Chapter 1: Coyote

Misery stared at us through a frosty twilight. We could see the eyes now; dolefully sweeping the rapidly shrinking distance between us. One paw, then the other, lifted, then back again, the road just too cold to bear.

Rock hard tires pounded a fog of ice crystals up and over the hood, momentarily leaving us blind.

“Do you think he’ll move?”

I stirred. I hadn’t felt my left big toe for a while, and I was wondering whether I should take a look at it.

“I really don’t think he cares whether he lives or dies right now.”

“Well, he’d better make his mind up soon. As loaded as we are, we’re not going to be able to stop if he decides to commit seppuku.”

The mist cleared, allowing us to peer once again through the two tiny portholes that were the best a 401 cubic inch Ford engine could do to clear the windshield at this temperature. And he was gone.

A moment of silence then:

“Went home to get his boots?”

The cab erupted in laughter.

I scraped the frosted side window and stared out at the spruces flashing by, caped with snow and looking like so many old men huddled against the weather.

There we were. Silly buggers in a band, in the middle of nowhere, hauling equipment in the dead of the Yukon winter, loaded to the tits at 54 below and laughing our asses off.

I reached down, rubbed my toe, and murmured to myself,

“How in God’s green earth did I get here?”