|Posted on December 15, 2021 at 1:45 AM|
The place looked closed, but the guy waved happily enough when he saw us squinting through the door. I thought all these guys were meant to be depressed. Maria flirted with him as we browsed. Not that we needed much: cigarettes, snacks, whiskey for Maria. I could sense him looking at the car; his eyes screamed we were crazy. It was winter, and this was the only road. The only place it led to was the glacier. He followed me out to the car and as I pumped gas he looked solemnly at me, his cheeks red from generations of cold.
“You know the glacier is closed.”
Behind him I watched Maria lift shit from the till. Chocolate, water. In a world of ice she wanted water.
“The glacier. It is closed. For winter. The snow gets too serious. Tourists stop, the fishermen go elsewhere. There is no rescue for people. I close in two days and I go to the city.”
Maria laughed shrilly. I knew what she was doing: impressing herself upon him, upon his consciousness. She was chickening out. I was angry. I didn’t like her much, but she was cheating on herself. It was like exams: as the teachers always told you, when you cheat, you only cheat yourself. I never cheated in school and I failed. Failed in everything.
How the hell could they close a glacier?
-From "Crystallize", first published by Aesthetica Magazine 2006, and one of the short stories in Mark Piggott's fiction/non-fiction collection "Militant Factions". Available in paperback or Kindle from Amazon.