A Painful Series of F**k-Ups

  All of Lars’ friends were dead. It was unpleasant.

  Really, it was all-around unpleasant for everyone involved. Obviously, Lars wasn’t too pleased with the situation, but neither was the pilot he was holding hostage, or the dog Lars was frantically trying to kill.

  How do I know all this, you may ask? Actually, you may be asking a lot of questions, but I’m going to start with that one. You see, I was the pilot that Lars was holding hostage.

  Moving on to the rest of your questions then…

  It all started when I went to take our helicopter out for a spin. I told the guys I was just making sure it still runs okay, but I really wanted to just get away from the rest of the crew. Honestly, being stuck with those guys in an Antarctic expedition was such a pain in the ass. All the passive aggressive quips, stolen lunches, casual stockpiling of hand grenades and firearms, and irresponsible maintenance of office equipment really made it feel like a hostile work environment.  

  Sometimes it got on my nerves so much that it actually made me forget what exactly we were even doing in Antarctica. By then, I didn’t really care. I don’t think anyone did, in all honesty.

  So I got in the helicopter and just flew around for a while. I didn’t really keep track of how long I was up there. I was just glad to get away from my coworkers and all their “Helicopter fuel doesn’t grow on trees, you Norwegian boob,” or “I don’t care what you think! One day, computer graphics will be undeniably superior to practical effects in cinema!”

  After venting to myself for long enough, I flew back to the station. It had all burnt to a smouldering ruin. Also, there was a burnt corpse of some kind of gross looking spider blob with two faces. Not too sure what to make of that.

  Let this mess serve as proof that I work with the worst people ever.

  Honestly, if anyone ever snapped at the workplace, I figured it would be Ralph. But much to my surprise, the only folks to be found were Lars and Puffles, the sled dog. Now, given that Lars was swinging a rifle around and ranting about shape-shifting aliens, I was inclined to believe he was to blame for all the death and destruction. Though Lars’ insisted that Puffles was to blame, and he had to die.

  Puffles didn’t stick around, and I couldn’t blame him. However, I decided to entertain Lars’ side of the story after he pointed his gun at me and demanded that I chase the dog down.  He grabbed a box full of hand grenades, and we were on our way.

  I secretly hoped that Ralph was dead. He would be really pissed if he found out that Lars touched his private grenade collection.

  As we flew after Puffles, Lars went on and on about aliens that could imitate dogs, and how Puffles would kill us all. Maybe it was rabies? Did everyone get rabies while I was gone?

  I just played along as I always did whenever Lars started talking crazy. Just nodding and saying “Uh huh,” over and over, all the while keeping my guard up in case Lars tried to bite me.

  I did start to get a little weirded out after Puffles jumped off a fifty-meter cliff and just kept running. Adrenaline, I guess.

  The fall did slow him down enough for us to catch up to him. We were practically right over him when Lars yelled, “Can you see him?”

  I responded, “What do you mean, ‘Can I see him’?!”

  “Your sass is not appreciated. I’m just making sure you can see him!”

  I made sure to dial my sarcasm up to eleven as I slowly answered. “No, Lars. I’m having trouble seeing the only moving black object in a motionless white field!”

  He stared at me for a few seconds. “I’ll spot for you.”

  “Oh for God’s sake.”

  He grabbed a pair of binoculars and looked for a grand total of two seconds.

  “There! He’s right below us. You’re very close!”

  “Well, golly! Go figure,” I yelled in response.

  Lars took aim with his rifle, and missed with three consecutive shots. That was pretty cringe-worthy, but then he missed another two times and it just got painful to watch.

  “How are you that bad of a shot,” I exclaimed, no longer able to hold it in.

  He snapped back, “Hey! I’ve got goggles on, and I can’t see well in them.”

  “Then take them off while you're aiming a rifle for crying out loud!”

  “Hey, snow blindness is a serious health hazard, and I wanna keep my twenty/twenty vision long after we save the world.”

  “Fine, Doc,” I put on a pair of my own goggles, feigning agreement. It was partly to demonstrate how little they actually hindered my sight, but it was also so he couldn’t see me rolling my eyes. “I’ll circle around.”

  I circled around for another go at Puffles, and Lars proceeded to miss another seven times.

  Now, for the record, I’m a dog person. I like dogs, and I personally considered Puffles a good boy. I don’t know if it was Stockholm’s syndrome or just the sheer frustration of watching Lars miss a dozen consecutive shots, but by that point, I too wanted that dog dead.

  I took a deep breath and made a concerted attempt to sound patient with my captor. “Okay, how about you put down that rifle, and use those grenades. You don’t need accuracy with grenades.”

  He frowned at me. “I will, but only because I want to.”

  I circled around a second time while Lars grabbed a grenade. The dog was headed straight for an American research station. Had to hurry before it got too close to their property. I flew over Puffles at full speed.

  “Throw it… now!”

  The grenade exploded over ten meters away from the dog.

  “What the hell, Lars?!”

  “Sorry. It slipped out of my hand as I threw it.”

  “What?! That is the stupidest excuse I’ve ever heard!”

  “Hey, these gloves have lousy grip! Okay?”

  “Then take them off!”

  “No way! All of the doors are open, and it’s really chilly here.”

  “Oh, for-- That does it! I’m setting this chopper down, and I’ll show you how to put down a stupid mutt!”

  I circled around a third time. And set down the chopper just outside the American base. Lars jumped out immediately and pursued Puffles. With him acting stupid like that, he’d probably get caught in the blast along with the damn dog. I could only hope so.

  I grabbed a grenade and took aim. I brought my arm back to throw it, and it slipped out of my hand and fell in the snow.

  “Whoops,” I chirped. I could hear Lars screaming and running away. I probably should have done that too, but I was too embarrassed. I had to redeem myself, so I got on my knees and started shuffling through the snow in search of the grenade.

  How long did they last? Five seconds, right? I murmured under my breath as I searched the snow. “It’s okay. I’ve got this.”

  Three seconds later, it became loudly apparent that it was not okay, and I did not have it.