Chapter I

It was a beautiful day in early winter; you know when the weather is not too hot or too cold. It had been over a year since our little group has gotten together. It is funny that when you are kids you vow to get together every week, but jobs and life take over. Now we are together, now we can spend some time bonding with each other and nature. Perhaps, I should introduce you to the group. First, there is my elder brother, John Mercer. He is the oldest amongst us and in many ways our leader. He is thirty-six years old, married, one kid, and he works as a bricklayer. Second, there is our cousin, Mark Ludlow. Mark is the same age as me, well I am five months older, and he is a salesman. He is one of those guys who could sell an Eskimo a refrigerator. Third, on my list is Michael Langley. He is Mark's friend and he is our accountant. He saves us money with the taxman, so we keep him around. Mike and John do not see eye to eye on most things, which make our camping trips more exciting. Last, I should introduce myself. My name is Ralph Shelley; I am single, no children, and I work any dead end job I can get. It was my ambition to one day be a great writer, but things did not work out that way.

After a few hours on our four wheelers, we arrived at our cabin. I was proud of this cabin, because we all helped to build it. It was the place we could go and be men, just like our forefathers. Our place in the woods was beautiful. There was a lake nearby, plenty of wild game to shoot, and the air was clean. We parked our four wheelers beside the camp and unloaded the coolers. We had a generator, so we could run lights and a refrigerator. I know what you must be thinking, how can four guys bond with nature with electric lights and a refrigerator? I'll tell you straight bonding with nature is fun, but piss warm beer is never any good. It was evening by the time we got the beer and supplies unloaded.

"Did anyone split any wood?" asked Mike.

"Yeah, build a fire, you little sissy," replied John.

"You know I am not very good that sort of thing."

"I know that's why I called you a sissy. Ralphie, build this little girl a fire," spoke John as he opened a bottle of beer.

The fire building always fell to me. In moments, I had the fire built and we all gathered around to watch the flames. I swear watching a fire burn is way more exciting than television. We watched the fire in complete silence. It had captured a part of our souls, bidding us to watch the show it performed. For billions and billions of years, fire has been performing this show for mankind. It causes a man to think about our long lost ancestors. I can just imagine myself being a caveman and watching the fire for the very first time. Did that first caveman realize how it would change the course of human civilization? Probably not, after all, he was just a caveman.

"There is something romantic about a fire. You know some day I would love to bring my wife here and make love to her in front of this fire place," spoke Mike with a dreamy voice.

John took a swallow of beer and said, "Damnit to hell, you just spoiled my mood."

"Why, John?" asked Mike in a puzzled voice.

"Here I was enjoying something natural and beautiful and what do you do? You ruin it by being dirty minded. Why is it that you college boys can't think of anything besides sex? What the hell do those professors teach you guys anyway?"

Mark and I grinned at each other. Old John had pushed all of the right buttons with Mike. We loved to watch these two debate. I took a sip of beer and prepared for the match.

"First of all, Johnny, sex is just as natural as this fire and just as beautiful."

"Sex is fun, but there is nothing beautiful about it."

"Why do you say that?"

"If it were beautiful, why do so many people do it in the dark?"

"The reason people have sex in the dark is, because some people are ashamed of nature and her gifts."

John took a swallow of beer and laughed.

"You are a fine one to talk about nature, you little hen-pecked sissy. You cannot make a move without consulting your wife and begging her permission. But, I know how to treat a woman. I run my household like a real man should. I tell my wife to get me a beer and she does. I tell her to jump, she says how high. I tell her to shit and she squats and says how much. When I want to have sex with her, we go to the bedroom and have it in the dark like God intended."

"God? I hate to inform you, Johnny, but the Deity is a woman. Therefore, you should say as the Goddess intended."

John nearly choked on his beer.

"You pencil dicked little sissy, your argument can't support itself. It is easy to prove that the Deity is male. Consider childbirth, would the Deity do that to its own kind? And look how inferior women are to men. Men are stronger, smarter, and we piss standing up. These things make men the superior sex."

"How can you be so sure that men are smarter?"

"We run things, don't we? Men are picked to be the Pope and to be the President of the USA. Those are the highest offices in the world and they are held by men."

"So? Men run things, because that twisted sort of thinking has held women back. For generations men have been convincing women that they are inferior, but in truth they are our superiors."

Finally, I rolled my eyes and spoke, "So, Mark, are you going to do any hiking this weekend?"

"Yes, Ralph, I believe that I will."

"It is getting late, Mark, why don't we turn in and get a good night's sleep."

Without another word, we left. The argument ended before it turned physical. Mike might be as smart as John, but physically John would destroy him.