, could I have a drink of water?” Ray was taking the bigshot astronaut thing to heart.

Maybe next week they’d remember to pack the fruit leather.

By Jake Layton

Also, Request your library to bring in Carol’s fantastic books to help you learn to eat healthier! Find raw recipes, understand why raw foods are more nutritious for you and to learn other protocols not mentioned in my blogs.

Eating in the Raw
Easy, Sexy Raw
A Healthy You

Talk to her on Facebook at ModelCarolAlt
Or on Twitter @ModelCarolAlt
Also on Instagram at @ModelCarolAlt

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