“ Umnnnn ! Nicceee!” Carlos Gene Godfrog reflects. From deep in the midst of a powerful mind scene his whole body sighs. He feels positively noiseless. Even his mind had been motionless. Turning his thoughts inward, CG is at ease. Relaxed, comfortable, and serene. He stretches against walls on all sides. “Ahhahh! An extraordinary feeling!. . . Hey, all around me...it’s really dark! . . . WHERE AM I?"
His inward calmness stripped away, C.G. comes aware of claustrophobic surroundings. His body twitches against a smothering shell. Blackness seizes his soul. Towering fear engulfs his core. Terrified-crazy he panics shrieking, "Aarrrrghh!"
Entombing walls fuse down to grant barely any space. One cold wet wall is less than an arm's reach from another in all directions. This is way scary. Trashing blindly, now totally freaked, he kicks punches, and hammers black walls. Pow! One collapses abruptly. Breaking free in a shower of dried mud C.G. pops into dazzling daylight.
His green, Froggy body breaths in sweet air as nocturnal frog eyes are blinded by an utterly blue sky. "Damn! This is Bright City; I'm gonna need some shades here, quick, or what?"
On turf that compliments his skin, Carlos curls web toes to luxuriate in cool grass’ feel and looks intently about. Oddly, next to him is an egg-shaped hole sprinkled with clumps of fresh grass and dry mud. He ogles the stifling tomb he's escaped. "Oh my God! duh, it’s Spring! . . . Silly me, of course!" LOL!
Laughing out loud and shaking his head, he inspects the hole and giggles, “My, my, ‘tis my own frog hibernation-hole I climbed into to escape zero-ceiling zilch-jump weather.” He remembers El Niño grounded skydivers all winter. His tattered memory reminds him that after weeks of clouds and no jumps Carlo’s instinct led him to do as vRW derelicts and members of his genus of amphibian do in crummy weather. Rx: Binge drink, party wild, abuse drugs, crawl in a hole, pull hole in after you, and hibernate.
It is spring, 2007. Entering his hole at El Niño winter chill he had self-interred for seven and one-half months whilst zonked in the clutch of an alcohol fogged Autogenic Training exercise. He shrugs yesterdays off to check out today’s Drop Zone scene he’s burst upon. “OMG, typical weekend.” Lotsa tight 4-way suits and ritual creeping… Jabber. Much packing of parachutes. One noisy bunch dirt dives sporting relaxed jump suits from the 1990s. A few vegetable types lay back mellow.. And… Yes! There! A probable skymate!, “Ah Ha! a freaky dude lookin’ righteous.” Carlos hops on over.
A tall spiked hair Dude eyes Carlos with a grin whilst they fist-touch, fake a high-five, and mime “You Da Man!” pointing pistol-fingers. Polite, the new-found mate Jive-speaks, "Whoa! Web fingers and a full-on Honky handshake. Dude, your kicks are cool beans!"
Carlos looks at his feet and replies, "Fact. No-way I can get these puppies into Sketchers. Z’up Bro?"
"Yo! Blue sky, wanna fly, Hey?" sez the freak, who turning, snags a tiny rig, and lopes towards a turning aircraft. Dancing sidewise, the tall spike-red/black hair dude stumble-stuffs feet and shoulders into his bikini harness as Carlos hops along, "What's the rig?" he croaks.
"Fifty-seven twelve cell." trumpets his new sky mate, “Fourteen pounds, 3.4 wing-load, opening snivels but no twists; Awesome swoops: way strong and long. Three hundred foot surfs when you death-spiral. A tad sensitive to input, you steer it with leg input and head position. Touchy! But flare is one-step. Hit it right and it is da Bomb! Dude! Awesome fast! Really rips! Custom Colors!! …. Er, what are you flying, mate?"
Nonchalant Carlos smirks, "A zero-zero. No canopy-zero cells. No parachute. … hate packing, Dig? … Jus’ a righteous swoop… works phat in open spaces. Usually get half mile belly-turf-surf,no-sweat, if I time it right. … and don't flinch." A smug Carlos looks sideways to casually nab a fly with his tongue.
"Bitchin! I’m Frank the Freak. Wanna plan our dive?"
"How about: freefly exit; let it happen; turn-and-burn?" replies C.G. placidly as they enter the acrid smell and windy heat of turbine props to clamber aboard the thunderous feather-propped Otter.
"Reet, Dude. Let’s do it!" Taking the seat by the door seat away from a Noob hop-and-pop Frank zips down his skin-tight freefly suit revealing a masterpiece tattoo accented with Arrow staples.
Folding his flippers under the bench, Carlos Gene belts into a nearby seat, "Nice body work there; fine design and good colors. Never seen staples used like that..."
Looking at his psychedelic chest, Frank fingers staples which bleed gently at his touch. "I’d have my Tats re-inked if they fade. . . These staples are bogus. … keep falling out." He pulls several out and pops them in his mouth. "Num Num-yum. What about yours? Is that skin or did you have it done? Looks way rad, lad."
"Frog skin, drum-dyed. Rolled and pleated. Standard flysuit, Dude”
Fidgeting, they gaze out the door. Frank sings tuneless songs into the door-wind and fingers pierced skull chain attachments. C.G. idly looks for bugs. At 10,000 feet AGL they re-animate, don goggles, do routine hand- jive. Warm smiles and nods with deep breathing end in fluttery hand –arm moves like butterflies leaving a flower. Jump door opening dissipates thick methane. They turn to the other skydivers in the plane, smile, nod, present palms, point fingers, fists, press flesh, and exclaim, "Have a good one!" Decisive smile-nods. Gear check. Stand up.
Jump run. Frog + freak animated fingers touch as the "GO " flash green. Half out the door, they crouch, get eye-contact, and sway-count, "Scoobie, Doobie, DO!" …a rag-doll exit into a head down. Coasting sub terminal, Carlos' frog-eyes focus Frank’s baby blue own. Deep yellow eyeballs’ black vertical pupils gaze back. Frank nods, "Very Weird." They palm touch on the hill. He carves, Carlos helicopters. After an eagle, weed-eater cartwheel to a stand, and belly bump to a knee dock. Carlos transitions to an invert, takes a mind meld, wraps his tongue around Frank's head. 4,500’ arrives. Wave-off; C.G. spins him like a top to track. Frank recovers to a sit, back-tracks, air-checks, and deploys. Not wearing a rig, Carlos tracks for the surf-pond. Focused, he tastes the air to gauge air-density with frontal lobe sensors that resemble acne.
At 1,103 feet above the up rushing DZ air thickens more. Carlos goes from a frog head down speed-dive, arch out to swoop. Frog legs, webbed fingers, and flipper toes deflect air as he screams across the surf-pool. Reality pops eyes wide with fear. "Oh shit!" Ten feet too high and 42 mph too fast, his chin hits on the opposite bank hard. Soft - Muddy, CG plows a long furrow. Pain. Much pain. Gritting his teeth, glad he’s cold-blooded, Carlos arches his back and saves his ass with a turf-surf on his slimy tummy. Slowing some, he shoulder rolls, stands, and bows courteously to mesmerized onlookers. Openmouthed, they gape. Mr. Godfrog looks skyward to check out his sky mate’s landing approach.
Above, Frank's Fifty-seven-ft.-12 cell starts to open. At 1,215 feet AGL, end cells still closed, Frank grabs the slider in his mouth and unstows toggles. Tight spirals set up for a 720 final; then at 200 feet Frank deftly adds a 360 degree front riser turn. Wind whistles loud through his lines as he approaches at an impossible angle. His surging canopy hammers the ground nose first. He follows as the pendulum swing body-slams him into mother earth. Frank the Feak’s terminal fear-rush is eclipsed by a blinding pain flashbulb. “Ka-WHOMPH!” Conscious leaves. He does not hear the impact-thud echoing like a ripe watermelon dropped off of a high-rise building. Packers look up & cringe as Frank’s bounces through shroud lines. Dust clouds a body at impossible angles. Blood bubbling from his mouth, Frank twitches.
Dashing over, Carlos bends over his companion to cry out, "Frank! Frank!.... Oh, man! Ya screwed up that, Bro! Big Time! …” Stomping meaningless circles in the dirt he continues, “Whoa, Bro! You should'a started that turn 75 feet higher, Dude! …. Ah, man…. Terrible. Sorry, Frank…. Ah, Dumbshit! NEVER let your canopy land before you! Damn! Damn! Damnit all!” C.G. tenderly fingers the growing bruise on his chin, shakes his head sadly, reflecting, “Ouch, I should go get some ice and Advil on this chin.” Dusting himself off, Carlos mournfully heads to the packing area for shade and a cold drink.
The abnormal DZ quietness, a “dead-silence” fades away. Hyper charged people sprint to a crumpled skydiver. One concerned sort addresses Carlos in passing, "What happened? … Is he OK?" Carlos shrugs, "Na, he's toast . . . Weekend jumper, ya know?"
Seeing the expected flashing red lights approaching G.G. ponders, "Ok, fire truck is here, ... Cops will be next. Ambulance will take about 35 more minutes...they'll probably call the corner, too...Hummn, that means that I have time for lunch and a nap before my next jump. Good-O!"