The person stopped tinkling the piano keys and bent down to help Joel up off the glacier.

“AAAlllrrriiiggghhhttt,” the person said slowly, like stretching a rubber band around Saturn, like the ring of a condom to suffocate a testicle.

“It’s dangerous,” Joel said. “It’s dangerous.”

Joel stood up and the person brushed snow off Joel’s coat.

Joel didn’t say anything else, just put his head down.

“I’m Luke,” the person said, and he put his hand out for Joel to shake but Joel didn’t shake his hand because Joel’s hand was infected with frostbite.

“What’s the matter?” Luke said.

“I don’t want you to catch it.”

Luke saw blood all over Joel’s pants and behind Joel there was a long stream of blood where Joel dragged himself away from a flower lying in the snow over to Luke and the piano and the teenagers.

“What the hell?” Luke said.

“I’m Okay,” Joel said. “I just got hungry.”

“What about your friends and family?”

Joel didn’t say anything.

Luke didn’t want Joel to feel like Luke was threatening him.

“We just wanted a quiet place to play the piano,” Luke said.

The wind whistled around them.

“The world’s over, so we all took ergot and came up here to jam a bit.”

“The world’s over?” Joel said.

“Yeah, you didn’t hear? Ah, you missed it. It was a trip.”

For Joel there wasn’t anything he had left to miss.

Neither of them said anything for a while, then Joel felt he should maybe remind Luke of where he was, hinting at the world he lost there, his friends and family disappeared in the snow.

“You’ll have to eat soon,” Joel said.

“I guess,” Luke said.

“Aren’t you cold?” Joel said, looking at everyone’s Hawaiian shirts and flip flops.

“Nah, it’s nice down here.”

Luke looked around at the few mountains and just, the empty, white, frozen desert surrounding them.

“We just want to play,” Luke said.

“You any good?” Joel said.

“Let’s see.”

Then all the teenagers went over to the helicopter, pulled sledgehammers out and got around the piano, and Luke politely asked Joel to step back, and Joel did, but he tripped and fell.

The teenagers all had fun going berserk and smashing a piano they brought all that way to go berserk on and smash with sledgehammers.

One of them backed up to get in a good swing and tripped over Joel.

His sledgehammer landed right near Joel’s head, almost pulverizing his face, and got lodged in the ice.

“It’s not funny,” Joel said to the teenagers rolling around, laughing.



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