An Awkward Moment in the Upper Ordovician

By Jeff Howe

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2013 Jeff Howe

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My fingers groped for something capable of supporting me, until they brushed a bumpy knob: fossilized crinoid stems. The limestone here teemed with them. I pushed; it held. I flexed my torso to shift balance and looked for a way up.

The moment we'd cleared the tree line and saw most of the cliff still looming above, our dinnertime whim became an ordeal. Now I hoped it wouldn't become a hushed campfire story. Descent at this point would be suicidal; continuing, merely insane. Ten feet down, Pete awaited my next move. If I slipped, we'd both hit the scree below, joining in extinction the fossil fragments scattered there. As the climb was his idea, this struck me as fair.

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