Up for a piss at 4am, the demands of the fascist prostate are fearfully compelling, E@L negotiates the dim outline of the low table in his room (banged thrice already in four nights) and sneaks a glance out from behind the double blinds, through the double-glazed windows at the snow still falling, falling on the living and the dead tired, lit orange by the streetlights. Condensation has beaded the window with inside rain. (Dumb Q: 'Is it raining outside?' Smart-arse A:- 'Wll it sure ain't raining INside!')
Piss done, "Shit," he says, as he ponders on the politics of how to hide his pleasure at this closed-in weather from his buddies.
Back to bed and up again at 8am. It is snowing even more heavily. A grader is growling through the drifts on his road. It has been snowing continually for three days now. Around the trees, the snow has banked up perhaps four metres. The powder up top must be waist high, two of three feet since Tuesday.
E@L wonders if he should return to bed? The others will be at the lift soon, ready for the first uncut powder runs when the gondola starts at 8:30. It is -8deg at the nearby town of Kutchan, according to weather.com.
Same temperature as last night when they went wandering from restaurant to restaurant, bit of food here, bit of alcohol there.
Bruce is stuffed up with a head-cold, sinuses completely blocked and he wants some Sudafed for legitimate purposes this time. They find a drug-store. The sales assistant produces a laminated A4 sheet with drawings of common symptoms and their names in a variety of languages. Bruce points at 'cough' and 'runny nose'. An old man, wizened (aren't all sources of wisdom?), bad-teeth grin - the pharmacist presumably - takes us to a shelf and indicates one box of pills. Fortunately it has the drugs it contains written in English. None of the others do. E@L manages to read ????-ephedrine HCL in tiny font-size, and tells Bruce to take the pharmacist's advice.
E@L's nose is also clogged but not so severely, maybe tyhe CPAP in the dry air. He pops a Sudafed just in case.
'No alcohollo,' says the pharmacist to E@L, obviously considering him the father figure to these 40 year old kids. He swipes at his chest-length pure-white goatee, shakes his head and says again, 'no alcohollo.'
Two hours later. Bruce: 'Suntory, make it a double!' He is almost asleep, pissed, in a bed-lounge bar, (BangBang?) lying closest the wall. Only the observation from a cigarette smoker who is returning from his nicotine hit on a upstairs balcony that a group of older guys are toking on some whacky-baccie on the balcony upstairs stirs him. In fact Bruce is up to his knees instantly, rolls over two people, crushes E@L's bad feet without noticing and therefore not apologising, pulls on his new Wellington boots and rushes to the stairs.
He comes back, sheepishly avoiding E@L's sore feet again. They had finished their joint already.