THE TALON

Inside the Mind of Someone Who Escaped Alaska

This is what the government doesn't want you to know.

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Inside the Mind of Someone Who Escaped Alaska

Lyle Johnson in his native land.

Lyle Johnson in his native land.

Lyle Johnson in his native land.

Lyle Johnson in his native land.

Alaska has been a hotly debated topic for more than a century since William Seward swindled it from Russia for a mere $7 million.  The people have been asking for decades: Does Alaska actually exist?  Is it a haven for Russian spies?  Is it just a gigantic set made by Discovery Channel for their bush people shows?  The people demand answers, and with the help from an Alaskan refugee, we will debunk this fabled piece of land.

How did you escape?  Was it an elaborate underground railroad system?

I’m going to have to think about some of these for a little bit, ya know?  I’m not allowed to tell you exactly how I escaped because the Russians would find out and shut it down.  All I can say is it involved narwhals and a pit stop at Hawaii.

Did you actually find any gold while you were in Alaska?

No, that’s false there’s no gold in Alaska.  Extra sharp cheddar cheese, Kraft®, but that’s it.

We’ve noticed your tendency to play the national anthem of the USSR in class, is this because of where you were raised?

Yeah, it’s just an old tendency I have from the mind-control tendencies they used on us when we were young.  I do think it has a nice ring to it though.

Any encounters with these bush people?

It’s just hard to talk about such a traumatizing thing…the whole experience…the whole ordeal… Long story short, we don’t associate with the rival tribes.

We hear that the scene in The Revenant in which Leonardo DiCaprio was eaten by a bear is a rite of passage for Alaskans.  Is this true?

That’s sick.  Let’s go baby.

How much Russian or Canadian influence was in Alaska?

You could actually look out your window in the morning and see Russia to the left and Canada to the right.  Russian gypsies would occasionally pass through town and steal the caribou from my family’s farm.

You could actually look out your window in the morning and see Russia to the left and Canada to the right.”

— Lyle Johnson

Are there actually volcanoes or are they Russian-made population control devices?

We reserve the special locations for the undesirables.

Just how cold was it?

My [nose] fell off and shattered when it hit the ground.  Prosthetics are in high demand.

Prove your validity right now and speak Inuit.

*stares intensely* We communicate telepathically.

Did you ever harvest whales for oil to survive the cold winters?

Yeah, I’ve actually eaten whale before.  Our whole village would go out and use the smallest child as bait, and when the whale came up to eat the child we would latch onto it and drag it onto the ice.  We also ate Free Willy.

We ate Free Willy.”

— Lyle Johnson

Have you ever gone ice-fishing?

Yeah, of course.  Kids don’t pack lunches for school they just pack a fishing rod and an ice saw.  My little brother actually fell through the ice one time.  There’s a lot of trout.

Do you think Alaska actually exists or was it just an elaborate figment of your imagination?

That’s a good question, Rachel Maile.

Did William Seward make a wise decision or was he was just up to his usual shenanigans?

As we learned in Macroeconomics, it would be an equitable trade to sell it to Israel (so they could make it their new Holy Land) in exchange for the Ark of the Covenant.  We then exchange the Ark of the Covenant for the entire city of Mecca, and then exchange Mecca for the Great Wall of China, which we will ship with Amazon Prime and place around Alaska as a dam to protect the people within from Canadian syrup spills.

Any Alaskan horror stories?

I am 13. My parents are divorced. My mother lives in New York, and My father works in the oil fields of northern Canada. I am flying to visit my father when the pilot of his bush plane dies of a heart attack. I have to crash-land the plane in a shallow wilderness lake, where I am stranded alone.

After the plane crash, I must fend for myself. My only tool is a hatchet, given to me by my mother. I am swarmed by mosquitoes and severely sunburned before I’m able to find shelter in a small rocky overhang on the shore of the lake and food in the form of berries. Eventually, by striking the cave wall with my hatchet and showering sparks onto a pile of kindling, I am able to build a small fire. This is the turning point of my time in the wilderness.

For a while after I master fire, I have an easier time. I find more food (turtle eggs) and start exploring ways to hunt and fish, trying to build a bow and arrow and a fish spear. Eventually, a plane passes overhead but doesn’t see me, and I am devastated.

Though I lose my will for a while, even trying to commit suicide by cutting myself with the hatchet, I am able to get back at it. I improve on my bow and arrow design, allowing myself to nab fish and eventually small birds and rabbits. I’m visited and sprayed by a skunk and nearly lose my food supply. With each setback, my resolve grows stronger, until my campsite is struck by a tornado.

The tornado destroys my shelter and food supply, but it also reveals the tail of the plane. I remember that there’s a survival pack in the tail and make plans to swim out to get it. When I make it to the plane, the pack is missing, and I drop my hatchet into the water trying to cut into the tail. Diving down to grab my hatchet, I also find the survival pack. It contains a .22 survival rifle, sleeping gear, pots, pans, food, matches, and most importantly, an emergency transmitter. Thinking the transmitter is broken, I flip it on and off a few times and toss it aside before cooking a meal and falling asleep. The next morning, I am rescued by a bush pilot after 54 days alone. (Some parts of this may be from the novel Hatchet by mere coincidence.)

Growing up in Alaska, you’re fluent in Canadian, eh?

Yeah, eh.  Most definitely, eh.  Sorry for the accent, eh.  Where’s the syrup, eh? (Translated to English, he stated: “I have the Russian launch codes.  They are 5489 3364 5497 3910 1849 2648 0183 7474 3892 9992 7289 1826 6428 9272 6635 7467 8958.”)

Rounded to the nearest hundred, how many bears have you wrestled?

*counts intensely*  Am I allowed to use my fingers to count?  The real question is: How many Lyles have bears wrestled?

The real question is: How many Lyles have bears wrestled?”

— Lyle Johnson

Assorted Quotes About Alaska

“We should sell it to Canada; they need it more than us.” -Rachael Stokes

“Isn’t that like that city underwater right?” -Random Public Transit Passenger

“No.” -Vansh Nagpal

“I always thought Alaska was out in the middle of the ocean because that’s where it is on maps.” -Meredith Gee

“When I looked up Lyle’s address from when he lived in Alaska, I was incredibly surprised to discover that he indeed lived in a real neighborhood and not a collection of igloos.  Also, apparently they have grocery stores and do not have to hunt their own leopard seals.” -Stuart Philp

“Alaska is entirely a scam.” -Gabby Mochizuki

“Wait are we talking about that Amazon thing that listens to you?” -Christian Weichsel

“That’s where the frost giants live.” -Shabih Jafri (in a British accent)

“After Ryan Reynolds in “The Proposal,” I would consider going to the forever daylight land.  I thought it was attached to the U.S. for a while.  Also, I want you to put that Sandra Bullock is a [mean lady].” -Natalie Aversano

“I keep having this recurring dream that the abominable snowman is whipping me in Alaska.” -John Conley

“It was really pretty with all the ice and glacier ice is blue.” -Hannah O

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