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Up in his tree, Matt went back to reading Fritjof Capra. After a few pages on the relationship between Zen Buddhism and theoretical physics he was shaken to the roots of his being and promptly dropped his book. The unsettling vibration of the tree was accompanied by the sound of a chain saw. Matt peered over the edge of his platform and saw a single burly lumberjack working away at the trunk, a growing pile of sawdust next to him.

"Hey! Hey! What do you think you're doing?" Matt yelled. "You're supposed to be off work!" When nothing happened, he grabbed one of his precious foodstuffs, a red delicious apple, and threw it on the guy's head. Matt only liked sour apples anyway.

The logger turned off his chain saw and pushed back his Trailblazers cap to look up at the figure hanging out over the platform above him. "Just thought I'd come back and teach you a lesson, you little sonovabitch! It was one of your buddies' spikes broke my chain saw this morning."

"Then where'd you get that one?" Matt called down with unrelenting logic.

"One of my buddies, smartass! And now I'm gonna get you outta that fucking tree with it! If no one else is going to do anything about you jerks, then I will!" He turned his chain saw on and went to work.

"But wait! Stop!" Matt yelled at the top of his lungs. "You'll kill me!"

"Good riddance!" the logger yelled back over the sound of his chain saw. He didn't even bother to turn it off this time. "One less commie goon in this world to deal with! I fought in Vietnam. I don't have to put up with this shit!"

"What?" Matt yelled.

"Good riddance!" the logger repeated, louder this time. "Commie goon!" he shouted, limiting himself to the essence of his previous speech.

"Haven't you heard of détente? Glasnost? Perestroika?" Matt yelled.

"Intellectual little commie showoff!" the logger yelled back, getting vocal again in his excitement. "You guys think you own the world, but let me tell you, you aren't pushing me around. As long as I got the tool, I'm the boss!" He revved up his motor for emphasis.

"Wait!" Matt screamed, getting desperate as he felt his perch rumbling beneath him. "I'm not a communist! I'm an American, just like you!"

The logger turned off his chain saw. "Yeah, but you got no respect for private property. This here is private property and you don't belong here."

With the chain saw off, Matt's courage returned to him. "This isn't private property, it's a national forest!"

"Same difference!"

"And this tree is a living being!" Matt continued.

"Living being, my ass!" the logger yelled, letting the chain saw roar.

"Stop! Stop!" Matt screamed. "At least I'm a living being! It would be murder!"

The logger did stop. "Okay, you twerp," he yelled to Matt, "I'll give you half an hour to get your junk down and go. If you're not gone when I come back, I'll saw this tree down whether you're up there or not!"

When Myrine got back to the tree with a pack full of food, Matt was hauling down the last load of books, his face white as a sheet.

"You've changed your mind?" she asked, shocked. "I thought you wanted to commune with the tree and end up a hero?"

"It's not easy being a hero," Matt said.


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