An Expedient Remedy

       Standing at the edge of a precipice, a man looked down.  There was much that needed doing, getting down the cliff for one, and he did not know where to start.  It was information he lackedwas there, for example, a path down?  For another, just how much of the cliff face would he need to explore before the way made itself clear?  And what would he eat in the meantime? 

            His stomach rumbled.

            All about him were ripe red berries on shrubs and mushrooms on and under trees; but which were poison and which were safe?

            A fine mess, this.  All his own doing.  Naturally.  Not so much in a direct sense, but rather indirectly.  He had, after all, chosen his own friends.  There was little that he could do when plunked in the middle of the wilderness, and well did his friends know it.  And having been set down upon this cliff face by the jest of old school chums, he felt his lack of skill intensely.  He could, if worse came to worse, go back by the trail that led to the cliff, but that went on for miles.  Whereas from the cliff to the ground below it lay only a few miles.  

            Chums, indeed, he thought to himself as he sat down on a mossy log.  He felt the ties of school, bonds that had once been closer than blood, loosen substantially.  He’d be thrilled if he never saw them again.  Although, he wouldn’t say no to a lift if they decided to turn the helicopter round.  Unless, of course, he found the way down.  Which they had sworn existed.

            A sound behind him made him jump, and then revealed a woman appareled in hiking gear complete with a walking stick.  He watched as she pulled out a compass, gave him a nod, and moved along the cliff face, only to disappear after a few moments.

            He flung himself up and went to follow after her, but wherever she had gone, the way was now hidden and there was no trace of her.  He stamped a foot in frustration, but that only made his foot hurt.  He resumed his seat on the log, and proceeded to make faces at a chipmunk, who darted back and forth in front of him, until he could no longer sit still.

            Laying on his belly over the edge of the cliff face, he tried once more to discern a path down.  But he had no such luck.

            Three hours must have passed before he saw another woman come over the bend of the trail, and he got up to speak with her.  He opened his mouth to share his plight and plead for aid, when he saw that she was on her phone.  He gaped, as he watched her walk where the other woman had gone before.  Then he smacked his head and let out a groan of angst.

            He had not thought to google.

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