We settled down at the base of the Weisshorn in our makeshift sled. Mariah’s gratitude was incalculable. Incalculable to ordinary folks, that is. The Morrison Man encounters that kind of gratitude on a slow Tuesday.
Now came the question: How did this happen?
I mentioned to her the burning looks I got from her boyfriend, that ascot-sporting scull toad from the Princeton Charter Club.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” she said.
“Well, he certainly had designs on you,” I said. “As a matter of fact, I believe if we open up this plane engine, we’ll find proof positive.” I don’t normally speak in clichés like this. Normally I speak in pure dust clouds of total war. (See what I mean?)
Well, we opened up the engine cover and there it was: A shrimp fork with the Princeton Charter Club logo on its stem, sticking in the engine like a dagger in the heart. I explained to Mariah that any plane flown by the Morrison Man won’t show weakness in front of him; that the Cessna gave all she could before succumbing to the injury brought on by a jilted suitor. I punctuated the sentiment by pulling Mariah close and planting the lyrics to “My Way” on her mouth.
“So,” she said, imagining seating arrangements at our wedding, “how do we get out of here?”
I told her if she wasn’t here with me I’d make skis out of the propellers. I’d subsist on snow and foul language and the occasional puma. But the way I see it, when the Morrison Man is expected somewhere – in this case, Zurich – he doesn’t go missing for long before authorities and single women everywhere are put on alert.
No sooner than I said this, the distant rumble of a helicopter echoed off the walls of rock around us. Then it appeared in the distance, a mote against the white sky.
“Avert your eyes,” I said to Mariah.
“But why?” she said.
“Just do it!”
I puffed out my chest toward the sky and ripped open my shirt. The cold stung my torso like Time Magazine’s Broadway criticism (meaning not very much). Suddenly I saw the helicopter swerve a bit, and I heard the engine rev slightly.
When it landed, I recognized the pilot as a girl I’d met once at a chalet who proved to me that the Swiss aren’t always neutral. In fact, she was quite biased, if you know what I mean. In other words, Morrison Man gets a little tired of euphemisms.
Not much else to say about this story. The pilot dropped us off in Zurich, I made my TV interview where I told of my recent adventures, and I bid Mariah a fond farewell. She was upset, but she understood: The Morrison Man is a solo act.
As for the Princeton weasel, c’est la guerre, which is French for “Poor guy’s gotta live with himself.” I had this very sentiment inscribed on the shrimp fork before I mailed it back to him.
That’s all for now. Next time, I’ll tell you a story from my teenaged years. Not for the faint of heart.