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Book 1: The Siege of Fort Vagabond

Chapter 1 Part 4: Promotion

“That’s right you do. Newguy sees the value of avoiding being caught up in the everglades in exchange for some stellar Okie lake diving and octo-hunting.”

“Wait. Are you talking about the Keys trip?” Newguy said with rising horror on his face.

“Of course! But you knew that because you were paying attention.” The red headed giant raised an eyebrow at John with expectation dripping from his posture. Bohdan shook his head at the dance that every crew had played since the first cave man added a new grunt to their hunting party. This was what some called hazing, and others such as Charlie viewed as team building exercises. Newguy was two years in at this point. He’d earned his place, but as long as he had that puppy dog eager to please mentality that shattered his confidence neither Charlie, nor his boys Karl and Harald were going to let up.

You might think this would be a problem for Bohden being a fearless leader. You’d be wrong. This fearless leader needed a confident team both in their abilities, and trust in each other. You can’t have a new guy mentality forever, and the only way to deal with newguyanitus was healthy badgering and hazing till they were confident enough in their position to slap back twice as hard. Bonus points for creativity in this regard. Bohdan was just glad he had Charlie for “team building” exercise. That was a whole kind of headache this President could do without.

Bohdan took a big swig of his iced coffee as the mental blows landed over and over again much to the viking bros amusement in the back. The smooth creamy liquid was so rich even the inevitable watering down of melting ice, or the carefully crafted sonnets of derision forged by the Committee’s local captain meathead couldn't overwhelm the coffee’s golden taste. No he wasn’t marrying Heidi for her delicious brews, but boy were these ice cold delicious froth treats high on his list. She knew it too.

“That’s just moronic!” Saint John bellowed at the alpha meathead in mid bloviation. Bohdan felt his eyebrows shoot up. Goggles sat back from his war gaming, and even Johan forgot about his gun maintenance. Both of the cousins stopped arranging the pool balls into the shape of a giant fist giving the bird with not a little bit of surprise on their rugged faces.

“What you trying to say Newguy?” Growled Charlie, his features changing from inviting to dangerous in an instant. Bohdan had seen that in the mixed martial arts circles Charlie used to run the course in, before they kicked him out for excessive aggression. Still, when the President looked at their Saint of firearms gone were his massive puppy eyes, and in their place was an exasperated look of indignation.

“I’m saying if you want to run off and play hoochie coochie with a fake octopus of questionable origins, and even less gender confidence than a twice-transitioned tranny at a beauty pageant, feel free Meathead. But the rest of us would like to see the Keys once more before the roads fall apart, or a train derails and permanently puts out the interstate.” The silence was palpable, Bohdan took a long sip as his eyes went bigger than an anime character going through a colonoscopy. Has their Newguy finally grown up? Everyone waited on Charlie for confirmation as was the Alpha’s right.

A few more agonizing seconds skipped by with neither the Saint or Alpha Meathead flinching. Then all at once Charlie broke the pent up tension with a belly laugh before rolling his eyes with a massive huff. Everyone relaxed, and the Viking cousins slapped John’s shoulders while Karl snapped his fingers at the burn. Bohdan put down his coffee, grinning ear to ear at the exchange.

Twice transition tranny at a beauty pageant wasn’t half bad. He gave that bit of poetry a seven point five. With a final grin sent his way from Charlie Bohdan understood instantly that his VP was pleased. Their Newguy was now officially Saint John, and not the Newguy. They might forget here and there for the next few months, but John was in and confident enough to know it. Took him long enough.

“Gah! Even our local saint has turned against me. At least he’s here though,” Charlie said with a flippant wave of his hand as the laughter died down,” What time is it anyway Fearless Leader?” Bohdan cracked a look at his slick operator serious watch his uncle had insisted on buying him when he became club president.

“Seven fourteen, and fourteen minutes past the agreed meeting time.”

“Ah, the countdown gents. Wait… five, four, three, two, and one.” As Charlie said one in his usual baritone he pointed down the long hallway past their round table, the pool tables, the row of knight’s armor and paintings along the elaborate walls to the big double oak doors at the end.

Maybe a half a second later the eighth and last member of the committee came bustling in through the doors with all kinds of maps spilling out from his over laden arms. Finally, the real meeting could begin, and all the Committee settled down for business now that the preliminaries and pleasantries had been dealt with.

The Story Will Continue Every Saturday.

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Promotion panel 4
Bohdan Blood was a busy young man. Being the President of the AH&L Committee in the middle of World War Three did that, but now rumors of witchcraft and Cartel incursions around his Ozark home were making things downright unhealthy. Together with his wily friends Bohdan and company will dodge drafts, hunt cryptids, and burn witches in style to keep their neck of the woods from looking like a New York hellscape. Just another day for the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee.
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