When Gregson wasn’t chasing a woman, it was a lot easier to feel like he didn’t exist. Now that he had hopes and expectations, he felt for things, like he was trying to find the light-switch in the dark. His happiest moments were when he forgot who he was—this usually happened at the beach, when he watched the waves mixing with the sand. All of his striving to solve cases became a bag he had trouble finding at the claim. Women were a distraction, and being in a mystery was best—but finding the woman, and solving the perfect murder, was something he longed for, even though he was retired.
Was he too fat to go skiing? None of the clothes at the winter outfitter conformed to his body-type. The prospect of competing for a female’s attention left him wondering… what was he doing?
Still, she was a way of drawing-out the essence of him—and Gregson wanted to show her who he really was.
The first snow had fallen, and the slopes were cold.
Gregson took his convertible into the mountains. Being impractical is the essence of adventure. There were teenagers standing along the rope, like Whos from Whoville. Their multicolored coats were in sharp contrast to Gregson who wore a white jumpsuit. Perhaps, he wanted to blend in.
The aluminum lift creaked when he sat next to a blonde babe.
“Is this your first-time down Abominable Mountain?” She asked.
“It’s the nickname for Crystal. Apparently, a snowman, dressed in white, kills innocent women. I was worried it might be you.”
“Well, I’m not him,” Gregson said.
“But how can I trust you?”
Gregson was getting annoyed. “Go skiing for a couple of hours and find out.”
“You know… I’m staying in Cabin 5 and I’m alone.”
“Great.” Gregson said. “I’m staying in Cabin 7, and I prefer to be alone.”
“You don’t like me?”
“It’s not a question of like—but one of dislike. I don’t like to mix business with pleasure.”
“What’s your business.”
“That’s none of your business.”
“Well… don’t try to follow me,” she said. And the girl jumped off the lift like an angel and skied down the mountain.
Gregson didn’t want anyone watching him—he was supposed to meet Liz at the top, along with Pastor Steve. Why is one man never enough? A woman needs at least 10 to choose from—they orbit her like moons, locked into her feminine-pull-of-gravity.
Pastor Steve stood at the top of the mountain. His white smile was whiter than the snow.
“This is my hunk of a man,” Liz said, touching the pastor on his shoulders. “Steve, this is…”
“Gregson.” He shook hands. Steve tried to crush his grip.
“You can’t know your limitations until you’ve been to the top of the mountain and back,” Steve said. “Liz and I have a season pass. Are you a seasoned skier?”
“I’m a seasonal skier.”
“Oh, well every kind is allowed.”
Something about him pissed Gregson off.
“Let’s do the double-diamond then. It’s where the abominable snowman strikes. Looking at your taste in clothes—that might be you.”
Gregson thought being heavier would help him to ski faster, but that wasn’t the case. Gregson was left in their powder. It reminded him of the prom—when his date was stolen by the captain of the football team—but now the captain worked fast-food, and Gregson ate crime for breakfast.
He drifted between the murderous trees. Going slowly was the way to stay alive. Gregson noticed the ski-tracks of Steve and Liz. They were turning red. Gregson dabbed his finger into the snow, and tasted blood. He started skiing faster. It had to be the pastor, unless the girl he liked was homicidal?
The blood sprayed in the snow as if Jackson Pollock became a serial killer. It was a snow cone of death.
The remaining hairs on Gregson’s head were standing on end. Then he saw the body, like someone had tried to shove it down the garbage disposal, and the arms and legs wouldn’t fit. There was a great-big-red-patch where the body had been.
“Liz?” Gregson whispered, but it wasn’t her. There was a wedding ring on her left hand. Jealous husband? Who knew? Then Gregson slipped in the blood. He had to get down the mountain to warn the ski patrol.
“Hold it right there…” Gregson was staring down the barrel of a shotgun.