Gonzo Gets Dared

Submitted into Contest #94 in response to: Start your story with someone accepting a dare.... view prompt

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Adventure Friendship Funny

I couldn’t believe it. I was pacing back and forth, ready to explode, my fingers stuffed in my mouth. Finally, I turned around and confronted Gonzo.

“You’re going to do what?” It was muffled because I still had my hands in my mouth. I pulled them out.

“You’re going to do what?”

“I’m going to surf down the side of the volcano right after it erupts.”  

He shovelled out that grin, the irritating one that made you want to slap him hard upside that shiny, bald head. However, it was a mismatch. Gonzo stood a shade over six feet and was locked in at two-hundred pounds of solid muscle; there was not an ounce of fat on that boy. I was a paltry five-foot three (four if I stood on my very tippy toes) and clocked in at about a hundred-and-twenty-five pounds. I called it my fighting weight.

“Are you crazy?”

“No, I’m Gonzo,” he held his hand out. His idea of wit.

“You’re impossible. The authorities will throw you in jail; this time for good.”

“I googled it and there is no law that says you can’t.”

“How about the law of the universe, the law of the jungle, the law of nature that states your a dumb ass for even thinking such a thing?”

“Remember, you dared me.”

The urge for physical violence against/at this human Sequoia was even greater. 

“You seem upset?”

I exploded and attacked him thumping that barrel chest with my tiny fists that did nothing to hurt him. The big gorilla didn’t even flinch.

He just gently pushed me away at arm’s length.

I swung at air and once exhausted quit sweating and so angry that the only words that would tumble out of my mouth would have been like dry bullets. It took me a couple of minutes to get everything together.

“Okay, if you want to go and kill yourself then go.”

He laughed and gave me a playful shove that almost sent me tumbling. 

“I’ve got it all figured out.”

That famous line. It made me want to beat on his chest all over again this time with a hammer.

“Sure, you got it all figured out like the time we were ten and you jumped off the shed roof and into the ten foot pile of snow and disappeared. The only thing sticking out was your toque.”

“I remember that, it was a gas.”

“You almost died, stupid.”

He laughed like danger was not a worthy opponent to his self-imaginary greatness.

“Or like the time you were riding that mini-bike in that factory and ran into the forklift?”

He rubbed his jaw, but still smiled.

“Yeah, did you enjoy sipping your pureed food through a straw for six weeks?”

“I’ve got it all figured out.”

“I need some fresh air.”

I stormed out of the motel room.

My fiancé Jennifer (also Gonzo’s sister) was doing a nursing stint in Hawaii and had sent the two of us airplane tickets.  

We had been sightseeing like eager, salivating tourists and noticed a lot of commotion because one of the volcanoes was going to erupt. It wasn’t going to be some major catastrophe Hollywood disaster movie, but proved to be exciting especially for two guys who were from Illinois one of the flattest parts of the continental United States.

I looked at the volcano and thought of what a natural wonder to behold. The fact that it was going to erupt and ooze lava down its sides was going to be breathtaking.

Gonzo looked at that volcano and saw an opportunity to attempt non-committal suicide. Plus, I had dared him.

“I want to look inside of that volcano.”

“Why don’t you just jump in?”

He laughed.

“I’m not a human sacrifice.”

“Even better, why don’t you surf down the side of it with the lava chasing you?”

His eyes lit up like the flash in a lightning storm. The sweat formed on his top lip. He rubbed those large, muscular hands together like he was trying to warm them over a roaring fire.

I had forgotten how to talk around him. You had to choose your words carefully. Once someone had dared him to be strapped to the roof of the car facing forward and go screaming down the highway. I voiced my concerns (like that was going to change his impossible stubborn mind) and the police stopped them. The office could not believe the level of stupidity that went into that prank.

“That is one of the best ideas you’ve ever had.”

“I was joking.”

But that daredevil mind was racing way ahead of any clarity or common sense that I could toss his way.

“Come on, Gonzo, you don’t want to do that.”

“It’s the ultimate thrill ride.”

“What if you break your leg or arm?”

“The lava is slow moving and maneuvering down the slope ahead of it is easy as falling out of bed.”

“What if you fall and crack your skull open. Remember the time-

“This is going to be huge. They’ll name a volcano after me.”

“Jennifer will kill us.”

He turned and looked down at me like an angry bull.

“She won’t even know about it.”

I smiled weakly.

“She will when she turns on the news or checks her phone or someone tells her.”

“It’ll be too late by then. Besides, it wasn’t my idea. It was yours and you dared me.”

Jerk!

“Okay, go ahead, go be a big dumb ass. When you die, you won’t be able to go to the wedding and give your sister away.”

Their father had died about three years ago and she had asked her big brother if he would give the bride away. I thought the tough son of a gun was going to cry.

He pondered that last statement for a long second.

“You make a real good point, Short Round.”

I hated that name.

“So, you’re going to drop the idea?”

“No, can’t do that. It is simple logic: I might never get the opportunity again to ski down a volcano with lava chasing me.”

“And you think that walking your sister down the aisle is going to happen once a month?”

“There are things that a man has to do in life.”

“Tempting fate and missing his sister’s wedding is not one of them.”

“Tempting fate has nothing to do with it. It is to rise to the challenge and slay the beast with courage and cunning, It’s like cutting the head off a dragon.”

“And how many dragon heads have you cut off?”

“Literally none; metaphorically a thousand, and tomorrow, I am going to make a thousand and one.”

I walked the streets for a long time. It seemed every time I looked up, that volcano rumbled speaking words only I could hear: “You dared your best friend, your future brother-in-law to do something stupid and now I’m going to slay the challenger.”

It was about the time his sister was getting off of the shift and I found myself standing in front of the hospital.

She came out with a friend and looked up.

“Dylan, what are you dong here? Where’s my brother?”

“The first thing, I want you to know that it was my fault that I dared him.”

Her face froze and the friend looked concerned.

“Is everything okay?” Her friend looked puzzled.

“What did you dare him to do?”

“We were sightseeing and there was a crowd around this volcano-

“You dared him to jump in the volcano?”

“Who would jump in a volcano?” Her friend looked at both of us curiously.

She turned to her friend.  

“My brother is a little crazy.”

“He’s planning to ski down the side of the volcano after it erupts to beat out the lava.”

“Dylan, how could you?”

“I wasn’t thinking.”

“Where is he right now?”

“Far as I know, back at the motel room.”

“Can you give us a ride?”

“Sure, no problem,” said Ailani. She was a pretty girl, a native Hawaiian with dark eyes and a nice smile.

When we arrived at the motel room Gonzo was gone.

“Where do you think he went?”

“I am not sure.”

Jennifer seemed too nervous, on edge to think straight.

“You don’t think that he went to—

We rushed out of the hotel room with Jennifer still in her nursing uniform.

The volcano rumbled and there was a crowd around it. Once again, it seemed to speak to me in minarets.  

“So you brought his sister along this time? Good choice, now you can both watch me smother him in hot, piercing lava.”

“We have to find him.”

I looked at her and the island of Honolulu never seemed to immense and deep.

“He could be anywhere in the naked city.”

She shook her head.

“Let’s go back to the motel room and wait.”

We went back and waited staying up all night with fits of sleep washing over lasting no more than thirty minutes at the longest stretch. I jumped every time my eyes would open again.

We awoke the next morning to sirens and all kinds of commotion.

The two of us jumped out of bed; Gonzo had not returned over night.

I ran to the window and looked outside.  

“The volcano is going to erupt,” I said my mouth going dry and my body going numb.

“Let’s go. If he-

I was glad she didn’t finish the sentence. 

In a few minutes, we stood with the rest of the crowd. My stomach rumbled and my energy was sapped, my nerves a jumbled mess because of the lack of that morning coffee. My body was chronic without it.

I squinted and looked up the side of the volcano and there was no one at the top. My chest was no longer so tight and the dryness in my mouth started to go away.

There was this incredible loud rumble and an explosion that shook the ground and almost knocked us down. Jennifer and I held on to each other so hot to fall down.

“See, he wasn’t that stupid.”

She shot me a glare that could have shaved a few months off my life.

And then someone screamed: “Hey, look at that guy!”

It was Gonzo. The big dummy was right on top of the hill waiting for the pouring lava to get a little closer. The figure was tiny but who else would be crazy enough to pull such a stunt?

“He’s going to die and it’s all your fault; you dared him.”

Some in the crowd cheered.  

What a sadistic crowd, I thought. They were probably descendants of those that cheered when the Christians were fed to the lions.

All eyes were focused on the dude coning down on the side of the volcano with the hot lava lapping at his heels like a ferocious dog chasing an intruder out of the backyard.

“He’s crazy.” Jennifer was crying. I reached for her hand and to my surprise she took it.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered softly.

There was a huge hush over the crowd as the guy almost fell.

“That guy has no idea what he’s doing.”  

Jennifer and I looked at each other for a couple of seconds and then turned around. The relief that washed over us can never be overestimated.

It was Gonzo, standing there in his new Hawaiian shirt, shorts, sandals with a lai around his neck.

“Oh, Luther (his real name) you didn’t do anything stupid.” His sister hugged him.

“What made you change your mind? I dared you and you never turn down a dare.” I looked at him in disbelief.

“Well, it was pretty simple. I made a promise that I would give you away on your wedding day, and you know I never break a promise. So, after you guys get married, I’m coming back and will take up your dare.”

Jennifer turned to me and smirked. “I say we delay the wedding a few years.”

“I dare you,” I smirked back.

May 22, 2021 01:03

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