Maxed Out 

Darkness intrudes on the new year

To be completely honest, I was thinking dark thoughts. Somehow, drinking dark beer and thinking dark thoughts seemed to be parallel threads in a common unreality. One blended seamlessly into the other, both seeming bottomless, as I glazed, staring at an infinite point maybe three feet in front of my nose.

I was wallowing in a malaise in Dusty’s after another day exceeding guests’ expectations – assuming they weren’t expecting much. Trying to remember what day of the week it was and whether we’d just slipped through Christmas, New Year’s, or both. A blur of faceless holidayers möbiused through my mind, shuffling their snowy, wet feet across memory neurons, leaving no impression but confusing delicate remembrances soon to be muddled in the soup of personal history.

How many days had it been since I’d had a day off? Trying to count I got tangled up in fascination with my own fingerprints, better just to carve notches in Mark’s table. No, that could lead to close encounters with sharp objects. Best to just forget and call it a lot.

It was after Christmas. I remembered opening presents. More distinctly, I remembered skiing Christmas morning in more snow than I’d ever seen on Whistler Mountain all at one time. Faceshots the length of Dave Murray, straightlining Tokum to keep from losing momentum in thigh-deep – was it really thigh-deep – snow. Watching boarders drop into fluff-filled gullies and have to swim back to the surface, struggling as though they’d fallen into pools of quicksnow. Filling the inside of my jacket with snow on Fall Away because it was so deep it came in through open pitzips. Oh yeah, it was definitely after Christmas ’cuz Christmas was another indelible memory day in Paradise. Filed and cataloged.

It must have been after New Year’s too. I remembered having written 2003 a number of times already. Wouldn’t have done that if we were still in 2002, not like it’s something I need to practice. Thoughts drifted back to deep Christmas snow, post New Year rain, dishing up the Whole Whistler Experience… again and again. Karma’s gonna catch ya boy. Think nice thoughts.

"Whatthehell you starin’ at, bro?"

It was the sound of Karma catching up with me. J.J., ever generous with my tab, ordered another beer for me and one for himself as he swung his bulk into the seat next to mine. "What day is this, J.J.?"

"Day after yesterday."

I didn’t need another riddle and I wasn’t sure I needed to see J.J. There’s never a good time to be sneaked up on by J.J., but solitary, reflective moments crash to a particularly abrupt halt when he appears. J.J. Geddyup – Whistler’s only private eye – embodies intrusion. His disheveled appearance is intrusive. His hurky-jerky locomotion is intrusive. His voice is pure intrusion. The stale smell of unfiltered French cigarettes clinging to his personal atmosphere is intrusive. And his personality was intruding on my dark serenity like a dentist’s drill poking into the pulp of a live tooth.

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