The nation breathed a sigh of relief late this afternoon as the last of three or four hallucinating teenagers, lost for literally hours in Fountain Valley’s forbidding Mile Square Park, was airlifted out, exhausted but conscious.
“It was INTENSE,” marveled Jonathon Frantz, the last of the rescued teens. “One moment I was chilling in this pagoda by the pond, and started to feel a little bit weak from hunger and thirst, and the next thing you know I was fighting off this army of ostriches, and they all had razor blades attached to their beaks and claws. And I reached down and found a machete by my side, and I was all like ‘Thwack! Thwack! Thu-wack!’ And then suddenly they all stopped fighting, and the king of the ostriches bowed his head and said I was the chosen one, and that Jesus Christ would come back to earth if I could just find some tacos in the park, and bring them back some. And so I went off looking, and I don’t remember what happened next…”
It appears the teens had become separated some time around four in the afternoon as they desperately struck off in different directions searching for provisions. To make things especially frustrating, their cell phones were still muted from watching a movie earlier in the day, so they were unaware of all the desperate calls from their loved ones. Even worse, Jonathon hadn’t cleared out his mailbox, making it impossible for his distraught relatives and friends to even leave him a message.
“ALWAYS erase at least some of your old messages before going on a hike,” warned Park Docent Rita Snyder. “It is VERY frustrating to your loved ones to have to sit through your whole silly recording and then hear that there’s no more room for them to leave you a message. I mean, show a little consideration, man!”
Brianna Wyland, the first to be rescued, brushed her black goth bangs from her eyes, and mused in a broken voice, “I realize now that a lot of the time we were lost I was hallucinating. At one point Kyle [Forrest] and I were sitting there, and it had been hours since breakfast and both our stomachs were growling. And I became convinced that as we grew weaker and weaker, one of us was going to get eaten by the other one. It was inevitable. It was just a law of nature.”
She paused and continued through tears, “And that thought was just too weird for me. Kyle and I have been friends since third grade, you know? So I took off toward the archery range over there. I figured I would rather be eaten by strangers, than by somebody so close to me.”
Forty-five minutes later, tormented by gnats and failing to make it all the way to the archery range, Brianna gave up the will to live, sat down on a log and withdrew into herself. She was found a little before five o’clock in an advanced state of depression and ennui, by a team of Navy Seals rappelled down from a police helicopter rented from neighboring Huntington Beach.
“Brianna will need a lot of counseling after an experience like this one,” opined therapist Reese Kelley. “This will always be a painful memory for her, but as we work through the trauma of her ordeal, and she knows how many millions of people care about her and are rooting for her, I have faith that she will eventually overcome this, find inner strength, and live a fulfilling life. I’ve seen this a hundred times.”
Meanwhile Kyle, immersed in the loud emo music blaring through his earbuds, never noticed Brianna leaving his side. Remembering an energy drink he had thoughtfully stored away in his fanny pack, the famished, parched youth downed it in one long swig and then went running at breakneck speed across the park, certain that if he went fast enough he would inevitably run into some sign of civilization. Before long his foot hit a rock the wrong way and he sprained his ankle, and was soon found groaning in pain by a Mexican family.
Kyle considers his rescue by Mexicans a transformative experience. “I know it’s uncool to admit but I was a little bit of a racist until today, but being rescued by this great family – familia – made me see things in a whole new light. Now I can see how we are all part of the great Cosmic Plan – us, and the Mexicans, and the plants and animals. You know?”
Jonathon’s experience was possibly the most grueling of all. “I just walked, and walked, it seemed like forever, and I kept seeing Warner Avenue off in the distance. I knew I could get help for me and Kyle and Brianna and that other kid if I just made it to Warner, but every time I looked up, it was never any closer. It just seemed to keep getting farther. Then suddenly I realized it wasn’t Warner after all – it was Euclid! I had been walking in a semi-circle for hours!
“So I turned around and walked as quickly as I could in the opposite direction, but before long I hit the golf course fence, which was too high for me to scale. I tried yelling ‘HELP!’ at the men playing golf. I don’t know, maybe they didn’t speak English, they were all Oriental. But they looked at me like I was crazy, and didn’t raise a finger to help me.”
Tears well up in the eyes of the 19-year old, with his yellow-green afro and nickel-sized ear piercings. “For the first time, I knew what it must have felt like to be a Jew in World War II, or a black dude in the south. I’ll never forget that feeling.”
Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, whose district includes the park, struck a scolding tone as he stood in front of the legions of surviving rescue workers, dressed, as is often his custom, in the guise of a Sasquatch. “These teenagers showed a shocking lack of judgment, resulting in the tragic deaths of at least five rescue workers, who selflessly gave up their lives so that these SELFISH KIDS could have a future. Let this be a lesson to all who can hear my voice – BE PREPARED before you set foot in Mile Square Park! To begin with, it stretches at least a MILE in every direction – I don’t think today’s young people realize how far that is.”
Registering a disapproving glance from Fountain Valley Mayor Mark McCurdy, The Moorlach quickly added, “We DO want you all to visit this lovely and beautiful park with all its amenities. Just remember though, before you come here – it IS one of the most dangerous places on earth, with reports of chupacabra sightings, acid hail, and naked joggers with human papillomavirus.”
Jonathon, still lying on a gurney, mumbled, “Just chill, dude,” and tried to hand the aggrieved Supervisor a small pipe; The Moorlach turned away sadly, murmuring, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” and then galloped away in the direction of Costa Mesa.
Memorial services for the fallen rescue workers will be held Saturday afternoon at Dilday Brothers in Huntington Beach. Donations and love offerings can be sent to PO Box 361, Fountain Valley, 92708.