The Oasis of Eternal Gratitude

Coco Myers and Katie Crabtree had been vacationing together for ages — ever since that first fun-filled year at Vassar.

Of course, husbands and kids and social obligations all intervened from time to time but the women had sworn a blood oath that once a year — no matter what — they’d meet without any encumbrances and have a restorative vacation.

At least that’s what they told their respective husbands du jour.

Oh, it was restorative all right. Jungle rivers were swum, mountain ranges trekked, lovers taken and discarded, opium dens enjoyed.

This year’s trip was shaping up to be a doozy. Somewhere in the Western Sahara their guide went in search of an oasis he was certain lay just over the next dune. He never returned.

Our intrepid adventurers continued undaunted — what choice did they have? The heat was relentless, the sand so hot it melted their Crocs. Inside of two days, their canteens went dry, but Coco knew what to do.

“Jeez, I never dreamed urine could taste so good,” said Katie, licking her lips.

“Amazing what the prospect of imminent death will do to the senses.” Coco sniffed.

“How many times do you think we can recycle our own pee?”

Coco scanned the horizon. “Long as it takes for a search party to find us.”

“You’re such an optimist, Coco. That’s what I love about you,” Katie sighed.

Coco threw her head back and laughed her big throaty laugh. “You remember that time on the Putumayo when you were so sure you were gonna die?”

Katie’s gait was unsteady as she tried to keep up their banter. “Hey — that Anaconda was snapping my ribs like toothpicks!”

“And who did the snake charmer dance?”

“You did, Coco.” Katie smiled wanly.

The women resumed their trudge across the dunes, now wearing sandals plucked from the desiccated corpses of less resourceful travelers.

“And what about that bivouac on Annapurna with a blizzard coming in — and you with hypothermia. Who built us a snow cave?”

“You always know what to do, Coco.”

Coco could see that her friend was slipping away, her once creamy Nordic skin now crusty with blisters.

“Here,” she said handing over a canteen, “drink my pee.”

“No, sweetie, I’m fine. I’m just going to lie down and take a nap.” Katie’s eyelids fluttered and she began to wilt into the scorching sand.

“Nonsense, Katie, don’t be such a drama queen. Now drink!”

Katie’s hands shook as she tilted the canteen, but the instant Coco’s super-urine passed her lips, she jolted back to life.

“Wow! What’s in that stuff?”

“Good genes,” said Coco, matter of fact. “Now let’s press on.”

Sure enough, two massive dunes later a palm-shaded oasis came into view.

Too bad the watering hole was ringed with black-robed men, their shoulders laden with AK-47s and rocket propelled grenade launchers.

Katie fell in behind her braver friend.

“Don’t worry, Katie. Let me do the talking.”

“I’m not worried, Coco,” she whispered, “you always know what to do.”


©Lisa Martinovic