I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a short story involving a mountain cook.
The wind gusts sideways. Sleet cuts into his cheeks like a sandblaster. He sees the boy pull his sister ever closer. They aren’t equipped for this weather. The boy is wearing a leather coat over a hooded sweatshirt. The girl has an oversized Minnesota Vikings jacket on. They are both wearing jeans and dangling snowboards. The wind turns even harsher, twisting flurries as it whistles through the cables. Hypothermia weather, he thinks to himself. He has to get these kids off the mountain.
He reaches for his radio. “Getting anywhere?”
There is no response. The call button is stuck, frozen solid. He taps it lightly on the rusty chair rail. Nothing. He taps it again and on the up stroke accidentally catches a slat edge, grazing it just hard enough to flip the radio out of his giant mitten. It spins for a moment on the chair’s edge and then drops away. He watches helplessly as it plummets and then splinters on the rocks below.
“Fuck!” he yells without thinking.
The girl giggles.
“Sorry,” he apologizes. “Hey, you guys got a cell phone? Of course you do. All kids have cell phones.”
“Not on us. Mrs. Mathers won’t let us take them skiing. Thinks we’ll lose them.”
“Mrs. Mathers. That your teacher or something?”
“She’s our foster mom. She takes us up here at the end of each season when everything is half off.” The rest of the boys words are swallowed by another brutal gust.
The girl shrieks.
“Hey, it’s all right kiddo. If they don’t get it running soon, they’ll just send out a snow cat to get us down.”
There’s no device on the mountain that can get them down from the Witch and he knows it. Their only hope is for the lift to resume running. But he isn’t about to tell them that.