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Mary Louise Parker and the Snowmen - Keck

Michael L. Keck

Mary Louise Parker and the Snowmen

 

“What are you looking at hiker-boy?”

I was, too. At how tan her legs were compared to her ass that she was wrapping a short skirt around. She had just risen from riding what was obviously some guy behind the log, getting off and having no compulsion about moaning about it. That wasn’t what I thought that I heard while backpacking on the trail to Middle Settlement Lake, but it was early in the year, before leaves. There are times when sound can travel funny. What I thought was going on was a woman being attacked. Maybe by a bear. They were just now coming out of hibernation. Could have cubs to care for. Could have just been hungry. When I heard what I thought was a scream, I dropped my pack, grabbed the knife from a shoulder strap, took my hiking staff and ran into the woods towards the sounds. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Didn’t know what I would find but I had to do something. Had to try.

She wore a sort of legging boot that laced up around her legs. But above that, where my eyes remained, were two nicely tanned thighs. Slender thighs. Muscular. Tight. And her ass. White and tiny. She was hot but odd. Her hair was cropped. Stringy. Sort of blonde. And she had killer eyes. Crystalline blue. Brilliant. But how did she get so tan? It was early into April. Still cold most places, like here in the Adirondacks, but she looked like she had been outdoors a long time already. She was taller than me. And younger, but most folks out here are. I was sixty-five. Still humping a pack into the mountains. This trip, on this trail, has been my go-to for the first outing of the year. I come here a few times each year. It is good ground to be going over. Even someone like me can make good time and not get busted up by it. And then I heard a bear bell. Just like the one on my pack. It was close. As I turned around to look for the sound, all that I saw was a tall, hairy animal, with my pack in its hand.

“Jesus,” I said to myself, thinking, now it’s really getting crazy. “That’s a fucking snowman.” I cannot tell if I was thinking this or saying it out loud. I started to shake. I still had my knife in my hand but it wouldn’t do much with him. He must have been over six feet tall.

“He’s a little taller than that”, she said out loud. “Put that knife away. You don’t need it. It wouldn’t have done any good any ways.”

I looked back at her. Then towards the snowman. He had yellow eyes. Eyes like a dog. Like a lab. Kinda golden. But deep and kind. I could sense a kindness. I don’t know how but that is what I thought. His fur was brown. Shaggy. Long. He stood upright. But he seemed fast, if he needed to be. And quiet. I mean, he had walked up on me. I am usually better than that even if I am being distracted by a woman getting fucked in the woods. “What the fuck is going on?” I thought about sitting down. He reached out and took the knife out of my hand, slipping it back into the sheaf. He had paws but there were also fingers. His eyes never left mine.

“You better, too. It is going to get even weirder.”

“More weird than this,” I said, gesturing to the snowman.

“Lots.” And then, that’s when the guy from behind the log stood up. But it wasn’t a guy at all. It was another snowman. One even taller than the one standing behind me. He was well over ten feet tall. Blonder. As he stood, the woman spoke to him, before turning back towards me.

“Get cleaned up Sebastian. There is killing to do.”

That is when I sat down. As I did, the one behind me placed his hand on top of my shoulder. That touch was not just firm. It was like power coming down. And the silence of his movements. All I could think about is how a bear can move through the woods, across the leaves of fall, never sounding. I had seen that more than once. It is the sort of thing that makes you more aware of bears. You get to understanding that if one wants you, you will never hear it coming.

“I named him Cole. He has been following you since you got on the trail this morning and gave that prayer that you say when you are in the woods and feeling like you belong here. Is that the idea of it?”

“Well...yeah…I guess it is a prayer, but that is not how I have thought of it. It is meant more as an expression of thanks for being there. For me to be here,” as I gestured with a wave around, “and for whatever sense of peace is surrounding me in that location. It is something that I have been saying out loud for many years now.”

“Ask him about the dog?” That was another voice inside of my head.

“How do they know about her?”

“These lands have been assigned to them. They call you ‘the one who has lived long once’. Because you come here often, you bestow great honor on their clan. They know that you and that dog traveled together for many years. That each time you leave the lake, you stop at that campsite and give the prayer and then speak to her, as if she is still with you. They find this to be very sad. It is respectful and honorable that you would convey such to an animal spirit.”

As if all of this was too much for me to take in, or too much to accept, or too much of myself to share with others, even if this must be a sort of dream, I had to stop. I had to go back. I had to get these voices out of my head. It was as if several conversations at once were going on and I was ping-ponging between each one, but how come I was not afraid?

“You have to stop that, that speaking to me as if you were inside my head. And tell them to as well. How is that possible anyways?”

“I’m sorry. I should have explained this to you sooner. They have a language but it sounds like gibberish to me and you. Over time, they developed a way to communicate with us by speaking to us inside our heads. If you live with them long enough, you can learn how.”

“So…how long have you been with them?”

“Seven years now. I come and go. Sometimes I will wander with them a few months at a time and then go back home. It is mostly about the sex.” Pointing to Sebastian, “he’s got a huge dick. It is as simple as that.”

“You got to be shitting me.”

“No. I first got laid when I was fifteen. So was the boy.

He came before I could even get started but with kids like that, they can get hard again in five minutes. Especially if you put a little tongue into it. But it was not satisfying. Just enough so that I knew that I had to have better. One day at Girl Scout camp, at Trefoil, over by Harrisville, I found the big guy here fucking one of the nurses. Clearly, he knew what to do and she was having the time of her life. So I waited until she left and asked him to do me. Obviously he did. It was great. The top of my head blew off and I have been chasing after him ever since. Along the way, I learned a few more things about him, them. We trust each other. Like animals do. But you are right, you need to be careful about what you are thinking. If you screw that up, one of them will twist your head off before you know it.” Pointing to her crotch, “Do you want some of this?”

“No. Sloppy seconds after you just fucked a giant? Yeah, that would do wonders for my ego. Besides, I’m sixty-five. I’m old enough to be your grandfather. How old are you anyways?”

“Twenty-two.”

“Okay…so who is getting killed?”

“It is not you.”

“I figured that out but I don’t know how or why.”

“Tonight, they are going to find the wreck of a ship. The silver-heads crashed it a few miles from here. While they make repairs, they place a shield around it so others can’t see them or interfere, but they have small bladders, so they have to step outside of the shield to pee. When they do, Sebastian or one of the clan jerk them off of their feet, twist off their head. They get paid a bounty for each one. Or, if they are in a mood, they keep the heads and play games with these on a hillside. We call it bowling. It’s a fucking riot.”

“What do they do with the bodies after they are done with them?”

“Dig a hole, put them in, and cover the spot by planting a pine on it. Anytime you see a pine just sort of growing off to the side by itself, that’s a grave.”

“All silver-heads?”

“Well…not exactly. It could be a person that just pissed them off.  They don’t like it when folks screw with the land, like trashing it out with litter. After a while, one of them just snaps. Or you could put out a contract on a person and they will just make them disappear. You know, there are a lot of missing persons in the Adirondacks that have never been found. And now, they are growing a pine for us.”

“You got to be shitting me?”

“No. Just takes a jar of cinnamon, their favorite, and they will come to terms with you. Especially you, one who has lived long once. It would be an honor for them to rub someone out. 

That is what they call it, or greasing someone. They find the person, watch, create the time and snap. The head flies off and they chuckle about it.”

“And go bowling.”

She laughed, “Yeah, it could be that.”

The big one, the one called Sebastian, kept his eyes on me. He was peering inside of me. I could feel it. “Today is not the first time that you were aware of us. I can sense it inside of your head. You knew about the silver-heads didn’t you?” She was looking at him now as he spoke to me.

“I…ah…well…sort of knew.”

“Be careful here hiker-boy. Don’t lie.”

“Some years ago, as I sat in the front of the lean-to on Middle Settlement Lake, my mind wandered across the lake to that ridge and I began to imagine a story. You see, I am a practicing writer. Things just sort of pop into my head. Sometimes these become stories or a poem. Sometimes, these just point me into a different direction. I call it the ‘poem-next-door’. What my head wanted to write about is just sitting there, out of my grasp, as if it needs to live on longer inside of my head before I can start to write it out of me.  Often, these are the real things that I wanted to write about all along. So, on that trip, I imagined that at night snowmen would race across the slope of the ridge chasing aliens that they had been sent here to kill. I did not call them silver-heads though. But I like that term. I didn’t know anything about you either. Now here I am. It is like that guy on the radio, Paul Harvey, who would say, ‘and now, you know the rest of the story.’

“ Do you think that now you have enough of the story to start writing it?”

“Yeah,” I chuckled. “What’s your name?”

“Let’s just call me Donna.”

“Don’t worry. I am not going to use your name in it. I’ll need something else. Something to help sell it. Like Mary Louise Parker.”

“Really? She’s hot but she is also a lot older than me. I don’t know if I like that.”

“You don’t get to choose. Sometimes I don’t either. That is how the writing is. It comes out of us, sort of on its own. There are a lot of guys out there that once I throw her name out there, they will smile and read the story to find out more. The story will feed their ideas about her. Feed their fantasies. The same as mine. Did you see her in Esquire when she was making pie? That was so hot.” She laughed. I could tell that she knew about that article. She liked Mary Louise too. Mary Louise began to run around inside of her head. I could tell. The smile on her lingered.

“I don’t get it,” said Sebastian, “who is this person that you are talking about?”

“It is okay honey, I will explain it to you later.” Looking at me, “You know…there will be a lot of others who won’t like the idea of this killing or me fucking the big guy here. What are you going to do about that?”

“You must tell him about his dog.”

“Just a minute. I need to find out more about how he does his writing.”

“Nothing. I am just going to let the words fall as they may. You’re right though. But that is true of most everything. What the writer says. How each of us lives our life or goes about their business. Some folks get it and some don’t. It’s like a perverse humor. Some get it and some don’t. I’ll have to live with it. And come back to it later on in my life and think some more about it. Maybe it will be a regret. Maybe it will be something else, something that right now, I can’t imagine.  That is how life is. We just can’t know how it will turn out or what will be next. Just show up. Just keep showing up.”

Donna looked at Cole and back at Sebastian, nodding. “Okay. Okay. They want you to know that the spirit of your dog sits at that campsite on the point, with its back to the lake, watching the trail. It is waiting for you to come back to her. The sadness of it makes them cry.”

I dipped my head, trying to cover up. Then sent my gaze across the horizon to where the lake would sit.  A lean-to sat on the far shore. No one would be using it. Sydney and I seldom did either. She had found the campsite on the point, just taking an unknown side trail that I had often overlooked on previous trips. The site is small. Only large enough for one tent, but it caught a nice summer breeze. For thirteen years we shared that location.

“What about the snowmen? What can you say about them?”

“That they smell clean.”

She laughed. It was one of those great laughs. The kind that men fall for. We look right past the beauty as their laugh lives on as a memory. It is what we come back to. “They do, don’t they?”

“Yeah. And they have pads on their hands like a paw but they can articulate their fingers. They have claws. That they prefer to watch us. That they like the land. They are sacred beings. But perverse.”

“Who is going to believe that? Not those goofy guys on TV. The northwest reality hunters, out at night, running through the woods with their green headlamps on, trying to make the rest of us afraid. Who writes that shit?”

“I don’t know. I am just trying not to be one of those guys seen as someone trying to cash in on their experiences.”

“But isn’t that what writers do?”

I looked past her across the old hills towards where the lake would be. I could see the campsite. Maybe I could get lucky and see my dog sitting there. Maybe there was a story there waiting.