The Pine River had its tricky parts to kayak, such as
where the current played me as a pin-ball between two
Meanwhile, Bill Hatch, fresh off a shore duel
with Tonto, slapped his fun noodle against the water
challengingly from across the river.
I freed myself. I accepted Bill's challenge.
The shore duel, of course, is one of the most
artistic forms of the Kayak-Fun Noodle-River Joust,
with as many strategies as there are pasta dishes.
Vato has a strong, steady advance, forcing his
opponent eventually off-shore into the deep, cold
water, where he usually falls and is beaten. Tonto
flails his scrawny limbs and fun noodle in confusing,
spastic arcs that call to mind Renaissance
expressionism. Bill Hatch uses a near-impenetrable
left-arm defense system.
Those three strategies had already made me their
victims on the day. The most humiliating moment had
come from a vicious right-ear shot, landed by Bill
Hatch, that caused me to hear bells for fifty seconds.
In that fight, I'd only been spared because Tonto and
Vato rushed up behind Bill, pulling off a sneaky
forest ambush, and aided me with a triple-team.
This time, I was alone. I employed my
strategies, desperate for a shore duel victory.
Noodle Recipe # 1: Using my right arm, I swung
the entire fun noodle in a wide, ten-foot arc that
added strength and sting. The disadvantages were that
it was inaccurate, fatiguing, and predictable. Bill's
left arm blocked the face shots, and my hits to his
side didn't inflict the pain I was looking for.
Noodle Recipe # 2: Folding the noodle into a
horseshoe, I held both ends and pummeled Bill's head
with quick, forceful strokes. Unfortunately, I could
come at Bill from only one angle using this strategy.
Bill's thick forearm held up against my assault in
Noodle Recipe # 3: Using again the horseshoe
shape, I this time held on with both hands in the
middle. I hit him with both ends rapidly to double my
hit efforts. This attack, usually a sure-winner
though low on force, was amazingly stymied by the
left-arm defense tactic. I was out of ideas.
It was time to develop a strategy I'd never used
before. I got it! Here: MODERN ODDYSEUS' GUIDE TO
ALWAYS WINNING # 3 - Hit 'em below the belt.
No, no, no. That's something Tonto would do!
I'm not a dirty fighter, so I instead came up with:
MODERN ODDYSEUS' GUIDE TO ALWAYS WINNING # 3 - Jab 'em
hard - HARD! - right between the eyes.
Noodle Recipe # 4 (Macaroni and Sliced Bill):
Holding near the noodle's three-quarters point, I
repeatedly shoved its blunt end into Bill's face. His
arm managed to block only a fraction of my jab
attempts. I hit him over and over and over again. It
was great. His face turned red, he was stunned to
make a counter-attack, and I even think he forgot
where he was for a second. Woohoo! Victory!
Bill Hatch had taken a serious pounding on-shore,
but he managed to race into the water and tip my and
Tonto's kayaks during the get-away. Bill Hatch
climbed the "Competition of the Week" 3 standings,
while I plummeted. I was next sunk by Brandon, who
withstood the noodles-to-the-face I assauged him with
and merely pressed on the front of my kayak and waved
"The fun noodles have become obsolete," I said,
before falling again to Brandon in the exact same
fashion once more.
A rule was made prohibiting us from touching each
other's kayaks. This would make further knock-ins a
near impossibility. Brandon, with five knock-ins, had
just taken the lead from Chris.
I couldn't go down this easily. I was a crazy
kayraqi; I had to get crafty if I was going to stay
undefeated. At a river bend with a heavy network of
logs, I got out of my kayak and plotted. I climbed
onto the largest log, which extended deep into the
river, and lurked beneath a tree branch.
Brandon passed next. I raised my fun noodle for
the surprise. Unfortunately, Brandon caught on to my
scheme at about the same time that the small log I'm
moved onto started to float away downstream. I fell
onto it, but I couldn't give up the attack. I began
riding the log like a kayak after Brandon. It was a
classic race. But, it became apparent that I couldn't
catch him using my hands to paddle, so I gave up the
"Man the torpedoes!" I yelled, shooting this
fifteen-foot log like a death missile straight into my
brother's kayak. He rocked back-and-forth uneasily,
but it didn't get the knock-in I needed.
After this, everyone pretty much gave up on the
jousting and concentrated on the kayaking. Everyone,
that is, except one persistently annoying little punk
who paddled around poking everyone, even when it
became clear they had no desire to fight, in the
cheeks and ears and face. That was me who did that.
It was fun, and I got an especially good hit on
Chris's eye that made his vision temporarily fuzzy.
A series of shallow, rocky, rapid rapids made up
the last leg of the kayaking. The only real
development in the joust was that Brandon, in a
brainless move, ran into a log, unprovoked from
attack, and tipped his kayak. He lost the lead there.
And so, the "Competition of the Week" 3 winner:
Chris! ... with a record of two knock-ins and only one
I may not be undefeated anymore. Heck, the only
person I finished ahead of in the whole contest was
Sergei! But, I'll always remember sticking the stubby
end of my noodle in Bill Hatch's face over and over
... and in Chris's defenseless face after he'd
finished jousting ... and in Tonto's as he whined for
me to stop ... and Vato's ... and ...
later, Modern Oddyseus (2-1)
Add'l stats. Noodle-shots to the face: (a selfishly
Bill Hatch: 32