Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Day I Met the Abominable Snowman

This is the story of the day I met the abominable snowman, that's abominable not abdominal as my son thought - if you think about it an abdominal snowman would just be a large snowball.

My story dates back to the early nighties, I was quite a competent skier at the time and would organize holidays where I taught a group of friends to ski. That year we went to Livigno in the Italian Alps, a bit of a sprawling resort but good for novices and duty free to boot.

The holiday was a package deal and as such the rep would continually convince us to part with our Lire for various "not to be missed, once in a lifetime" excursions and events. One such event was a karaoke evening at one of the numerous mountain taverns - the idea was to catch the last lift to the tavern, have a few drinks and food, sing a few songs and then slide back down on a plastic polybag. I was clearly a different person then as I now can't think of anything less appealing than sliding down a mountain in the dark in a bin liner whilst inebriated.

I am not a fan of kareoke, when I sing it is more like hare-kareoke - ritual musical suicide, but after a few litre steins of lager we all joined in with the singing - well that is all but one of us did; Colin, one of my novices, flatly refused to join in with the frivolity. The reps started by getting each party to sing a song together; we came up with the wheeze of singing Queen's "We will rock you" which mostly involved us banging on the tables.

Now I have to confess a secret - I have an unhealthy fascination with dwarves; I spotted one on our coach on the way to the resort and had taken measures to ensure I could observe him skiing. I was pleased to see said dwarf at the karaoke evening, but I was rather taken back that he was sneaking around the tables, peering over them and then quickly snatching and downing people's drinks - people then looked perplexed when they took a drink of their lager only to find the glass empty. I thought to myself "he is quite a naughty little dwarf" as I tightly clutched my drink.

There was only one small toilet in the mountain tavern, in retrospect it was more of a goat shack with a beer tap than a tavern. The night continued, people drank more and that one toilet became very very busy. So the gentlemen amongst us decided it would be more chivalrous if we went outside to relieve ourselves of the cheap but bountiful lager. The shack had a balcony and I remember the long row of lads lined up peeing over the side - making yellow giraffes in the snow below. One poor lad, worse for wear, swayed forward and toppled over the balcony - he landed in his back in the deep snow below and slid off down the slope, we waved him goodbye whilst holding on with the other hand.

I re-joined my group and we jointly persuaded Colin to sing a karaoke duet of "I did it my way". Colin was joined on stage by the dwarf, but somehow Colin didn't realize he was a dwarf - "stand up then" said Colin, to which the dwarf replied "I am f'ing standing up" and punched Colin. Well no matter how tall a dwarf stands when he punches you he doesn't hit you in the chest or face - Colin clutched his gonads and hopped around like a five year old wanting the toilet. We laughed and helped him back to his seat gingerly. The last I saw of the dwarf he was running along the tops of the tables swigging people drinks as he passed by.

Our evening was drawing to a close, when suddenly the shack doors blew open and standing their silhouetted against the wintery moon was what could only be described as the abominable snowman. We all gasped in shock before realising it was actually the guy who had fallen over the balcony, the poor chap had slid all the way to the bottom of the slope and it had taken him nearly three hours to trek all the way back up, the snow collected on the way down had frozen to his ski suit.

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