Go left























































OK, it begins at three o’clock in the morning and I’m standing in the rain with the thunder and lightning very Lear-like and the wind in the desert oaks going whoo whoo like some crappy sound effect. I’m wearing my underpants and a tiny yellow plastic hat that makes me look like a camp whaler. My skin is covered in mud and I’m holding an axe in my left hand.

You’d better come out here honey, I say. You’d better get out before you drown.

Kate sticks her head out and flashes the light on me. It’s all Fuck Fuck and Help me Help me but there’s nothing I can do. I don’t care any more.

Later on we’re in the car. The rain has stopped but we’re parked under a tree and massive raindrops are still banging on the roof. It’s starting to drive me crazy. The sun must have come up or something because when I look outside, I can see a god-awful mess. The tent has collapsed like an old rubber and the garbage has been washed away. It looks like a battlefield, except I’m dead objective about it and cool too. I give a little giggle.

So much for digging drainage trenches, I say.
I turn to look at Kate with a loony smile but she’s not interested. There’s mud everywhere inside the car, all red and slimy, coming off in lumps and streaks every time we touch something.

You look fucking awful, she says. I know what she means. I feel like somebody has emptied their guts over me.

Let’s get out of here, I say.

So we start chucking stuff into the car, not looking at each other. We don’t muck around. We don’t want to be stuck in this turd hole a moment longer. It’s funny how things can twist around in the night. Yesterday we blew our tubes trying to get here. It was just like the stupid Garden of Eden or something, the trees and stuff and a golden sunset. But that was yesterday. Sometimes that happens.

We get back in the car. I’m driving. I turn the motor over but it doesn’t catch. That increases the tension a bit more but when I try again, it starts OK. The engine sounds very loud under the trees and it makes me jump. I get this weird feeling that I’ve disturbed something. It’s not a real feeling, like happiness or sadness, just a sense that something’s wrong. I can’t quite get a handle on it.

Anyhow, it’s enough to make me hit the gas and before I know it, the wheels are spinning and the engine’s starting to scream. Kate grabs my arm and gives me a few good thumps on my shoulder, shouting something that I can’t hear. I take my foot off the pedal. The car rests at a slight angle as if sucked into the ground. I kill the motor.

What did you do that for, you stupid fucking moron? Now we’re really stuck, says Kate.

We get out and circle the car in a clockwise direction, keeping it between us, the doors open wide like a pair of wings. I like the look of that. It looks dramatic. The rear wheels have carved out a couple of grooves in the mud, wet and smooth as if freshly polished. We’re in up to the axle.

Looks like we’re bogged, I say. Ever been bogged before?

I try to sound casual, as if being bogged is something that everybody should try now and again.
Kate says nothing.