Trapped with a psycho in an abandoned cabin in the Canadian Rockies. Alfred Hitchcock could not have devised a more suspenseful story line. Rain drummed on the cedar shake roof. I brushed rat droppings and other debris off an old mattress left on the floor in order to sleep. My roomie for the night—call him Dave—kept shouting out disparate phrases from his dreams.
It was the first week of the Tour Divide Mountain Bicycle Race, the longest, toughest bicycle race in the world. It started in Banff, Alberta, Canada, traced across British Columbia and into Montana, and thus on down to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, a distance of nearly 2,800 miles. Snow, ice, freezing rain and mud day after day. Travel light, freeze at night.
I was drenched, cold and weary when I came across the cabin. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Only, it was already occupied by another racer, a big, surly man who grudgingly consented to share his quarters for the night.
I should have suspected his state of sanity when he volunteered at no urging on my part that he was from San Francisco, that he thought Hillary was the smartest woman in the world, and that he had voted for President Obama. Twice.
He informed me that he worked for “the Government.”
“It’s secret,” he whispered, his head bobbing as he looked around for eavesdroppers. “You can’t take my picture or use my name or anything—or the Government will come after you.”
“Great. I’ll bake a cake.”
His 19-year-old son, he boasted, also worked for the Government, had even saved Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from terrorists. He was a spy for the CIA, but, Shhh, don’t tell anyone. He was in Moscow working on the debacle in the Ukraine with Vladimir Putin.
“That’s all I can tell you,” he said. “Everything else is classified.”
“Nothing like starting at the top,” I commented.
“We are cleaning up the world.”
“Somebody has to be janitor.”
He glared at me.
The cabin was only about ten-by-fifteen feet. Hardly enough room for two mice to get lost in it. Yet, somehow, Dave suddenly claimed to have lost his race map. We tore the cabin apart.
He turned on me. “There’re only two of us,” he said. “You have a map. I don’t.”
I’m not easily intimidated. “Dave, don’t accuse me of taking your map.”
He withdrew into himself and sulked. He said nothing else until his nightmares took over.
I stuffed my map underneath my mattress and slept fitfully with my sheath knife within easy reach. Guess I had been a cop too long to trust psychos.
It was still raining at dawn when Dave stirred, got on his bicycle without a word and rode off.
Funny thing, I later checked the list of race entries. His name—or at least the name he gave me—wasn’t on it. Sneaky, these Government people.
Jack Malanga was known as a man who got the dirty work done, in war and in between wars. Things turned bad when his CIA contact in Central America asked, “Malanga, have you ever killed an American citizen?”
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