A Small, Clear Can of Bees: Transcript of Fugue State Expeditions’ Operation Drybar: A Survival Story

Joe Brooks

In honor of the passing of my friend, I am republishing my Joe posts



This is Fugue State Expeditions expedition log for Operation Drybar, Saturday, December 15, about 10:15. We’re in the parking lot at the trail head. All hope is lost. All hope is lost.


Fugue Expeditions, December 15th, Tilly Jane Trail, 35 minutes into our adventure. The feeling of death surrounds us like some sort of cloying smoke. Curt’s disappeared into the smoke twice. I can’t imagine how we could live much longer. If we live for another entry, it’ll be a miracle. Surely this will all that’ll be heard until March.


It’s 11:18. We’ve cleared the parking lot.


Aha! 12:12. Journal entry. We are at least – ah! – a hundred miles from anyone else on earth and we have four broken legs between the two of us, in the snow. It feels like that actually. We’re just quite tired, but determined. Death seems right around the corner.


12:13. This is Captain Hans Taleggio. Doctor… [incomprehensible muttering] Doctor Giorgio Mandrell has died. I am alone. Terribly alone.


This is Doctor Giorgio Mandrell. It’s 12:17 and we’re, I am thankful in a way that the suffering is over. Unfortunately, Captain Talgio [laughter] has passed away. I’ve marked his grave with a small, clear can of bees [laughter] and I’m going to try to make it to the top of the mountain.


We’ve quadrupled our drizzle factor. Passed remains of several parties that haven’t made it this far. Note to future expeditions: Never try to finger-puppet a wild animal’s movements. The closer we get to death, the more we realize that the woods are so cliché. It’s one o’clock.

This is Captain Hans Taleggio. This is my final entry. I’m too weak to go on. I forgot what I was going to say.


[laughter] Doctor Giorgio Mandrell. Doctor Taggilio wanted to go on but I couldn’t stand it so I killed him. I’m heading off, on my own, somewhere, somewhere cold and dark to curl up like some poor dumb animal. Good night.

Journal entry. Near the end of our expedition. Getting closer to civilization. I’ve noticed, through very careful observation, why snow-dwellers have invented the baklava, the sweet, walnutty face-covering. What I mean to say is, “balaclava.” That doesn’t sound like a word either. [laughter] Sure is cold on my ears and neck. Over.


Nice piece of pie? Sink your wiener right down in it! Captain Hans Taleggio reporting. People will tell you things. They’re not telling you the truth.

Taleggio again. The doctor has died. People can do without water. I think I’ve proven that. Did the chicken and the banana go down there and put a pillow over the face of the olives? Had a great need… [incomprehensible muttering]

Ol’ Grady was an apple baron

Built himself an apple house

Had a great big apple cat

That chased a little apple mouse.

He liked to drive his apple car…

He liked to take his apple car

And drive it into Apple Town.

Measured for an apple suit

He paid the tailor in smashed, dried apple dollars. [laughter]

Published by Curt

I am a poet and journalist and so on amber so forth in rows magnet.

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