The flight had been mellow, and we were right on schedule. I saw Crawford's freckles from across the terminal amidst the sea of subservient Aryans aimlessly wandering through their travels. He approached me somewhat skittishly, even though Whitey was right at my side. We'd met on one occasion prior, surrounded by coworkers and tension that could've been cut with a knife. His eyes hugged the floor until we stood toe to toe; he slowly looked up as his neck crooked to the side. With a sideways grin he began to open his mouth to speak. I cut him off mid word.
“You're lucky I don't kick your ass right here.”
He looked me over from the floor up and answered, “Oh yeah. Bring the pain, bitch! Whatcha' got for Debo?” and raised his dukes. I stepped back, feeling a slight tingle in my left testicle. I looked again toward Whitey for a little reassurance, but he hung his head low perhaps from jet lag, but more likely pretending he didn't know me. If I backed away, I would look like a coward, so I went with plan B.
“Ha,” I said, “just messing with you. I had to give you a little grief for getting with my cousin.” He stepped forward, bumping his chest against mine, his breath smelling of Ritalin.
“I already told you,” he hissed, “me and your cousin is cool. If you bring up that old shit one more time, you're going to feel the wrath of Ol' Dirty Crawford.”
“All right, I guess I can be cool with that. If your gonna be all tripping and shit, I can handle.”
“What?” Crawford gasped. “Are you trying to talk shit again, punk?
“Nah man, I swear.” Swear all I was trying to do was save a bit of dignity.
For real, though, I could mash Crawford if I wanted to, but there was other drama in my life that needed to be attended to. For instance, the two other snowboarders who were supposed to come on this trip, Marc Frank Montoya and Kurt Wastell, missed their taxi to the airport, which in turn led them to missing their flight to Sweden, which in turn led their team manager into deciding it wasn't worth the cost of rebooking their flights, inevitably leaving Whitey, Crawford, and Nate Dawg (that's me) up a creek in Sweden without a paddle.
The whole premise of this trip had been a takeoff of an article written four years prior in the late, great, ill-fated Blunt magazine. The original story was filled with amazing photos of Ingemar's famous backside air in Riksgransen–the public's first glimpse of the notorious and much-loved Green Cowboy, and the wild antics of several crazed American youth unleashed on the land of perfectly shaped quarterpipes and even more perfect blonds. However, as the day went on, it became all too apparent–this story would be coming up hella short. But I tried to make the best of the situation.
We stepped off the flight in Kiruna, Sweden, and were met with minus-zero temperatures and blowing snow. Minutes later we loaded up our rental car, and Whitey rallied down the road at light speed, screeching around corners, bottoming out on the dips, and flooring it in the straightaways. He felt bitter about the turn of events, and there was nothing that we could say or do to get him to mellow out. Crawford handed me a CD, and I put it in the doinklet. The left speaker was blown, but we turned the volume up anyway and sang along with the chorus:
“Ya'll go stop/ Ya'll go drop/ And then we go shut 'em down open up shop/ First we had 'em like ho/ Now they like Whitey, wohhh … “
In the excitement of listening to the ghetto-fabulous rapper DMX, Whitey forgot he was driving and held his hands in the air to simulate raising the roof up. A small pothole took hold of the left front tire and sent the car careening through a snowbank.
Snow engulfed the entire car, and in a blanket of misty white we felt e weightlessness of going airborne. Crawford instantly cried out in sheer terror, “We're all gonna die.”
I shouted in delight because I knew this was it–I would never have to go back to my dreary cubicle life again! Whitey just sat there, gripping the steering wheel, his veins protruding from his forehead, mumbling something about snowstorms at punk-rock shows, and then he just snapped. His biceps flexed, and horns grew from his temples.
I shrieked, “Holy crap, Crawford, Whitey's the devil!”
The CD player began to emit smoke, and the voice of DMX morphed into the hellish sounds of Meatloaf. Sores oozing pus appeared on Whitey's face, and wings ripped through the flesh of his back as he let loose a demonic scream. With strength only seen at Gold's Gym on Steroid Night, he ripped the steering wheel from the column, smashed the windshield out with it, and leaped from the car.
Cold wind rushed through the opening, and my eyes watered as I strained to see the fast-approaching ground. I closed them and asked god for forgiveness for all the ills that I had committed in my short and seemingly unproductive life. Time slowed as the car impacted with the frozen tundra. The airbag deployed, but my body tore right through it and flew through the windshield. In flight, I knew when I landed I was gonna be dead, but I took the pose of a cat and rolled out of it with skills like the Fall Guy.
I got to my feet and began to jump up and down. Crawford slowly opened his door and gave a whimper. I continued to jump, and off in the horizon I saw something moving in our direction. “Crawford, what the hell is that?”
“Who cares, I'm more worried about that,” he pointed to the sky and there was the Angel Of Darkness/Whitey, batting his wings and cursing the living. We ran back toward the car as Satan dive-bombed behind us. We reached the car and did a Pete Rose slide beneath it just as it was bombarded with fireballs. The car shook with each hit.
Suddenly the bombing ceased, and we heard the roars of a giant beast. We peered out from behind the right front tire and saw a battle of epic proportions ensue. A dark figure, holding a shield and wielding a giant axe, bravely sat atop a polar bear waiting for the devil's next move. Crawford let out a sigh of relief. “Nate, we're saved, it's Jacob Soderqvist and he's come to avenge his countrymen's deaths,” he said.
The devil came in low and fast, letting loose a dozen fireballs from the depths of his bowels. Jacob tried to shield himself from the flames, but was knocked to the ground. The bear rose on its hind legs and swatted the demon's left wing as he heckled the fallen mortal, causing the demon Whitey to plummet to the frozen earth. The devil stood and tried taking flight, but his wing was broken. He looked toward where he had seen Jacob fall, but no one was there.
“Hey, I'm right behind you, bitch.”
The Devil slowly turned as the giant axe was set into motion. I let out an “Ewww!” as the bodiless head bounced onto the icy tundra. We crawled from underneath the car and ran to thank Jacob, but he said to thank him later. We climbed on top of the giant bear and within an hour came to a small village, and shortly after we entered a small house. Inside we were met by three booming Swedish vixens wearing lingerie made of reindeer skins. With a sly look in his eyes, Jacob looked over at Crawford and I and said, “Boys, you can thank me now.”
He stepped forward, bumping his chest against mine, his breath smelling of Ritalin.
The wild antics of several crazed American youth unleashed on the land of perfectly shaped quarterpipes and even more perfect blonds.
“Holy crap, Crawford, Whitey's the devil!”
Inside we were met by three booming Swedish vixens wearing lingerie made of reindeer skins.
Sores oozing pus appeared on Whitey's face, and wings ripped through the flesh of his back as he let loose a demonic scream. skins.
Sores oozing pus appeared on Whitey's face, and wings ripped through the flesh of his back as he let loose a demonic scream.