Considering it had been a relatively sunny day, I was thinking dark thoughts. That didn't seem completely inappropriate considering I was drinking dark beer and the sun had set before I'd ordered my first. Drinking dark beer and thinking dark thoughts seemed to be parallel threads in a dark universe, or so I reckoned, one blending seamlessly into the other, both seeming bottomless as I stared into infinity three feet in front of my nose.
I was wallowing in a malaise in Dusty's after another day exceeding guests' expectations — assuming they weren't expecting much — trying to remember what day of the week it was, and whether we'd just slipped through Christmas, New Years, or both. A blur of faceless holidayers möbiused through my mind shuffling their snowy, wet feet across memory neurons leaving no impression, but confusing delicate remembrances soon to be muddled in the soup of my personal history.
How many days had it been since I'd had a day off? Trying to count, I got tangled up in fascination with my own fingerprints. Better to just carve notches in Bobbi's table. No, that could lead to close encounters with sharp objects. Best to just forget, call it a lot and order a refill.
It was after Christmas. I remembered opening presents. More distinctly, I remembered skiing Christmas morning in more snow than I'd ever seen on Whistler Mountain all at one time. Faceshots the length of Dave Murray, straightlining Tokum to keep from losing momentum in thigh-deep — was it really thigh-deep — snow. Watching boarders drop into fluff-filled gullies and have to swim back to the surface, struggling as though they'd fallen into pools of quicksnow. Oops, that was a different year. I'd had to work Christmas day this year.
It must have been after New Years too. Right, another work-day. Think... think. After New Years, but definitely before Martin Luther King Day. Okay, I've narrowed it down. I know I can solve this problem if only I can break out of this funk. Think upbeat thoughts before it's too late or karma's gonna catch ya boy.
"Whatthehell you starin' at, bro?"
It was the sound of karma catching up with me.
J.J., ever generous with my tab, ordered another beer for me, notwithstanding mine was nearly full, and one for himself as he swung his bulk onto the banquette beside me.
"What day is this, J.J.?"
"Day after yesterday, dude."
I didn't need another riddle and I wasn't sure I needed to see J.J. There's never a good time to be sneaked up on by J.J., but solitary, reflective moments crash to a particularly abrupt halt when he appears. J.J. Geddyup — Whistler's only private eye — embodies intrusion. His disheveled appearance is intrusive. His herky-jerky locomotion is intrusive. His voice is pure intrusion. The stale smell of unfiltered French cigarettes clinging to his personal atmosphere is intrusive. And his personality was intruding on my dark serenity like a dentist's drill poking into the pulp of a live tooth.