The Node Bulletins : Number Six
Terra incognita, 19 July. With apologies to Captain Scott, this is a terrible place. I am not clear as to whether we have left Afghanistan or not, but feel sure that we are on the harshest – and perhaps highest – pass in the world. I take this opportunity to write, since there may be no other. As if the terrain were not enough, the internecine wrangling continues. Thoroughbrace says that he is inappropriately labelled as Transport Officer, claiming that Flatpole has usurped most of his duties.
Ridley Gannett, trying desperately to eke out our rations, today fried up a revolting concoction of unidentifiable ingredients over a fire of dried animal droppings. I do not wish to seem ungrateful, but think he would have been better advised to reverse the functions of food and dung. Perhaps the rarified atmosphere is making me a little churlish. Should we manage to descend the eastern side of this ghastly col, I shall adopt a more forthright attitude to the matter of our daily bread.
Flatpole and Pugh continue to spend most of their time away from the rest of us. When they returned to camp this morning, our trailblazer was a sorry sight. Insofar as one can inspect his visage – difficult because of his ever more remarkable shape – he seems to have large bags under his eyes. If his bodily change continues, we might soon be able to form him into a hoop, which we could bowl away, thus eliminating some of our worries. Possibly it is a further influence of oxygen deficiency that causes me to fantasise in this manner. As Pugh weakens, so Flatpole strengthens. She now looks quite radiant. It is as though she is gaining the vigour that Pugh is losing. Today she trimmed her beard and, apart from a heavy stubble growth, looks quite feminine.
Despite our miseries, I feel that if we survive tonight, things might improve.
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