Sunday, February 6, 2011

Challenge 111: Life in the polar regions

The kitchen is where I'll sleep. It’s the kitchen because the main stove is in there, but we can't do much cooking.
Our first night is colder than usual, and we're gathered around the stove. Dirk reckons we have fuel for months; we shouldn't stint.
Food we're not sure of, unless we raid one of the caches left by a previous party. Perhaps when the storm lets up a bit.
Mac is leaning against the metal trying to warm his hands. Ten minutes ago, he climbed out the window and started shovelling furiously. I didn't understand until he emptied the big metal pot into the bigger metal pot on the stove. The temperature's dropped now that the snow is melting. I shiver, but Mac grimaces because his fingers are starting to thaw and it burns like hell.
'If I leave my gloves here, anyone can use them,' I suggest. 'Mac, that was a bit stupid, not wearing any.'
Mac shrugs and his indifference bothers me. 'Guess we'd better put our tents up, mate,' he says to Dirk.
Seana comes in from the 'pantry' - the semi-frozen antechamber connecting the main entrance to the kitchen.
'Dehy soup for dinner.' She chucks packets of split pea and of black bean on the table.
'Tents,' says Dirk. 'How about you stay and cook up something hot and delicious, lovelies?'
'Fat chance,' I say, and follow them out while Seana makes inchorent fake-angry noises.

Ekker and Pete are in the other hut trying to fix the radios. Tools are scattered everywhere and though they're both mild-mannered, now they're red-faced and snapping.
'Give it a rest and come put up tents,' Mac suggests nonchalantly, picking up a couple of tent-bags, but they ignore him. 'Where the fuck’s the red screwdriver?' barks Pete.
I cut in: 'Pole's broken in that purple one, I was going to fix it...'
'How can we borrow your gloves if you're coming out?' Mac replies. 'What if you stick around, fix up the tent; Dirk and I will put them up. We could even have a glove each...' he winks.
'I've been inside all day! I want real work!'
'If we weren't in a rush, hon, but we need to do this before the weather turns worse.' Dirk gives me a friendly shove away from the door and I shove him right back. Mac gives me a kinda shrug as he walks out with an armload of tents.
'Fucking patronising bastards,' I tell Ekker and Pete, who are looking for the screwdriver and don’t care. Going back through the pantry for duct tape I pass Seana, who asks me to keep an eye on the stove please and wanders to the other hut.
She spends a few minutes bitching (they're treating her like some kind of second-class wife ‘always on at me about the cooking'; she has to freeze in a tent while I ‘fucking trophy wife’ get the hut because I made puppy-dog eyes at Mac). Like Mac would fall for puppy-dog eyes.
Ekker eventually says 'Don't see you putting up tents,' and she tells him he won't get any dinner if he's like that, and he says there's room for two to sleep in the kitchen so why doesn’t she, though maybe she won't care to now since it'll make her look soft.
'Fuck you,' she says ('Sure!'), leaving the lid of the shit bucket off in the adjoining toilet when she storms off.

Dinner's as good as dehy can be (but don't try the black bean, it's vile). Mac brings out chocolate he must've carted all the way from home. Dirk opens a can of peaches 'so we don't get scurvy'. I didn't get the pole fixed, so they’re sharing a mountain tent. I don't want to sleep inside, after what Seana said, but with her in the other little tent and Ekker and Pete sharing the big one, there's hardly room elsewhere.

Word count: 655. I cut almost 200 words and didn't want to get any more cheated instead :P

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