Blame it on the Wind Chill

Chapter 11

I’m on a boat.

It’s an easy, breezy, beautiful afternoon on the lake, complete with shimmering water and rolling waves under a glossy azure sky. The seagulls’ sharp mating calls from above along with curious shapes rolling out of cloud factory are just enough to lock you into that stoner-slow summertime trance.

I spy a cat. A hat. A rat. And a wombat. A wombat! Go figure.

I look to my left and it’s Timmy the Greek swallowed up by linens in what appears to be a Jesus toga. The sight of it makes me wince more than biting into a lime before shooting down a glass of liquid fire. I mean Paul Bissonnette is metrosexual enough as it is and I doubt he could
make this work. What’s more surprising is that he’s accompanied by a girl on his arm. They whisper and coo at each other until they morph into silky doves and fly off the deck of this cruiser in search of the nearest olive branch. As a kid, I always passed time looking at the holographic covers of those Animorph novels whenever I was solitarily confined to the bookstore by my mother. This reminds me of that in a screwed up, supernatural way.

And so I’m on a boat.

As the shore approaches, I look through a heavy brass telescope and…land, ho! Literally. Because there, on the grainy white sand awaits my very own Jersey-style guidette. Tanned, poufy, fist-pumping. Mildly glaucoma inducing, but whatever; I don’t hate. I wave back and that’s all it takes. Before I know it she’s on the Fowler love boat heading for a wet one. We’re cruising and laughing, drinking Santana champ because it’s so crisp. And then comes a bump that sends my drink and her weave overboard. I look down. No. It’s a Kings fan.

At once he’s shouting at me; incorrigible statements that go unheard because I need to get away. So I do just that, hauling ass faster than Speedy Glass and swifter than Taylor Swift’s latest single.

I’m in a kitchen.

In the Niedermayer’s kitchen to be exact. “Get my raisin bran, will you?” asks Scott from the table where he sits with Logan who’s absorbed into his own bowl of frosted flakes. And that’s when I hear my calling. Literally. “Cam!” I hear someone call from outside.

I ignore the old man’s request and instead wander into the garden, which has transformed into a tropical paradise of some sort, a hand drawn illustration from Jungle Book. The shore is fledged with tangled foliage of all sorts; Truffula Trees towering over my head and creepers snapping at my feet. Then it hits me and I know exactly where I am. Blood rushes to my face and old feelings of agony, affliction, and messy confusion are brought back in a smorgasbord of failure. A roar of the conch and then comes the inevitable rush of the littlun’s, tripping over coconuts and falling smack-dab into trees. As they approach closer I discover they’re all clones of the Stamkos kid. Is he always going to be that chip on my shoulder? Looking the other way, I see Lord of the Flies hovering towards me, bloodied stake and all.
Stay back! I want to warn. I’ve got my swine flu shot!

Before my mind registers, my body’s already taken off. I run and run, full throttle and faster than Roger’s ‘high-speed’ Internet until I reach a grassy lawn where I plop down. I feel like my head has been discombobulated and put back together all wrong like the printer at the library.

A blip in the distance catches my attention. A girl in a long white dress. Grandma in her nightgown? No, it's Becky. We lie down on the soft green grass, by the bearded barley.
Is this real life? I want to sing to the skies. She strokes my face lovingly and I find myself, too, getting lost in those dark mysterious eyes, wondering what’s behind them. Wondering about our childhoods. Wondering why she isn’t making a move to continue wreaking havoc on my already fragile, deteriorating health.

I don’t know what kind of twisted dimensionless world I’m in, but if I can have her like this, maybe I want to stay awhile.


Another sudden movement gives me a rude awakening. Chill, reflexes. This time there’s something crawling on me. Her fingers on my torso? Nah, I wish. It’s a nasty green caterpillar latched onto my arm, but odd-looking in a personified, sinister way. Then without warning its razor-like teeth tears into my flesh and I can’t shake it off.

“Motherf—” I jump up, shaking my arm spastically which comes across more like chipmunk fist-pumping. “Oh my God,” I groan, brushing a hand through my sweat-soaked mess of hair. Breathing heavily I sink back down and try to turn on my stomach. As my left arm swings to the other side I hit a road block.

“Fergie?” I mumble, managing to lift open one eye. The room spins wildly.

“Hey baby,” replies a female voice, jolting me awake.

“What the hell?” My head continues to spin for a second before the dust settles the Bed Intruder is revealed to be none other than…Rebecca? “What the hell!” I repeat a second time. She’s clearly made herself comfortable beside me, claiming her “side of the bed”. For a minute I’m taken aback and can’t help, but marvel at how pretty she looks with those intense bedroom eyes and that sleek dark hair unravelling on the white satin pillow which has somehow slipped from under my head during some wild head banging in slumber. And then I’m shaken back to reality, where there’s this girl who I know vaguely on a bed that doesn’t belong to me in the foreign setting of an exotic country.

I realise my heavy arm is still draped over her waist and knowledge of the contact causes me to withdraw mechanically, although I instantly regret it. Damn. You had it, Fowler, you had it.

“Nice nap?” she smiles with that haughty Cheshire Cat grin on her face. I shake my head in awe and disorientation and it makes her laugh even more, arching her back in the process which, once again, puts me into an undistinguishable mood.

“Go away.” Becky puts her thumb on my lip and wipes away the spot of drool that has concentrated at the corner of my mouth. “Ugh. Thanks.”

Blinking twice to make sure this reality and not a continuation of that weird, semi-foreshadowing dream, I gather myself together enough to mumble, “Shit, Becky.” I feel as if I’m imagining things. This is like how every dirty wet dream I fantasized as a horny preteen began. I got lots of hormones. Looking back to her, she appears completely at ease, which makes me uncomfortable in return. Not because of the intimacy of this scenario, but the questions and thoughts swirling around in my soggy roadside slush brain.

“I thought you were my aunt,” I breathe, laughing a bit and shaking my head.

“Huh. I didn’t know the Fowler family was that close.” I roll my eyes before reaching for one of Fergie’s giant stuffed rabbits to hit her with. “Hey!”

“So what are you doing here?” I feel myself scratching self-consciously at where the caterpillar was on my arm. “Next time you want to snuggle you should come earlier. Wristbands at the door,” I joke, getting my mojo back. She stares back unmoved, as if to say, Really? “So how’d you get in anyway?” I change subjects, remembering that Uncle Eric is out getting wasted on an ice float and Aunt Helen had gone to run some errands. “No, let me guess. You climbed onto a garbage can and Spiderman’ed it the rest of the way to my window.”

“You’re imaginative, eh?” She digs her hands underneath the sheets where I’m half naked, to which I raise a single, curious eyebrow. “Or the front door was unlocked and I simply walked in.”

Right. Canadians don’t really lock their doors. “True say.” Her hand touches mine underneath the sheets and I flinch a little bit, which, again, makes her giggle. “I’m sorry.”

“Wow. When you push a girl away like that, really makes her feel special.”

“If I pretend to go back to sleep will you do it again?” I sink deeper into the foamy mattress. I kind of do want to go back to sleep again. Maybe if I shut my eyes real tight.

Not happening. “No! My love is not a free bounteous supply. And neither is oil.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh sorry, I was speaking to the delegate of the United States.” I click my tongue, feeling the fire of her words lapping at my nationalist pride. She doesn’t seem to feel any remorse for her unkind words though, in her baseball-style Maple Leafs t-shirt and particularly flattering skinny jeans. I’m surprised that she’s been in my bed for so long and I haven’t made any strategic advances. When she shuffles closer, on purpose, I suspect, I wonder why I’m not on top of her in an instant like the high school Cam would be. Judging by her facial expression, maybe she’s wondering the same thing.

“I love my country. Even though I don’t always agree with its politics.” At least now I know her point of view. And my God-like image of Canada is now a little less shiny. “Don’t be a bitch.”

“I thought guys liked that,” she purrs in a sexy way. Her feet are pointed and I wonder if she dances or does gymnastics in addition to her past Tonya Harding figure skating days. My mouth goes dry and I don’t think it’s because I just woke up. “Water?” She sits up and hands me the old school Spongebob sippy cup minus the sippy part because I’ve long outgrown that. It was the only moderately acceptable beverage container I could find in their eclectic cupboard. Then again, there was the replica Stanley Cup, but as hashtag winning as I am, old superstitions are always in the back of my mind.

“Thanks.” I take a hasty gulp and the cold water makes me feel a lot better. “But it’s not very Canadian of you, is it?”

“Remind me to recite you Colin Mochrie’s Apology to America someday.” I look at the spider crawling on the ceiling, the only witness to our unexpected pillow talk. What you looking at, playa? “So what about those dreams?”

“Dreams?” I slur, almost drunkenly. “Right. Dreams. Wait, how long have you been here?”

“Perhaps a while. Perhaps longer.” She shrugs nonchalantly, looking at an invisible watch on her wrist as if she had no recollection of the time. Somehow, I really doubt that.

“Longer? What…what did you hear? Did I say something?” I’m freaking out and trying my best to remember my dream, but the only thing I come up with is that friggin’ caterpillar. A redness creeps down my neck, a major giveaway when you’re of my pallor. The sad life of a pale boy.

“Maybe. What happens in REM sleep stays in REM sleep,” she teases. Why, isn’t she an encyclopaedia of nerd facts?

“Well just so you know you can’t use anything said against me. It’s privileged.”

“Don’t worry about it. It’ll be just between us. Unless you piss me off royally, in which case you should definitely be worried.”

“Huh.” I don’t like the odds of that. And I’m still not satisfied with her withholding this crucial information so I keep pressing. “Please. What did I say? After the brutal beatdown this morning, it’s the least you can do for me.” I try to work the dimples, but she’s not exactly an easy one to sway.

“Not too much.” She cocks her head to the side before glancing out the window, where the sky is already a sombre shade of grey. When she tucks her hands beneath her chin, I try my blue eyes and we’re finally getting somewhere. “Fine,” she caves, “I’ll tell you what happened. I came in here, maybe ten minutes ago, with a 90’s boombox and this water squirter.” She hands over her weapon of choice from the floor. I weigh the cheap plastic of the toy in my hand, playing with the trigger, but there’s no water. Useless thing. It’s in the shape of Squirtle the Pokemon. Where’d she get her hands on this, a McDonald’s happy meal? “And I was going to hit you with a freestyle ambush, but I came in here playing a wicked Busta Rhymes track and sure enough you’re snoring like there’s no tomorrow, mumbling away about how much you, I don’t know, want Bobby Ryan and like troll dolls. What do you have to say?”

I look her in the eye and burst out laughing. “I say bullshit, imagina-tor. You came in to call me to go, didn’t you?”

“Pretty much,” she says, honestly. “What gave it away?”

What gave it away? “Well, I figured it was that or have sex.” I grin, cheekily, while I let my fingers trace the rufflely perimeter of her pillow. Or she came here to kill me. But unlike that stupid smart kid in class who always reminded the teacher of due dates and tests, I’m certainly not going to give her any ideas.

“Do I look like I want to have sex?” she bites back.

I survey her appearance. She’s lying on her back. Pink cheeks. Raspy voice. Hair pushed aside exposing a lot of neck that any Edward Cullen or shit would gladly bite into. My guess is she’s waiting on her missionary. “Yes.” She makes a sign, saying that I’m number one. Well, she gives me the finger. “Need I remind you of the fact that you’re in my bed?”

“Fine. Let’s have sex,” she deadpans sarcastically. For a minute I almost believe she’s serious. Then again, there’s the overwhelming hint of sarcasm.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to that.” I shrug with nonchalance. “But, if you wanted to have sex why aren’t you spreading your legs?”

Becky scoffs. “Because I’m not Luongo and you’re not Dustin Byfuglien.”

I scoff. “Fun fact: I’ve scored on Luongo.”

“Really?” She looks legitimately surprised. So that’s how I can capture her attention. Talk about hockey. I think I’m qualified enough to do that. “I didn’t know that. When?”

“Wednesday. It was my third goal.” I know I’m still a long shot for the Rocket Richard and many Jedis much more skilled than I have been getting the hats, but the thought of me scoring the big three in the big league already in my rookie year never ceases to amaze me. And three is a good number, so I know I’ve come far. After all, Jesus waited three days to resurrect. And like Miley Cryrus’ autobiography, I still have miles to go. “You fail as a puck bunny.”

“Shoot me.” I pretend to shoot her with the Squirtle handgun. She fakes dead.

“You look nice,” I admit boldly, but honestly. She looks away, awkwardly after clearing her throat. “Smell good, too.” She smells like lemons.

I watch her squirm and put a few more inches of distance between us. It makes me smile. I think we both love torturing each other. Knowing which buttons to push. There’s already a little power dynamic beginning to form. She has no problem making little dirty jokes and flirting when she’s in control. Maybe it’s time to pass the remote. Hockey isn’t the only game I’m good at.

I bury my face in her hair, deeply inhaling the citrus scent. “Mm. Stop,” she moans, laughing a bit. “I thought you wanted to get rid of me.”

“That was my angry early bird mode and now, I’m in my sex mode. So if you’d care to comply…” She smothers me with the pillow before I can finish what I’m saying. It’s okay. We have that telepathic thing going on anyway.

“Come on. I’m putting a foot down. Get up.”

“No.” She ruffles my hair, as if I didn’t already have permanent bed head. “I’m tired.”

“So be awake.”

“No. Five more minutes.” I don’t like being disturbed in my sleep. If I don’t get a good pre-game nap because one of the Niedermayer kids wanted to be comical, it’s hard to be at 100% when you really need to be. And we all know how important it is to give 100%.

“I’m not a snooze button. I have a voice and I say get your lazy ass up.”

I try sitting up, but I’m way too comfortable to leave this warm fluffy haven. “I can’t even get up.”

“That’s what he said.”

I laugh. “Maybe we should just stay here tonight. Forget the game.” I finger the little jade elephant hanging from red string around her neck. “I like your necklace.”

“Oh?” Her eyebrows are furrowed in a sad way that kind of breaks my heart. “Tim gave it to me,” she replies softly. She quickly shakes off the melancholy. “You know, when we were sleeping together. On this bed actually.”

The thought is quite irksome, so I jump up at once. “I’m up, I’m up.” I never thought about it like that before. How off-putting. Why does everything in Canada belong to a Tim empire of some sort? I take a little tumble, falling off the double bed, and walking into the oak bookshelf. As usual, she finds hilarity in my ungraceful ways, while stepping off the love train herself and onto the funky-looking rug. It’s funny how I’m so uncoordinated around pretty girls. Around her.

I guess I’m not inviting her to one of my games anytime soon.

“For someone so smooth on the ice, you sure are a bumbling klutz on hardwood,” she comments unnecessarily. “Doughboy.”

“Shut up.” I look down at my licensed Pillsbury boxers. I’ve had these forever and ladies have always loved them. “It’s early, don’t you think? What time is it?” The Scooby-Doo clock reads 5: 56. I set my alarm for six. “It’s not even six yet? What the hell is wrong with you?” I grab the nearest shirt I see, sniff it to be cautious, and put it on anyway along with some pants.

“There are a couple things we need to pick up along the way.” I quickly grab my phone, keys, and wallet. “Ready?”

I nod. “Did you guys actually have sex in here?”

“Yes. Loud kinky sex. Walk and talk, Fowler. Walk and talk.”

Laughing out loud, I don’t know if she’s serious or not and I’m not exactly sure a clarification would make me feel any less disgusted. She stops me halfway on our trek to the front door and fixes my hair, as if it was nothing out of the ordinary. I’m touched by the small, yet kind gesture.

“Thank you.”

“It’s the least I could do for you. I guess you’re not the only one who’s good at sneaking up on people.”

“Sexiest perp I’ve ever encountered.”

She grins slightly and says nothing.

Save for the near heart attack, I decide I could get used to waking up to someone. Someone like Becky. It’s been a little lonely in California.

Hopefully I’ll get lucky in Toronto.
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Ah. It's been a while, to say the least. I really want to apologiza and thank you to those readers that are still (perhaps barely) hanging in there. Hope you like it. And no more excuses. From now on, I will try to update at least once every week. Comments are encouraging, just so you know. :)