"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning." ~Louis L'Amour
I woke up with a shot. Literally. There was a shotgun in camp, one meant to be used as last ditch protection from bears, not as a vicious method of waking everyone up. BANG! That's how my morning began. Then as if the fired shot wasn't brutal enough, Tex decided to bellow, in all his faux authority. “IT'S TIME TO GET UP! LET'S GO! WAKE UP!” Ouf, it was going to be that sort of day.
I looked around my tent, it was was barely daylight, my eyes still blurred with sleep. Socks, then pants, t-shirt, then sweater... boots, FUCK, I left them outside last night. Please, please, pray God, it didn't rain last night. Unzip the tent, feel around, grab one boot, bring it into the tent, stick hand in it, cold, but not wet. Phew. It would have sucked to have had wet feet all day. I lucked out, this time.
Boots on, tent zipped back up, I walked into the bush and had a long morning piss. Stretched, cracked my neck, yawned, rubbed my eyes, I made my way sluggishly towards the mess tent.
The frost was thick, some of it still hung in the air. The sky, however, was blue above the morning mist. It was going to be a nice day. Still, people have no business being up this early. 6:30 am is an ungodly hour, the proof is in all the vacant faces. Yawn.
A cigarette already lit, I made a beeline towards the coffee urn. I figured it was the best place to hangout. My body was not awake enough to pang for an omelet or French toast. Caffeine, however, I always have a pang for that lovely stuff, even the horribly grainy stuff that I am drinking right now. Coffee so bad that you need to floss after drinking it. Famous only for its ability to keep you regular. When was the last time I had a shit? Have I had shit in Alberta yet? YIKES!
The mess tent began to fill up. Some people ate, but most just stood around looking for instruction. The only staff member in the tent was Tex. He was trying, but hopelessly failing to show some 'goddamned rookie' how to start a fire in the airtight. It was obvious that Tex was not an experienced fire starter. I debated stepping in and showing Tex up, but thought better of it. Tex was doing a fine job embarrassing himself, he didn't need my help.
I poured another coffee, walked towards the kitchen tent. Might as well put some food in my belly. I grabbed some scrabbled eggs and a coupla pieces of French toast. Reentered the mess tent, looked around, spotted Sheldon, Ed, and Leeann (tried not to wonder how her night went). I walked towards them and sat down.
"Morning folks.” I say, stuffing my mouth with scrabbled eggs. They really could use more salt. “Pass the salt,” I say in Ed's direction. He passes the salt my way. “Thanks.” I liberally season my rubbery scrambled eggs.
How'd you sleep?” Sheldon asks, ever-friendly, such is his lot.
"Alright, I didn't much like the way they woke us up though. That probably took 10 years off my life.” The French toast was no better, even with too much syrup.
"I am going to bring that up with Dean as soon as I see him. There was no need for that.” Ed said, anger in his eyes. He was not a happy camper.
"Still no sign of any staff members except for Tex, and I am not sure if that poor bastard sleeps.” I say. I don't dislike Tex, I swear. I will grow to love him.
"Maybe the rest of them have learned to sleep through gunshots.” Ed was still steamed.
"Nah, they are staff, they figure that they are privileged, they will sleep as long as possible. Fuckers.” These early mornings do nothing for my mood.
"Maybe they are having a meeting.” Says Leeann. TURNCOAT! She is on their side now.
Derek was the next staff member to enter the mess tent. He had a plate of food, he sat by us, rather than at the empty staff table.
"Peoples.” He nodded. There were various return nods, a few mumbled hi's.
"What the fuck was up with that gunshot?” Asked Ed.
"I dunno? I guess that's how Marco likes to wake people up. I will talk to him about it. There has to be a safer, gentler way to get folks up in the morning.” Derek picked at his plate, obviously disappointed with its content.
"There has to be, that was a horrible way to wake up.” Ed was cooling down, he was almost back to his normal, goofy self.
"It won't happen again.” Derek abandoned his breakfast, stood up, dumped his nearly full plate into the garbage can next to him, and lit a smoke.