Warm and Fuzzy Thoughts
I know my wife is trying to kill me. We are thirty miles from the nearest sign of civilization, trapped in a log cabin with ten feet of snow in every direction, and my wife is trying to kill me. I am always on guard. It’s difficult, staying alive in such situations-everything is burning. But I will not let her win. She’s coming.
“Sweetie? Is that you?” She enters the bedroom, searching for me with walnut-colored eyes. In one hand she is holding a… is that a knife?
“Pudding pie! Yes, I was just… thinking aloud.” I try to stare her down, matching her gaze with a civilized smile. She does not move. “Are you… cooking, dearest?”
She glances at the knife in her hand for an instant, before looking back at me. I am sitting on the side of the bed, micro-cassette clutched tightly in the hand behind my back. Her nostrils flare. A moment later, she sheathes the knife in its case.
“No, fuzzy-wubbly. I thought I heard a rat.” She turns to leave, cow-hide boots creaking on wooden floorboards. I do not move until she has shut the door. It’s so hot.
It has been three days since the snowstorm, since the avalanche. Since my wife first tried to kill me. We were walking together outside on the frozen plain, marveling at what appeared to be bear tracks. We were not far from the cabin. When the avalanche started, both of us knew immediately; she had grown up in storm territory back in Colorado, and I hadn’t spent four years majoring in “Geological and Atmospheric Studies” in Denver for nothing. The mountain began to rumble, a deep and earthy moan that traveled through the snow and up each leg into the core of your being, making you wonder why you’d ever thought a log cabin vacation was a good idea in the first place.
“Fuck.” I remember almost laughing; she never cursed. I was not afraid for her, for myself — I simply stared at her, marveled at her lips pursed. Her beautiful profanity. The ground below us was no longer ground; it was a white rock jelly that wanted to suck you in, to pull you under and make you a part of it, rolling and tumbling down the high side of the mountain, taking everything with you to a cold and suffocating death. But we did not wait for our demise — she took off toward the cabin, dislocating my arm in the process while dragging me behind her. “Run! Run! Move your bloody legs and run!” She didn’t stop screaming until we reached safety; until we were past the down-flow and lying breathless against the maple storm door of the cabin, feeling the shake and shudder of the whole world bleeding white behind our backs.
She’d saved both of us through sheer will, with minimal injury. Everything around us was white. Everything around us was dead. So I didn’t mind — I didn’t even feel my arm throbbing until half an hour later when the mountain finally settled and the snow piled past our windows in the cabin — she’d saved my life. Perhaps she wanted to be the one to do the job. Not the mountain spirit, or whatever really caused this destruction. The next morn —
“Honey?” She is at the oaken door. The last time she knocked — yesterday — she entered with an axe. For chopping wood, she said. I have a fine sense of humor, but this is not a time for jokes. And there are plenty of chairs in the living room. At least two. To keep the fire going — even though it’s already so warm. Doesn’t she feel it?
I found a pistol under the bed last night. I don’t know where it came from, and I don’t really care. I’ll use it if I have to. I won’t give her the pleasure. But it’s hot. So hot.
“How’s your arm, sugar-pooh? Any better?”
“Much better, apple-muffin. Almost fine, actually. Found any rats?”
“Still looking, dear. Still looking.”
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