“Look, Dan, you want to at least tell me what this is about?”
“I would have thought you’d have figured that out by now Roger.”
They had been going back and forth for ten minutes. It was going nowhere.
They had come on a camping trip to Lake Powell, near the Grand Canyon, Roger and Dan and their wives, Lynn and Ellen. It had been Ellen’s idea, or so Dan had believed. He was now leaning to the idea that it had been Roger and Ellen together who had dreamed up the idea. Dan knew the area well, which is how he had come to be in this particular spot a half mile from the lake.
“Tell me Roger, does Lynn suspect at all?”
Roger’s face turned pale. He had been hoping this was just an elaborate prank, but now it was clear what was going on.
“Listen, Dan, we were going to break it off. Really, we were, we just…”
“You just didn’t? Is that it Roger?”
“Look, Dan, please help me out here. I’m begging you.”
Dan thought about what had transpired that morning when he had woken up early and found Ellen wasn’t in here sleeping bag. She had always been an early riser, but Dan had been uneasy for weeks. An idea had been forming at the back of him mind.
So it was that he had gotten up and dressed and headed out for a walk. He had heard their voices not far away from the camp. He almost couldn’t believe what he was hearing, but the idea that had been growing became a full-blown reality all at once.
He had crept up to a stand of brush and peeked over the top. His world was crushed in an instant. There, in a clearing full of soft green moss were his wife and his so-called friend in a passionate embrace, sans clothing.
Finding it hard to breath and with his head spinning he had crept back down the trail and sat down under a tree to think. That was when the plan had come to him.
“You know, Roger, I’ve been coming here since I was a kid. I know this area well. All of its little secrets.”
Roger tried not to panic, but things were not looking good. “No, I didn’t know that Dan. So, you’re saying you – “
“Yeah, that’s right Roger. I knew just where to go, and where not to go.” The last part was punctuated by a grin.
Dan had made his way back to the camp and started breakfast. When Ellen reappeared he greeted her with a smile and kiss on the cheek.
“Where’d you go sweetheart?”
“Oh, I couldn’t sleep this morning. I decided to just go for a walk and let you sleep in.”
“Sure did. What’s for breakfast?”
A few minutes later Roger appeared, approaching the camp from a different direction than Ellen. He bid them both good morning and disappeared into his tent.
“Guess Roger couldn’t sleep either, eh?” Dan watched Ellen’s face. She betrayed nothing, merely shrugged her shoulders.
By late morning the entire cleanup had been done and the girls were having a good time talking girl talk. Dan slapped Roger on the back and suggested they go for a walk.
“The lake is beautiful this time of day and I know a great path. Why don’t we head out and leave the girls to their chatter?”
Roger had agreed, and so they had set out for the lake. They never reached it. That had been the plan.
“Okay, Dan, I’m really sorry. We were wrong. I was wrong. I should never have let it happen, I – “
“Oh, you’re saying Ellen came on to you, is that it Roger?”
“No, that’s not it, I…” His voice trailed off. There really wasn’t anything more he could say. He felt himself sinking lower and reached a hand out to Dan.
“Dan, please, I’m scared. We can talk about this. Just help me out here.”
Dan stared for a moment and then shook his head. “I don’t think so Roger. I want my wife back. I can’t trust you.”
“Dan, for the love of god, I can’t – “ He was craning his neck back to keep the sand away from his face.
“Well, I must be going Roger. I wish I could say I’m enjoying this, but I’m not. I’m just doing what I need to do.”
Roger began to panic and flailed his arms. “Dan, for god’s sake, this isn’t funny. You’ve made your point. Get me out!”
As he made his way back to the camp Dan rehearsed in his head what he would tell the girls. Gee, Roger wandered off on me and I thought he must have headed back. You mean he’s not here? I wonder where he could have gotten?
He put his hands in his pockets and whistled a tune. He wondered if Roger were fully under yet. Quicksand must be a horrible way to die.