Martin was an accomplished skier. He worked in a paint factory but every winter he worked as an instructor on the Nursery Slopes of a small Austrian ski resort.
Martin’s beginners came in a weekly cycle. They bought ski passes, shuffled onto the Nursery Slopes where Martin taught them the rudiments and then for the rest of their time they were free to terrify or injure themselves at will.
No party was ever the same, but Martin liked to watch them acclimatise themselves to the sport, the surroundings and each other. He could predict with some accuracy who would do well, who would put out and who would be stretchered away.
He didn’t predict Marjorie Peterson.
Marjorie’s party arrived without her. They stood in line, clutching their ski sticks and looked with anguish at the encumbrances strapped to their feet. Martin consulted his worksheet.
“Marjorie’s late,” offered a red faced Northern girl. “Prolly powdering her nose.”
Martin shrugged. They’d have to start without her. Time on the Nursery Slopes was strictly rationed. “We won’t wait, “ he smiled, “ I’ll bring her up to speed when she gets here.”
At this point the shrubs to one side of the Nursery Slopes parted and Marjorie Peterson made her appearance. She was squatting low on her skis, her ski pants and underwear around her ankles and was propelling herself along the impacted snow by the relentless power of her own urine stream.
She passed in stately procession in front of the Beginners Class, like a general reviewing a guard of honour, leaving a wake in the snow and a frozen expression on the face of every classmate. She managed to brake before the tree line. Then, at great expense, she flew home Scheduled.