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Dual Survival Shorts

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As the sun made its final descent behind the mountains and the air grew colder, survivalists Dave and Cody huddled around their shared fire for warmth, tucked away behind a wall of branches that they had built earlier in the day. Dave watched his partner with a look of disgust as Cody finished off the last of his grasshopper meal, giving each finger a good lick as he ate. After some time had passed, Dave noticed a small pile of grasshoppers that lay untouched next to Cody.

Cody must have seen him eyeballing the poor insects, Dave thought, because as soon as he caught Dave’s eye, Cody snatched one up and offered it to him, his fingertips covered with the leftover remnants of the last grasshopper he had eaten.

“You ready to try some of these?” Cody asked, as if expecting Dave to willingly take part in such a gross meal.

“I ain’t eating any more of those nasty bugs you call ‘food’, Cody,” Dave snapped in reply. He could’ve sworn the grasshopper was glaring at him from where Cody held it hostage between his fingers.

“Are you scared?” His partner chuckled. “The worst that could happen is you get a couple legs stuck in your teeth.”

“Yeah, right, man.” Dave shook his head in disbelief. “Didn’t you hear me telling you about a guy who got worms from eating those things? No thanks.”

“Come on, try it. The flavor isn’t all that strong.” Cody rolled the grasshopper into the palm of his hand and looked it over. “It kind of tastes like chicken.”

“That’s what you said last time,” Dave said with a shudder. “The grubs, remember?”

The sensation of a small worm-like creature wriggling around in his mouth would forever be burned into Dave’s memory. He wouldn’t be having any more of the disgusting bugs Cody called food anytime soon, that was for sure.

“It wasn’t that bad.” Cody rolled his eyes. “You’re being overly dramatic.”

“It tasted like crap, dude. How is this gonna be any different?”

For a brief moment, Cody was silent. Then, with a slight shrug, he replied, “I dunno, man. You’ll just have to trust me.”

He leaned on one arm and held out the grasshopper, waving it in front of Dave’s face. To his further disappointment, Dave still wouldn’t take it.

It didn’t matter how much Cody tried to coax him, Dave thought. If his partner really thought he’d stoop so low as to eat bacteria-infested grasshoppers over catching a wild boar, then Cody was mistaken. Maybe it was a little ridiculous to hold a grudge over such a simple decision, but Dave was convinced that they could have gotten more out of his failed catch than Cody’s insects.

Unfortunately for Dave, the more he tried to ignore Cody’s offer, the more persistent Cody became.

“Don’t be such a wuss,” Cody laughed. “Try it.”

“Cody, I’m serious,” Dave said, swatting his hand away as Cody attempted to feed him the bug. “I don’t care what kind of hippie excuse you have for eating those nasty things. I ain’t doing it.”

“Suit yourself,” Cody said, finally giving up on his efforts.

Dave tried to respond, but the words seemed to die on his tongue as he watched his partner with interest. He eyed Cody skeptically as Cody popped the grasshopper into his mouth and leaned back against the tree, his eyes closing in pure bliss.

“Mmm,” he hummed, opening his eyes just enough to peer at Dave. “You’re missing out.”

“Alright, hand it over.” Dave grunted, sticking out his hand.

Slowly, as if relishing in the moment, Cody pushed himself up from the tree trunk and dropped a fat grasshopper into Dave’s palm, the firelight giving away a look of satisfaction on Cody’s face.

“You’re gonna love it,” he promised, watching Dave’s every move as Dave worked up the courage needed to even stomach the bug.

“Might as well get it over with,” Dave said, throwing his head back and tossing the grasshopper into his mouth like a foul-tasting pill. He quickly chewed and swallowed the insect, intent on thinking as little as possible about what he had just put in his mouth.

“So?” Cody said once Dave had finished. “What do you think?”

“If I’m being honest,” Dave muttered under his breath, “I guess it could’ve been worse. Not the best thing I’ve ever eaten, but it ain’t half bad.”

Cody tried to muffle his laughter by shoving a handful of grasshoppers into his own mouth. “See?” He said between chewing. “I told you.”

“Yeah, well, it sure didn’t taste like chicken, either,” he grumbled.

While Dave had to admit that the grasshoppers weren’t the worst thing Cody has given him, he still believed that there would never again be a time that Cody could convince him to eat another insect. The grubs had been bad enough. He didn’t think he could survive the embarrassment of whatever Cody had for him in the future. However, one thing was for certain: if eating all the nasty bugs and other strange things Cody foraged for him made Cody feel all warm and fuzzy inside, Dave might eventually suck up his discomfort and spare the idea of never eating bugs again. Only for Cody, Dave thought. He would only do it for Cody.