Dear reader, last night I got a message from the death squad. And by death squad, I mean that band of runners who've made a pact with the underworld to exert themselves beyond the limits of human endurance, yet never die.
The instructions were as follows: show up at an appointed time (5:45 a.m.) and place (remote location in the middle of the desert), bring a headlamp, and pray you live to see another day.
As you may imagine, I went to bed scared. I woke up scared. Last time I was scared because I didn't know what I was getting myself into. This time I was scared because I did.
And the next morning at that unearthly hour, the road really was a ribbon of moonlight. It was dark and mournful and abandoned--the perfect conditions, as we all know, to get waylaid by a highwayman. I pulled into the parking lot and waited for the others to arrive. One guy jumped out of his truck wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. He looked at me and this other girl and said, "Nobody told me chicks were invited!"
And I assure you, dear reader, I had about a hundred good comebacks (the best one being to sullenly reply, "You're the chick,") but in typical fashion I thought them up five minutes after the fact. Oh well. I pity the next person who says that to me.
The run...well. What can I tell you? It was easier than our last expedition...meaning I did not spew my soul within ten minutes of the starting point. But I do not understand how these guys have the capacity to talk and laugh while crossing the desert at speeds which threaten to prove Darwin's theory on a whole new level. And it pains me to admit this, but the girl I was running with happened to be feeling poorly, and the whole time I congratulated myself on this stroke of good fortune which allowed her to only leave me halfway in the dust.
The bigger question in all of this is not why am I willing to cross the River Styx with this group of undead, but more why they are willing to let me do so?
It turns out the undead have feelings, you know. And it touches them in a funny place to watch a member of a less evolved species, one which is surely on the fast track to extinction, struggle against her fate with all the futility of someone who's saddled with just a regular pair of lungs.