Mountains know more about man than he will ever know about himself. -Intellectual Shaman

Baggy clouds hung low over the suburban metropolis, moving slowly while the traffic moved quickly.

“What time is it?” I asked.

“11 o’clock,” my friend said.

“Don’t you think we should get going?”

“I want to stop at Taco Time.”

“Okay, but we’ll be late.”

Clayton was never on time; it was part of his charm and also the reason why I wanted to strangle him twice a week.

“Your card is declined, sir.”

“What? Andy, can you spot me?”

“Here’s some bills.”

After I paid and Clayton got his food, we drove towards the mountain.

“My girlfriend is losing weight, just for me,” Clayton said. “Yesterday, we had a movie date; she dresses up, and everything.”

“Really?”

“We watch the same movie on Netflix, while we talk to each other on the phone.”

“Um.”

“Yeah, she says she wants to marry me, but last week she asked if she could go motorcycle riding with some guys. I told her I didn’t care, but then she got really angry and told me I wasn’t taking our relationship seriously.”

“Virtual relationships aren’t relationships,” I said. “No big deal though; just date other women. You’ve got lots of girls interested in you.”

“I know man, but I’m worried what will happen if I break up with her. What if it affects my confidence?”

“I wouldn’t worry about that.”

“You’re right man. What did you pack for the hike?”

“Now get this, remember when we climbed last time and there was a checklist of 10 things we needed to bring and we didn’t have a single one?”

“I remember; we didn’t even have water.”

“We made it to the top though, but almost died coming down.”

“Those were good times.”

“Well, this time I brought waterproof matches, beef jerky, Gatorade, and even my Rambo knife.”

“Dude!”

“Let’s go hiking.”

Girls were smiling at me on the trail.

“What’s going on with you?” Clayton asked.

“Promise not to tell anyone?”

“I promise.”

“I’ve been practicing Brahmacharya.”

“Brama…what?”

“Brahmacharya, to increase my creativity. Look it up. Most guys don’t know about it. It’s taboo.”

Clayton googled it.

“You don’t M—”

Two girls walked around the corner.

“Hey, is there snow at the top?” I asked.

“Yes; you should have crampons and not tennis shoes; it’s a strait drop in some places.”

“Well, I’m an all the way kind of guy; we’ve got to reach the top.”

The brunette giggled. “Really?”

Her eyes were getting big; they were brown and I noticed her freckles.

“Oh well, we have to keep going.”

“Nice talking to you,” the girls sang.

“Dude, you’re charismatic,” Clayton said.

“I know.”

The drop-off was a sheet of ice.

“Maybe we should go back,” I said.

“No, look… there’s not snow on the other side.” Clayton began walking across.

Then I walked across. “Shit; I’m going to die.”

“Just keep going,” Clayton said.

Then we made it to the other side.

“Do you feel strange?” I asked.

“Yeah, it feels like we’re not supposed to be here.” I could taste droplets of water in the air, wet against my tongue, as the fog filtered through the trees.

Then we walked across ice that went up the mountain. Blood splattered in the snow like a Jackson Pollock painting.

SCREAMING.

“Look, two men on the ridge. They’re fighting with ice axes!” The big man connected with the small man, sprinkling the snow.

“He’s going to finish him off; call 911!”

“I left my cell phone in the car!”

“Shoot, me too!”

The big man delivered the final blow. Suddenly, an orange helicopter flew over the ridge and dropped a rope ladder. The big man grabbed it and vanished behind the mountain.

“Man, that other guy is dead for sure! Let’s go check him out.” When we got there, the ax was buried in his skull. Not 20 paces away was a duffel bag full of money.

“We’re going to report this, right?” I asked.

“Right,” Clayton said. I could already see the greed in his eyes as he stared at the ice ax with desire.

THE END

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