*One entry per person. Winner will be notified by REC and official results posted on August 28.
STORY AT BOTTOM
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So this one time, I received an urgent call for assistance from my childhood friend Blanchette. It seems her small farm on the edge of Austria’s Black Forest had been overrun by a trio of wild boar. Uprooting her crops and trampling her garden, they had proven to be more than just pests. Whenever she attempted to defend her land, they simply receded, mockingly, back into the forest. I purchased my plane ticket to Bavaria, packed my Vertx 5018 Gamut Checkpoint Zero Dark Navy backpack, and headed for the airport.
As I stood in line at the gate, I couldn’t help but be amused by the fellow ahead of me. Apparently, there had been some misunderstanding with security and as he was hustled off to a side room, I heard him exclaim, “Strip what...?” I gave the security agent a knowing look and a “psshhh, newbs” and then laid my Hults Bruk Aneby Hatchet 20” and Benchmade 9400 Osborne on the conveyor belt as I stepped through the metal detector. After nearly 9 hours of unspeakable unpleasantness; I had acquired a sore posterior, a new found respect for TSA thoroughness and one new dear friend. I was then allowed to check my backpack and board the plane.
As we descended through the dreary rain clouds into Salzburg International Airport, I prepared myself to meet a friend I hadn’t seen for many years. A bit of an insecure ugly duckling, it had taken all of my assertiveness, charm and bravado to win her over. And until we parted company, we were truly inseparable. As I stood in baggage claims, I was tapped on the shoulder. Turning, I saw the clasp of a crimson cloak and looked up to see Blanchette removing her hood. The memories flooded back of our childhood days...riding on her shoulders, being hoisted into the branches of our tree fort, watching her fight off my bullies, hanging me off the dock by my ankles to check the fish traps...and even the joy of our graduation day, where she flung me into the air along with my cap. Ah, good times.
After the short drive back to her home, we settled in and reminisced for the evening before turning in for the night. It would be a big day tomorrow. As dawn broke, I awoke to find her sitting on the edge of my bed with a grin on her face. Taking note of my puzzled look, she reached under the bed and brought out my cappello alpino and lederhosen from our early days. “Up and at em,” she said. Why she kept them, I’ll never know, but I was amazed and quite proud that they still fit.
After a quick breakfast, we packed our gear and set off for Black Forest. As we left, her neighbor’s son, Peter, gave a stern warning that we should beware of the wolves. Noting my concerned look, Blanchette replied, “Don’t worry. It’s nothing. He says that all time.” It wasn’t long before we discovered the trail of our quarry and tracked a single boar into a large grass stand where it had bedded for the night. Retrieving my Fatwood Fire Steel, I was able to create an ember and after much blowing and panting on my tinder created enough smoke to fool the boar into thinking the grass was on fire and it ran out into the arms of Blanchette who quickly hog-tied it, ending its reign of terror.
A short ways away, we found yet another trail and came upon a second boar who had bedded down in a wooden brush pile. Once again, out came the Fatwood Fire Steel, and soon this boar was dispatched as quickly as its brother. The third boar, however, proved to be more problematic. It had nested down in stone cave that was as hard as brick. No matter how much smoke we blew into the cave he would not come out.
We decided to take a break and eat our landjäger as we pondered our dilema. Retrieving my Jagdstück from my pack, I placed it on a nearby tree to wake us from a short nap. It was then that I saw the shadowy figure in the brush. We were being stalked by a very large wolf with very bad intentions! We backed slowly to a nearby tree and Blanchette pushed me up onto a branch before scrambling up herself. The wolf lunged at us again and again, but out of reach, we were safe for the moment. With a sigh of relief, I reached to straighten my cappello alpino and lost my balance. Nearly falling into the open jaws of the wolf, I was saved momentarily as my lederhosen caught on a snag and left me dangling inches from a horrible death. At my request, Blanchette who had managed to grab my pack before leaping into the tree, handed me my Fenix PD35 Tac light and Benchmade 9400 Osborne knife. Suspended by my lederhosen, the wedgie was unbearable. I activated my light and blinded the wolf before slicing my suspenders allowing me to fall free. By blinding the wolf, I figured I’d have enough time to join the boar in the cave. But as luck would have it, no longer in control of the ride height of my shorts, my lederhosen crashed to my ankles and I tumbled to the ground...a victim of my own fashion sense.
Losing no time the wolf pounced, clawed feet pinning my shoulders to the ground, hot breath in my face, white daggers of teeth inches from my neck. It was now or never, if Blanchette were to save me, now was the time. I heard her leap from the tree and the clop of her size 14 feet hitting the ground hard. Running at full tilt she pulled her Ka-Bar Forged Wrench Knife 425 High Carbon Stainless Steel and leapt upon this villainous she-wolf. Landing square on the wolf’s back she let out a mighty warrior's yell and raising her arms above her head in preparation to plunge her knife into the wolf's neck...she suddenly rolled off her back and onto the ground while laughing hysterically. It was then that the wolf's vicious snarl turned to a grin and suddenly I recognized Capitolina, my old friend and surrogate mother, who had raised my sister and I from infants until we were seven years of age, when we were adopted by Wheresmeine Leiderhosen and... wait, what...what?