Here I sit, on the horns of a dilemma, faced with two unpleasant options.

This was one of my Dad's annoying cliches. As with the others, it makes some assumptions. For instance, if I'm looking for something solid and dependable, I really am faced with an abundance of riches. In that case, to quote Mr. White, "Ain't no choice at all."

This is a modern version of the ancient phrase "Between Scylla and Charybdis."

Around 850 B.C. Homer describes in The Odyssey a very dicey narrow passage his hero has to navigate. It takes him between the monster Scylla and a very large whirlpool called Charybdis. From that time on, this phrase has come to mean that you're in a very difficult situation.

However, since most folks nowadays have only heard of Homer Simpson and Honda Odysseys, the phrase has morphed into one which the common Joe could understand.

"There's a hole up here, I wanna see if we can get on top of the boulder through it!" My friend, Super Jason. He's worked his way through a long crack about two and a half feet wide between two huge boulders. He had been going straight across, but now he's a good twenty-five feet high. I guess that the hole is going to be a total distance of about 40 feet from the ground. "I prefer this type of stuff!" He exclaims. "I feel safer with all this rock around me. Not like all that hanging out exposed in the wind. I love chimneying." He's in the process of wedging his way upward, all back, elbows, knees, and feet.

"That's cause all you have to do is puff your fat arse out to stop your fall" We laugh at the old joke, I'm a scrawny bastard, and he's a fat arse. Suddenly he gives a remark of joy, a great hold right when he needed one. I get to the base of where the ascent begins in earnest and watch as he disappears through his hole and cajoles me to come join him.

For some reason this climb spooks me. Just a feeling a I can't seem to shake. I utter a small curse and begin to work my way upward. The going is tough for me. I'm too long and skinny to chimney the same way he did, and I can't get the proper force to smear. Jason rains down pebbles and advice from above, both seem to make a hollow tinkling noise as they bounce off the top of my lip-stick kissed helmet.

I find a ledge about waist height, and clinging to the curve of the boulder, I bring one foot up, and then grit my teeth as I force the other foot up into place. I look like a frog, knees extending on either side of me near my shoulders. I chuckle to myself, and then push down on the ledge, till I'm standing straight up. From there I end up swinging myself out over the edge of the boulder, allowing myself a little extra room to maneuver. What the hell, I figure, the chimney isn't working for me anyways. I search for the hold Jason was excited about earlier, and find it. Ten feet up. Damn.

I have to do something, no point in just wearing myself out clinging to a spot. I can feel fear boiling up within myself. I move back inside the tight crevice of the two boulders, trying to force my shoulders back against the rock and scrape myself upwards. My legs are still awkward. I start to slip; the fear within intensifies, and begins a strange bubbling mixture of anger, anxiety, determination, and sickness. I can envision it as a creepy beaker filled with foggy green chemicals. I extend my arms as far as they go, and yank my legs upwards till I'm squatting, forming a leg bar with my knees against the front boulder, and my feet flat against the one behind me. I grunt. It’s very important to grunt. In this strange positioning I work my way upward as my knee rips and bleeds. Merely a flesh wound, but I know I'll point to it later and say, "See! I did do some climbing!" Don't chicks dig scars?

I reach upwards, trying to find that hold. Not quite there. I work my way higher, using this strange squat I'm in. I strain upwards, almost, almost...there. Jason is right; it’s a killer hold. Unfortunately, my angle is completely wrong, and I can't really pull on it. I work to the right, keeping my squat. Finally I have it right, my center of gravity right under the hold and I yank down hard, pulling myself up, and bringing my foot up to edge on a nub. I stand on the nub as I continue to pull, and get my left hand on the lip of the hole I'm aiming for. Finally. My left foot finds the top edge of the lower boulder and I stretch upwards, one elbow up, then the next. Almost there. I feel the weird rubber sensation hit my limbs as the adrenaline continues to pump. My friend grins down at me, as I pant my way up the hole, and get my knees onto good ole solid granite. Grinning back at him I sit on a boulder of more manageable proportions and allow the adrenaline to retreat from my veins. I catch my breath and think to myself "Christ, that was great".


For iceowl's adventure quest

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