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Fiction – Ruth’s Story Part 9

January 3, 2012

I decide to search some of the baggage closest to me. Finding a large red nylon Kelty backpacking backpack, on the lowest shelf near the floor, I grab it and slide it towards my legs. Damn this thing is heavy, must contain everything and the kitchen sink!

The Kelty backpack is one of the higher end models with an internal molded plastic frame. The backpack appears to be practically new. I wonder why it has ended up in baggage purgatory. Well it is certainly heavy enough to piss off a baggage handler. The way the backpack clunks tells me that something metal is inside and not likely stored very well.

Opening the flap of the Kelty backpack proves no difficult task, as the previous owner did not even bother with any kind of lock. The suck tube of a hydration bladder sticks out of the top of the back of the backpack, I pat it to see if it is full. Damn it is empty, and I wonder if I can fill the hydration bladder and what size the bladder is. I am hoping it is one of the newer four liter Camelback models.

Pulling open the synch top, reveals someone needed proper lessons in how to properly load a backpack. Obviously this fool had never served any time in an Infantry unit or even did any serious backpacking. This backpack probably belonged to some rich yuppie poser.

Seeing the state of the backpack’s contents I decide that I am going to stand and dump it out as that will save time. Putting action to thought takes a moment or so, and I make another pile of junk at my feet. The sound of several metal items clanking on the floor makes me cringe. I hope it does not attract attention.

Let’s see what we have here.

Lying on top of the pile are several bags of Mountain House brand freeze dried backpacker meals. Well that is a fortuitous find, if I can find something to boil water. Good thing that I never did bother attempting to keep either Kosher or Halal. Starvation will quickly erode your religious notions of diet.

Removing and stacking the bags of Mountain House freeze dried meals reveals eight various bags. I’ll look at what they are later; right now I want to see what else is in this pile of shit. What were the metal items that nearly broke my toes?

Oh goody, a brand new Jet Boil Flash stove complete with its attached one liter cooking vessel. The stove has a fuel canister still attached to the bottom of the stove and vessel, and feels full. Cracking open the cooking vessel reveals that new plastic smell that notifies me this stove and vessel were never used.

The fuel canister on the bottom of the Jet Boil Flash is one of the newer butane and propane mixtures with its CARB-mandated recycling puncture Crunchit tool. A spare fuel canister identical to the one attached to the bottom of the Flash sits beside the cooking vessel.

I shift the pile of stuff around some more placing the Jet Boil Flash system and its spare fuel canister to the side next to the bags of dehydrated food. Shifting through some nice Angora wool socks, and a really nice Angora black, light blue and white shemagh, I find something that perks my interest. Obviously a man and most likely an American bought and outfitted this backpack. The shemagh I will take because it is beautiful and decadently soft. Normally I would not think of wearing a man’s scarf but with things like they are I do not think anyone will care.

The item that perked my interest (sorry for the bad pun) is a Jet Boil Java Kit that is still sealed in the factory plastic. I particularly do not like the American penchant for coffee. I much rather prefer tea which to me is a far superior beverage. However, something hot would be wonderful, even if it is awful coffee.

I am definitely keeping the food, the stove, its cooking vessel, the shemagh, and the java making apparatus. The wooly socks I think I will keep as well as spares, even though they are going to come up to my knees. Who was this guy – Bigfoot?

Removing the stuff I decided to keep reveals a pair of bright red nylon sporks. God in heaven – sporks! Well at least I have something to eat with. Under the sporks is a coil of polypropylene camouflage rope still in the factory wrap. Package says fifty feet of rope and warns that it is not for mountaineering or climbing. And guess what I find underneath the rope? A man’s sized black nylon climbing harness and a pair of figure eight rope cinches. I guess the fool could not read either.

Lying at the bottom of the pile is a nice matched pair of top and bottom Frogg Togg rain gear. Shame the rain gear is in a solid fire engine red color. The person that owned this backpack sure had a thing for non-tactical colors. I will leave the Frogg Toggs in their factory sealed package, they are a man’s large so maybe they will be worth something for trade.

I dig around in the backpack to see if I missed anything. No water purification equipment. Damn, I was hoping for some water purification tablets or a filter. I am definitely going to need a way to purify water.

Still sitting on the floor I decide that I am going to eat something and then go to sleep. I have no idea what time it is. The idea of freeze dried dehydrated food is not all that appealing but I am starving and it is getting cold fast.

Setting up the little Jet Boil stove is very quick. I go to my rolling carryon bag and grab two of my precious one liter plastic water bottles. I wish I had some tea that I could make to go with whatever I am going to eat.

I fill the Jet Boil cooking vessel with a liter of water. The little stove is easy to get lit with my red plastic butane disposable lighter. While the water starts to heat, I crush and store the empty plastic bottle in my carryon bag beside the other empty bottle.

Grabbing the first baggy of food off the pile I see it is country chicken with gravy and potatoes. So that is what I am eating tonight. Slicing the bag open with my SOG knife I spread the bag and set it on the floor next to the stove that is happily flaming away heating the water. Tucked behind the counter the pale blue light from the stove hardly lights the dark room. Never thought I would be camping in an airport, but these times are not exactly normal.

As the water nears boiling, I suppose that I can use the little stove to purify water but I only have two canisters of fuel. Thinking of my water problem makes me think of my tea problem. I wonder if there is any tea in this Jet Boil Java Kit?

Opening the java kit reveals no such luck as even some awful Lipton tea would have been glorious. I am really going to miss my collection of fine Chinese pu-erh teas I abandoned at my house in Maryland. If somebody breaks into my house, I hope they realize what the teas are and somebody enjoys them. I bet though that my prized tea collection is just going to rot; what a waste!

Now the water is boiling I pour boiling water into the package to the line like the instructions indicate and fold the top of the bag to make a seal. Supposed to let it sit for a few moments while it rehydrates; just like the old MREs I used to eat in the field.

While my meal “cooks” I decide to straighten the area up a bit. I take several of the magazines, and newspapers that I collected from the floor out in the baggage claim and lay them flat on the floor attempting to make a mattress to pad the floor. While it takes a while I manage to make a respectable mattress of discarded clothes, newspapers and magazines to pad the floor a little bit. Shame the backpack I got the food and the stove out of did not have some kind of foam pad.

While I was making my bed for the night, my supper has cooled enough that I can handle the bag without burning my hands. Sitting on the floor I begin to shovel food in my mouth not caring how it tastes. I wolf down almost half the bag before my hunger subsides enough that I slow my shoveling down to actually taste my food.

The chicken is not bad, the gravy is decent but the potatoes have an odd consistency. Still not the worse meal I have eaten, but not the best either. As I finish the baggy of food, it reminds me of the war in Lebanon. Sometimes we could smell the cook fires of the Lebanese; some Lebanese food has a very distinct odor. I hope nothing can smell my little stove and food.

Checking to make sure that I remembered to turn the little stove off (I did but never hurts to check again) I see that I still about half a liter of luke-warm water. Sticking my fingers in the water, make that half a liter of very hot water!

The Jet Boil canister is well-insulated and the water is still hot enough to make tea if I had any to make. I decide that I am going to splurge and use this little bit of hot water and take a whore’s bath.

One Comment
  1. Need more! 😉


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