Unexpected Detail

Greg and Annamaria arrived at the park and began unpacking their picnic supplies. 


“I guess we’re the first ones here,” said Annamaria. “Let’s make sure to spread out and save some spots for our friends, I think it’s going to fill up today.” 


Greg nodded in agreement. 


First, they unfurled the gingham picnic blanket that packed neatly into its own carrying cube. Then, Greg unbuckled the old-fashioned wicker basket from the back of his bicycle. It was one of their favorite possessions. 


“We’re such geniuses for having put this on our wedding registry,” he said for the twentieth time that summer. Annamaria grinned. 


They laid the basket on top of the blanket and both began unloading it. First came the reusable plastic cups, then the bottle of wine. Then some bags of chips, tupperware containers of typical picnic snacks like egg salad and watermelon cubes, plates, and utensils. 


Annamaria went over to her own bike and unstrapped a small parcel from the back of it. She brought it to a place about 6 feet away from the picnic setup and started removing its contents: individual synthetic fireproof stones, about 10 inches in diameter, formed to look like natural stones. With these she made a makeshift fire circle. Next came the neatly stacked, factory-cut logs, which she arranged in a careful teepee inside the circle. 


“All set!” she called to Greg. 


Greg reached inside the picnic basket and brought out the final two items. The first was a thin iron rod about two feet long which had hinges on either end that attached to two more metal rods of the same length. These folded out to create stakes which he stuck in the ground on either side of Annamaria’s circle, effectively creating a spit across the top. To one side of the rod he screwed on a long metal handle. 


The second item was a beautifully polished wooden stick that forked at the top. A shiny leather strap was affixed to the fork and there was a little pocket in the middle of the strap which held a perfectly round, heavy black stone. It was the Wirecutter recommended slingshot, another prize possession. 


“What are we in the mood for today?” Greg asked. “Squirrel or pigeon?”