It’s a party? Since when did B.S. have a house by a … lake? It’s like Robert Downey Jr.’s house from Iron Man but crossed with a rustic cabin. There’s about a dozen people here. Everyone seems to be waking up, slightly hung over. It is too early for this group of alcoholics to be waking up. And who is this practically elfin woman that clings to B.S.’s arm and keeps telling me to do things. Her voice isn’t shrill so much as it’s just high-pitched. The pre-dawn grey comes into the windows and though everyone starts in whispers, they get louder as the morning progresses. The sun gets brighter but never gets orange or pink or even yellow.
B.S. leads us all down to the docks out back behind his house. A flamboyant park ranger is loading everyone up into canoes. He gestures broadly across the expanse of water, suggesting that through the fog lies an island, that we’ll be paddling out to there and setting up camp. Six to a canoe, he explains. Matched pairs all around. Except for me. But I’m fumbling with my pack. Loading and unloading and reloading the bag. No one else is bringing a bag, they’re all just jumping into their assigned boats. B.S. high-pitched elfin girlfriend (if she is, in fact, his girlfriend) tells me to stop screwing around. “Just bring it all.” By “all” she of course means the bag filled with camera equipment — a few thousand dollars worth of lenses and accessories. I had packed a small point-and-shoot into a waterproof case for the paddle across the lake but here I’m being told to bring everything.
At her insistence, I load the bag into the canoe and get in as well. We start to paddle across but not 50 meters out from the dock behind B.S.’s house and something over turns the boat. A monsoon on a lake? Some kind of cryptozoological creature? The bag floats but it’s not waterproof. Neither are my lungs.