"I'm sorry, William," George said as he looked up at the muddy brown walls of the pit. A few stringy roots were visible. George grabbed one, placed a foot against the wall, and gave it an experimental tug. He wound up on his butt, the damp seeping into his khaki shorts and the torn root limp in his hands.
"I'm not talking to you," William replied. He kicked two of the elephant ear sized leaves that had covered the pit aside and picked something up. "Who thinks they're going to come across a Ho-Ho in the middle of the jungle. I mean, really?" He held up a small, dried banana leaf that had been rolled into a tight tube like a cigar.
"You don't understand. You're naturally thin. I joined the Peace Corp to build roads and teach children how to read. No one ever said anything about starving to death." George patted his ample stomach. "I'm wasting away."
"How can you tell?" William snapped.
"Oh, hah hah," George said sarcastically. He studied the rim of the pit. High overhead the green canopy of the jungle blocked out the sun. "Maybe if I stood on your shoulders I could reach the lip and pull myself up."
William rolled his eyes, "Like that's going to happen."
"You don't have to be insulting- uh oh," George said.
A collection of faces were peering down at them from around the edge of the hole. Swirling tattoos decorated their faces and bald heads.
"Hello, can you help us?" William called.
The man with the most intricate tattoos barked an order. In a moment, two thick vine was lowered down. Taking hold of them, William and George were dragged out of the pit.
When George reached the top, the four bare chested men that had pulled him to the top were glistening with sweat and gasping for breath.
Now that he could see the men and their tattoos more clearly, George gasped. "Cannibals!" he hissed to William.
"Cannibals? What's wrong with you George? This isn't the 19th century. How dare you bring your western bigotry here," William lectured.
The leader of the men raised his hand, "That's okay, you're friend is correct. We are cannibals," the leader smiled, revealing sharpened, filed teeth.
"You are?" William gulped.
"Yes, but not all the time," the chief smiled and his men laughed. "Only on special occasions."
"Special occasions? Like what?" asked George.
"Like to celebrate the beginning of the rainy season."
"Oh," George nodded. Then his eyes widened. "Wait, isn't that today?"
"In which case you're in luck," William said as he reached over and patted George's stomach. "Look at this rolling tub of lard. And if you're looking for rump roast, George is your man." William slapped George on the butt.
"What?" George squealed.
"Hmmm, I see what you mean. You are right, your friend is rather fat. That is why we will have you for the feast." The chief clapped his hands and two tribesmen grabbed William's arms.
"Wait, why?" William shouted.
"The tribe's on a low fat diet."
William opened his mouth to protest but collapsed when he was clubbed from behind by one of the tribesman.
George gulped. "Are you going to eat me too?"
The chief laughed. "Goodness no, one person is plenty to go around. We don't want to overdo it. In fact, you're welcome to join us for the festivities."
"Really? Oh, well, I'm not sure," George's stomach growled ominously. "Though, now that I think about it, I have been growing dangerously thin. There is one thing, um, what does, errr, human flesh taste like?"
The chief shrugged. "Chicken."
Copyright 2012 John Lance