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Old 10-21-2020, 08:26 PM
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A story, for old times' sake

Here's a funny story I once wrote to tease another Frostcloud member with. ... Actually, it's only half a story, because I can't find the rest on my computer, for some reason. I'll just make up the very beginning, and then you can imagine the end:


I've been granted special powers to have any Frostcloud member who gets on my nerves arrested and hauled off to a labour camp in Siberia. Here's what happened to one member when I had him sent there:

On my orders, Glennn was taken to a prison camp in the dead of winter where there were lots of other people in crowded conditions. Immediately he was freezing! Almost literally! That was especially because within an hour of his arrival, they'd set him to work outside. He shivered violently with his lack of adequate clothing, and worried that just as soon as his body lost the energy to shiver, his blood might all turn to ice crystals inside him and not be able to circulate any more. Then he'd die, maybe alone, and his body might be discovered by a local person walking their dog in the forest somewhere. What would medical personnel say if they gave him a post mortem, he wondered. He imagined them saying, "This man is a very unusual specimen, never before seen. We must preserve him and give his body to scientific research. His body could tell us important things about what seems to be this strange genetic mutation that turns blood to ice, or else what humans were like when they lived packed in ice in asteroids, before they arrived on earth. He might be one of those, frozen in permafrost for millions of years that's recently melted."

In a few hundred years' time, that might seem like pure foolishness. But those really were the kinds of ideas circulating in the scientific community when Glennn was sent to Siberia. Asteroids were believed to have spawned life on earth by hurtling to earth, breaking apart and letting their cargo of icy amino acids flop out all over the ground around them, whereupon some mixed together and formed life, and there might have even been ready-made frozen humans among them.

So Glenn worried that if he got much colder and died, scientists would think his frozen blood was precious and enthralling evidence that he was a throwback to the time when life first began on earth, and they'd take all his blood out, send samples of it all over the world so scientists in lots of other labs could share it, and all discuss what it could tell them about the origins of life on earth.

Glennn worried that they might even want to analyse his family's blood, bringing them in to a lab, staring at them for ages, asking them endless questions, and pulling bits off them and giving them endless blood tests so they could send samples of them flying this way and that way across the globe so every interested scientist could discuss what they showed them about how life first began.

Still, since Glennn didn't like any of his family much, the thought didn't bother him much. He was far more worried about the immediate concern that his own blood would freeze into crunchy ice crystals, or a snow-like substance that clogged up his arteries and piled up layer upon layer around his bones.

He used to like to play in the snow as a child. He imagined little children playing in piles of red snow, asking their mothers why it was a funny colour. He imagined them making snowballs out of it and throwing them at each other, laughing. He thought that if he froze, someone would be able to take all his blood out, make mounds of red snow, and then children really would be able to do that.

Glennn worried that someone might do that for real. He felt sure he had to stop them! He thought he could start by trying to get warm so it wouldn't happen. He crept into the prison and stole someone else's coat. No guard was watching him outside, because they hated the cold as much as he did, so they liked to stay indoors, thinking no one would escape because there was nowhere much to escape to in the desolate wilderness where the prison camp was. But Glennn was caught by other prisoners and given a beating. They told him it simply was not done for a prisoner to endanger the life of others by stealing their clothes.

But Glenn worried his own life was in danger. Big tears began to roll down his face. But it was so cold they froze. They were like little marbles. He would like to have played with them, but his hands were too stiff with the cold. He reflected that the children who would enjoy playing in his snow-blood would probably enjoy playing with his marble-tears as well!

So who would get his body, he wondered, children or scientists?

He was still wondering that as he curled up under his thin blanket for the night. At least he was sleeping next to 15 others, he thought, so they would keep him a bit warmer, unless they froze as well, and then the children might have a whole street's worth of red snow to play in, or scientists might have bucketloads of blood-ice crystals to rave about and ponder the meaning of and send zooming around the world for others to do the same. He went to sleep, not knowing if he'd wake up, or whether the morning would find him in bits, travelling all over the world or having his blood trampled in by laughing children.

But he woke up still in one piece. He didn't know whether to be relieved, or distraught that he was still in Siberia! But he didn't have long to ponder on that. A guard loudly ordered everyone up, saying it was time to get into the forest to fell trees all day. They managed to snatch a quick breakfast of dry bread before they were off!

At least, most of them were off. Glennn was more reluctant than the rest, given the -40 degree temperature and his lack of a coat. He asked a guard if there was a spare coat somewhere he could have.

The guard laughed and told him he wouldn't give him a coat, but that he had a dog who kept molting hairs all over the guard office floor. He told Glennn he could pick up dog hairs from the floor all day, and if he was lucky, and could find some material to sew them on, he could make himself a coat.

Glennn was sure he wouldn't be able to find anywhere near enough dog hairs to do that, but he realised that being allowed to stay in the lovely warm guard's office by the fire all day would be vastly preferable to being forced out into the freezing cold. So he agreed.

He scrabbled around on his hands and knees for hours picking up little hairs. Meanwhile, the guards were merrily passing the vodka round.

He didn't manage to make a coat. But he discovered after a few weeks that the cold stopped bothering him, when he found out that not being able to wash his clothes or himself had its advantages: He found out that when he sniffed his socks after he'd been wearing them for weeks every day without washing them, though the smell was horrendous, it gave him a high, the highest high he'd ever had, that stopped him noticing the cold or worrying about dying and being thought to be an interesting scientific specimen. After that, he spent as much time as he could sniffing his old unwashed socks. So he actually began to quite like his time there.
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