mount baldy

-People say it’s the most dangerous summit of all.
-That little peak?
-It’s much bigger than it looks…


by james beach


-Right there. Mount Baldy.
-Where? Oh, I see. I see it!
-Kinda little, eh?
-Mount Baldy. Boy!
-Ever been to the top?
-Are you kidding?
-You have?
-No way.
-Oh, yeah? Wanna do it?
-No way to do it.
-There’s gotta be a way.
-Nope. Nobody does Mount Baldy.
-Get out! Nobody does Mount Baldy? Why? It’s magnificent.
-The vista is untoppable.
-How do you know that?
-Internet pix from helicopters and satellites. My own fantasies of scaling it. Untoppable. But as far as I know, nobody’s summitted.
-Nobody’s ever summited Mount Baldy? How is that a fact?
-It’s totally illegal.
-Is it private land?
-I dunno. What’s private anymore anyway?
-So why is Mount Baldy illegal?
-Always has been illegal.
-It’s been illegal since the beginning of civilization? How is that a fact? Sounds fishy to me.
-Proof of everyday summiting is the question. Nobody’s got the proof!
-I bet guys do it all the time.
-I heard about a few teens that got away with it recently. Just local rumors.
-Huh! Illegal since the beginning of time. I find that so hard to believe.
-Yeah. The guys who try it get killed.
-Killed how? How dangerous is the scaling?
-People say it’s the most dangerous summit of all.
-That little peak?
-It’s much bigger than it looks.
-It looks like some terrific Sunday exercise to me.
-Forget you even thought about ever doing Baldy, buddy. I’m sorry I even told you about it.
-My Sundays are wide open…
-You’ll be killed, of course, if you try.
-Just the thought of Mount Baldy makes me feel my heartbeat…
-I’ll forget I know you, seriously.
-But I’ve just gotta summit!
-It’s illegal, I’ll turn you in to the authorities if I hear any more from you about that Baldy.
-Wanna go shopping? I need to pick up some hair dye.
-Now that sounds reasonable.


Originally published:
Issue Seventy-Four
May 2017


(illustration: john richen)

James Beach’s maverick online project WOOD COIN is nearly complete. Some of his essays, poems & fiction can be found at esoteric magazines Antique Children, Danse Macabre, Mad Hatters’ Review, Medulla Review, Paraphilia. More from James Beach can be found in the Vault of Smoke.

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