Hello, there! I’m so pleased to see you! It seems like just yesterday we were sitting together in my old office, discussing the conclusion of Survivor’s Pearl Islands series. Since last we spoke, I have been quite busy. The big “Bring a Friend” promotion was an unexpectedly overwhelming success. As a result, the past several weeks have been a dizzying whirlwind of tea leaves, Tarot cards, and, of course, the colorful swirls of my cracked crystal ball. I don’t mind telling you that I’ve raised the rates for my newer clientele, and with the extra pocket change, I was able to move out of the broom closet in the donut store. Fittingly, I’ve been able to buy back my second shop, the one that used to have the big neon sign on the roof before the police had me take it down. I think it’s appropriate to be back in familiar surroundings in this All-Star season. If I get a few minutes of free time, I’m even thinking about reconstructing my fabled Hall of Mirrors. I remember how much you enjoyed that particular display. But where are my manners? Please sit down. I’ve replaced the rickety wooden chairs I used to have with new sturdy wooden chairs. Notice the higher backs? They not only provide better structural support for the chair, but they also protect you from the undesired rays that are sometimes generated in this room during my work. At any rate, please relax and prepare yourself. It’s time to discuss the first episode of Survivor:All-Stars. As you can see, the cracked crystal ball sitting between us on the table is beginning to illuminate. The ghostly shadows within are coalescing into the title of the premiere episode. It’s
It’s noon on a clear and warm day in the Pearl Islands. A light breeze teases the branches of the trees at Snapping Duck Bay. In the distance, a helicopter appears on the horizon. As it approaches, seven groups of people step out of the tree cover and begin forming straight lines on the beach. The helicopter skims over the ocean, low and fast. The last few people step into their places at the rear of the seven parallel lines just as the helicopter arrives at the edge of the beach. It slows to a stationary hover, just a few feet away from the assembled formation. The churning blades of the chopper kick sand into the air, spraying the first few rows of the group, who raise their hands to cover their eyes.
The view shifts to the interior of the helicopter, where Jeff Probst is seated at the controls, a headset radio positioned over his ears. “We’re back in the Pearl Islands for Survivor:All-Stars!” he calls out, more loudly than necessary, thanks to the deafening effects of the headset. “We’ve brought back every single Survivor from the previous seven series – well, except Osten, of course – to compete for a second chance of a lifetime. It’s the ultimate Survivor challenge! The best of the best, locked in a mortal struggle! A battle of wills in which only the strongest will survive!”
Mark Burnett’s voice crackles over the radio. “That’s enough cliche-spewing, Jeff. Let’s get the show started.”
Jeff’s lips compress into a thin line. He shakes his heads and rolls his eyes up into his head. Then, with a deep sigh, he turns to look into the camera. “Thirty-nine days, a hundred and eleven Americans, one...Survivor!” He tilts the rotor of the helicopter to sand-blast everyone one more time before lowering the craft to the ground and cutting the engine.
As the blades whine to a stop, Jeff removes the headset and swings down from the helicopter. Bent over at the waist, he runs to a small platform constructed in front of the large assembly of Survivors. He climbs atop the platform and surveys the group slowly. The cast from the first season is lined up to his far left, the Pearl Islands on the far right. About halfway back in that final column, a torch has been thrust into the ground. Near the top of the torch, Osten’s name tag rattles noisily in the warm breeze. The front row of the formation is comprised of all seven champions, while the back row, barely visible from Jeff’s position, features every player voted off first. Peter Harkey has a finger in one of the many holes above his neck.
Jeff’s brow furrows. “I count a hundred and nine. Who’s missing?”
“Oo, sorry, Jeff!” a tiny voice squeaks in the Thailand line. Little Clay peers around from behind Brian’s right calf. “I’m here!” He waves a doll-like hand at Jeff, who nods absently.
“I’m here, as well,” a voice proclaims from the air behind Jenna Morasca. A male body flickers into existence between her and Rob Cesternino.
Jeff’s eyelids lower halfway and flutter in annoyance. “Hello, Matthew,” he growls. “OK, everyone’s here,” he says. “Welcome to Survivor:All-Stars! Today, sixteen of you – and, as usual, two alternates – will be selected to compete in the ultimate Survivor battle royal! Make no mistake. By the time this is over, those of you who are selected will wish you hadn’t been. But the folks at home are going to have a blast watching you unravel at the seams.” He grins and massages his hands against one another. “Here’s how it’s going to work. We’re going to play a big game of Simon Sez. I’m Simon, of course, but I’ll go by ‘Survivor.’ I’ll issue a series of commands. If you follow instructions not given by Survivor, you’re out. If you fail to complete an order issued by Survivor, you’re out. The last eighteen of you still in the game will move on to compete for the million dollar grand prize and the title of Greatest Survivor of All-Time Ever Starting Now! Everyone understand?” Silence and nods from the large group.
Jeff raises his hand to start the game, then pauses reflectively as a thought occurs to him. “Currently, you all appear to be on a level playing field,” he says slowly. “But that’s just an illusion, really. There’s a reason most of you didn’t win the first time. We’re going to see that in a moment. OK, Survivors ready? Go!” He switches arms, then after a moment, he lowers both arms. Survivor:All-Stars has begun.
Jeff picks up a bullhorn and speaks into it. “Back row, take a step back.” In unison, the entire back row moves a step closer to the tree line. “OK, you clowns can keep walking,” Jeff says. “I didn’t say ‘Survivor Sez.’ Thanks for playing. And thanks for winning me fifty bucks. Burnett didn’t think that trick would work. What a fool.” Crestfallen, the sixteenth row of Survivors slinks back into the trees and disappears. Jeff shakes his head in amusement. “Burnett was terrified those guys would somehow make it onto the show. I knew he had nothing to worry about. OK, back to it. Survivor Sez clap your hands once. Gabe Cade, what are you doing? You’re just staring into space!”
“It’s so wonderful here!” Gabe raves. “I love it. I love these people!”
“Get outta here, ya freak. You didn’t clap.” Gabe skips through the crowd and away into the trees. “Awright, Survivor Sez bark like a dog. No! Zbacnik! You clucked like a chicken! You’re out.”
“Dude!” Robb exclaims. “I so totally don’t care that I can’t play in your stupid rules-filled game!” He lobs a double-barrelled flip-off in Jeff’s direction and leaves.
“I’m leaving, too,” B.B. says. “I can’t take it anymore.”
Jeff stares at B.B. as he leaves. “Ooooohkay,” he says. “Anyone else want to just quit?” Osten’s torch falls over. “All right then. Let’s continue.” The game continues for some time. The back rows thin out quickly, but the front rows remain densely packed. “Survivor Sez jump in the air,” Jeff says. As one, the group soars into the air and lands with an impressive collective whump. “Survivor Sez do it again.” Whump! “Higher!” Whump! “OK, all you guys that jumped. All of you. You’re out. Thanks for jumping, though, Tanya.” Half of the group steps out of line and walks off. Little Clay scampers along at the back of the pack, cursing loudly in a twangy, squeaky voice. He leaps onto Mitchell’s pant leg and climbs up to his shoulder, where he sits and sulks. “Let’s keep going!” Jeff calls. “Third row, Survivor Sez take a look at what’s hanging above you.” The five remaining members of the third row look up and see giant anvils suspended over each Survivor by thin ropes, which extend up and over some high tree branches and are eventually tied off on one side of Jeff’s platform. He produces a machete and slices through the supporting ropes. “Catch your anvil!” he cries. Lex, Amazon Rob, Kathy, and Rudy dive out of the way. Jonny Fairplay, however, doesn’t move. He braces himself for the blow and is instantaneously pile-driven into the ground by the enormous metal object. Only a puff of his blond curly hair is visible at the edge of the huge sandy crater. “Oo, too bad, Fairplay!” Jeff yells. “Survivor didn’t say to catch the anvil. You’re eliminated.”
The game continues, and more people gradually drop out. The front row of champions is nearly full. Only Vee is missing, but nobody really remembers when she dropped out. “Survivor Sez eat sand.” The group dives to the ground and shovels handfuls of sand into their mouth. “Now dive into the fire.” Michael Skupin lurches to his feet and shoves people out of the way as he runs to the fire burning next to Jeff’s platform. “Michael!” Jeff cries, leaping off the platform and placing a hand on Michael’s shoulder before he has a chance to enter the fire. “What is the matter with you?! Of all people, you shouldn’t have been tricked by this one!”
Michael shrugs. “I’m the guy that fell in the fire,” he says. “I didn’t want anyone to take that away from me.” He turns and retreats into the woods.
“Well, that was interesting,” Jeff says as he steps back onto the platform. “We actually wanted him to play. Oh, well. Let’s keep going.” More and more people check out until only about twenty are left. “When the next two people falter, we’ll have our eighteen,” Jeff announces. “The stakes have never been higher!” He locks eyes with Matt. “I’m not surprised to see you’re still here,” he grumbles. Then his eyes swing to the left and settle on Amber. “Can’t say I expected you’d still be around, though.” His eyes drift even further left to Jenna Lewis. “Or you. OK, let’s get to it. Survivor Sez do a headstand.” Nineteen pairs of feet shoot instantly into the air into perfect headstands, but Brian is struggling. He kicks his feet in the air but can’t keep his balance. He falls over repeatedly. Jeff breaks into a broad grin. “Well, isn’t that ironic?” he says. “Brian can’t get it up. Hit the road, Heidik.” Brian scowls and stalks away, swiping sand from his big hair as he goes. “All right. One left. And I think I know who it’s going to be.” He glares at Matt. “Survivor Sez everyone not named Matt can step aside for a few minutes.” The lines break, and the other eighteen Survivors stand back to watch the standoff. “Matt, Survivor Sez step forward.” Matt approaches, a look of steely determination in his eyes. “Survivor Sez become pure energy.” Matt sizzles and crackles, then condenses into a throbbing electric blue ball. “Survivor Sez go back in time.”
“I already did,” comes a voice from the electric blue ball.
“Curses!” Jeff cries. “Survivor Sez become an iron bar.” The ball disappears and a large metal ingot drops to the ground. “Survivor Sez fly to the moon and back.” The ingot morphs into a metal rocket-man and blasts into space. Several minutes later, it returns and hands Jeff a dusty golf ball. “Wow, that’s good,” Jeff says. Then he squints at Matt. “Survivor Sez saw yourself in half.” Matt extends his right arm, which is suddenly serrated along one edge. With a single karate chop, he slices the arm through his midsection and drops to the ground in two halves. Jeff claps a hand to his mouth and dry-heaves. “Oh, that’s gross!” he exclaims. “Put yourself back together.” The two body halves float into the air, orient themselves and click together. Matt then rotates along the new connection point and settles lightly to the ground on his feet. He puts his hands on his hips and smiles. Jeff cackles with glee and claps his hands. “Oh, I’m sorry, Matthew!” he says in an artificially sweet voice. “Survivor didn’t say.”
Matt’s grin slowly fades, and his hands drops to his sides.
“Uh-huh. Yyyeah. Buh-bye, Matthew. Thanks for playing. Maybe next time, ‘nkay?” Jeff waves at Matt with his fingers. “All right then. Shoo. It’s over.” Matt sighs deeply, then simply winks out of existence. Jeff turns to the remaining group who are still standing off to one side, all staring at the spot where Matt recently stood.
“Yeah, he does that,” Amazon Rob says with a shrug. “After a while, you sort of get used to it.”
“OK. Congratulations to the eighteen of you. You are all officially Survivor All-Stars. That’s right. All of you. That’s the first twist. No alternates this time like you’re used to. We’re having three tribes instead! Let’s see. You six will be one tribe. And then you six. And then the rest of you are the last tribe. Here are your buffs and maps to your beaches. Good luck to all of you. The game is on!”
“Hey, Jeff,” Ethan says as he dons his buff. “Did you notice Matt took your pants when he went back in time?” He nods at Jeff’s smiley-face boxers.
“Whoa!” Jeff shrieks. He leaps off the platform and scrambles into the helicopter. In seconds, the chopper is off the ground and streaking back across the ocean.
Richard sprints to a nearby tree and climbs up into its branches. “OK!” he booms to his tribe. “Where’s our boat? What’s the process?”
Kathy and Shii Ann exchange glances. “This is going to be...interesting,” Shii Ann says, her eyebrow raised. The two women follow Colby, Lex, and Jenna Morasca to their canoe, which is visible further down the beach. Richard purses his lips and watches them for a few seconds, then jumps down out of the tree and strolls after them.
“Here we go again,” Rudy says, shaking his head. Rupert roars in enthusiasm and charges down to the beach to the boat, scooping Tina and Jerri into his arms on his way.
Within minutes, all three tribes have departed. For the moment, the beach is quiet. Then a weak cough is heard. “Help?” comes a small voice from within the sandy crater. “Anyone?”
A pair of wildcats poke their heads out from behind a distant tree. “Well, how ‘bout that?” the ocelot says. “He’s back!”
The margay nods. “Shall we?” it says. The two give each other a “potato” and pad out onto the beach.
Next day, the Survivors receive Tree Mail indicating that it’s time for the first Challenge. All three tribes paddle out to Spackling Snack-pak Duck Shock Bay Beach. Jeff is waiting for them. He’s sitting in a director’s chair, leaning back with his eyes closed and the sun shining on his face. He’s holding a reflective metal fan under his chin to maximize the effectiveness of his tanning session. The tribes assemble on their respective mats, then wait silently while Jeff tans. Finally, Amazon Rob clears his throat. Jeff’s eyes open, and he stands up. He nods knowingly as he stares at Rob. “I should’ve known you’d be the one to break the silence, Cesternino. You never could keep your mouth shut. Here. Hold this.” With lightning speed, he flips the fan at Rob. It sizzles through the air like a metal frisbee of death. Wide-eyed, Rob ducks, and the fan imbeds itself in a tree behind him.
“Hey!” Rob exclaims, his voice shaking. “Didn’t you see Goldfinger? That thing could’ve killed me!”
Jeff nods absently. “Yes, yes, it could have. But, you know, it’s just not as fun beating on you anymore. Not when I’ve had Fairplay around for a punching bag.” He sighs. “I guess things change, whether we want them to or not.” He stares at a fluffy cloud passing overhead and chews on his lower lip. Eventually, he blinks rapidly and returns his focus to the Survivors. “Well. Sorry about that. I guess you never know when you’re going to be hit by one of Life’s little lessons. Anyway, today’s Challenge is something a little different. It’s a combination Reward and Immunity Challenge. All three tribes will be competing against one another, but only one will win. The winner of the Challenge avoids having to compete in the next Immunity Challenge, and they will not go to Tribal Council. They’ll also receive a valuable Reward. The two losing tribes will be back tomorrow for the final Immunity Challenge, and the loser of that Challenge will join me for Tribal Council the next evening. Does that make sense to everyone?” The group nods like a bunch of life-size bobbleheads.
“OK, here’s how I need you to break up your group for the Challenge. I need one climber, one digger, one swimmer, one runner, and two people who just want to sit around.”
“What is this? The Mole?” Rob cracks.
Jeff’s nostrils flare, and he points a quivering finger at him. “Hey! We do not mention the competition on this show. Do you read me?”
Rob nods. “Sorry, big brother. I’m just an average joe. I don’t want any big fat obnoxious trouble with you. Consider me your apprentice. I’m just trying to learn from an American idol like you. Me, I just lead a simple life.”
Jeff looks at Rob sideways with great suspicion. “All right then. Just as long as we understand each other. OK, has everyone decided who will take care of each part? Good. Here’s how it’ll work. Remember. This is the All-Star competition. These Challenges are going to be hard. Each of you has a job to do in this first one. For you runners, you’ll be running through the jungle to the other side of the island to retrieve a flag and bring it back. Don’t forget your machete. You’ll need it. Climbers, you’ll be scaling one of the three giant towers behind me for your flag.” He points at three impossibly tall metal towers whose pinnacles are shrouded in the low clouds. Diggers, your flag is under the sand somewhere on this beach. Good luck. And swimmers - ”
“Wait!” Sue calls out. “No other hints for the diggers?”
Jeff scowls at her. “This is All-Stars, Hawk. Do you feel you need a little map? I’m sure you can find one at Loser Lodge.” Sue shakes her head while glaring fiercely at Jeff. “That’s better. OK, swimmers. You need to swim out to that buoy out there, grab your flag, and come back.”
“What buoy?” Rupert growls.
“Right out there on the horizon. Here. These might help.” He hands a pair of binoculars to Rupert.
“Oh,” he says quietly.
“As for the sitters, we’ll bind you into a chair with your arms folded. One of you will be attached to a tow line behind your swimmer; the other will be suspended from the shoulders of your climber.”
“Oh, no!” Amazon Jenna groans, putting her face in her hands as Survivor handlers move in to strap her and the other sitters to chairs.
Jeff grins evilly. “Oh, it won’t be that bad,” he says. “It’ll be over before you know it. Besides, wanna know what else you’re playing for?” Jeff takes the total silence to mean approval. He bends down and picks up a covered platter. “Ta-da!” he cries, whipping off the cover and revealing a can of beans. “It’s all about familiarity,” he nods. “All right. First tribe to re-assemble on their mats with all four flags wins. Survivors ready? Go!”
Ethan, Boston Rob, and Colby grab machetes and charge into the jungle. Rupert, Richard, and Big Tom fasten tow ropes about their waists and run down to the beach, dragging Jerri, Amazon Jenna, and Amber behind them in their chairs. Alicia, Lex, and Tina begin climbing the tall towers, with Sue, Shii Ann, and Jenna dangling on a tow rope fastened on their shoulders. That leaves Rudy, Amazon Rob, and Kathy to grab shovels and begin frenziedly digging around the beach. Jeff sits back in his director’s chair with a broad grin on his face and watches the frantic activity. He nods to himself. “This is going to be a great series,” he murmurs aloud.
Out in the surf, Richard and Rupert are swimming stride for stride to the distant buoy. Big Tom is some distance back, gasping in exhaustion as he tries to pull Amber through the waves on her chair. Jenna and Jerri are rotating helplessly on their ropes behind the two men. It turns out the chairs are flotation devices, which keeps them above the water. But the constant spinning means that sometimes their heads are dunked in the water. They gasp and splutter, trying to maintain their balance on their backs as Rupert and Richard churn furiously toward the buoys.
On the towers, Tina is laboring as she tries to drag Jenna up behind her. Alicia and Lex are quickly pulling away. Soon, Sue and Shii Ann glide smoothly past the struggling Tina. Shii Ann smiles a humorless, tight-lipped smile at Tina as she goes by. Tina stops climbing, puts her head against the metal of her tower, and closes her eyes. “What have I gotten myself into?” she groans.
The diggers are all over the place, showering one another with shoveled sand. Rob’s strategy is to dig a few inches of sand out of the way, then move quickly to another location. He’s apparently seeking freshly-turned sand. Rudy has staked out one area and is digging methodically in that location, extending the width of his hole as he also digs deeper. Kathy is leaning on her shovel, watching where Rob goes. Suddenly, she runs to a hole he’s left behind and digs another couple of strokes down into the sand. She grabs the corner of a dingy yellow flag whose corner had been exposed by Rob.
“Mogo Mogo has their first flag!” Jeff yells from his chair. Rob swears and slams the flat edge of his shovel against the ground in frustration. It rebounds and slams into his forehead. He slumps to the ground and is still. “Oh, my!” Jeff cries out. “Chapera has lost their digger! Let’s see how this plays out!” He leans forward in his chair.
Out in the ocean, Richard has arrived at the buoy. Jenna has managed to extend her legs to either side of the chair in a sort of straddled position. She’s kicking her legs to maintain her balance, which has simplified matters for Rich. Rupert’s right behind them, even though Jerri hasn’t figured out the leg-straddle thing and continues to get periodically dunked in the water. Big Tom has turned around and is wading back into shore after making it just a few yards out into the water. “Y’all cain f’get it,” he roars. “Nok gon’ drahn mah sailf. Y’all cain ait those bains!”
Ethan bursts out of the trees, and runs to the Saboga mat with a flag. “Saboga has their first flag!” Jeff cries. Colby is next out of the trees. “And two for Mogo Mogo!”
Alicia and Lex have crested their respective towers and grabbed their flags. They’re both slippeing out of control down the sides of the tower, as the weight of their cargo and the tiredness of their muscles begin to take their toll. In much less time than it took them to get to the top, the two groups are down. Alicia picks up Sue’s chair and races to Chapera’s mat, while Lex drags Shii Ann behind him. As Alicia touches the mat, Rob sits up groggily. “One flag for Chapera!” Jeff calls.
“Hey, that’s great,” Rob says dreamily, a wide grin on his face. Lex rumbles by, a screaming Shii Ann bouncing along behind him. “What’s going on?” Rob asks, turning his head to inspect the loud shouts. As he does so, a chair leg snaps off and windmills through the air toward him. He has time to squeak, “No,” before it smacks off his skull. He collapses to the ground again.
Boston Rob emerges from the trees and runs to Chapera’s map with his flag. “Rahb!” he yells. “Quit wastin’ time!”
“Three flags for Mogo Mogo!” Jeff calls as Lex and Shii Ann arrive at their mat. “Two for Chapera! One for Saboga!”
Richard splashes out of the water at that moment with a triumphant roar. He turns and reels in Jenna, then picks her up and charges to the mat, balancing her chair on his head. He leaps on to the mat and spikes Jenna’s chair in celebration. She shrieks as the chair splinters underneath her, but she appears to be unhurt.
Jeff leaps out of his director’s chair and holds his hands in the air. “Mogo Mogo wins First Immunity!” he calls. “And beans!” He flips the can to Colby. “Congratulations, you guys. Chapera and Saboga, I’ll see you tomorrow for the final Immunity Challenge.” He folds up his chair, slips it and the platter under one arm, then grabs the lid with the other. He turns to go, then pauses and looks back at the scattered Survivors as they regroup after the first marathon Challenge. “You know,” he says. “I think you guys are going to make me happy this season.” He glances at Rob, still prone on the ground. “Very happy. See ya.”
The following day, the losing tribes are back in action at the final Immunity Challenge. Jeff greets them at Swarming Shark Warmer Duck Snapback Wash After Wash Beach. “Welcome to your last chance to avoid Tribal Council,” he says once everyone’s assembled on their mats. “One of you ‘All-Stars’” – he makes air quotes with his fingers – “is going home tomorrow. Which will it be?” He sweeps his gaze over the group, penetrating each Survivor with his eyes. “We’ll soon found out,” he says ominously. Thunder claps in the distance. “OK, here’s what you have to do today. Again, you may recognize elements of this Challenge. Familiarity is our big buzz-word this season, just like what was last year, Rupe?”
“Pirates,” Rupert rumbles.
“Good for you!” Jeff exclaims. “I was going to make you do a bunch of pushups if you’d forgotten our theme. I’m proud of you. Anyway, we often kick off each Survivor series by dragging heavy things around in the Immunity Challenge. You know, wagons, big carts of steel, things like that. Today, you’ll be dragging huge wooden sleds which have been soaked in kerosene to make them heavier and smellier. You’ll have five stations where you have to drag your sled. At each station is a flare gun. You’re each going to need one of these.” He holds up a cloth bag. “It’s a flare sack.” He turns and grins into the camera. “Inside, you’ll find six flares. At each station, load a flare into the gun and fire it into the air. Then one member of your tribe must climb onto the sled. The remaining members will drag you and the slide to the next station. After the fifth station, one last member of your tribe will drag the other five back to the starting line and fire one more flare into the air. First tribe to cross the starting line and shoot that last flare wins Immunity. Everyone got it?” They mumble their understanding as Jeff hands out the two flare sacks. “OK, go to your sleds and wait for my go.”
After each tribe has planned out their strategies and set their rotations, Jeff raises his arm. “This is for Immunity! Survivors ready? Go!”
Behind Rupert’s brute strength, Saboga leaps out to an early lead. They arrive quickly at the first station. The flare gun is hanging on a tree by a small peg. Jenna grabs it and fires off the first flare, then leaps onto the sled. “Go!” she screams.
Chapera arrives at the station right on their heels. Amber shoots the flare and gets on the sled. “Pull hahdah!” Boston Rob cries. “Let’s get um!” Inspired by his eloquence, the Chapera tribe picks up the pace and arrives at station #2 at the same time as Saboga, but they must wait to use the gun. Rudy and Sue climb onto the sleds at the second station, and Chapera slowly begins to pull past Saboga, arriving at station #3 with a slim lead. Amazon Rob gets on the sled, and the tribe takes off again.
Up to and beyond the fourth station, the Chaperas lengthen their lead. By the time Saboga reaches station #4, their opponents are more than halfway back to the finish line, cheering excitedly. Big Tom is pulling the sled, his neck muscles straining with the effort. “You need to pull the entire sled across the finish line!” Jeff cries, walking backwards in front of Tom. “Saboga! Don’t give up!”
Back at station #4, Rupert yells in rage and frustration. Ethan is hurriedly loading the fifth flare into the gun. “Here,” Rudy says, snatching the gun away. “Gimme dat.” He rolls off the sled and kneels in the sand, the flare gun extended in front of him.
“Oh, now this is interesting!” Jeff calls. “Rudy’s drawing a bead on the Chapera sled.”
In perfect synchronization, the five Chapera members on the wooden sled whirl and gawk at Rudy just as he squeezes off his shot. The group piles desperately off the sides of the sled. Tom drops the rope at the front of the sled and scrambles for cover. He dives to the ground and covers his head just as the flare hits the wood. The kerosene-soaked sled immediately bursts into flames with an impressive roar.
“Let’s go,” Rudy says as he climbs back on the Saboga sled. Filled with new enthusiasm, Rupert grabs the rope and effortlessly propels the sled through the sand to the finish line. In seconds, he’s past the shell-shocked Chapera, who are scattered on all sides of their flaming sled. Rupert throws his head back and laughs loudly as he drags the sled the final few yards across the finish line. He loads the flare gun with the final flare from the sack and fires it into the air.
“Immunity to Saboga!” Jeff exclaims. “And a very resourceful victory for you guys! Congratulations!” He shakes Rudy’s hand heartily.
“So that’s how it’s gawna be, huh?” Boston Rob mutters. “I see how it is. Watch out, All-Stars.”
The following evening at Tribal Council, Amazon Rob is shocked when his tribe votes him out 5-1. “Hey, Rahb,” Boston Rob calls as his counterpart has his torch snuffed. “You’re not smahtah than me.” He smiles and removes his hat to scratch his head, revealing the word “STUPID” written on his forehead.
And the visions are gone. Well, this looks like it will be a terrific season. I’m glad you’ll be here to enjoy it with me. See you next week!
Your comments are welcome. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.