Markus Naerheim
Markus Naerheim


On The Rocks


It was nearly midnight and Henrik was blissfully alone. He was on summer break at the family cabin, which provided the perfect setting for him to pursue his research in peace. The cabin was located on a peninsula between the fjord and a small bay. The fjord was wide enough so that the houses on the other landmass were not visible. During heavy storms, the far shore would disappear completely. The bay itself was surrounded by mountains on all sides. The peaks of the mountains were a blend of blue-gray depending on the cloud cover, and even appeared purple in stormy weather. Below a certain altitude, they were shrouded in green scrub that gave way to a thick skirt of forest, which extended nearly to the waterline. The forest also had its moods. On warm summer days, the trees were light green and distinguishable one from the next. During a storm, they huddled into an opaque dark green or black mass for protection. In the north, the weather changed like a man’s mood might change with his fortune; its arrival could mean the death of a fisherman out in the fjord, or the difference between a pleasant hike in the highlands, and a hastily built fire in the shelter of a cliff.


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Grappling Hook


So I decided to buy a grappling hook. You know, something handy that I could keep in the car in case of emergency. In case I might need to scale an imposing cliff face or the wall of an office building.


None of you will be surprised to learn that there is a lot of variety in the grappling hook market. It seemed I wasn’t the only one who wanted to connect with his inner ninja. After some deliberation, I went for a smaller collapsible four-claw variety, mid-range in price, deciding that it was most appropriate for casual use in a suburban environment. Not only is a grappling hook a handy tool, but it is also very satisfying to say. Go on, say it with me a few times: Grappling hook. Grappling hook. That’s right, grappling hook! See, now don’t you feel better?

At first it was just reassuring to have it in the car and know that I could grapple at a moment’s notice. I had never grappled anything in my entire life, and I decided it was about time to start. I first began to put it to use grappling the morning paper from the driveway, then at the grocery store where I grappled fruit and vegetables from the produce displays. Which generated some odds looks. It didn’t take long before a clerk came by and told me that in spite of my obvious skill, I couldn’t grapple in the store. Really, since when? Was that documented company policy? In fact it was. He turned and pointed to a sign on the wall with a grappling hook with a line through it. Grappling Forbidden! How could I have missed that? 


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