Rating: G
Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski
Thanks: Many thanks to Sage for beta, and apologies to Jerome K. Jerome
Notes: For the Genre Redux challenge on ds_flashfiction


Two Men on a Sled
(to say nothing of the wolf)

by china_shop
with apologies to Jerome K. Jerome, whose words I have shamelessly appropriated and adjusted.



CHAPTER I.

Instructions on building a campfire. — The genealogical history of three First Nations tribes. — The matter of my partnership. — A brief indiscretion with a superior officer. — Nature's call. — The migration patterns of arctic terns. — Ray and I agree that we are overworked, and need rest. — Ray suggests an adventure. — No supermodels in arctic circle. — Sir John Franklin as role model. — Diefenbaker lodges an objection. — Motion carried by majority of two to one.


CHAPTER II.

Plans discussed. — Pleasures of "camping-out" on fine nights. — Ditto, cold stormy nights. — Nocturnal habits of hedgehogs. — Supplies acquired. — Allegations of lupine misconduct. — The team is assembled. — Trouble in the ranks. — Discord transposed. — Sunrise. — Categorical denial of possibility of death. — We set out.


CHAPTER III.

Seven dogs lose their sense of direction and the sled goes backwards. — Diefenbaker takes charge. — Snow shoe techniques. — Ray is upset. — Practical application of the periodic table of elements. — The absence of a ghost. — Belated advice for Franklin, from Ray. — Something Shakespeare said. — Advantages of modern society. Disagreement over definitions of "modern".


CHAPTER IV.

The food question. — Objections to paraffin oil as an atmosphere. — Degrees of frozen, from frosted around the edges to hard all the way through. — Ray wears three union suits and six pairs of socks. — Standard procedure. — David Bowie had the right idea. — Soup. — Awful behaviour of Diefenbaker. — Postponing the inevitable. — We retire to rest.


CHAPTER V.

Attack of a recalcitrant tent: one wounded. — Dubious contents of a first aid kit of undisclosed origin. — "Weather forecast" met with skepticism. — Our luggage. — Depravity of the wolf. — Two hundred and nineteen species of fish before breakfast. — We drive off in great style, and promptly capsize. — Innocence of unmarked terrain concerning such worldly things as pizza. — A generous display.


CHAPTER VI.

Instructive remarks on early English history. — Pemmican preparation. — Gretzky's legacy. — Musings on antiquity. — Purpose of motorized transport. — Lack of refined petroleum in immediate environment. — I forget that I am steering. — Interesting result. — Crevasse number two. — Thirteenth chorus of "Northwest Passage" is final straw.


CHAPTER VII.

Diefenbaker redeems himself. — Extraction. — Ray takes the wheel. — "She sells seashells..." — The loss of a pair of sunglasses. — Three spirit guides and a hungry bear. — Johnson's tomb. — The man who loves not graves and coffins and skulls. — Twenty categories of snow and encounters with all of them. — Ray unhappy.


CHAPTER VIII.

Remorse. — An inappropriate response to possible hypothermia. — Talking to thin air. — Ray is not asleep. — Fortitude Pass and unconventional methods for warding off frostbite. — Distraction by way of an Inuit story. — Ray is not distracted. — Revising the sleeping arrangements. — Shameful conduct of two abandoned young men. — Unfortunate oversight in the packing process. — One hundred and one uses for tallow.


CHAPTER IX.

Southern exploration and northern lights. — A satisfactory conclusion. — Ungrateful conduct of a wolf. — The history of hair and appropriate applications of hair products in extreme weather conditions. — Snoring. — Strange disappearance of a landscape. Soup again. — Much haste, less speed. — "Another damned Inuit story." — A mysterious intervention. — An exchange of compliments. — Off the map.


CHAPTER X.

Our second night (which is technically our third). — Under canvas. — An appeal for help. — Contrariness of tea-kettles, how to overcome. — Supper. — How to feel virtuous. — Wanted! A comfortably-appointed, well-drained desert island, neighbourhood of South Pacific Ocean preferred. — Funny thing that happened to Ray's father. — Not much sleep.


CHAPTER XI.

How Ray, once upon a time, got up early in the morning. — Ray and Diefenbaker do not like the look of the weather. — Heroism and determination on the part of Ray. — Soup again: story with a moral. — Details of travel logistics, specially inserted for the use of historians.


CHAPTER XII.

Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn. — The fortuitous mention of the date. — A trying time for the Dominion of Canada. — A night search for the picturesque. — Homeless and without dinner. — Ray prepares to die. — An arctic hare comes along. — Effect of sudden joy on Ray. — A little supper, long delayed. — High price for mustard. — Chores interrupted by determination to prevent further Inuit stories.


CHAPTER XIII.

One too many complaints about the journey's comforts (or lack thereof), and impossibility of success. — Christopher Marlow. — Caribou. — We find Franklin! — Diefenbaker relieves himself on historic site. — I reluctantly agree to omit this fact from my diary. — My conscience is troubling me. — Admission. — A mutual retreat for the purposes of cogitation. — Erecting the tent, useful recipes for hare (should another happen by), and cups of tea. — Ray makes a decision, and I concur. — A peaceful end to the day.


CHAPTER XIV.

The journey home again. — Diefenbaker is sarcastic. — Fight between Diefenbaker and a wolverine. — Ghosts are laid to rest. — Ray acquires a harmonica. — Difficulties in the way of the musical amateur. — Learning to play the bagpipes. — Raven and the whale. — Ray and I go for a walk. — Return hungry and wet. — There is a beauty about Ray. — Drinking my fill. — The beginning of the next adventure.
 


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