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Rise of the Snowman 5:
They don't say I Love You in Wurtzembourg

Helluva week, folks.
I get Anya to the safe house in Irkutsk and next morning, she's gone. Turns out, one night last week when an ion storm was screwing with the chip, she left her Wurtzemburg flat in a trance and stumbled into a cyber café. There she met Alois, a wealthy Irish day trader with an instant taste for snow-women. Unable to resist, what with the chip going haywire, Anya was swept off her feet and officially became the man's girl-friend. Until the ion storm abruptly ended the next morning and she sent him to several different hospitals.

Darlings, fabulous party. Mind if I ... smoke?
So I track down reports of a fat white woman in Germany and I find her on the first try, actually. Anya has moved in with Alois at his Bavarian mansion, apologized, and resumed the wild hedonism for which she is so famous in circles of wanky humans that I cannot stand. To make a long story endless, she's forgotten who rescued her from herself, and um, other important things pertaining to whom she's in love with, and she's barricaded into what is essentially a gay-mod crystal castle with rifle-bearing, sun-glassed, dark-suited SS at the parapets.

It just so happens I've tracked her down the evening of Alois's Deutschland-famous gala, and everyone's milling about in the courtyard. The guards only bother training rifles on arriving guests. Not snowmen across the street with ridiculously zoom-capable hunting rifles purchased at a Bohemian state fair earlier today. I want to see how fast I can pick the four of them off, but that will alert people. I need to employ stealth on this mission. I've decided to heighten my prestige a little recently--and by 'a little' I mean global conquest--but I'll need her love and support to tackle this ugly, wicked world. So I have to do this right. A call to Alois's PDA-cell phone. (It's no less fey than it sounds. I hate her taste in men. Shut up.) He answers. I'm Schliebel, his broker.

Hammstammgherunght, his favorite fund, has taken an astonishing dive today. (It hasn't, but I did moon their offices around noon.) I tell him I'm at the gate; he has to meet me outside. The real Schliebel is in a steamer trunk in my room at the Ritz. I practiced his voice all afternoon. He could get out by himself if he found the latch, but he just doesn't think that way. I think I'll take the trunk into the Jacuzzi with me tonight. With ANYA and me tonight. (It will float. But you were worried. Philoi, my Anya makes of me a better man. With her, I dare to imagine that I'll go to snowman heaven when the Deathfox finally comes for me. Of course, you'll have noticed that the plot of this installment revolves around her having run away with an Irishman, so get ready for Gotterdammermung.) I've been practicing other things this week, too. I must say I'm taking self-improvement seriously for the first time in a while. I'm just starting to realize how much that whole spree-killing incident with the Mayor of Quebec took out of me. I've needed some Me time. Here he comes.

Oh, that reminds me. When last we parted, I thought Deathfox had lured me to Siberia so I'd obliterate his enemies there while he murdered my daughter and possibly my friend. But Francois smelled him and warned my loved ones in exchange for his freedom, for which the fox cut him up pretty bad as soon as he got outside. Whirr whirr, and all that, but Francois is a snowbadass in his own right. Long story short, Francois died, Deathfox got frozen solid (and put in the freezer by my brave little munchkin), and the Dog made s'mores and called to see when, in god's name, I was coming home. Real soon, buddy. But for now . . .

I smash out of my window and land, crushing the pavement, two inches in front of Alois. The beating is joyous with a capital OUS. Violence, huzzah! A hook to the left! A hook to the right! Uppercut! Hook to the left! To the right! To the right! To the right! And that's it. I cannot believe Anya would bother with this inane sissy who loves computers more than her. Ah, well. I'm here to fix it.

Now, for my next trick . . . Schliebel. That's right, folks. I'm a shape-shifter now. Ran away to China after I found her gone. Bumped into an old witch. She gave me some new tricks in exchange for . . . um. Money. At least, that's how she would describe it. HA! Back to the show.

Knock knock knock! You must let me in! I'm Schliebel, the fund manager! Whose fund manager? This man's, scheisskopf, the host of the party! Gang way, everyone! Please, some air! Call the police, this man's been badly beaten! No, I didn't do it! Do I look like I could do it, with these sissy girl arms? I spend my entire day at the office and temple. I can box like the Marquis of Queensbury? Oy! Yes, you take him, see what you can do. I'll tell his girlfriend! (Schliebel jogs like an uncoordinated girl with breasts far too large for her frame. It was the highlight of my day running him down, but doing it is just annoying. I decide to live with the risk of guests seeing Schliebel transform into a hideous monster as he rushes for the exquisite snow-woman in the Jacuzzi. Curse this foul, death-polluted land: his Jacuzzi is better than mine. I feel like hitting someone else now. No! No hitting! Now it's time for seduction. Go snowman!) I pull her out of the hot tub. "I knew you'd ruin somebody's evening," she says, reminding me of my mother with how drunk she is. "I don't want you here. That chip made me happy, mean though I was. I'm sorry I hurt you, but ultimately I meant what I said. I never really loved you. I was just lonely with Francois." (Cut to Shu Tri making little Francois's out of Francois, while the Dog looks on, barking furiously.) "I want to be with Alois. Now. I'm sorry. You've blown this whole thing way out of proportion." I blow out more than that when I pull my 17th-century awesome-looking musket pistol and take off the top of Alois's head.

Later, toads. I think Anya might be mad at me. She won't talk to or look at me on the flight back to Manhattan. But I cannot stop giggling. I've got the giggles something horrible. Every few seconds I just have to put my hand over my eyes or my mouth and just sit there and shake. It's what happened when I rescued Alois's brain from its lifelong prison. First of all, OK, it was green. Which means he's had cyborg enhancements. No wonder he was making a killing on the market. He can think about twelve things at once with his conscious mind. Correction. Could. But the really funny thing is where it went. There was a green splatter all over this aging German dame, and she could not stop screeching. But she did it in these wonderful periodic bursts. AAAAAA!     AAAAAA!     AAAAAA!     AAAAAA!     AAAAAA!      AAAAAA!

That was pure heaven for my funny bone, because then she tried to run away from it, still screaming to a beat, TRIPPED, hit her face on the punch bowl rim, brought down the refreshments table, mostly on top of herself, got splashed with the entire bowl of punch, right in the face (it did surprisingly little to wash off the brain). Struggled back up (eyes closed), tripped over a fallen table leg onto her husband, got it all over him, threw up, also on him, passed out. Even Anya wanted to laugh when she managed to smack herself on the punch bowl and then get SIX hors d'oevres in her cleavage. Anya had looked away not-to-let-me-see-her-smile, both of us painfully aware that she was supposed to be pissed at me for offing her boy-toy. But she'll get over it, cause she, Shu Tri, possibly the Dog, and I are all going on an ISLAND VACATION for as long as it takes for us to fall in love again. Hello, South Pacific! I might even paint a face on a volleyball with blood. Oh, there I go again.