April 10, 1998. Alaska
A hundred miles north a female polar bear was shot recently and her pelt made into a beautiful blanket offered for sale at a local sporting goods store. Garrett Valdison just bought the rug for a large sum.
Valdison is twenty five years old. As a successful investor, he can well afford this luxury plus the big log cabin on five hundred acres of wilderness where he will enjoy the blanket. Normally Garrett doesn't believe in buying products which involve killing animals for fur, but he just couldn't resist this one compromise with conscience.
Lately Garrett has been thinking a good deal about just how ruthless a man must be in business. Is it just survival? How much is enough? The soul searching started with the recent suicide of a young man who one of his associates raked over on a big gold deal.
May 1, 1998
Garrett looks at Pamela Cochran, his shapely young girlfriend, 5'8" tall with grayish green eyes and platinum blond hair. He smiles, remembering the conversation during the dinner recently at Jake Wirth's in Boston:
“Pam, there's a necessary sequence for peace on Earth. Liberty and free enterprise first, then prosperity follows naturally, then peace. It can't happen any other way...
... the Law of Accelerating Returns is that, in the second decade of the Twenty First Century, the exponential rate of science will result in twenty discoveries equivalent to the internal combustion engine or the cure of cancer, all within a span of a few hours.”
Pamela looks thoughtful so Garrett persists,
Pamela smiles indulgently. “I hope you’re not counting on an exponential increase in moral goodness, because the Twentieth Century is thus far unprecedented as a time of war and every other kind of human rottenness.”
Garret looks surprised. “Hell no! Just an increase in practical understanding. One of the best things about liberty and free enterprise is that it allows people to flourish in peace without any change in basic human nature.”
Garrett narrows his gaze in mock seriousness.
"I'm glad you approve, sir, because I think I'm falling in love with you" replies Pam.
Garrett looks embarrassed and replies "Me? No shit?"
"No shit." says Pamela with a happy smile.
Pamela is beautiful. She is also totally uncompromising about individual liberty. No matter what Garrett says, this is the real reason he loves her so much.
Back in the present Pamela is now seated on the big dog sled as Garrett drives the team of fourteen large wolf-gray Malamutes towards the isolated cabin.
Along the way the evergreens are lightly draped with snow. Everywhere billions of tiny ice crystals sparkle like diamonds in the morning sun. The air is fresh, clean, and bracing. The dogs are in red harness. The couple are clad in simulated fur from head to toe. Both with hoods. Garrett in red fox, Pamela in ermine. They look like a Montreal fashion plate.
The dog team and sled, of course, is just Valdison's daydream as they move across the snow in Valdison's red snowmobile. Not quite as romantic, but much more practical.
Garrett bought the snowmobile from a friend. Barely used and in perfect running condition. The old girl was delivered brand new back in 1960 by a chap in a red and black checked hunting shirt and brown felt hat who afterward angrily snowshoed the two miles back to town, muttering and cursing all the way, even though the friend offered him a nice big cup of piping hot oxtail soup to speed him on his way.
The cabin has a large stream nearby, but no plumbing or shower of any kind. This is okay. Garrett is very olfactory in his orientation to women and expects to enjoy this interlude more with every passing day. He loves Pamela very much and is planning to ask her to marry him if all goes well with the sexual component. Finally the right girl at last.
Pamela smiles gleefully when she sees the beautiful cabin with the quaint little hand-painted sign "Elfinhaus". Inside it's still warm from breakfast. Garrett adds logs to the small blaze in the massive stone fireplace.
Pamela is admiring the huge bed and beautiful new blanket with a happy look that absolutely tickles Garrett. He can't wait to get her under that big white blanket, but it's getting on to lunch time so he goes out to fetch a leg of lamb from the supply shed, realizing that he should have done this late yesterday, to start it thawing.
After getting the lamb, Garrett stops to answer nature's call. As he comes back out of the trees between the shed and cabin he sees the most terrifying thing he has ever beheld. A gigantic male polar bear is sniffing around the shed. This huge fellow slowly turns and looks right at Garrett. Oh God! Here he comes! Luckily for Garrett this happens very slowly because the bear has paralysis in his rear right leg from a spear injury years ago. Garrett instinctively tosses the leg of lamb to the fury giant and runs into the cabin, bolting the heavy door behind him.
Pamela sees the look on Valdison's face and turns to look out the window. The bear is walking towards the cabin. Garrett is struggling to find the key to the gun case. The bear smashes through the oversize door easily, slowly enters, and looks calmly at the trembling humans he is about to eat for lunch. Then he catches the scent of the blanket and walks over to sniff at it closely.
The bear turns and looks at the couple with complex changes of facial expression which one observing a dog would call sadness, then rage. Pamela screams. Garrett yells "Run!" She just stands there. He grabs her hand and pulls her at first, then she runs with him.
They reach the snowmobile. Garrett still has the ignition key in his pocket. Trembling badly, he nonetheless manages to start the still warm machine. But now comes the bear! As they pull away Pamela feels a terrible searing pain in her right lower leg as the bear grazes her with a mighty clout which would, had it come a second or two sooner, have broken her neck. The snowmobile surges forward carrying them to safety back in town.
After getting muscles and skin stitched together, and eight hourrs on an antibiotic intravenous solution, Pamela dies from infection. Garrett can't beleive that she's gone. He's completely numb with despair, but files all the necessary reports. He can't bear to go back to the cabin and tomorrow will list it for sale.
That night Garrett takes a hotel room. He loved Pamela so much. How can she be dead? He cries like a baby for hours.
May 12, 1998
Because of the circumstances, Pamela's parents have requested that her bones be buried in Alaska. They have flown up and there's a small service at 10:00 AM. Today also the air is clean and bracing. Now there's a clean white blanket of new sparkling snow covering Pamela.
Garrett looks at the poor lonely grave. He has never felt such utter bleakness before. He wishes he could be dead in the grave with her, but knows that he must go on to strive his whole life in making the world the kind of place that she wanted it to be.
"We'll be together again someday." he thinks.