Continued from last week…
“You gotta see this,” slurred Grabloc, showing Matt a photo on his phone—Grabloc standing side by side with a grinning man.
“Is that really…”
“Yep! It’s him! Fame didn’t go to his head. He always had time for us orcs, though he can’t hold his liquor.”
Thigspit laughed, snorting orc-whisky out his nose. This naturally set Grabloc and Matt laughing. When they finally stopped, Thigspit explained.
“He got the hiccups every time he drank, And then he’d get really crazy! Take a look at this!”
Grabloc pulled up an other picture, slightly out of focus and taken at an odd angle.
“What’s he doing? Dancing naked on the table?”
Grabloc nodded, laughing.
“I had no idea he was so…”
“Well-hung?” The three burst out laughing.
More whisky and more stories followed. Outside, the storm blew itself out, and calm descended, but none of the inhabitants of the bivvy noticed. By the end of the second bottle, the three were singing songs together and getting teary-eyed reminiscing over the death of Theoden.
Matt woke around noon with a screaming headache. He almost wished one of the orcs had buried an axe in his head—it might have felt better. He opened his eyes to find himself alone in the bivvy. All the orcs’ gear was gone. He stumbled to his feet and out the door, grimacing at the bright sunshine as he made his way to the loo. By the time he returned, his eyes had adjusted, but his head still throbbed. He sat down on a rock and looked around. There was no sign of the orcs. Two trampers were making their way up the ridge toward him. Still far away, though.
Matt went back into the bivvy and packed up the rest of his gear. As he opened his pack to shove in his sleeping bag, a piece of paper fluttered out. Crude writing was scrawled across it.
Safe travels, Matt! We enjoyed meeting you yesterday. Thanks for the chocolate and the sword! Give your boss our regards, and tell him to fuck off.
Matt rummaged around in his pack. The sword was gone. The Tim-Tams were still there.
Ten minutes later, he was on top of a nearby ridge, cell phone and Tim-Tams in hand. He hurled the package of Tim-Tams into the steep valley below, then sent a text to his boss.
Encountered orcs yesterday. Pls include single-malt scotch in next food drop.
Then he dropped down off the ridge, following the unmistakable tracks of a pair of gumboots beside a pair of Merrells. He hoped he’d be able to catch up.