Even more incredible the battered and heavily-taped pocketbook was originally property of a library that's ten minutes drive from my house. If only I'd gone to one of those "library ruined book sales" with the cat lady and that old guy that bellows incoherently at everyone I could have saved myself a lot of misery. But now I guess I have to read it, so there's no dodging that agony. Still, this finishes off the first 20 books. My common core addition skills tell me I should be able to complete every book in about twenty-seven years, give or take and accounting for the occasional 2 + 2 = 5. I can only hang my head and weep silently.
The holy grail of my c.y.o.a. collection.
I'm a mountain climber, an expert at defeating elevated rock piles who has already climbed several "unclimbed" peaks. Just the first person to ever do it, no big deal. I'm also friends with some guy named "Carlos" who receives absolutely no descriptive attention whatsoever. Just throw out a character's name and move on, that's what every good author does. We're a good "climbing team" anyways, which seems sort of odd for a occupation centered solely around the individual and his or her self-destructive "White Whale" quests to defeat objects that aren't even aware of our existence, but I guess someone has to set the ropes or whatever.
I should also mention we get a map of Central Asia and a "comparative height" illustration of some of the mountains there, I guess in an effort to shoehorn some educational value into this. That's undermined somewhat by a "is such a thing even possible" speech about the Yeti, an intelligent half-man, half-animal that is totally immune to being photographed or accurately described that apparently lives in a part of Nepal where snow blindness and weather-induced madness is a common thing. Suffice it to say, I decide this thing must be real, just like rasslin', and promptly make plans to head for Kathmandu. Now I've got that song in my head. Great.
Funding is provided by the "International Foundation for Research into Strange Phenomena" an organization that will later be destroyed by easily available camera phones but for now represents an even bigger waste of time and money than the United Nations (still better than the Council on Foreign Relations, though). With the money secured it's off to challenge Mount Everest! But first, permits and advice from some guy! Rock and roll.
The real life version of a James Bond villain.
Meanwhile Carlos, remember him that guy with no memorable traits whatsoever, has apparently vanished from "base camp" at Everest, forcing me to make the difficult decision between filling out necessary red-tape paperwork and saving my climbing homeboy from himself. Let's get going on those forms, I'm sure he's fine.
I meet with this guy named Runal who is quick to warn me off my nearly suicidal exploration of the most inhospitable parts of our planet by pointing out it might be "dangerous." What, really? Apparently some hunters with "traps and guns" went after the Yeti and angered them, insofar as a myth can experience such emotions. I'm quick to assure the bureaucrat that my Snowman intentions are entirely above board, but it's pointed out that the feral missing link that lurks in blizzards might not appreciate this distinction.
Instead a safer alternative is proposed: go look for tigers in a jungle. I just report this shit, I don't make it up.
The tired and overweight American middle-aged man of the mountains.
Since this book is supposed to be about Squatchin' in the Himalayas and not about going down a big cat's throat in bleeding chunks I'm not about to be dissuaded. I'm issued the official papers, but now that clerk wants to come along too, because his skills at light filing and preparing S.P.S. reports are sure to come in useful when faced with evolutionary oddities at World Top. How about no.
After the refusal the guy gets as icy as the mountains, shaking my hand without a hint of a smile. I consider an apology and perhaps letting him come anyway. Leave it to R.A. Montgomery to turn a story about mountain adventure into what happens when you're trapped in some government office and maybe you hurt an ineffectual pencil pusher's feelings. Yes, this is great. No buddy, you're not coming. Stop giving me more chances, the answer is final.
Of course I'm punished for this steadfast refusal by nature which deploys torrential rain and mudslides. "Nature has gone wild" I note (It's taking off it's bikini top! Woo!!!!) and the expedition is cancelled forever. Because it rained and, I guess, those official documents I fought so hard to acquire expire after ten days.
Am I being detained? Am I free to go?
The promise of wild adventure, oxygen tanks and furry semi-humans begins and ends in some office. I would imagine other, better, choices actually get you to the mountain and probably into wussy vehicles, but none of that for me. Oh well, at least I'm done with this one and will never need to think about it again.
Yeti erotica. USA! USA! USA!