Written by J.B.
“So this is what quicksand feels like,” thought Taymor. He was waist-deep in mud and sinking slowly. With two miles of jungle between him and the resort, yelling for help would waste needed energy. His legs were completely pinned beneath the weight of the slick gray mud, and even with his machete he couldn’t reach any of the vines or underbrush he had been hiking through all morning.
Judging his rate of descent, he figured he had another half hour before his arms would be under. He needed a plan. His three companions were no help so far, they just stood out of reach, wagging their tails and barking.
Taymor had been on the island for a couple of months now. He had been asked down to do some consulting work at a friend’s vacation resort off the north coast of Honduras.
So far he had re-organized the bar and restaurant operations, setting up systems for inventory and for ordering supplies from the mainland. He was enjoying the work, and he liked most of the 30 permanent staff members.
The resort was truly lovely, situated on a hillside, overlooking the Caribbean, and totally surrounded by tropical jungle.
Taymor had plenty of time to hike, swim and walk along the beach. The small island had no roads, and only two little towns, so in the evenings the main source of entertainment was to chat with the guests, drink rum and watch the sunset.
This is where Taymor would one day meet Gertrude, the future Mrs. Sweetwater-Farhang, the love of his life. But that’s another adventure.
One of the island’s drawbacks was its lack of fresh water. There were underground springs, but they were hard to locate and dried up during part of the year. The resort had a large cement cistern for water storage that was fed by a pipeline from the nearest spring, a mile away. It was hard to see the water level inside.
Taymor decided to tackle the water problem. First he had to determine the current water usage. When the water was very low in the cistern, he asked a maintenance man to drain it and paint a white line every foot so they could monitor the water level.
The next day he walked up the hill only to find the white lines painted on the outside of the cement block cistern.
Making a mental note to be more specific with his instructions in the future, Taymor planned his day.
He would hike over the north ridge and search for a new source of fresh water. He knew of a small creek that he could follow uphill. Manybe they’d name his discovery “Taymor Springs.” He took his machete, a canteen, two mangos, a Snickers bar and the resort dogs.
Hours later, the creek got smaller and smaller until it was just some muddy water bubbling up from the ground. As he bent down to inspect it, the top soil suddenly collapsed, and Taymor was trapped in a miniature swamp.
The mud was up to his chest now and Taymor knew it was time for a desperate move. He called to the dogs to get their attention, then he threw his machete over their heads. They loved to play fetch, and his plan depended on one of them bringing back the “stick.”
Coco got to the machete first and romped back to the mudhole with it, but, sensing danger, stopped short of Taymor’s hand. As the dog turned to run away, Taymor used the last of his strength to lunge out, grab Coco’s tail and hold on for dear life.
First printed in REVUE Dec. 30–Jan. 13, 1995