Pre-Order for Josh’s new book THE JOKE THAT WE PLAY ON THE WORLD begins Tuesday, February 8th at 9:00 p.m. EST on the web store page. In the meantime, check out an excerpt from the book as well as a preview of the digital photo album that is included with every order.
Eventually we arrive at a calm in the waters and begin to drift peacefully for a few moments. To the right, a large tree reaches over the bank with spidering, brambly twigs opening like claws. With only Mike protesting, we quickly set to work paddling ourselves under the knife-like branches. The strange thing is that, while working to guide ourselves beneath the tree, the entire group is already lamenting the pain we’re about to be in, and as we make our final approach and we realize the branches are lower and more menacing than they had appeared, Mike panics and dives from the raft. The rest of us scream in agony as the limbs drag slowly and painfully over us, leaving swollen pink tracks, speckled with blood, across our sunburned bodies. Mixed with the screams, perhaps louder than them, I can hear all of us laughing.
Arriving on the other side of the tree, Mike wades back to the raft and attempts to climb back in. Marvin, however, resentful of Mike’s unwillingness to participate in the tree torture, continually thwarts each of Mike’s attempts to climb back into the raft. Annoyed with each of us giggling at his expense while Marvin pushes him back into the icy water over and over again, Mike begins throwing aimless punches at the raft, and the sudden influx of movement in and outside of the vessel sets it rocking back and fourth.
“You idiots are going to flip the raft!” Ivory calls out, gripping the vinyl sides of the craft. From 10 or so feet away, Bryce and his friends are all watching us in confusion.
“What the heck are you guys doing?” they yell at us. Mike manages to climb his way back into the raft because Marvin has shifted his focus to the dangerous rocking of the boat.
“Yay!” Ivory sighs in a sarcastic deadpan. “Here we go! These boys can’t enjoy something for more than five seconds I guess.” And with this conclusive statement, Ivory joins Marvin in rocking the boat. But the raft is too well made. It refuses to take on water or be inverted, so Marvin devises another course of action. Snickering gleefully, he grapples at the air intake valve and sets to work unscrewing the device needed to keep the raft inflated.
In a few seconds, there is a loud hiss and the raft begins to crumple under our weight. Some of the freezing water pools up around our legs, and we all shriek in terror. A few of us wrestle with Marvin to relinquish his mission of deflating the raft, but he has taken to lying over the valve to keep anyone from resealing it.
“My sunglasses!” JG yells as the raft begins to sink. “My sandals! You guys suck!”
In another second, the raft is a limp pile of vinyl and our belongings are disappearing into the river. We can’t seem to preoccupy ourselves with salvaging our sandals and sunscreen, because the water feels like a liquefied glacier. The other rafts are passing us now, the momentum of the river picking back up, and they’re screaming at us as they pass.
“What are you guys doing? What the heck is wrong with you?” they shout incredulously, likely confused by our hysterical laughing as we flap and gasp in the river.
By the time we drag ourselves to the shore, we’ve lost most (if not all) of the valuables we had brought onboard. The realization creeps in that we had managed to travel a considerable distance in the raft before we deflated it, and that gravel terrain must now be backtracked barefoot (our sandals being at the bottom of the river). The laughter increases at the realization of this hilarious thing we’ve done.