Post 264: Can’t See the Boat for the Trees

Too bad Sparky didn’t post this ad on Arbor Day. There would have been hundreds of people willing to take the boat, the trailer, and the trees. I wish Sparky didn’t have to be so demanding about these things. You must do this, you must do that. Who does he think he is, God?

Boat with trailer *both parts of major repair*

What you see is what you get. Trees are included. Tires won’t hold air you will need a flatbed. Must take boat with the trailer

Uh, I think you left out the words “in need” regarding major repair. Don’t you want to know just how Sparky floated his boat into the forest? Yeah, me neither. Thanks, Ralph, awesome post as always.


5 thoughts on “Post 264: Can’t See the Boat for the Trees

  1. Ok, there’s an old jape about a boat being a hole in the water into which you throw money. And another about the two hapliest days for a boat owner being the day you buy it and the day you sell it.

    After having neglectef his boat until saplings took root within it, Spark wants to accelerate to that terminal day of boat ownership without any further expense.

    Well, Spark’ Entropy don’t like shortcuts. Entropy has a bad habit of visiting the unused moment lever from such shortcuts in both a spiritual and a physical sense.

    Which means when Clyde or Ambrose answers the ad, and fells the tree behind the boat (“Heh, yu say-ed take the trees, tuh”), said be will fall on Sparky’s house. And it will flood just about then, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think his plans were quite deluded
    A Sparky boat with trees included.

    Trees that serve as masts for sails
    For use when inboard motor fails.

    Junk is made by fools like he,
    But only God can sail a tree.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The last nut was tightened to a satisfactory degree of fastness. He had even smeared the bolts with Loctite just to make sure they didn’t come loose. This was going to be the first test run using new experimental technology that up until this point had only been tested on a simulated load, and he wanted to be completely certain that nothing was going to foul up the maiden voyage of the S.S. Endor. It should be fine. It _would_ be fine, of course it would be. He make sure to dot his T’s and cross his I’s, measure twice but cut once, and any other aphorism about due care.

    That’s not to say that Erf wasn’t having a great deal of difficulty keeping his impatience in check. On the contrary, he couldn’t wait to hop in, start the engines, and head off on his first real test run. He had taken this boat and its trailer for free from an offer online, a price that suited him just fine, but the offer also required the taker to take the trees, too. All of them. A small forest’s worth of trees, maybe five square kilometers in total. They were still free, but he was nevertheless going to pass on the offer because how the hell do you move a forest?

    But just as he was about to close his browser’s tab, he realized something. He knew what he was aiming to do with the boat. He was going to need a forest for what he wanted to do. He had a sizeable plot of farmland in a region that didn’t have more than a few thin stands of trees for miles around, and it was a good twenty miles to the nearest forest of any suitable size. Having his own private forest would be … well, it wouldn’t be pretty damn cool, wouldn’t it? Who has their own forest? Nobody, that’s who. Maybe a few really rich people. Erf wasn’t rich, not by a long shot, but he could still have his own forest! For free!

    Okay, not exactly free. He still had to figure out how to relocate five square mileage of forest. But he managed it. It involved a lot of flatbed trucks and a tree excavator — he didn’t even know tree excavators were a thing, but evidently one company in his area had made one specifically for uprooting trees in their entirety. Apparently it was less disruptive to forest’s native inhabitants or somesuch — Erf didn’t really listen and didn’t really care. He just wanted his own forest.

    And now he had one. And his craft was restored, a new engine mounted, and it was all ready to go. Erf was so excited he could barely contain himself. In fact, a small wet patch on his pants indicated that he hadn’t quite managed to. It didn’t matter. He was alone, and nobody was coming with him on this trip, so Erf stepped into the boat, sat on the bench facing backwards, and prepared to engage the engine.

    He really didn’t know a whole lot about these engines. He’d signed up for some sort of experimental prototype testing program thing and was actually accepted. He couldn’t even believe he’d been accepted. Sure, he’d flat-out lied and said he’d worked on the NASA ion propulsion engine program and was now working out of a “lab” that was really his farmhouse, but you’d think some high-falutin’ aerospace company would have checked his credentials or at least dropped by to talk to him before accepting him into the program. Nope. One day, he got an acceptance E-Mail, and a week later, this new prototype engine just showed up. It was quite small, too, not much bigger than a small riding lawnmower engine. The document brief that came with the engine said it used some sort of zero-point energy mumbo jumbo and gave some basic instructions on installation and usage. The latter was all he was really interested in. He’d bolted it to a pair of saw horses in his barn at first just to test it out. It took him half an hour to grab a ladder tall enough to allow him to get it down from the roof. But that was good enough for him. It worked!

    And now he was about to test it for real. He was going to take his newly refurbished boat with this new zero-point engine attached and he was going to levitate through his forest — _his_ forest! — just like those speeder bikes on the forest moon Endor in Return of the Jedi! That’s why he named his boat such. It just helped set the mood. He wished he had a stormtrooper helmet. Erf flipped a switch here and turned a dial there, and when he was satisfied that he thought he had everything set approximately where everything should be set, he grabbed the height adjustment handle and yanked it upwards.

    Too much! Way too much! Erf never should have yanked. He should have eased. But he was too excited, so he yanked, and now — once he was able to spatula himself off the bottom of the boat and look over the side — he found he was a good thirty feet off the ground. Fantastic! Even a speeder bike couldn’t do that! But this was too high. He’d be flying through the crowns of the trees at this altitude. That was not going to make for a fun flight, which was supposed to be more of a skimming of the ground than sailing through the air. He grabbed the lever and — much more gently this time — lowered himself until he was just a few feet off the ground. High enough to clear any underbrush, but low enough that he wasn’t going to catch any stout branches in the face. Looking over the side again, he thought, not for the first time, that he was disappointed this levitation technology didn’t cast any cool lighting effects on the ground. Maybe he should add some under-lighting. Just for added dramatic effect.

    Now that he was at a suitable height, Erf grabbed the throttle and eased it up a bit. The boat began to move slowly. A little more juice and it moved more quickly. As Erf entered his forest, carefully turning the tiller to and fro to avoid trees, he decided to really see what this thing could do, so he grabbed the throttle and really gave it the beans. The engine topped out and was travelling at a good clip. Not nearly as fast as the speeder bikes seemed to go in the movie, but still, he must have been topping sixty clicks at least — enough for him to feel a good wind in his hair and see the trees whizzing by.

    It was wonderful! He couldn’t believe this was actually working — it was stable, and he really felt like he was floating. And the motor was so quiet, too — just a subtle, low-pitched drone, which meant he could still hear all sorts of forest noise through the wind rushing past his ears. He never thought he’d be able to do this, yet here he was, skilfully manoeuvring the tiller left and right, scooting around trees, barely even disturbing the forest mat save for the leaves kicking up in the wake of his passage. Oh, he could get used to this — it was truly a dream come true the likes of which would make him the the absolute envy of everyone. They would be so jealous it would be physically painful!

    Zoom! Erf deked around a tall fir. Swoosh! A wiry sapling sped by, reaching toward him in his wake as if pleading to take it with him. Yoink–

    The darkness began to clear by way of a tiny pinhole in the center of his vision. His head hurt. His chest hurt. Everything hurt. He couldn’t think straight, and he had no idea what was going on. The pinhole slowly began to grow, its edges fuzzy, vignetting the world around him. Light began to creep in, revealing splotches of green broken by speckles of yellow and white seen through the sparkling, star-like phosphenes dancing across his blurred vision. At length even that gave grudging way to some degree of focus, and his brain cleared out a few cobwebs to allow him to take a bit of stock.

    He was laying flat on his back staring up through the canopy of trees, this much was clear. As he case his eyes up, behind him as he lay, he noticed a horizontal strip of light brown several feet away. Rope. Somebody had tied a rope across his path. Where did that come from? Did those tree transplanters do this on purpose? But surely they had no idea what he had planned, and even if they did, he had no set route. Maybe they just did it as a practical joke, hoping he’d eventually run into it. Either way, it was a dick move. It could have killed him.

    A quiet shuffling of leaves alerted him to a presence. Forest animals, curious about all the commotion. The shuffling drew nearer. They probably wanted to sniff him, figure out what he was. Hopefully not to determine if he was food, though. But Erf couldn’t move yet, so he just played dead, hoping they wouldn’t be brave enough to come this close.

    Unfortunately for him, they were. A head popped into his field of vision. Then another. He couldn’t tell what they were — they were furry, that was obvious, and they had round ears. Bears? Oh God, it was bears, wasn’t it? This was how he would meet his end, he was going to be eaten by bears. Except … no. They weren’t bears. It was hard to make out, silhouetted as they were against the sun above, but they didn’t seem to have snouts like bears. If they were bears, they almost looked more like koalas, except he didn’t live anywhere near where koalas lived.

    Erf had a realization. “Crap,” he thought to himself. Could it be? It would explain the rope. “They almost look like–”
    “Yub yub!” one of them blurted out.
    Erf closed his eyes and sighed. Fucking ewoks.


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