The mention of food made Walter painfully aware of the void in his own stomach. Even the stench of human waste in the stagnant air nearby couldn’t completely erase it. “You mean they haven’t ever brought you anything to eat or drink?”
“No. Unfortunately the prison ‘feasts’ have been slow in forthcoming!”; Jack joked.
Following his jest, Walter stated with mock indignation; “Well that’s down right inhospitable of ‘em.” He couldn’t believe he was making light of their horrible situation but it would have only made matters worse to fall apart. Grace under pressure is always a good indication of character. He reasoned that Jack’s off-the-wall sense of humor was the only way to keep sane in the depressing predicament. One that they were both in, together.
“You don’t think they could have just forgotten to feed us, do you? After all, even dungeon prisoners usually receive a small ration of bread and water.”
“Nah; they know we’re here. They couldn’t have forgotten since they brought you in here just recently. Besides; the way they dropped you like ‘a sack of flour’; I could tell they weren’t concerned about our well being at all!”
“Did you ask for anything to eat or drink when they carried me in?”; Walter asked nervously.
“Sure I did! I begged and pleaded like a skid row junkie. They completely ignored me! It was as if they never even heard my cries. It was a wasted effort because they had no intention of leaving anything.”; He recollected angrily. “All they did was complain about the smell. Then they dropped you over in the corner, and hurried out.”
“Well that does it. I’m going to write my congressman! I have to tell him about the poor accommodations in this place. They’ll lose their ‘Triple AAA’ rating!”; Walter declared with a snort. They burst into the delirious laughter of the malnourished. He realized that joking about the situation bordered on psychosis but it was their only way of dealing with the anxiety.
Despite the extremely vague circumstances of their meeting; Walter felt like he had known Jack for long time. “Both of us are handling the situation pretty well. We have an ‘off the wall’ sense of humor to deal with the depression of captivity; and we’re from the same region of the U.S.”; He told himself.
Determining what they had in common was a coping mechanism. It helped to distract from the distress of an empty stomach. Walter also sought any diversion from his agonizing headache. “Say Jack, do you like to fish?”
“Do I LIKE to fish? I LOVE to fish! I have a trout stream behind my house that I wade in every Saturday morning. It has some of the biggest and juiciest rainbow trout you’ve ever laid your eyes on!”; He exclaimed hoarsely. His diminishing voice briefly spiked in volume for the first time.
Walter’s distraction had backfired. “I wish you wouldn’t have been so damn descriptive!”; he quipped. “I’d kill for even a skinny minnow right now!”
“Think how I feel! You brought up fishing when I haven’t eaten in heaven knows how long”; Jack whispered.
“I’m sorry. I was just trying to take our minds of the situation with some small talk.”
“Allow me to congratulate you on the wonderful distraction job you are doing! I feel SO much better now!”; Jack chided.
“At least I’m still trying. You seem perfectly content to accept our damn predicament. How can you be so calm in the face of despair?”
“Oh; things aren’t so bad. I came here to have some peace and quiet; away from the bright lights and noise in Rio and San Paulo. You can say a lot about this place but you can’t claim there’s no peace and quiet.”
“You can say that again!”; Walter chuckled. “That’s probably the biggest understatement I’ve ever heard but I would consider food and freedom to be pretty important too!”
“There you go again reminding me about food!”
And so the two men continued with their good natured jabs at each other. Occasionally they would learn more things that they had in common. Sometimes in extreme situations, a lasting bond of friendship can be formed in only a short period of time. Such a relationship was developing between Walter and Jack. They discussed their political philosophies, occupations, and opinions on social issues.