Marooned – 11

Marooned in Crater Lake by Alfred Powers

 Laying aside his remaining sandwich for the next morning’s consumption, he smoothed out the newspaper that had wrapped it and its fellows. In one place a jelly stain had soaked through, moistening and weakening the fabric beyond all use, but this was in such a position that an unharmed area of paper two feet square could be secured. He placed the paper on a dry rock. He picked up the pine board, whittled off some shavings to test its soundness, and placed it beside the paper. To the collection on the rock he added his hundred feet of trolling line, his smaller fishing-line of fifty feet, and the leader from both lines. On top of all he placed the little book of stamps as the crowning jewel of his possessions. If any one had been there to see, he would have wondered what purpose this miscellany was meant to serve.

The first thing Jim did was to untwist the three strands of his trolling line, securing three hundred feet of cord instead of one hundred. In the same way, he got one hundred feet from his fifty feet of small line. The untwisting of the kinky and cork-screwing strands completed, he surveyed the resulting four hundred feet of stout cord, but regarded it as only a good beginning toward his complete needs.

He pulled off his high-topped boots, removed his long woolen socks, put his boots back on bare feet, and began unraveling the socks. These yielded two big balls of thread. But as he tested the strength of the yarn he was not satisfied. Reversing the process of the fishing lines, he twisted the two strands tightly together until the two balls of yarn formed a double cord. This had cut the length in half, which wasn’t enough for his purpose. He drafted still another garment he took off his sweater and reduced it likewise to twine, which he doubled and twisted as in the case of the yarn from the socks. At last he had, all told, slightly more than two thousand feet of string. This cordage manufacture, however, had consumed the whole day. Darkness came and forbade further labor.

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