Hey, thought Blurtso, this is easier than it looks!
My store is open! said Blurtso.
I don’t know, said Pablo, you may need more flags.
Where are the reporters, said Alex, and the paparazzi? They’re gone, said Blurtso. Why? said Alex. Because the Olympic Committee disqualified my jump. Why? said Alex. Because I jumped on four hooves, said Blurtso, and they said the binding attaching my front hooves to the skis made it easier to keep my tips up, which gave me greater lift, and resulted in the world record. And I was also disqualified because I’m a donkey. Well, said Alex, don’t feel too bad, the Olympic Committee didn’t allow women to ski jump in the Olympics until 2014. What?! said Blurtso. Yes, said Alex. That’s shameless discrimination, said Blurtso, do you think they’ll ever let donkeys jump? No, said Alex, but if they do, the story of your record will be a great inspiration. Really? said Blurtso. Sure, said Alex, you’re a pioneer. Wow, said Blurtso, like Babe the blue ox!
Blurtso? said Alex. Hmm? said Blurtso. Why are you hiding? Because of the people, said Blurtso. The TV trucks? said Alex, and reporters and paparazzi and helicopters? Yes, said Blurtso. Why are they here? said Alex. I competed in my first meet today, said Blurtso. And? said Alex. And I jumped 276 meters, said Blurtso. So? said Alex. It was a new world record. Oh, said Alex.
The side of the mountain was covered with snow. Nick could see the team on the ridge, but he couldn’t see Jim. Jim was at the back, anchoring the line. Nick heard a pop and a sheet of snow slid from the ridge. The sheet was sawed into strips by the pines on the hill. Nick heard another pop and saw another sheet break loose. He saw the sheet move before he heard the pop.
At the lodge they sat in silence.
“I’d give anything to have been up there,” said Nick.
“It was something,” said Jim.
“This damn leg,” said Nick.
“Sure,” said Jim.
“You never know,” said Nick, “what you’re doing for the last time.”
“We had some times,” said Jim.
Jim looked at the glass in his hand then looked at Nick. Nick looked at Jim.
“My stomach’s still good,” said Nick.
“I’ll get another bottle,” said Jim.