Marooned – 15

Marooned in Crater Lake by Alfred Powers

 At last, he heard the exhaust of a motorboat in the direction where the trail led up from the lake to the Lodge. The staccato beats at first sounded a great distance away, but soon the chug-chug grew closer and friendly calls were added to the sounds of navigation.

“Where are you?” he heard. “Where are you?” repeated frequently and loudly.

“Here,” answered Jim. “Here over here!”

The boat came up to the little beach, and Jim, still holding the kite-string, greeted the caretaker of the Lodge.

“It’s a good thing you flew that kite,” Jim’s rescuer told him. “I never dreamed anybody was down here. I thought it was a bird at first. But I looked over there several times from where I was working at the Lodge and thought it wasn’t quite natural for a bird to do like that to stay high up in the air above the lake in about the same place, not moving much and sort of hanging there like it was held up by a string from the sky. A smaller bird kept right underneath it. So I came down to the edge of the rim and got a closer look. You can imagine how surprised I was when I saw it was a kite and that the second bird was the kite’s tail. I couldn’t figure it out. The only way I could explain it was that maybe somebody had left it flying without my noticing it before. I took a squint through the field-glasses that I brought along and saw pieces of paper mounting up to it, and remembered how we used to do that when I was a boy. So I reckoned somebody was down here at the botton end of the kite-string, who was signaling and who needed help pretty bad. It made me kind of shiver when I realized it was probably some one everybody had forgotten and left at some part of the lake where he couldn’t get back to the trail. So I beat it down here faster than I ever did before. Jim did you say your name is? Well, turn loose the string and let ‘er go. It ’11 probably land over on the other side of the lake somewhere. It saved your life and no mistake, for you might never have got out of here. Jump into the boat, Jim, and we’ll go. There’s a warm fire in the fireplace at the Lodge and something to eat. You must be about frozen here, put on my coat and I expect you could eat a whole ham.”

“It sure was lucky” he went on, as he started the motor-boat, “it sure was lucky you flew that kite. But how did you make it, Jim? Where did you get your stickem? When I was a boy we used to make paste out of flour and water. Did you have a tube of glue or paste in your pocket, maybe?”

“No, I used postage-stamps,” said Jim; “one-cent stamps,” he added, as though two-cent stamps and the multiple image of George Washington might not have had the same result at all. “You see,” he explained, “Ben Franklin’s picture on the stamps suggested  the idea of a kite to me.”

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