Rhode Island Smith and the Temple of Indecision
9/10 globetrotting adventurers agree, a bottle of Alta Zinfandel is better than a disposable love interest.
Rhode Island Smith, hard livin’ archaeologist adventurer, was in quite the pickle. Deep in the bowels of the ancient temple of excommunicated Greek philosopher priest Winocrates, Rhode Island had found what he was looking for: the legendary 2008 Alta Zinfandel. But in finding it, too, he’d run across the nefarious Commandant Obstacles, the most obstreperous of all the members of the Mediterranean Underground Never Die Army Nazi Elite. Obstacles was standing on the edge of a pit, and with one arm he dangled Delena James, the love of Rhode Island’s life. Or at least of his week. If Rhode Island Smith was really honest with himself, he’d have to admit he had some pretty serious commitment and infidelity issues. Luckily, he wasn’t very honest with himself.
Anyways, Rhode Island had the bottle, and Obstacles had the girl. It was a bit of an awkward situation.
“Give me the bottle, and I’ll give you the girl!” Obstacles bellowed across the chasm.
Rhode Island thought back to all the good times he’d had with Delena. Meeting her at the beginning of this adventure, her a cranky tour guide, him a globetrotting adventuring archaeologist. Of the instant dislike she’d taken for him, and the smoldering passion it had concealed. Of how that passion had boiled over in a matter of days that felt suspiciously like ninety minutes. Of her casting-call blonde hair, of the curves of her supple body, the sort that appealed to males ages 18-35, especially. He thought of the mildly moving things she’d said to him, of the passionate yet tasteful evening they’d spent together. And he was almost ready to give Obstacles the bottle.
But then he remembered what was in the bottle. Its deep crimson hue concealed not only notes of black plum, black tea spice, and vanilla … but also sweet black licorice undertones. Flavors of cranberry, cedarbox, and pomegranate worthy of Persephone herself. Fine grained silky tannins balanced by bright acidity, with a finish that went on longer than most Homeric epics.
Rhode Island looked into Delena’s terrified eyes, full of fear, but also hope. Faith. Deep down, she knew he would save her, and they would live happily ever after. Just the two of them, forever and ever. And ever. He took a deep breath, sighed, and prepared to do what he had to.
“Alright, keep the girl,” he said reluctantly, before turning and rushing out of the cave. In a rare moment of self-awareness, Rhode Island Jones had realized there was a girl on every adventure so far, and there’d most likely be one next time, too. Probably with a different hair color and ethnicity, yes, but a girl all the same. But there was only the one Alta Zinfandel.
Meanwhile, back in the cave, Obstacles found himself confronted with a bit of an awkward moment. He hadn’t really been planning to kill her; the hero was supposed to give up the material possessions to save the girl. That’s just how things were done.
“So, um, I’m not really sure where we go from here,” he stammered, setting her back on the ledge.
“You’re… not going to kill me?”
“No, no, that would be awful. I just wanted the wine.”
They sat there alone, in silence for a moment, not really sure what to say next. Delena spoke first.
“So… what now?”
Obstacles sighed. “I don’t know… I certainly can’t go back to M.U.N.D.A.N.E. Rhode Island got the wine, and I didn’t kill you.”
“Thanks for that by the way. And Rhode Island... what a jerk!"
"I know, right? Seriously, he chose the bottle? Over a beautiful woman like you? What a tool."
Delena blushed, and bit her lip."… um… would you like, maybe wanna get a coffee or something?”
Obstacles smiled. “As a matter of fact, I would.” And they were very happy together.
… for about fifteen minutes, until Rhode Island blew the entrance and dropped the cave to the bottom of the Mediterranean. He really was kind of a tool.