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IN SEASON

We were on the top. Colored sweaters and jackets, seeing how they went down, some swaying or zig-zagging like twine. We liked the wind and the sun. My father died a week ago, but I haven't missed.

Jack whistled so I looked at him. He nodded toward the chair-lift, about three or four cars down. A young blonde in a purple sweater with a gold lightning bolt across her chest.

"Now, here's the benefits of the job," Jack said, helping two people from the chair. He gave me a look.

It was my turn to assist her and when she came up and stepped out I didn't think she was so nice so I just looked at the powder. Hell of a time with all this powder.

"You have a nice day?" Jack called to her.

She smiled and went into position. In a few moments she was going and she went fast and before long you couldn't see her from any others. Just that overall swaying and sliding.

"I don't know why," I said to Jack.

"You have no taste. If I was a damn guide or at least an instructor, I would have more fun than a man could handle." He held someone's chair and helped them off the bank. "I'm a person of vitality. That's a two dollar word for a lot of energy, in the core, in the pit." He rapped his chest with his fist.

"What kind of pit?"

"Look at this one, Jesus, I can't stand this. Saturdays are always great. Here, I'll take these two and you take the third so I'll get her." He worked fast.

When it came her turn she hopped off easily and went down the bank before he had a chance. He started to say something, but then stopped to look at me. I wasn't looking at anyone's face. It was something the pines behind and how dark they seemed just a short way in. Sometimes when the crank of the gears seemed to ease and Jack just looked at the hills I thought I could hear an owl. It must be some place back. But it was an owl, that came in late afternoon, but I've never seen it. Jack didn't get distracted that long from watching for girls. That's what he called them. I didn't care too much about it but I didn't say anything. Sometimes he patted me on the back and I hated that.

I didn't want to go home, my mother there. It was the season, I told her. But I thought about him when I heard the owls. Not Jack. Maybe I won't have to work with Jack tomorrow.

      — Michael Largo