Sunday, August 31, 2008


An immense plain lay unbroken before me, it was of purest white. “Pure as the driven snow,” how many times had I heard that? Many. Not nearly as often as she had begged me not to go though. Usually I ignored the plea; ‘suggestion’ as I wrote it off to be in my mind’s eye. In hindsight, that was probably not one of my better continual choices; that is most I will give.

I’m a proud man, I wouldn’t say that I was wrong in doing what I’ve done, nor would I say that I should have done anything different. I did what I did, how could I be me had I not done what I did? Is not each man formed by what he does, just as each new perception in life is received based on a previous memory? After all, had I been born an Eskimo, maybe this cursed frozen desert would not look so heinous to me? I suspect that, growing up as an Eskimo would cause this to look like home, or at least allow it to have a better face than that of death. I did not grow up an Eskimo, and my desert does look like death, or at least it does for now. If my previous musing are at all correct, there seems to be a chance to form some new perception, some new memory such that next time if find myself in a barren waste land of a frozen landscape, I can meet it with a cheerier perspective. This is no great stride of mental walk.

Standing here isn’t making me any warmer, best to move along. Not too quickly though, I can only move fast enough as to achieve an objective of distance and stay warm. To move too fast, fast enough to cause a sweat would, more than likely, be problematic.

My objective for today…tough to really measure when it such an amaranthine wilderness, was some point ahead of me. The point seemed to move, it was my own mirage oasis. The incessant waves of static snow silently mocked me. Man, how I grew to hate the interminable wrenches. Near the bottom of my hope I was holding out that there would be a dell, the smallest break in the hell. Someplace that I could dig in for the night, someplace hospitable enough to let me dig sideways, not down. With any luck I would have to fear for being drifted over due to the hill being large enough, and properly oriented, wind to my back. I began to identify whole heartedly with the pirate marooned on some God-forsaken island, the cowboy caught cheating in five card draw, buried neck deep in sand somewhere outside of Carlsbad.

It is a crappy road to hoe, even for a criminal. I thought a lot about how criminals felt and how criminals dealt. I was still walking. My eyes hurt, I seriously doubted whether they would ever be the same again. There was no chance of future unbiased in my mind relative to the color white. White was ruined. Criminals were saved. The sun was moving on past 3. Huh, what a plot?!?

A swell ahead? Or so my blistered eyes would have me believe. I made for it. The night came early there, the light was short and cold. Only thing worse, in my experience, then a short cold day, is a long absolute zero night. It seemed to me, from what I have been told about hell, that if you took the horrible qualities of hell along with its darkness, you would nearly have an arctic night, on a scale of nastiness. If you took the degree to which hell gets hot and turned that into an equal and opposite degree of cold, then my situation was well explained.

If I counted the days right Mary would be seven tomorrow. Happy birthday kid from…where am I…well it must be close to hell if how I recall it is correct. I couldn’t tell a daughter, a little daughter, happy birthday from hell… I better make up a name for a town that I will also make up when I send her my birthday wishes, telepathically. Not that she will get them either way, but it just seems the right thing to do, so long as I am going to just wish it, maybe utter a few words, may as well make it out to be kosher.

The swell proved fruitful, in a manner of speaking. No, there was not a banana and ripe orange there, but there was a bit of snow over a ledge. The hardish stuff, perfect for digging in. it was half past four when I arrived, as good a time as any to settle down, slightly later than I generally liked. There was no fire, there was no wood. At any moment I hope to hear that MIT students have finally learned how to burn snow. I never saw the satisfaction with sending pulses through some micro tube or whatever it is that they do. They have brains as big as a frigate, why not use them to do something useful for man kind, namely me? I would have been much obliged to anyone that could have taken the edge off with a little pot of ‘fire snow.’ I was carrying my fire in a few bottles, it would keep me warm tonight, why should it be any different than any other?

She was a nice little dig. Beautiful little hole, had I had the presence of mind to take a photo I probably would’ve, had I had a camera. I got out my pencil and my book to scribble down a few notes, after all, what was I being paid for? I think my lead was frozen, it had to have been something akin to that. I look back on the book and there is some scratch of the proposed date, then some drivel of cold fingers, low victuals and that I thought I had seen a fox, but he was rabid and I had had no desire to eat him. It then scrawled off the page, like a typewriter turned run away train. There was no more writing that night.

Walking through snow miles a day is difficult work. With food as scarce as it was, I should have slept, more or less, quickly. Yet I found it had been getting harder and harder to succumb to the temptress. Maybe yielding had nothing to do with it? Maybe I was actually chasing her and in some ironic way even in the chasing of tired, I grew less tired. Whatever it was I was there, not asleep.

The frozen hell had one weapon that I had yet to consider. Time. Painful time. The perfect concoction of torture would be one part cold, one part dark, and fifty bagillion parts time. Too bad I wasn’t sent to do torture research, I would have won a Nobel Prize, I could have stood up there next to the nano-tube guy…that would have been grand. King of torture and king of the useless inventions nerd guy. I am sure we both would have left the event escorted.

Sometimes it gets too cold to think, I thought about cold thinking when I was there. It is not as if one were a river freezing that finally stops flowing all together. It is more like if one were take oil for example, a heavy weight oil, say 80 weight, put that on a stove bringing it to a nice simmer. That is a great fluid. Now if it is taken and set out on the back deck in a winter night…you do see it slowly change. Not visibly, functionally. Slowly it winds down, slowly it becomes more sedentary. Approaching fixed, never arriving though. At a point it seems that it would under no circumstance flow out of the pot if tipped sideways, but if given enough time, it would, sure as shootin’ it would. I guess that it is not too cold to think then, I guess it is too cold to think well, or too cold to think bad for that matter, one is just trying to holding onto reality, and even some lose that if they get cold enough, dark enough for long enough…or so I have surmised. I know all I cared about was holding on.

I must have drifted off eventually. I don’t recall the drift, but I recall the wake, so there must have been a drift. It was still dark, my night had not passed.

It is funny thinking back how I cursed the day, the burning sun, the glaring white…then when the night fell, I was worse off, I cursed it evermore. I seem to have never been happy in that place, yet there I was, by my own choice.
Man it was dark. It was growing darker. How could it, night had long since come, I had apparently slept, and night would have inevitably advanced. It could not be getting darker, my eyes must just be a bit out of sorts, probably that blasted sun, irreparable damage has been done to be sure.

There is nothing for developing patience like sitting in a miniscule snow cave, in seemingly ever-growing cold, and ever-growing darkness, with absolutely no recourse aside from waiting…just waiting. What I would give to have my watch back? For one it could tell me what time it was, and for another it could shed the faintest of light on this God forsake hole of an existence. I had lost my watch in a poker game on The Dreadful, a fishing trawler I took out of Anchorhead. Pretty sick sense of humor…or maybe it was meant to be a threat on the fish… Don’t really recall much about how I got myself into the game, but I did. I would have to guess it was a product of boredom, fueled by a bit of liquid courage; I was not a gambler…nor was I good at it, apparently. It was a nice watch.

Dark and Cold. Could it really grow anymore? It did. And I had my answer…over and over again I had it. After was seemed three months I set to counting seconds, then through a reasonable crafty method of counting seconds, minutes and hours I decided I could count to ten hours, or I could get reasonably close, unless my guestimation of one second, one-one-thousand, was way off. In this way I arrived at Ten hours and there was still no light…either my snow cave had caved in around me, or well I don’t even want to image what else could be causing this hellish, ever growing dark and cold.



Saturday, August 30, 2008


I left my house with $18, my pipe and an intention of getting bread, aromate and sausage.

It was bitter cold. The cold that forced one’s hands to fight over which one gets to wrap around the warmth of a well packed, well burning wooden pipe.

The walk to the butcher was about 6 blocks. We had many inches of snow last week followed by rain this past weekend; I walked on over the ice. It was 6 treacherous blocks.

The butcher does not allow smoking in his shop, thank goodness, for as much as I like sausage and I like pipes, there are some things that belong separate. Ironically, they smoke the sausages…but I digress. Bearing this in mind and not wishing to stand in the blistering cold while my pipe simmered down, I carefully timed how much time I would need for it to self-extinguish. Brilliantly, I arrived at the butcher with a pipe that had quit and hankering for food that would not. In the back of my mind I could hear her voice reminding me of all the damage that my eating habits were doing to me and how I should be eating some organic crap that tastes like sand and mud evenly mixed.

‘sorry for the inconvenience, we are closed on the 19th for remodeling,” the sign said, ‘are you kidding me?’ I asked myself.

Utter dejection was born in this moment. (not really, but I was quite sad)

I had intended to go to my favorite bookstore which was across the street, now I was determined. The lights were very dim inside, but in my mind I knew that he was open until 7p (he always was). It was a shade after 6p. Without looking I pressed the door, fully expecting it to be open, it was. I walked inside as one does into their own home…(finally, I am back!) I had stepped about 6 steps and was nearing my shelf when I heard, ‘hello? We are kind of closed. The lights are off.’ Good point, the lights were off.

If utter dejection was not born at the anti-sausage moment, it surely was delivered here! (again, not really, but I was worse off than before)

‘I just want to see if you have any new Lewis and Tolkien!’ I heard myself plead. (ugg, how pathetic) ‘Oh,’ he said, I think remembering me. ‘When were you here last?’ it had been three weeks, and he did have new stuff. I bought it.

I ended up at home with $18 worth of old books, 5 old books; no sausage, cheese, bread, or the like.