The Iceman Goeth

By: Michael Fowler

First let me clear up a few misconceptions. When I was found frozen in that Swedish glacier near Stockholm, I had only been encased in ice for seven years, 2005-2011, and modern years at that. Consequently I did not herd mastodons or keep a pet saber-tooth tiger before I froze, regardless of what you may have heard on CNN. Nor am I a Neanderthal or Sasquatch or some thought-to-be-extinct trial model of Homo sapiens, but the real up-to-date thing, born in the USA in 1983, no matter what you read in that supermarket tabloid that has aliens and werewolves and babies with eight limbs on the cover. I was skiing and listening to Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved” on my earbuds when a snowstorm swallowed me up, so how much more modern can you get?

It is true that I was carefully thawed out by Swedish scientists, and that lab assistant Inga recognized my cologne when my face approached room temperature, and confessed to the local media that this was the beginning of her feelings for me, as she had long adored that fragrance. And it is also true, as I stated on that Scandinavian talk show, that nothing so speeded up my thawing and return to normalcy as Inga lying beside me and pressing her blonde Swedish body against mine, as she voluntarily did in the name of science and medicine, and perhaps unhinged by the fumes of my liquefying Brut in the small lab we occupied. Inga also sang to me, and brought my knowledge of pop music up to date. It was boogieing and shimmying to the tunes of Lady Gaga, even as I lay on a gurney, that restored suppleness to my stiff joints.

Still, not even warm Inga was enough, and there remained some icy blockage in my bloodstream, like an ice cube in my aorta. I couldn’t get enough steaming coffee and soup, and even my candy bars I liked microwaved and served hot, in a bowl with a spoon if necessary.

So I said farewell to the lab and Inga, who turned out to be married, and I was already engaged myself, or I had been before that snowstorm somehow landed me unconscious beside the glacier. I flew to Hawaii where I lay under the intense sun all day and soaked in hot tubs all night, still without feeling quite warm, but plotting my return to Susan in Philly, my fiancée of seven years ago, and still my fiancée for all I knew, having not heard from her in all that time. After a week on the broiling beach and a dozen sessions of hot-stone massage therapy from Amura, a tanned and warm-blooded wahine, I caught a plane back to wintry Pennsylvania and a hopefully still-warm Susan, dressed on my flight in multiple layers of clothing and a heavy parka and sucking heated broth through a straw.

Imagine my chagrin to find Susan now engaged to a hulk named Trunk or Chunk or some ridiculous syllable, an anthropologist at Philadelphia U. She stared at me and said, “I heard about them finding you and reviving you after all these years, and I thought, no, it isn’t possible. And your complexion seems off now, much more pimply and reddish, perhaps due to freezer burn.”

“Yes,” I agreed. “Someone neglected to wrap me in safe storage bags. No doubt I would taste terrible if you made a prime rib out of me.” I didn’t mention that Susan looked different to me, too. Were those crow’s feet around her eyes? And her neck looked so papery I was tempted to write my new cell phone number on it. Here I had kept myself on ice and more or less perfectly preserved for her during my seven years’ absence — the paparazzi didn’t call me The Iceman for nothing — and what had she done for me? Not even applied a good moisturizer, from the looks of things.

When she told me of her engagement, I said, “What, you couldn’t wait seven short years? Seven years is nothing in romantic terms. Juliet waited longer than that for Romeo, didn’t she?”

“Juliet waited about seven minutes for Romeo, if you recall. She wasn’t one to moon about on her balcony breathing the night air and listening to owls until the Montagues and Capulets came to terms, which might have been never. They were the Israelis and Palestinians of their era, don’t forget.”

“OK,” I said, “but in those days a minute seemed like a year, easy. Time moved more slowly then. You gave up too soon. How long have you and Punk been engaged, anyway?”

“Only six years, eight months,” she tossed off airily. Then she introduced me to Lunk himself, who came rushing through her door as if he lived there, fresh from one of the courses he taught in anthropology over at the university. Looking delighted, he stepped up and shook my hand, towering over me by half a foot, and said, “If only you’d stayed frozen for a thousand years, what a find you’d be then!”

“Sorry to have burst in on you prematurely,” I replied, completely teed off, and stormed out of the apartment and into the Starbucks down the street, where I swilled two piping hot Colombian blends, a super-size latte and three espressos, and followed up with a hot oil massage and a steam sauna at the spa next door.

All that did nothing to cure my depression or ease my chill, though it did lubricate my medulla for a couple of hours, and the next thing I knew I was flying down a Tibetan mountainside in a jacket emblazoned with the face of the Dalai Lama, two ski-lengths ahead of a squad of Chinese soldiers, pinning my fate as always on the treacherous slopes. At the bottom I met a hot Sherpa chick named Dawa — literally hot, who hid me and then kissed me, warming me nose-to-toes for the first time since my deicing, while explaining that she routinely climbed Shisha Pangma in a bikini. She and I will ascend Everest before the winter storms start, staying cozy in our two-person tent, with or without her two-piece.

And if that’s not cozy enough, Dawa says she knows a Nepali nightclub near Everest Base Camp where, as in times past, the tribes gather, build a fire, and dance all night to Maroon 5’s “Wake Up Call.” I can already feel the heat.


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