The Granite Park Chalet

Submitted into Contest #129 in response to: Set your story in a snowed-in chalet.... view prompt

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Fiction LGBTQ+

The last time I saw Robert was from the scope of my rifle, I can’t believe I missed.  How did he get here? Now two years later in another country, the snow is blurring his face, but  I would recognize that gorgeous jawline anywhere.  

I had left him for dead, stole his money and somehow he found me here in the States!  I thought I had left all this running from Berlin, escaping to manage the Granite Park Chalet, on the edge of the Glacier National park in Montana.   Could he recognize me? I have gained 20 pounds, a beard, a Canadian accent, a fake girlfriend, and a dog.  There is no way!

“What is the name of this guest coming in tonight?” I ask Sylvie, the Assistant Manager, and my supposed girlfriend. We are standing out of the snow in the elaborate entryway of the hotel, watching the man step out of a taxicab in the roundabout. 

“Yes, um,” she looks at her paperwork, “a mister Johan Bodel, a Swedish architectural scholar,”, she said.  “He wants to look at the Chalet, supposedly the architect of the building is famous.”  

“I thought you changed the booking website so we were closed for the winter season. The brunt of the snow storm is due any minute and we have real work to do!” I said, without taking my eyes off Robert

“ Somehow his booking came through.  I tried to put him off, but the agent said he could only come this weekend.” Sylvie says. “This won’t delay the shipment,  we have a convoy coming in across the border right now, we’ll keep him out of the way.  The pickup will have to wait a day or so though.” 

“Hmm. Ok then”, I said.  “But, that man Johan Bodel is a fake Swede!”  

“How do you know? Is he a cop?” Sylvie looked anxious

“No, he’s the opposite of a cop!  Watch him closely.” I whispered 

“Hello!  I am , um, Albert and am your host here at the Granite Park Chalet! “. I shout through the snow, as he is being escorted from the cab of the 4x4 taxi truck by our bellhop, Phillip. I feel a sense of pride to have Robert see this Chalet. 

Back in Berlin, we had always talked about running a hotel together, but that was then. Our idea was to have a small hotel and bar in Mexico, as a front for what we did best.  I want to run up to him just to tell him about the operation I have set up here, but, no matter.  I know Robert will be impressed with the view of the Chalet from the parking lot.  The tall, gabled, snow-covered roofs with wide eaves and numerous decorative moldings look like this Chalet should be in the Swiss Alps. The views of Granite National park would complete the image if the storm had not white’d everything out.  I take a step to go greet them but stop myself.   I dare not get too close; he might recognize me.  The mongrel dog that came with the place, Bugsy, runs out into the snow to greet the guest. 

“Silvie,” I stage-whisper out of the side of my mouth, “take this guest, I- uh- have to see to some affairs, eh?”

Silvie gives me a dirty look, and then flips up her hood to brave the weather and follows Bugsy out to check on the guest and his Louis Vuitton suitcases. The taxi drives off as Phillipe carries the luggage in.

I duck into a side room to watch their interaction. 

“Welcome, welcome! Let’s get you inside!  You made it just in time, the storm is approaching! 

What brings you to Glacier National Park here in the U.S.? “ Sylvie says, assisting Phillipe with one of his bags. 

Once inside, Silvie brushes the snow off Johan’s perfectly tailored tweed suit.

I catch my breath.  “Oh my goodness, he looks better than ever!” I whisper to myself.

Robert still has a lean figure, with darker hair than I remember. He has grown a pointed gray beard- looks distinguished and professorial. Damn him!  The hotel lobby has a fire burning in the large fireplace. Oh, how I wish I could sit with him sharing a bottle of Dom Perignon in the red velvet overstuffed chairs like old times.  

“You are the last guest of the season,” Sylvie says, “and our dog Bugsy seems to like you!”

Bugsy is focused entirely on the guest, and he is rewarding him with treats from his pockets.  

“Bugsy normally sleeps all day, this is strange,”  Sylvie says.  “What brings you here?  So late in the season. The beautiful lake views are hidden by the snow and the trails are all closed.” 

“Oh, thank you, thank you! My name is Bodel, Johan Bodel.” The man says in a high pitched, thick Swedish accent.  I am a student of architecture, and I am here to view this amazing building! Built as a Swedish chalet, in Montana of all places by the famous Swedish architect Galge. Johan looks around. “ It is amazing!”

Sylvie nods and smiles and says “Yes of course.   Let me get you to your room.”  She goes to the hotel desk and begins checking in Mr. Bodel.

“I can give you a tour of the hotel tomorrow, if interested,” Sylvie says.

Oh yes, that would be ‘underbar’!  Mr. Bodel says.

Suddenly a huge cracking sound is heard, and a whooshing along the side of the building.  The lights flicker, and then go out!  Only weak sunlight filters in from the stormy skies outside.  

“What was that!”  Mr. Bodel says anxiously.

 Phillipe runs to the door and goes outside to look. He comes back in almost immediately.  “It looks like a small avalanche, the parking lot and road are covered with snow.  I hope the taxi made it out. We will be snowed in except for snowmobiles for a few days.”  Phillipe picks up a nearby phone, “And the lines are down! “ 

“Oh My G-  uh, Herregud! , we are trapped, are we going to die?”  Mr. Bodel exclaims.

“Phillipe, go check on the items and start it up,” Sylvie says cryptically.  She looks toward the room where I am, but I can not leave as I do not want to be seen. 

“-No,” Sylvie smiles toward Mr. Bodel, “we have made some improvements, in the building. It will just be a moment.”  Suddenly, a rumble starts up from deep in the building, and about half of the lights turn back on.   “We are prepared and have generators to cover us for a few days. After that, we might be in trouble!”

“Oh thank goodness!”  And Mr. Bodel removes his hat and wipes his forehead. 

I notice dark hair dye come off on his handkerchief along with his nervous perspiration.

“I have your room, we will keep you close by, eh Mr. Bodel! And we will take that tour tomorrow! Sylvie says to Mr. Bodel.   “Let me take you to your room.” ”

Afterward, I grab Sylvie and bring her into the side room with me. 

“What are you doing!  We can't have him looking around the hotel! He might see the smuggling operation!  If the load from Canada came in as you said, our warehouse will be full!” 

Sylvie just smiles. “ If I give him the tour I can control where he goes, it is better than him looking on his own! You just need to take care of unpacking the delivery! “

“Ok. Whatever you do, do not trust Rob- I mean Johan- he is not who he says he is!” I say. 

“Is there something you are not telling me?” Sylvie says suspiciously. “I looked up ‘bodel’ it means ‘hang-man’ in Swedish. 

Oh my goodness, he must know!  “Don’t let him out of your sight.“ I point toward Mr. Bodel’s room. 

I went down the hidden stairwell to the warehouse to prepare the packages.  It is going to be a long night. 

I was up early the next morning to make the coffee and put out the continental breakfast.

My back was to the door when Mr. Bodel walked in. His face, even though disguised, was a shock to me. The face that I have spent so much time looking at, and I can't believe he is in front of me now!  “Hello Mr. Bodel,” I say in my most ridiculous American accent.  I pushed my belly out like a good American and sipped my oversized cup of coffee to hide my face, turning away to set the buffet table.   I hope this works!  

“How are you this morning! I am sorry we have no other staff due to the storm blocking the roads. We have lots of coffee though!”  I say with my back to him.  I want to walk out, but he is blocking the door! Bugsy has woken up too and growls at me as usual.  Mr. Bodel feeds him some more snacks from his pocket. I hate that mangy dog.  It has not shown much interest in anyone until now.  

“So your name is Albert? Mr. Bodel asks. His high voice sounds ridiculous with a Swedish accent.  “You look familiar, have you ever been to Germany?” Johan says.

“Germany!,  I spit out my coffee!  “Oh no, never left the States. We are all Americans here in Montana!” I say.

Mr. Bodel nods and says, “hmmm?  Well, the chalet is fantastic! I am excited to tour the facility with Silvie.”

His eyes narrow and he looks closely at me, as he holds a butter knife up. Is he threatening me?  “I have researched this place and I feel that there is something - interesting- about this Chalet,” Then, his eyes got big! 

Phillipe walked in then, and saved me!  “ I need some help in the back,” he says.

Oh great, a reason to leave!   “Please excuse us,” I say as we walk out. 

Phillipe leans in and whispers as we walk.  “The last shipment from Canada arrived this morning on snowmobile. It took them two hours to cover the 10 miles from the Canadian border with the storm.  The pick-up can’t be here until they clear the roads.  Until then, we are going to have to host the convoy.” 

“OK, let's get to work!” I say. “I’ll meet you in the stables, it is time to prepare for pick-up'' 

 We walk down to the converted stables. There are still several unused stalls in the front to show the guests. Hidden behind a secret door is the stairway to the upstairs warehouse. 

Phillipe and I are up in the warehouse stacking the packages when I hear someone open the stable front door. It must be Robert, what is he doing here now? 

I realize the warehouse stairway door has been left open!   

We hear his footsteps as he takes a few more steps and then stops. 

The first few stalls are empty, some straw on the ground, but nothing else to see. 

“Phillipe, go deal with this, before he finds us! ” and I gesture to Robert. 

Phillipe sneaks down into the stable in the dark and then asks loudly, “Are you OK? What are you doing down here!”   Phillipe turns the light on. 

“Um, I Sylvie said she had to work on the power, so I was on my own, and well here I am. What is this place?  “ Mr. Bodel says. 

The lights flicker, and we all hear Silvie yell “ Phillipe!  Come assist with the generator!”

Phillipe says “These are the summer horse stables.  I have to go, you should get out of here, it is not safe in the storm.”   

Phillipe walks back up the steps.

Instead of leaving, Mr. Bodel stays and looks around. 

“He needs to leave! “ I say to myself.    I slowly move down the stairwell to close the open door to the warehouse. I just need a few more feet and I will make it without being seen.  I slowly reach over and pull the knob, I sneak a peak out at him. Luckily he is turned the other way. The door is almost closed, when… Bang! 

 The door slams open and it is Robert and he is looking directly at me! 

“Pier! “ Robert yells. 

He has recognized me!  I jump back and run up the stairs and through a room filled floor to ceiling with huge packaged bundles of marijuana. The smell of the vegetation overwhelms the senses.   

“Pier! I have found you! You will pay for stealing my money and trying to kill me! I tracked you from across the world, and I will get you! “ Robert yells. 

I have been found! I cannot be caught, not by this hangman!  I run to the far corner of the room behind the stacks of cannabis. There is no escape, I am on the second floor!   I open the window as wide as possible, look out into the storm, and climb out onto the ledge.  I can not see anything but swirling snow, the wind buffets my body.  I look back and see Robert’s eyes and I know going back inside is certain death. I must go- I take a deep breath and jump from the high window… 

I feel the pull of gravity in free fall, and then, pouf!

The piled snowdrifts break my fall and I am buried to my waist in the snow.  I am alive!  I dig myself out and fight through the snowdrifts. I see the top half of a small gray building, I can't make out what the building is, but it is the only option for me.  I climb over the snow to it,  and as the snow is piled up,  I am at the level of the roof.  I climb on and see a skylight.   I break the glass with my boot, and even though it is a long drop, I squeeze in and fall to the floor. I look around and realize it is the summer guest bathroom. Oh, it's cold!  But, without a jacket I am safer here than out in the storm. I try the door, but it is locked!  I look back at the skylight however it is more than 12’ from the floor and I can't reach it- I am trapped!

Just then a shadow blocks the light, and I see Robert’s face in the skylight.

“Haha! I have you!”  Robert scrambles at the skylight, and then he falls through, I have been found!

“I knew it was you, you tried to kill me back in Berlin, and stole my money! “ Robert says, grabbing my shirt furiously.

“ Well, you were sleeping with that, boy George!” I say, grabbing him back.

“George, George!? That was just a fling. You were with that ridiculous Pablo! “ Robert exclaims. 

“I didn't care about Pablo!   I only cared about you, and then when I saw you with George, well it hurt so much!  I had to leave before you left me!” I plead. “And I shot at you, yes, but I only did it to scare you. I could never actually kill you!   It was a misunderstanding!  Oh, Robert, I love you!  I love you! “  I say as the tears run down my face.

“Oh Pier!  I love you too!” Robert is crying too.

I grab Robert and kiss him passionately.  After a few minutes, I pull back to look at Robert. “We are still trapped,” I say. 

“Here lift me up,” Robert says.  I tried to lift him up, but it was too high.  

“Oh my goodness we are going to die in this bathroom!  We won't be found until spring!” I say. 

“I forgive you for trying to kill me.” 

“I forgive you for stealing all my money, and trying to kill me.”  Robert says. 

 I love you, I love you! “  I say, and embrace Robert again. 

“But we are going to die!” Robert says.

“We will die together! “ I exclaim, and I embrace him.

Then suddenly another noise at the skylight- it is the dog, Bugsy!  

Robert yells, “there is my dog, Bugsy! “

“Bugsy, go get help”! Robert calls out and directs the dog toward the house.

“Your dog!”   I say. “Damn I don't know what is worse, dying in a bathroom or being saved by that dumb dog.” 

  • Two years later.

“What can I get you?” The Barkeep asks. 

The young couple in bathing suits come up to the tropical-themed bar in the Mexican resort, across from the sparkling blue ocean.  

“Well have a couple of margaritas,” and, the man leans in to whisper to the Barkeep, a distinguished older man with dark hair and a pointed gray beard. We want some, ‘bugsy’  too, if you know what I mean.” I heard that is the secret word. He smiles anxiously. 

The Barkeep nods, and shouts over his shoulder, “dos margaritas y dos cheeba” . 

Two drinks, and two joints.  “Sounds good, Robbie,” I say.

The dog, Bugsy, looks up from his nap in the corner of the bar.

“Hey,” the young man asks, looking at Robert.  “You don’t look Mexican?”

Robert says in a bad Spanish accent. “ Todos somos Mexicanos en Mexico”

January 21, 2022 04:48

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