Every picture tells a story and this one of our ball hockey tournament is no different. Notice the man with the missing front tooth as he slashes the kid in the hands, his face showing anger. Now look at the expression on the kid. The 16 year old’s face reacts with agony not only because he is being hit with a stick, but because the ball is being stolen by another man in his 30’s as it’s happening. A truly tough day at the office!
It was just another night at the dining room at the Fairmont Hotel in Whistler. The cozy room sat filled with couples and families resting their tired bodies from a day on the slopes.
I was just getting settled into my new job serving tables. It was obvious that I’d been out shredding everyday. My goggle tan left the entire upper portion of my face pasty white. Everything from the cheeks down was covered in dark freckles and full of color. I looked like a total goof, but it was the kind of tan that took weeks of riding to make.
I strolled over to my first table of the night. A young couple about my age sat looking at their menus and chatting. I slid in to introduce myself but was instantly cut off by the man.
“Holly crap dude, look at your face… How was it out there today?” He said.
“Dude it was sick…did you guys just get here?” I responded.
We quickly went back and forth with excitement about the conditions and the forecast. There was good reason too. The snow was soft and the sun was scheduled to shine all week.
I instantly felt comfortable in the conversation, my guard was dropped and we spoke like we had been friends for years.
I could tell he was a real beauty, so I knew just exactly what to do. I plugged the order into the computer and headed straight over to talk to the chef.
“Do you think you could shape this guy’s mashed potatoes to look like a helicopter?” I asked.
The chef just laughed and nodded.
Within half an hour I was delivering a beautiful plate of stake including one A-Star chopper complete with blades made of carrot sticks and skids made of green beans.
“Dinner is served…” I said as I dropped the meal in front of him on the table. His T-shirt sat with it’s own helicopter on it only inches away from the plate.
“You’ve got to be kidding me” He said as he laughed. “How did you know I’m a pilot?”
“Call it a lucky guess” I laughed.
I used every opportunity to swing by and check on the couple. Each time we chatted the man and I would end up getting into something good, whether it was hockey, travel, or just life in general it was always good.
When it was finally time for the bill I was kind of sad it had to end. Then he surprised me with a question.
“What are you doing tomorrow? I assume your going out again…”
“I go out everyday… That is unless you have something better to do…then I’ll come do that with you.” I said.
“I’m glad were on the same page, let’s meet at Whistler gondola at 8:00am tomorrow” he said.
I held his black credit card in my hand and glanced down at the name “Sounds good to me Clark” I said as I held out my hand.
We shook on the meeting place and time. Might as well been a pinky swear, as I knew I was going to have a great day with my new BFF.
The next morning I walked through the village. My bright snow pants and vintage hockey jersey stood out in the sea of strangers that flowed towards the base of the chairlifts.
I was already feeling pumped just to have someone to ride with. That’s when he tapped me on the shoulder. “I gotcha a coffee” he said as he hoisted me a paper cup.
Caffine is the perfect way to start a long day of shredding. “Lets do this!”
As we sat and waited in the lift line, Clark jumped right into the good stuff. He spoke of his Tinder nightmare the night before. He explained how he had met his date on-line and that she had dumped him after their $300 dinner.
He was trying to win her over with stories about flying helicopters and other cool stuff he was up to but she wasn’t having any of it. The explanation he got when he dropped her off at the end of the date was that she was just not attracted to shorter men.
“My last girlfriend broke up with me cause I have a small penis…What gives?” I sympathized.
“I think she must have wanted me to kiss her ass all night instead of bullshit with you. I was glad you were there to save me actually.
Every time she would attempt to tell a story it would suck. I would start to tell an interesting one then she would interrupt me, cut my story off and tell one of her own that wasn’t really related to the subject.
So I would have to sit through it for five minutes only to have it bomb at the end, and you know what the worst part of it is?…She’s a Real Estate Agent. It’s her JOB to tell stories, talk to people and build relationships. I’m a cool person and that social retard didn’t even bother to get to know me, and all because I’m not 6ft2…
I’m gonna have to start paying for sex again just to get the stink off me…Let’s just shred and forget about it” he said.
Our first run down the slushy slopes spawned more chemistry. I’m a solid rider and Clark stuck right with me. I felt his presence always nipping at my heels as I jumped and dove my board all over the mountain.
After leading the way I dropped back to carefully watch and size him up. He was also a strong rider. My guess was that he gets out 40-60 times a year. He defiantly had some time in the saddle. It was easy to take turns sharing the lead most of the morning.
The stories and laughs kept coming on the lift. Clark told me more and more about himself, which I thought was great. The reason he was in Whistler was for his work. He was a personal assistant to a really rich business man who was there for meetings. Since the boss didn’t need him for anything over the next few days he got to take in some snowboarding and have free time.
Now all we needed was to meet some girls to shred with.
A teenager stood waiting to strap in wearing a beautiful Gretzky hockey jersey just beside us.
“If we’re gonna meet some girls we gotta look good… just one second” said Clark
I watched as he glided over to the kid and start talking to him. Within seconds he held out his hand with what appeared to be a money clip. I watched in disbelief as he started to flip brown bills, one after another out of the roll. He stacked the bills like a deck of cards and dished it to the kid.
Upon receiving the cash the kid opened the stack like a fan counting the notes. He slipped off the Jersey and handed it over.
Clark skated back over.
“I just gave that kid 500 bucks for his jersey….Now we look like a team!” he said as he pulled it over his head.
“Holly crap that’s awesome, how can you afford that?” I said
“Remember I told you my boss is super wealthy…I’ll just expense it…it’s fine.”
With that, we were back on the slopes charging at everything in our stylish hockey themed outfits.
After a couple of hours we stopped for a break and a beer on the patio. The sunshine pounded down on the crowed deck as music played over the PA system and people smiled.
We picked a nice spot next to railing. With beers in hand we made a toast to a wicked day of shredding and new friendship.
“I hope Pilsner is O.K. for you Clarky” I said.
“Don’t worry, I like my beer like I like my women…I’ll take anything” he said as he threw his head back to drink.
Just then a rowdy herd of women stepped on the patio. “Whoooo Hoooo!” one of them yelled as they made their way though the maze of picnic tables.
“Heads up! Stagette on your six” said Clark
Before I could respond, one of them blurted out “Lets go share the railing with those hockey players.” as they pointed in our direction.
I had just enough time to assess the situation as they approached. 8-10 women dressed in 80’s workout gear. Aged 25-30, at least four of them were total babes… the rest all looked good enough. They wore matching neon head bands and yoga pants as they danced their way over.
Almost instantly our relaxing beer on the patio had changed to a party where the women out numbered the guys 5:1.
The leader introduced herself “I hope you guys don’t mind some company, cause things are about to get crazy up in here!”
“Oh my GOD you guys are crazy! Just look at your matching outfits…and your hair…That looks great! how did you do that?” I asked.
“We crimped it this morning…Isn’t it awesome? It took us like a half an hour each to do it” One blurted back.
“A half hour? Is that it? Cause I’m actually looking for something to do to my pubes…right now they’re curly but maybe if I crimp them like you girls, it will help me to get laid once in a while” I announced to the group of ladies.
“That’s disgusting! Come on girls lets go over here so we don’t have to talk to these wierdo’s any more…bye guys!”
Just as quickly as the storm arrived it moved away off to bother some other poor guys.
“How could I even be mad about that… Oh they’re crazy alright…that was priceless.” laughed Clark hysterically.
We finished our beers and headed back out. Within 10 min we found ourselves snaking through another busy lift line. Two women stood just in front of us in line, their braided long hair flowed from under their helmets and sat square on their backs staring us in the face, daring us to do something about it.
Clark looked at me and gestured with his head in their direction. I smiled and nodded back. “Just two of you guys?” Clark said as he tapped one on the shoulder. “You bet” she responded as she slid over making room for us next to them in line.
We chatted amongst ourselves until the chair swept us away lifting us gingerly onward and upward. It was a great relief to leave the noisy lift station and turn our attention towards the captive audience.
Knowing that we had 12 minutes to get to know these girls, I went straight to work quizzing them on all kinds of personal info. The kind of info that you could only get away asking on a chairlift. Who are they? What are they doing here? Are they staying in Whistler? That kind of thing.
They were friends from Vancouver. Staying at Whistler for the weekend. One was a Personal Trainer the other a Dental Assistant. They played on the same rugby team back in the city.
We explained that we had just met and that we were trying to build a shred posse. “Do you girls wanna join and burn a run with us?” Clark said.
“We’ll only join your posse if you guys help us slam this beer…” One said as she opened her pack and revealed a shinning can.
“How many of those have you got in there?” I asked.
“Enough to turn you from a six to a nine” she replied back.
“Lucky me” I responded.
This was break we needed… A couple good looking girls that wanted to party on the mountain. We took turns hauling from the beer and sharing stories.
Back on the slopes we came alive as a group. The girls were solid skiers. As we flew down the playground of jumps and bumps Clark and I jockeyed for their attention. The girls answered back, showcasing years of practice with great style of their own. There was no time to stop. Everyone was having to much fun.
It was a unique situation. We were a well balanced group. Every member was good.
The second chairlift ride was better than the first. No one was bragging and everyone was laughing, comfortable just having fun, being out on the slopes on a beautiful day.
This time on the chair, two more beers fueled the situation. The girls each gave great examples of their own failed on-line dating attempts. We all had something in common and it appeared that everyone was looking for the same thing.
After an epic afternoon of riding with some new found babes we decided as a group to go for a hike. The supply of beers from the girls pack seemed endless. The 30 minute hike straight up was met with only excitement. Everyone’s attitude once again proving just how cool they were.
We sat at the top of a vast landscape. Untouched powder snow was available every which way to the bottom. We gawked for an hour as we finished all the drinks. It was deep into sunset now and we were nicely glazed over by the amazing day we just had.
With talk of a hot tub at the front of mind the group charged for the last time. Clouds of white exploded around us as we pushed towards the bottom. Each time an explosion of snow let go, someone would scream a playful noise. The furry lasted for about 60 seconds and finally came to an end as we hit the rope to come back in bounds.
By this time the slopes had all but emptied. The sun had sunk past the horizon and shadows had cast over our faces for the first time in the day. We rode to the bottom with shaky legs. Exhaustion now took its grip.
We kicked off our gear and gave a round of high fives.
I didn’t want the fun to end but wasn’t sure how to proceed with the girls.
Clark was the first to make a move. “I’ve got the penthouse suite at the Fairmont if you guys wanna come for a hot tub…” He offered.
The girls and I were shocked. I knew he worked for a rich guy, but I had no idea how deep his pockets really were. I wondered how much it was to rent out the most expensive suite in town… That’s when I remembered that he had bought that kid’s jersey like he was buying a bag of chips.
How could any of us refuse an offer like that?
“Why doesn’t everyone go get changed and meet at the hotel at 7:30-8:00. I’ll tell them you’re coming at the front desk, so we’ll see you there…don’t forget your swim trunks” said Clark.
With only an hour before the meeting, I flew home to get ready. As I changed out of my snowboard gear and into something a little more comfortable, my excitement grew. I had a feeling something good was about to happen.
An hour later I was checking in at the front desk. “Head on up to the 12th floor, Mr. McDonald is expecting you.” the clerk said.
I rode the elevator all the way up to the top. When I stepped off there was two options. East Penthouse and West Penthouse. I knocked on the door to my right. The sound of music and laughter came from under it.
A young man in his early 20’s opened it up. “Come on in…” he said as he welcomed me in.
I had the stunned look of a tourist. With mouth open I walked in and looked around. This was the nicest apartment I had ever been in. I looked through the spacious living room to a luxury hot tub built into the deck outside.
The girls had beat me there and were already enjoying it with drinks in hand. Clark sat between them with a shit eating grin stuck to his face.
“Hi, I’m Mark, can I grab ya a beer or something to drink?” a voice said as I turned my attention back to young man who had let me in.
His face looked familiar.
“Sure I’ll take a beer” I said as I nodded.
“Clark said you guys had a pretty epic day out there, sure was nice wasn’t it?”
“Dude we had a blast, How about you? Did you get out?”
“ You bet, me and the boys did some shooting out in the backcountry today, we got some really great shots…Boys this is Clark’s buddy Gavin” He said as he introduced me to the other five guys standing around the kitchen.
“So how do you and Clark know each other?” he asked.
We just met last night at the restaurant…I’m a waiter and he came in for dinner and sat in my section…I can’t believe how nice this place is…” I said as I interrupted my own story.
“Yeah Clark goes all out, that’s why we love him so much” said the man
“How about you? How do you know Clark?” I asked as I remembered my manners.
“He’s worked with us on a bunch of our movies…He’s an unreal helicopter pilot you know…” he said.
“Movies?” I said as I took a second to look at the face in front of me. “You said your name was Mark right?…Wait a second, you’re Mark McMorris, the best snowboarder in the world right now!”
“Depends who you ask I guess…but yeah, that’s me” he nodded.
I was completely taken back at this point. “Sorry I didn’t recognize you at first” I said, “It’s been a pretty crazy couple of days.”
Jumping into the situation head first, I started to bullshit with Mark about snowboarding and some of his latest experiences.
He had just got back from Japan where they had been collecting a bunch of free ride pow shots. He started to tell all kinds of cool parts of the trip from the snowboarding to the people and the food.
It felt like he had just gotten into the topic of snowboarding overseas and my beer was empty. I snatched another one out of the fridge and kept on listening.
Whenever it was my turn to talk or tell a story, I just couldn’t compete with his. That being said, I did get some laughs, specially when I told him about running off the stagette earlier that day.
One after another the stories kept coming and the beer flowed. As Mark got into life back in Saskatchewan, I noticed a scene start to unfold in the hot tub over his left shoulder. As he explained how he rose to the top coming from a place with no mountains, I noticed that the girls were starting to French kiss each other out in the tub.
I tried hard to stay focused on what Mark was saying, but I had to interrupt him as the girls geared down and took their tops off. “Look at that!” I said.
Mark stopped his story and looked over his shoulder. “Oh that…That’s normal… girls go crazy in the penthouse suite” he said as he continued on.
Don’t get me wrong I was listening, but I was also watching in disbelief at the live porno that was just getting underway outside.
A few of the other guys noticed and started to laugh “Here we go again…” one said
All three of them outside were fully naked now, half in and half out of the tub they began to have sex with each other in every way you could imagine. In clear view of everyone inside, including me.
“I was supposed to be in that tub,” I complained as I looked on with eyes bulging.
“Don’t worry if you’re buddies with Clark, I’m sure you’ll have more opportunities” Mark laughed.
Mark went on with some of his stories and I tried not to be rude and gave him almost my full attention.
After another half hour went by, I was really drunk. Empty beer cans filled the counter in the kitchen.
Just then Clark walked onto the scene with a towel on.
“Gavin! Hey Man! I’m sooo sorry about those girls man. I know we were kinda workin on them together. I feel bad…Tell ya what… I can call you a couple of hookers right now if you like…My treat.”
I took a second to collect my thoughts. The beers, the girls, the penthouse, the conversation with Mark McMorris, it was all too much.
“That’s a hell of an offer Clark but I gotta say no, I think… Not tonight…”
“Are you sure man? I can have em here in 20 min…It’s just like ordering pizza” he said with an empathetic smile.
“Yeah, I’m sure man, I’m just not into prostitutes…” I said
“I’m actually really drunk and I have to work in morning so I better get going…thanks for everything today though, that was fun.” I said.
“O.K. sounds good bro, maybe I’ll come see you tomorrow at work” Clark said as we shook hands.
“It was an honour to meet you as well” I said as I waved to Mark.
I staggered back onto the elevator and headed across town to my tiny dorm room in staff accommodation. Dizzy and drowsy I hit the pillow hard and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning I struggled out of bed and headed to work. The first part of my shift had me polishing cutlery watching over an empty section of the restaurant.
Visions of the 24 hours prior danced through my thoughts. I still had so many questions. I wondered what happened after I left the penthouse, and just how often Clark gets to hang out with pro snowboarders. Did I make them laugh enough to warrant another invite to hang out. Maybe I could be on the next build crew for Mark’s movie, who knows.
That’s when I saw Clark walk through the entrance his head swiveling scanning the room, we both smiled and nodded when our eyes met.
He strolled over…
“Hows the head felling this morning” he said.
“I’m still alive” I responded
Clark got straight to the point. He explained that the boys did some talking after I left and they all agreed I was the type of guy they were looking for.
“I don’t mean to pry into your personal business, but how would you like to come work for us?”
“Doing what, exactly?” I asked
“You won’t have to serve another coffee in your life, I can tell you that much. This is some life changing shit I’m talking about.”
Clark said that he had to run to catch a plane at noon out of Vancouver, so he didn’t have much time to talk about it but that he would send me an email with the details by the end of the day.
“I know you’ll do the right thing” he said as we shook hands. “This is the day everything changes Gavy…”
And with that he turned and walked off.
I tried to stay calm but I was excited. Maybe more excited and confused than I had been in my entire life. The list of questions grew inside my head.
The email Clark promised to send was the key.
What was it going to say? Where could I fit onto the team? How big was the team? Who else was on it? How much were they going to pay me? Does this mean I don’t have to live at staff accommodation anymore? Do I have to leave Whistler? Where was Clark flying off to? The questions were endless.
Two hours later, right in the middle of the busy breakfast rush my pocket vibrated. Even tough it’s policy not to be on your phone at work, I couldn’t help myself.
I opened the email and read
Thank you for an amazing day of snowboarding. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you over the last few days. It was no fluke that I sat in your section of the restaurant the other night. We’ve had our eye on you for some time and when you turned down the prostitute offer last night we knew that you could be trusted with much much more.
My boss Marcus and I would like to offer you a 1 year contract position. If you accept, you will be tasked with bringing the Midget “A” championship to the town of Hudson’s Hope.
Before founding the Plenty Of Fish Website Marcus grew up in the small northern town. He is also a huge hockey fan and would like nothing more than to bring the provincial title home to the people that helped raise him.
Here’s where you come in. We need you to quit your job serving tables and head straight to northern BC. I’ve left you with a company credit card at the front desk of the hotel.
Once you have the card feel free to make any purchases you need to achieve your goal. We both feel that it would be a good idea for you to have a company vehicle, so please start by picking up a brand new fully loaded diesel pick up truck. We will leave it up to you to choose what brand to go with. Marcus feels the truck will help you get respect from everyone in Hudson’s Hope when you arrive. Getting respect from the players and parents will be an important part of getting the transformation started.
You will have your work cut out for you on this project as the team is currently non competitive and only has 12 players on it.
We have absolute faith in your abilities as a leader and life long hockey player. We are excited to see your skills in action over the next year and the positive impact you can make.
Please text me with any questions and updates.
Good luck and welcome to the team.
I closed my phone and jammed it in my pocket. Just then my manger walked over. “Gavin I need you to grab the bill for table five…and I needed it yesterday.”
I looked at her with a blank expression. Ten seconds went by.
“Gavin! The bill!” She barked
“Sorry about that, can I just get you to help me with something first?” I said as I snapped out of it.
“Fine…What is it?” she wined.
“Just rub on my nuts while I print this bill up for table five”
“Excuse me…What did you just say to me?”
“You heard me…I never liked you or this job, I quit!” I said as I untied my apron and handed it to her.
Now her face showed the look of disbelief while mine tweeked a grin.
I walked through the restaurant for the last time. With my head up, I crossed the lobby to the front desk and asked for the envelope under my name.
The clerk handed it over. Inside was a black VISA card and a yellow post it note.
In pen was written “We call these credit cards our Black Magic…Have fun, Clark”
It took me about 35 minutes to pack up my belongings out of the closet of a room they had me living in. By noon I was heading out of town in my 87 Tercel pointed north.
As I left Pemberton and started to work my way into the mountain pass towards Lillooet, more questions brewed. I had about an hour to drive without any contact with anyone. It was the longest hour of my life. All I knew for sure was I needed to get back into cell service so I could find out more about what the hell was going on.
As I rolled into Lillooet my cell phone started to buzz. The first message read: “Go to the CIBC location in Lillooet to pick up your debit card and open your work account.” The next one read: “Make your way to Prince George ASAP…will explain more later”
I pulled into town and headed down main street to the bank. I walked in and strolled up to the first teller. The middle aged lady peered over the brim of her glasses as she looked me up and down. “Can I help you?” she said.
“My name is Gavin Smith and I was told I need to see someone here about opening an account.” I nervously stated.
“We’ve been expecting you Mr. Smith. Please sign here for our records” she said, as she held out another plastic card. “You can just put your pin in at the cash machine out front…oh and congratulations bye the way.”
I signed the little black tablet and reached out to take the card from the women. “How long are you in town for?” she asked curiously as I grasped the card. I started to explain that I was just passing through when she interrupted me. “My husband works in the bush you know…he won’t be back till Friday if your looking for some company.”
I hesitated. “I better hit the road…” I said as I tugged on the plastic. “Take me with you!” she pleaded desperately as she tugged back. I braced the counter with my other hand pulled down hard almost dragging her off her stool. Finally I yanked the debit card free.
“Thank you!” I said as I backed towards the entrance. The women’s head bowed as she started to quietly sob. “That was the weird” I thought as I stepped up to the cash machine. I figured the first thing I should do is check the balance. I pinned the card and then came to the options menu.
I pushed on the balance button like I was pulling the lever on a slot machine. “Come on baby…” I whispered as I looked back at the women inside who was starting to pull herself together. The number $ 500,000.00 instantly showed up glowing on the screen staring me in the face.
Again I was stunned. The chequing account I just opened, had half a million dollars in it. These guys were not fucking around. After the day I had just gone through prior, anything was possible. I slowly left the bank and got back in the car. “I better get going to Prince George” I thought.
Two hours later I was just leaving 100 Mile House when the phone rang. It was Clark. “Hey man, I see you opened the account…right on” he said.
“It’s been an interesting day so far, where are you now?” I responded.
” I just touched down in Vegas…Marcus wants me here for some meetings, so you’re all good? Got any questions?”
“Not really, so I’ll just head to Hudson’s Hope and get started then? I do whatever I think is necessary?”
” You bet and use that cash for whatever you need. I assume you’ll need to hire a coach and trainer. You’ll also need to pay to keep the rink open all summer and find yourself some accommodation.
The rule of thumb we like to go by is: Get the nicest most expensive thing possible. If the account starts to get low, just let me know and we can top it up for you again. Remember Marcus is serious about the result. So don’t spare any expense. Oh yeah…and don’t forget to set fire to that piece of shit your diving and get yourself a new ride in P.G.
I’ll talk to you in a few weeks once you’re all settled.” Just then a women’s voice came into the background. “Put the phone down Clark” she said.
“O.K. gotta go Gavy, you got this buddy!”
Then the phone went dead.