Stupid chainsaw. Stupid, stupid chainsaw! I transferred my anger at having to cut the tree down the old-fashioned way into the axe in my hands, fiercely swinging it over and over into the stump, and was rewarded with a satisfying crack. The tree was coming down. Finally.
It wasn't a large tree - just a smaller ash that I wanted to use for the bridge - but bringing it down with just brute force still wasn't much fun. I walked around the tree to the other side, slammed the axe into the stump a few more times, and soon the tree finally collapsed.
"Yes!" My friend Trevor leaped up from his seat on a nearby tree stump as the tree fell. "Finally!" He picked up the hatchet we'd brought with us and quickly ran it along the length of the long, just to remove any extra unwanted branches and twigs, chopping off a few larger limbs as he did, and then set the hatchet aside. "You ready?" he asked as he bent down to lift the log.
"Born ready," I said, lifting my end. Together, we hauled the log over to the stream that lay just a few yards away from us to our left and laid it down in the desired position to finish our log bridge. All that was left now would be to lay a flat piece of wood over the four logs to make our bridge more easily passable, and then we could begin construction on the village.
The village, in reality, was just going to be a couple of simple four-walled shacks in the middle of the woods with two floors. Good enough for our intentions; we were going to spend most of our time camping in the buildings.
My parents had bought the land a few months ago, and given my firends and I permission to build on it and use it for a campground. My younger brother, Kyle, was especially eager to do this. There wasn't a moment that passed without him scheming up another feature he wanted to make.
Just as this thought crossed my mind, Kyle came racing up to me and pointed at a tree just on the other side of the stream. "Dillon, can we build a treehouse there? I want a treehouse!"
Kyle was seven, and just about as crazy as could be. "We'll have to see, bud," I said. "First we've got to build the village, then we'll see how many materials we have left over that we can use to make your treehouse, okay?"
"Okay." Of course, now he was going to play the grumpy seven-year-old routine until he got what he wanted. He crossed his arms and walked over to the stump Trevor had been sitting on just moments before, plopping himself down and putting his head between his hands.
Rolling my eyes, I said, "Fine, we'll make you a treehouse. But don't expect anything fancy. It'll probably just be a tree stand with a roof."
"Awesome!" Kyle jumped up from his seat, rushed over to the tree, and started climbing. When he'd gotten about halfway up the tree, he said, "I want it to be this high!"
Once again, I said, "We'll see." Picking up the busted chainsaw and axe, I started walking back to the truck with Trevor, who was carrying the rest of the tools. Kyle quickly descended from the tree he had climbed and rushed to follow us out of the woods. Throughout this whole process, my girlfriend had been waiting in the truck. She was reading one of her school books, having taken zero interest in helping cut down trees.
As we approached the truck, she closed her book and looked up to see us, calling, "Are you ready to go? Your dad's probably half-eaten all the wings by now."
Upon hearing this, I jogged the rest of the way to the truck and hopped in beside Becca, taking the wheel and tossing my tools into the bed of the pickup. Trevor and Kyle got into the back. "Wings?" I asked incredulously. "I thought we were just getting a pizza."
"We were. Just a pizza...with a side of wings," she answered, grinning. "It's your birthday. How could we not get you your favorite food for dinner?"
Words failing me, I embraced Becca and kissed her, then recalled that not only was Trevor in the back...Kyle was present, as well.
"Eww! Gross!" He yelled, and we quickly ceased our kissing, looking each other in the eyes.
"Thank you," I said, smiling.
"If you two are about done," Trevor said, "I'm getting hungry. Can we go back to your place for dinner?"
"Right," I said, starting up the truck and beginning the short drive home. The whole entire way, listening to Kyle's passionate protests about how disgusting the two of us were.