“Where’s Sugar Jugs?” Looking towards the ridge.
“I mean Sugar Pie.”
“Sugar Pie, the bot waitress?”
Phillips scratches his chin, “You think Sugar Pie is with us? Why would she be with us?”
Tillman chuckles nodding, “I knew it, she’s plum crazy, just like I said!”
Phillips continues on his cigarette, “Shut the fuck up and let her tell us her tale.”
“Look there’s no tale to tell. Sugar Pie is your other climbing team member – where is she?!”
Phillips sits forward looking a bit concerned. I get to my feet and approach the ridge. I’m absolutely shocked to find nobody out there, just barren snow! I’m beginning to think fat ass is right. I could swear on my mother’s grave Sugar Pie came with us! I can’t be losing my mind now, not when I’m getting so close.
“What the hell is going on here?!” as I turn back to them.
"Tillman bottoms up his beer can and lets a raunchy burp loose, “This girl has blown a fuse!”
I stalk back and forth, maybe I am crazy. How could a person completely disappear and nobody but me remembers them? Then it hits me, this must be another phenomenon of the Reality Wave technology. Somehow she has been erased from this time line. I’m not going to bitch about it. I did want to get rid of her anyway.
"Yup, plum crazy, " Tillman stands up and crunches his beer can on the side of his head and tosses it, " I gotta take a piss."
After that, just keep on going fool. I wish he would get some sense and bug out of here. Phillips gets to his feet. “Are you okay?” standing in front of me, he holds me by my arms.
“I don’t know what’s happening, but I don’t think your crazy. Maybe your suffering from some kind of hallucination. This cold could be affecting you somehow. You almost went into the fist stages hypothermia.”
Tillman is fully exposing himself and begins hooting like he just made a touchdown “Ah yes, ooweeeeee! I can feel the ice, sure is cold down there!”.
Steam rises as Tillman’s urine hits the ice. I turn away, “Please, that’s so crude.”
Phillips steps in between us, “Put that thing away! Sorry about that. How much farther do you think?”
"I’d say less than 10- maybe 15 miles, we’re very close.
“Okay let’s move,” he says as he tosses his cigarette butt.
I slip my backpack on knowing I’m bullshitting them, I don’t know how far the destination is. The map did not indicate any distance from the cliffs. It could be ten miles it could be one hundred, who in the fuck knows.
Tillman snickering, “Ouch, got my mighty python caught on my zipper,” waving it around.
I walk past Phillips, “This asshole isn't done playing with himself yet? My advice to you, is get another partner.”
Tillman disgustingly adjust his junk in his pants, “What’s the matter with you? Never seen a penis before?” Oh he left himself wide open on this one, so I just spitefully smile at him, “Honestly that’s too damn small to be a penis, it’s almost the same size as that mole next to it. Oh wait a minute, which is the mole?”
“Bitch!” as he raises a clenched fist and grabs my shoulder with the other hand, and of all things it’s the one I had dislocated weeks earlier, I feel a twinge of pain again. But my training kicks in and instantly twist his hand and effortlessly flip him to the ground. I can see he’s absolutely infuriated as he gets up. His face is flushed red, snow all over his hair and beard.
“You’re crazy Bitch!” he starts to rush me breathing like a charging bull. Phillips observes with a big grin. “Tillman! Not a good idea!” Tillman, that big lumbering jackass, he’s as slow as molasses and I easily throw him over my hip, landing him on his back, then he rolls over in pain with a big groan, like an old bear in a zoo.
Phillips grabs his hand and pulls him off the ground, “You idiot, she’s a Marine, martial arts training and all that,” embarrassed, Tillman goes up ahead of us without saying another word. Phillips catches up with me, “Boy you sure know how to take a man down a peg or two. Not that he didn’t deserve it. I never cared for the way he treated woman anyway.”
I adjust my back pack with a great big smile across my face,“Well I totally enjoyed it.”
“So did I, so did I, never seen anything like that. You’re a very special woman, you know that don't you.”
“Oh how sweet, thank you. One good gentleman out here in the icy barren wilderness.”
"Well I mean it, I’ve seen Tillman beat up five guys at once, what you did to him – well he never felt so damn helpless. Look at him, he doesn’t know how to handle it.
Glancing over at Phillips, “What’s a good man like you doing here anyway, if that isn’t too personal a question?”
“Well believe it or not, I had a very normal life once. Like I told you I’m originally from Nevada, I had a small horse ranch there, I was married.”
"Sure was, Maggie, loved her with all my heart, but I guess it wasn’t to be. I lost her to cancer, we were married 7 good years. I was a very happy man back then, didn’t smoke or drink.
“So sorry about your wife.”
“Thank you, we didn’t have any children, so nothing was there in Nevada for me anymore. I sold the ranch and decided to search for some adventure in Colorado. I ended up meeting a wilderness guide and climber at the bar playing pool. James Parker, he’s one of the best in the biz. He gave me plenty of tips, helped me get started. Ah hell, maybe I’m crazy too, after all I ended up here.”
“Two crazy people in the middle of nowhere,” I said with a playful smile.
He smiles back, “How about you?”
“I’ve been much to busy to even think about marriage. I just wanted to focus on my career. I wanted to do important work, something that affected everyone. With my Dad being a General I admit it open plenty of doors of opportunity for me.”
With a twinkle in his eye, “Maybe, but you still have to walk through them. Like I said, I think you’re a very special women, with the drive and determination to accomplish anything you set your mind to.”
Mmm, I like how he said that. His tender eyes seem to be sending an unspoken message to me, they say he truly cares about me. Maybe he just said that remark about the money to keep Tillman from getting any ideas that he’s interested in me. I know he cares, he tries very hard not to show it. I guess he doesn’t want to mix business with pleasure either. He’s always stayed very professional. I’m sure he has his reasons, and I won’t push it either.