Ivy Lea, ON

The RV pants into its campsite and stops with a shuddering wheeze. Imagine a snake digesting a large rabbit—slow, swollen, stupid—cringing and vulnerable in the middle of the road. If you were to give this snake a mechanical incarnation, it would surely be the RV. It is big enough to hold two city busses, or a rock band... or a rock concert. The trees on either side of its parking space claw at it in a futile attempt to relax their branches. The RV sits quiescent for a moment and then makes bumping and creaking noises. The sounds of digestion? Two extensions pop out of the left side. The bolus moves! Then, a thudding noise and the crunch of branches and leaves. Another thud follows and wooden fingers scrape quietly across metal. Small scales of tan paint flutter to the soft earth. A small door opens on the side of the behemoth and two couples venture forth from its bowels. They stare irritably at the small tree blocking their right wing from deploying. One scraggly kindling-stick with the audacity to prevent the great snake from swelling to its full enormity. The older couple vanishes back inside the snake and the man reemerges with a hand-axe. Seconds later, with a tremendous grunt, he is standing on the locked hands of his son-in-law and plunging the axe into the offending tree's upper branches. The branches are gangly and frail, but the man's axe strokes are wildly inaccurate as he struggles to maintain balance. The son-in-law puffs something in French and the two pause from their efforts. After a rest, they repeat the process. And repeat the process again. The tree, slowly mutilated, finally surrenders after their third attack, dropping its offending branch to the ground with a soft whoosh. The men smile. The reptile swells. The tree's branch finds its way into the forest. A television satellite appears and a generator growls to life.