He hustled over to the stone fire pit where his comrades had spent half the night dousing thick, flaming logs with gratuitous portions of apparently dispensable lighter fluid. Now, there was nothing but piles of gray and black ash and the sparse remnants of burnt timber. In a fluster, he searched for the large box of matches that he distinctly remembered leaving on top of his red and white cooler before turning in for the night. It was nowhere to be found. What have those idiots done with it? He soon answered his own question when he spotted the charred corner of the cardboard box resting along a large round stone on the inside perimeter of the pit. They’d torched it.
He knew he was the only one of them who’d had the foresight to bring something with which to light the fire. He’d chastised his buddies about it when they’d first arrived the previous evening.
Dueling chipmunks taunted each other from opposite ends of the campsite, chirping loudly before one took off after the other and they disappeared behind a group of small boulders.
He glared in agitation at the classic A-frame tent that stood beside his own, where one buddy was still snoring loudly and the other was seemingly unaffected by the clamor. Both had been sucking on the ends of two-liters of Purple Passion the last time he’d seen them. It must have been the recipe for a solid night’s sleep, even in an ice cooler. He contemplated just crawling into the front seat of his parked Mustang and letting the car’s heater warm his body, but a warm engine wasn’t going to cook him the crispy strips of bacon and scrambled eggs he’d been craving for breakfast since about 2:30 a.m.
He paced over to his pals’ tent and dropped to a knee. In a single motion, he latched onto the bottom of an exposed steel pole and yanked it free of its propped-up position before guiding it outside of the tent. The triangular-shaped canvas slowly deflated behind him as he made his way back to the fire pit. He turned over a thick, sawed log and took a seat on the flat end. After collapsing the top portion of the pole inside the bottom, he held one end to his mouth and guided the other down, just above the ash at the center of the pit. A couple strong breaths exposed some residual ember that still had a little life left in it. He gathered some reasonably dry twigs and formed them in the shape of pyramid above the ember. After ten minutes or so of repetitious puffs through the pole, he had a small flame going.
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