The River of Lava
But then things turned for the worse. We came to a trail-map dispenser, but the dispenser was empty! What kind of a hellhole was this?
It turned out to be hell in another way. We came to a churning river of lava. We had to get across, but how? As I was wracking my brain, I noticed two sticks that were shaped like stilts. Then it hit me: Why not use them as stilts?
Then I hit on the obvious solution: Why not jump across the river of lava? But I would have to practice, until I was able to jump the distance.
It turns out that running and jumping is a lot harder than it looks. I don’t think I was ever able to actually leave the ground. I was ready to give up. Would I be stuck in Hawaii forever?
I saw Don biting on a fallen vine. Oh, man, having a shrunken head is as bad as having a kid.
I went over and tried to get the vine out of his mouth, but he held on. I couldn’t pry it loose. I picked up the vine and began swinging it around like a lasso, thinking I could sling him off. But he held on.
The vine slipped out of my hands and flew across the lava, becoming stuck in a tree. I tugged and tugged, but I couldn’t get it free.
Suddenly I got a brilliant idea: Why not swing across the lava river? And that’s what I did. After I landed, Don let loose and dropped into my hands.
It’s funny. It was almost like Don had planned it.
With Don tucked safely away in my pocket, I resumed my trek along the trail.
I came to an old man standing in front of a strange little hovel. He had long white hair and a knobby walking stick. He looked like he had many stories to tell, so I kept going past him.
I came to the top of Aloha Ridge. There, in the distance, was the shimmering sea. I took Don out for a look. Soon we would be back home in America.
Home. The memories flooded back. The crack of the bat and the crack of your nose when another fan slugged you. The taste of that first big lick from an ice cream cone before handing it to your little nephew. Going for a stroll in the park, even if the sign said “No Strolling.” Laughing at whatever your boss says, in case it was a joke. Teaching a boy to fish and teaching him to run from a ranger. The wonder of getting a new job and the wonder of getting fired. Going mushroom hunting, and blasting them with your shotgun. Enjoying the crisp fall air with a big bowl of Rice Crispies. Going to Carlsbad Caverns and running out with a fake bat on your neck.
I wondered if Don had memories of home. Did he remember that I wrecked his car or that I owed him money? And would he agree that since he was now shrunken the amount I owed him should also be shrunken?
Who can know the mind of Don?