Saturday, September 3, 2011


A Confidence Course

      I clenched my teeth, my jaws were grinding, and I was really annoyed, but I finally crossed the damned thing.

      “Now what?” I hollered back.

      “Climb da laddah dude.” He smiled again, as he looked down.

    It was a rope ladder, alongside the barge, rising at least another twenty feet. “I must be freaking crazy,” I was thinking, “I don’t need this,” but I was climbing the ladder. With every step it swung from side to side. It was fastened at the top, and to the barge at the bottom, and moved along with it. Finally I reached the top, the captain, a dude from New Orleans greeted me:

     “Hi y’all doing, din think ya was gon make it…He hee hee.”

     “Me neida!”

     The barge was rolling back and forth on the water, like a rocking chair, and there were all kinds of freaking pipes crossing its length on top.

     “Wat y’all carry hea?


     It reminded me of boot camp, so many years before, as we hopped over one damned pipe after another, it was a confidence course. At the front of the barge, we had to go down a metal stairs, which reminded of a submarine. I’ve only seen them in movies.

     He smiled as he opened a folding chair for me. His tiny office only had room for one, but somehow we managed to run through the documents, and get his John Hancock on them. The man was a smoker, and I was tempted to join him as he lit up, but I didn’t. It took us twenty minutes, and we were done. It was the same ordeal going back. He was on his way home to New Ahleans, and I was going home.

     “Well, y’all have yasef a von voyage home cap’n,” I smiled, and started down the damned ladder. It was past eleven when I finally got back to my car. I called my manager, and reported my adventure.

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