Even in the dark, without taking a bite, Shannon can tell something is wrong with it. Even Devlin, who I once saw eat a fish stick covered in cat hair off our kitchen floor, looks ashamed to serve it. Shannon puts her black, charcoal-encrusted hot dog up to the light of the battery-powered lantern.
“What’s this?” she says.
“It’s a hot dog,” I say, casting a nervous glance at Devlin.
Shannon takes a bite. The dry crunch of seared hot dog casing echoes into the night.
“How did you manage to burn them so badly, but keep them so cold on the inside?” she says, marveling at the culinary mystery in her hand.
Devlin and I shrug in unison, trying to pretend like we didn’t
shove the hot dogs into the white hot, 1,500-degree core of the fire pit for five seconds to get back to the tent’s power outlet before my battery died.
“Seriously, what happened?” Shannon says.
“I don’t know, honey,” I say. “There were boy scouts retiring a flag, and I had to wait for them to finish, and the rain is coming, and my computer was dying…”
Shannon drops the inedible food onto a paper plate and continues my rant for me. “And there was an earthquake. A terrible flood! Locusts!”"IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!"
I take stock of my scowling wife, and of the resentful children wincing their way through crunchy-cold hot dogs.
“I’m starting to think you consider this my
fault,” I say. “You know, if I
cooking, you’d be livid.”
Shannon’s entire body appears to clench.
Safely plugged into the campsite outlet, my laptop continues to emanate sounds of Game 4. Glen Davis hits a layup to tie the game at 62. Out of consideration, I try not to look too excited about it. I don’t even do a fist pump.
Shannon walks calmly to my laptop.
“What are you doing?” I say.
Shannon sits in a fabric camping chair beneath the modest tent overhang and begins to type.
“I’m updating my Facebook status,” she says.
“Ok, just be careful,” I say. “The signal’s weak. Don’t mess up the radio.”
Shannon cringes. After some typing, she abandons the laptop and disappears inside the tent without a word. Quietly, I return to my computer, log onto my Facebook page, and check Shannon’s status:Shannon McAllister is appreciating the wonders of nature, and wishing others could share her enthusiasm.
I feel guilty, but the feeling disappears when Davis hits another layup, putting the Celtics up 66-64.
It’s going to be a good night.
I can feel it.
Links: Travelling: Intro / Book Jacket
, Chapter 1: Cribbagegate
, Chapter 2: Two e-mails
, Chapter 3: Pattern
, Chapter 4: Shattered
, Chapter 5: Hilarious Pee
, Chapter 6: Suicide
, Chapter 7/8: Coaching High school, Shark attacks and appetizers
, Chapter 9: June
, Chapter 10: 18 and oh no
, Chapter 11: DNA
, Chapter 12: Peanut Butter Sandwiches
, Chapter 13: Tom Brady and the McGuffin
, Chapter 14: Game 1
, Chapter 15: Who the H is John Havlicek?
, Chapters 16 - 17
, Chapter 18: Game 2: Great White
, Chapter 19: Pickle
, Chapter 20: Marty McFly
, Chapter 21 / 22: standard deviation, all the pretty flowers
, Chapter 23: Game 3: Black Hills
, Chapter 24: Twister
, Chapter 25: Game 4
, Chapter 26: Patriotic Agony
, Chapter 27: Locusts
, Chapter 28: skype
, Chapter 29: Click
, Chapter 30: Superman
Labels: chapter 27, locusts, traveling