Maxed Out 

The (inside) Whistler Story

By G.D. Maxwell

Sitting on the snow at the top of the gray zone on Blackcomb, wondering whether I should start jogging again or give up climbing the chimney, hoping that wasn’t part of a lung I’d just coughed up, everything the day had offered was spread before me like a banquet. Late afternoon sepia tone sun shone brightly on the Tantalus peaks, making them look like some beckoning Shangri La in the distance. Snow beat down 21 Mile Creek and spilled over the ridge into the watershed of 19 Mile. Holes of blue sky stitched a crazyquilt patchwork with angry clouds. "Another day in paradise," Seppo might have said.

Benevolently, when it came time for an après interlude, the clouds parted, the sun burned hot and an Aussie waiter named Mike – Maak – scared up a Whistler Black Tusk while I listened to Spanish being spoken loudly all around me on the patio of Monk’s. I was lost momentarily in the cultural soup, wishing the tired rock ’n’ roll might be replaced with Mariachi, when I started hallucinating.

I could have sworn someone swimming through the crowd in front of Merlin’s, coming toward me, was decked out in a ratty Man With No Name poncho, a gaudy, outsized red felt sombrero with gold trim, greasy dockers and tire-tread harachis. It was no hallucination. Even with a big Sony videocam hiding his face, the shuffle was painfully familiar. It was J.J. and he was heading straight for me.

Waiving while still looking through the camera’s viewfinder, I heard the gravel-choked voice call out, "Yo Dude, Happy Cinco de Mayo."

"That would be next month, J.J. And it’s pronounced My Owe, not mayo like you put on sandwiches. Why don’t you...." Never one to need an invitation, J.J. lowered the camera, hopped over the fence, sat down, and took a long draught of my beer.

"Goooooood," he mugged.

"What’s with the camera?" I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to know but I was sure he was going to tell me anyway.

"I’m makin’ movies, Dude. I think I’ve finally found my calling," he said, finishing my beer.

"No more PI work?" I asked. "What’s Whistler going to do if its only private eye closes up shop? It’s not like we don’t already have a lot of talented filmmakers around here you know. But we only have one spook."

"Well, I’ll do whatever comes along. A fella’s gotta eat. I can’t always rely on friends to buy me a beer, you know," he said, smiling.

I got the hint and ordered another couple of Black Tusks. "So whatcha filmin’? Porn or autobiography? Autobiography would be cool. Nam: The Conspiracy Oliver Stone Couldn’t Even Imagine."


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