Christ, I needed a drink. I ransacked every inch of the cabin until it looked like it had been investigated by a crime family. I lurched out of the room and started up the snowmobile to slalom down the hill on long curving trajectories, whipping past pine trees and jagged outcrops. In the supply shack at the bottom of the mountain glistened cases of whiskey. What, you thought I was trying to help the man? No. I’m just alcoholic. My needs are bigger.
I gulp from a bottle with one hand while the other changes channels on a portable radio. Static crackles out:“...help...rescue...Eliza and Minnette are...” I startle upon hearing these names. “...under...help...Placement Pike...”
Despite conflicting histories that may be presented, these two are not my living relatives. But they have grown on me. I stuff several bottles of the good stuff into my pack and refuel the snowmobile. Deciding to ignore my previous orders, I set west to save the two. On second thought I turn back to the shack for the radio. As I do this, an avalanche obliterates the only safe ground passage. My remaining options include scaling a 300 foot sheer face and an airlift. Damn. It looks like I have no choice but to follow orders. To an extent. I call my handler and make arrangements.
The chopper comes and I punch the pilot. I drag him into the shack and set coordinates for Placement Pike. This sounds like the premises of a summer blockbuster, a debilitating drunk setting after two women to whom he owes nothing in a chopper he can barely pilot. I fly over the snow capped ranges and take a slug of whiskey.