Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chapter 66: A Man Survives Night In Woods

Waynesboro, May 17, 2010 - An unidentified 26-year-old male is alive today after spending the night camping in the woods.

A National Forest Service spokesperson said the man was hiking the Appalachian Trail when inclement weather and waning sunlight forced him to stay overnight at the Paul C. Wolfe Shelter, an apparent tent city overrun by annoying tourists too cheap to spring for motel rooms, morbid thrill-seekers, and the displaced refugees of an uncaring world.

The rain started just after seven P.M., requiring many to abandon their hastily erected tents to sleep in the "shelter," which to this observer appeared to be no more than a makeshift barn. Floor space was scarce, and with the encroaching cold and billowing rain outside, many of these self-avowed strangers found themselves huddling together in a pathetic, futile attempt to conserve body heat.

"It was literally like a frightening or unpleasant dream," said a young female witness who wished to remain anonymous. "Almost as dreadful as that summer theatre version of the Noel Coward play I saw last year."

"Yeah, it was pretty outrageous," agreed another eyewitness, "I mean, I know we're outside, but I bet most of those guys hadn't showered in over a week."

"I heard one guy crack a joke about taking a dump in the woods. Or at least, I hope he was joking."

The National Forest Service further confirmed that the victim had no choice but to try to fall asleep without the dulcet and comforting tones of his favorite late-night talk show hosts to ease him into a contented slumber, forcing him to instead listen to a mixture of cacophonous snoring and the violent tempest swirling outside to lull himself into a fitful unconsciousness.

The man's horrific ordeal continued this morning, when many of his newfound and unwanted companions awoke just after dawn. According to a statement left by the victim at the scene, the others proceeded to "talk in normal voices and bang pots and pans together like it was [expletive deleted] Mardi Gras!"

Police meteorologists have determined that the shelter area – and, indeed, all of the surrounding mountains – were that morning shrouded in a thick and heavy mist. In his evidently altered and mildly psychotic mental state, it is speculated that the man completely missed the turn-off towards Waynesboro, his intended destination, and walked a further four miles before being rescued by N.F.S. personnel.

The man is reportedly recovering in the acute psychiatric wing of the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, where he is undergoing treatment for post-melodramatic stress.

"He's doing much better now than when he got here a few hours ago," said Administrative Secretary Janice Collins. "He's stopped swearing so much, has eaten an entire Toombstone pizza, and acclimating nicely to our other guests. We're planning to watch 'Galaxy Quest' and 'The Shawshank Redemption' later."

"He truly is an inspiration to us all," she added.

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