By: Kenda







     Rick Simon drove the gas pedal all the way to the floorboard of the Power Wagon.  He ignored the driving snow pelting his face as he leaned his head out the cab's open window. 


     "Push, A.J.!  Push!"


     Rick barely heard his brother's "I am pushing!" over the roar of the wind.


     Rick let up on the pedal only long enough to turn the wheels of the truck in the opposite direction.


     It felt like slivers of glass were cutting Rick's face when he leaned out the window once more.


     "Push, A.J.!"  The detective hollered into the wind. "Push dammit!  For God's sake you push like a little old lady!  Put some muscle behind it!"


     The startled Rick jumped when a terse voice spoke from right beside him.


     "For your information I don't push like a little old lady."


     A.J.'s eyelashes were frozen together and snow clung to his blue ski parka and hat.  It blanketed his eyebrows and bangs giving the illusion that he'd grayed overnight.  As well, the cold heavy wet stuff was caked to the legs of his jeans from ankles to knees.  


     "Whatta ya' doin' back in here?"  Rick hastily rolled up the window.  "I thought you were pushin'."


     A.J. leaned over and flipped the truck's heater on high. 


     "Rick, I could have pushed until spring and we'd still be stuck. You're not even on the road.  Besides, it's cold out there.  It must be twenty below zero."


     Rick looked out the windshield seeing nothing but a blinding whiteout.  "Great.  Just great.  Now what are we gonna do?"


     "I don't know," A.J. shivered. "It was your bright idea to drive up to this ski lodge in the first place.  And you don't even ski."

     "Hey, I didn't hear any objections comin' from you when I told you this was Miss International Centerfold weekend at the lodge."


     "You're right.  You didn't hear any objections from me.  But I did tell you to check the weather forecast.  Did you check the weather forecast?"


     Rick suddenly became preoccupied with studying the truck's instrument panel.


     "Don't tell me, let me guess," the shuddering A.J. ground out between chattering teeth.  "You forgot."


     "I forgot."


     "Which explains why we just drove into the worst blizzard northern California has seen in a hundred years."


     "Aw, ya' can't believe everything those guys on the radio say, A.J."


     "That's a rather strange remark for you to make considering we're stuck in four feet of snow and it looks like the North Pole out there."


     "Okay, okay.  So maybe every once an' a while one of 'em gets lucky.  But regardless, what are we gonna do now?"


     "The first thing we're going to have to do is dig the Power Wagon out."


     "Dig it out?"  Rick echoed.  "With what?"


     "Don't tell me you didn't bring a shovel along?"


     "Why would I bring a shovel?"


     "Rick, we were heading into the mountains. Into snow country.  Logic tells me a person brings a shovel along in case they get stuck in a drift, much the way we've gotten stuck in a drift."


     "Oh.  Logic would tell you that, huh?"

     "Yes, it would.  And a bag of sand.  I don't suppose you brought sand along to throw under the tires to give us some traction?"


     "Uh...no.  No sand."


     "Wonderful.  What, pray tell, do you have in this truck that might be used to aid in our survival?"


     "Let me see."  Rick turned and peered behind the seat.

"I've got a blanket."


     "A blanket is good.  How dirty is it?"


     "A.J., who cares how dirty it is!  All that matters is that it's big and wool and will keep us warm."


     "Wool!  You know how wool makes me itch.  And I'll break out in hives besides!"






     "Yeah, good.  The itchin' will help keep your mind off the snow."




     "And we've got a thermos full of coffee and another full of hot chocolate."


     "Thanks to me," A.J. reminded.


     "Okay, okay.  Thanks to you.  Whatever.  Plus, we both brought sweaters, heavy socks, long johns, and flannel shirts so we can layer ourselves in warm clothes.  And the gas tank's almost full so if we're careful I think we can make it last until help arrives."


     "Thank God I didn't let you take that supposed shortcut like you wanted to.  At least we're on a state highway.  How long do you think it will be before a plow comes across us?"


     "Probably not until it stops snowin'.  But I'm sure as soon as it lets up the plows and the state patrol will be out in force."


     Rick leaned down and stuck a hand underneath the seat.


     "What are you doing now?"


     "Digging for my stash."


     "Stash of what?"




     Rick pulled out an unopened three-pound bag of M&M's and a six-count package of Hershey Bars.


     "Where'd you get this stuff?"


     "Never mind."


     "What do you mean, never mind?"


     "Just never mind.  I learned a long time ago to hide my candy from you, so just never mind."


     "Rick, I haven't gotten into your candy since I was ten."


     "That's cause you haven't been able to find it since you were ten.  And thanks to me and my hiding places we'll have enough food to get us by until help arrives."


     "Yeah, and be so wired on caffeine and sugar that they'll have to peel us off the roof of this cab."


     "Beggars can't be choosers, A.J." 

     A.J. growled as he turned to glare out the window. "Of all the people in the world that I could get stuck with in a snowstorm you're the last person on earth I'd--"

     "A.J., cool it!  I hear something."


     "You hear something?"  A.J. turned and gave his brother an incredulous look.  "Rick, all you hear is the wind, and the snow, and air moving around in that empty space between your ears."


     "And your big mouth!  Now just be quiet for a second."


     "Hey!  Look at that!"  A.J. exclaimed.  "Something's pulling up behind us!"


     Rick strained to see out the back window.  "It's a Suburban!  And it's stopping! And they're waving us to come back.  And it's them, A.J.!  It's them!"


     "Them who?"


     "Miss International Centerfold.  All twelve months of them!"


     The two men jumped out of the Powerwagon and waddled unsteadily like ducks through the waist high drifts.  The animosity that so recently took place in the truck's cab was quickly forgotten as Rick and A.J. climbed in the back of the big blue Suburban.


     "Hi, boys," the twelve buxom, lithe beauties in tight ski pants and form fitting sweaters chorused as one.  "Need a lift?"


      Rick settled himself between the blond Miss January and the redheaded Miss October while A.J. made himself comfortable between Miss June and Miss July.  The lanky man felt a slender hand slide over his chest. The zipper on his coat was seductively drawn down while another hand slowly inched up his thigh.  He glanced over long enough to see A.J. was receiving similar attention.


     Rick eyed his delighted brother and grinned.  "You bet we do, girls."   



S&S     S&S     S&S     S&S     S&S     S&S



     “You bet we do girls.  You bet we do girls.  You bet we...”


     "Rick!  Rick, wake up!  Rick!"


     "Huh?"  A bleary eyed Rick Simon sat up in bed. He looked around the dimly lit room for a moment before recalling where he was.  He and A.J. had driven up to Snow Creek Lodge for a weekend of skiing and girl watching.


     "Man, A.J. What'd you wake me up for?"


     "You were dreaming again."


     "I know I was dreaming!  And I was just getting to the good part, too."


     A.J. sat down on the double bed across from his brother's.  "Don't tell me, let me guess.  Another Miss International Centerfold dream."


     Rick laid back against his pillows and cradled his hands behind his head.  A whimsical smile touched his lips and he gave a lust-filled sigh.  "Yeah."  


     "Rick, you're going to have to face it.  We're heading home tomorrow so your chances of making a date with one of the Centerfolds is slim to none.  You've already struck out with Miss January, February, March, April, May, and June."


     "Which means I'm only half way through the year," Rick pointed out with optimism.  "I think I've got a pretty good chance of helpin' Miss December decorate her tree."


     "Whatever," A.J. gave in wearily before climbing back in bed.  "Just remember that we need to be on the road by two o'clock tomorrow afternoon."


     "Sure, sure.  I remember."  Rick reached up and shut out the lamp on the table between the two beds.  "Hey, A.J.?"  He beckoned into the darkness.




     "What do you think our chances are of gettin' caught in a blizzard on the way home tomorrow?"

     "None I hope. If I recall correctly you were the one who was supposed to be paying attention to the weather forecast this past week.  And I noticed you didn't bring a shovel like I told you to, or a bag of sand.  Therefore getting caught in a blizzard wouldn't be the wisest of ideas, now would it?  Why would you ask such a stupid question anyway?"


     Rick grinned, wondering if his dream was really just a dream or a premonition of what was yet to come.


     "Oh...never mind," Rick dismissed right before drifting back to sleep while thinking of being cozily sandwiched between Miss January and Miss October in the back of a big, blue Suburban.









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