We paddle and splash away and start to distance ourselves from the catcalls of Mike Fink and co.
“If we put our head-stat to good use,” the Weenerman growls, “we can pull this race out.
I never knew you to be that keen, I remark, Excepting the times you drew a ‘walk’ to first base and tap-danced all the way there.”
The Weenerman shrugs, “There were cameras, I had to make it look good.”
And then I notice a Funny thing happen on the Too Much. The lashings on an outer planking is water-logged and then comes apart like wet cotton. the plank pulls off into the stream, and breaks off and drifts away from us on the skiff.
“Umm, WeenerMan, you’d better have a look,” I say cautiously.
“A plank comes off?” he asks.
“Yep,” I answer.
Samoe over on my side,” HM WeenerMan comments, “And now we just lost a keg.”
I glance over to the side of the skiff HM is paddling, and sure enough the lashings are soaking and splitting and then the planks and kegs peel away from the skiff and float out into the stream.
The process is being duplicated by my side of the skiff.
“All in an orderly fashion,” HM WeenerMan observes, “You have to admire that in a prank.”
WeenerMan,” I frown, “I really don’t want to take an unscheduled bath.”
“GadZooks! You are correct!” the WeenerMan pronounces, “I’ve had mine for this month.”
We watch in amazed aghast as the boards and lashings soak and peel off one by one.
Then we hear commotion behind us and we look back to see the aggressive approach of Mike Fink and his crew in the practice keelboat.
Mike fink from his command chair would bark or ,”POLE.”
And two gys at the front would stick their keel-poles dwon to the creek bed and then start walking back to the stern. Pushing the keel-boat along as they went.
The practice keel-boat was overtaking us at a pretty good clip.
Once the first polers reached the stern, two others on a gangway one level off hopped off at the front and got ready.
Mke fink would yell, “POLE,” and the process repeated.
A man stood behind Mkike Fink and ran the tiller.
‘Howdy boys,” Mike Fink tips his hat as he started to go by.
“Seemes that you got a little less boat than you had ten minutes ago,” he smiles generously.
“Appears that way,” HM WeenerMan shrugs, “Sometimes that’s how it goes,” he nods as one of the last planks peel off and floats off to the side.
Mike fink snaps his fingers, “Well there you go, I’ve had the crew training so hard, we must have plumb forgot to wax and waterproof the twine we use to lash the planks down. My many apologies.”
The WeenerMan grins ironically, “I salute a Master Amongst Pranksters.”
“Just a Natural Born River Rat, Mike Fink grins, “Don’t worry none, once we cross the finish line, we’ll be right back and fish you fellows out of this creek, got my word on it,” then Mike Fink turns serious, “POLE,” he commands, and the Mike Fink training Keel boat vaults down the river at its electric pace.”
I scoot my crate over as more planks and kegs peel off, “Well, we’d better come up with something quick, or its going to be ‘rub-a-dub-dub.”
Thinking quickly, the Weenerman unknots his boots, pulls out the laces, and quickly knots the middle plank around the lashing bracket on the lead keg.
“What kind of shoelaces do you have on?” he shouts back.
“Tennis shoes,” I answer.
“Those All-Weather ones the guy was selling out of the back of his fishing van?” HM inquires.
“Said they were all weather,” I shrug, “Said when they were dry it was sunny, wet raining, all white, snowing. All-Weather.”
“I know that,” the WeenerMan shouts, “They’ll have to do, pull them out and secure this center plank to the mounting bracket on the keg.”
I follow HM’s instructions and get the plank securely lashed onto the keg before the last few planks and kegs peel and drift away, leaving the Weenerman and me stranded on the sole remaining center plank.
I start to splash, as I dig in with my paddle.
“What are you trying?” HM Weenerman inquires.
“If we hustle, we still might be able to catch those Finks,” I growl.
“Really?” HM asks.
“Well, at least we can give it a good try,” I grit my teeth.
“Can’t be sure how long your shoe strings will hold up, the Weener shakes his head negatively, “Our best bet is to take our time, keep the skiff pointed in the right direction and let the current carry us down the Creek.”
“The Too Much strikes again,” I concede,
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