Rise of the Snowman 3:
Love is a Mystery, Part 1: Stupid Animals
It's been an infuriating week, folks.
I'll try and start at the beginning, but I've been getting steadily angrier
for the past five days, so I may revert to annoying details
about the present, and tell you exactly how I kill someone.
Right, so to get us going, it turns out Anya is a
complete and total bitch. I hate her more than life itself.
My Manhattan hotel room is remarkably dry and I do not know
why she was devoted to that old man, but she killed him at
the beginning of the week and came to stay with me. DWHH is
coming over for spirits soon, and bringing Shu Tri. I would
rather drink with a woman, and yet I might tear her apart
with my bare hands. Or I might let the Dog do it. I've always
wanted to see him in action, but killing is a private addiction
for him. He has some cathartic milkbones to work through,
I think. All right, all right, you want to hear the story,
I should not linger on the dog. Just please understand, it's
comforting to think about him.
Instead of her.
She mentioned a cold, hard childhood. What about Francois kept her so
placid and subservient? He probably had some sort of electronic brainstem
control on her. God, he must have. She's nuts.
The Wall Street Journal is atrocious today. No kidding around.
Thoroughly sub-par work throughout.
Except for her affection for this wimpy, flaccid Snowman, she is the
most impressive woman I have ever met. And by impressive I mean ruthless.
She is a pioneer, an opportunist in the purest sense of the word. Or,
well, I guess in the regular sense of the word. Even without Francois
she would have survived, on pure grit and the will to fight. She's a little
fighter, she is. I think I want to fight her more than anything. I scare
away the maid. She is old and ugly enough not to make me want to butcher
Francois is too nice a guy. What woman really respects a nice guy? What
woman beds him and means it? It seemed at times that she'd never had niceness
her whole life, that she didn't really know what it was, but took wild
stabs at it and valued it higher than anything, though this past week,
she spat at it. Strict enforcement of dating regulations regarding opened
doors, pushed chairs, and dealt-with waiters, she told me when we met.
The idea of a wife having coffee for her husband when he wakes up, preparing
the laces on his boots the night before. She slicing oranges at 6, he
scraping her frozen windshield at 7. Little niceties that to her make
up the glue of a marriage. Francois is just such a pouf, to go in for
creepy gestures of affection better left to lovers who want each other
too much for anything to ever be comfortable. And he's also exactly the
right kind of sucker, because there is no way, in holy Hell, that the
bitch got him coffee once until he put the control collar in. Yet Francois
is a scientist, a distant thinker in the abstract, as dead to emotions
as she is. He did these little things for her love, certainly, because
he was whipped worse than Jesus. But I doubt very much that he felt the
tenderness she wanted them to encapsulate, or pretended to want them to
encapsulate. She must have stayed with him because they both had this
policy of not actually feeling anything, but doing fantastic jobs of pretending
to. I want to kill them both. I can't believe she iced him for me. Taking
out the both of them might have made my night. Then again, if they had
stayed where I could find them, this would never have happened.
How much on a daily basis do we need to hear about Ken Lay? Satan bless
me, I'm buying the Times.
I think she wanted me to kill him.
She might be heartbroken that I did not. This may have been my mistake;
Devil knows I wanted to do it. She is a meritocrat at heart; I can sense
her competitive urge, her desire to see a million fights and award herself
only to the winner. I should have acted on my desires. It seems at times
like the only good way to go through life is impulsively. Why did I spare
him? Or we could blame her for her actions, snowman. Now that my
reading glasses have been made less black by the Times actually bothering
to report that the former mayor is doing "just OK" fending off
depression in his new life as a bachelor, I do remember a spark of crazed
ferocity within her. She may be too much for me. She is an adept at name-calling,
for as callous as she is, she can read people. That might set me off balance
in combat, and all she would need is that edge. She's too good. I might
need help on this one. I'm too angry to ask for it.
This paper spins the bejesus out of world events.
I could run her down, I know I could. I have carte blanche use of the
Death Foxfire, with the "D to the F to the O to
the X to tha X to tha X to tha X to tha X," as he insists
we call him today, off in Uganda next week. I could be on
top of her within the hour,
if my instincts are right. Yet should I? Am I ready to kill
her? Francois was, I am almost certain, 90% homosexual. He
mentioned as though realizing it for the first time--as Anya
and I stared at each other and contained our rambunctious
smiles--that the kitchen could really use some Chinese wisteria.
Only a Francois could keep his emotions free of her black
hole. Only a Francois could bring her down for sure.
I have to shoo away the maid again, though I sense she is too fat to
survive this exchange a third time. Her heart won't stand for it, and
neither will I. Oh hell with it, I'm going to--no. No, it's not her I'm
mad at. I'm mad at my foolish, easy heart. Cease your beating, you tender
One of the last things she told me was, "I don't want to make love
to you because I don't love you. I lie to you because I don't care about
you." Why would you bother to say this to anyone about whom this
is true? Is she trying to convince someone to smash her to a pulp? I'll
willingly let myself be manipulated this one last time, if I get to crush
her icy heart in my hand. But she's too smart to stay self-destructive
for long. That's what keeps her dangerous. By this time, there is certainly
a considerable trap involved.
The only trap I see is the "lure" of spending my Sunday reading
this yellow news because it's something my dork father would have done
in 1953 in Central Park. My generation of men is a god-damned mess. Shameful!
Where is that handbag to empty my recycling?
I think it would not matter to anyone that I take such a woman from the
world. And yet she may have protectors, stupid snowmen to whom she's promised
things. They probably do not know Francois existed.
Wait. Across five blocks, second window from the left on the fourteenth
floor of the block tower opposite my window: a glint of glass! Down, down,
down! The bullet rockets past the back of my head as I hurl myself away
from the window. I snap up and flip in the air, because I know they'll
start coming through the wall at foot level. They do. I leap and jerk
and do fairly well getting out of the room. She gets me once through the
stomach, but the entire point was only to hurt me. She knows she will
have a harder time killing me. Probably not even her behind the trigger.
This is why I hate Eastern European girls. They enjoy nothing more than
convincing men to kill each other. I had not noticed the beeyaaaaaatch
because of this bright, ugly day, the sun shifting and glinting on hateful
silver escalades and white limousines. I start to rush to the stairs,
to get to the slattern and torture her before she gets away, but suddenly
she stops. If she is stopping now, I have no chance of catching her, even
with my frictionless movement. Then I notice an odd pattern in the bullet
holes on both sides of the hall wall outside my room. It almost looks
like . . . words. O N E D O W N. What are you telling me, darling? What
war have you started?
Later. I've consulted the Dog. He's an extraordinary tracker, but a very
okay detective. Neither of us can figure out what in the name of our pirate
lord she means by "one down." Is she coming after me next? Does
she have a hit list pertaining to whatever secret clan she came from?
There are few things I can do better than she--she may even be a superior
shot, and I know she's a better combatant--but I carry my weight redressing
arrogance. If she has murdered her husband, and now wages bitter a war
of old grievances, it is a hard slap that she has left me a simple taunt,
as if I'm not worth the finishing. One thing I loved and hated about her
was her instant acumen as a businesswoman. She knows how to keep her heart
out of things when she needs to, to cut whatever losses are best left
behind. But she let me into the game with a jab, which must have been
logistically troublesome if she were after Siberian snowpeople, but .
. . fun if she is after me.
Or wait. Maybe it wasn't her. I must contact the DeathFox. He likes wars
between old friends and lovers. The anger, the absurdly ferocious expenditure
of resources in displays of fury, delight and fulfill him. He probably
watched my entire Siberian ice-capade with a spy satellite. I must work
on my strangling. It will piss him off if I kill him at his own game.
Even if he's not involved I have little choice but to contact him, because
his information network is wider and more oblique than any snowstorm.
But I do not know how to find him when he's on assignment; I cannot find
oceans of blood without my SnowRoto. The Dog probably knows how. I must
talk to him about it, and hope I do not revive too many old ghosts.
I decided a few minutes ago to train Shu Tri as a detective. This is
her first case, and it's no softball. But she seems to have a remarkable
empathy for other human females, even ones much older than herself. She
knows what they each want to hear, how they want to be treated. Perhaps
she can sense something about Anya. Perhaps no one can sense something
Deathfox! I know he has a hand in this. I'll cut him open with my keys!
No! Stupid! Francois. She never killed him. He invented a better control
device. Or, wait, no, there never was a control device before, but now
there is one. Yes. Of course he could do it. But why? To lure me out?
He has clearly already found me. He would have to level the building to
kill me, but he could do it, yet if it is him he's let the opportunity
pass. No. He wanted to turn her into a harpie. To let me have "her"
long enough to develop a loathing greater than any I've ever known. If
that's true, he'll have installed a memory-wipe, so that he will never
need to be forgiven. He was smart to do that: he never will be if she
finds out. If I find her in time, I can--holy god no! She's here! He sent
her to kill me! He's not a good enough tactician. It's too obvious. The
message is written in her gun-writing. If she were the monster he made
me think she was, she would send someone. But she's here, she is across
the street. I can smell her a mile away, anyone can. Shu Tri, interpreting
the message as 'one floor down,' has gone to the room directly below mine.
I think there is a couple from Fiji staying there. I'm about to get in
the Death Foxfire and hunt Anya down, but I am also uneasy about
leaving Shu Tri to go somewhere alone. A scream! My little one's! I take
the stairs, ready for murder.
A broken mini-supercomputer and a dead couple. I can tell by their smell
that they're Sumatran, not Fijian, badly burnt. Ordinarily I'd giggle
about a "full city roast"--these things just come to me, I swear--but
my daughter is sobbing over two human corpses and I must concentrate on
putting on her parka so I can hold her. Kissing her cheek through her
little ski mask, I sway back and forth, staring at the computer blinking
out the instruction: France. I smash the bastard thing and begin strategizing
a search-and-deprogram in Siberia as I silently rush my baby out of the
room. Francois is here. In the bathroom maybe, or in the lobby getting
a USA Today. If my daughter were safe, I would kill him just for
reading that. It doesn't matter as I take a wallop to the skull. I want
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