If you haven’t already done so please read the Introduction to this book, first. It will be helpful to better understand these sample episode extracts.
The Thule Girls – The First White Woman to….
Shelly sat alone on the rough-hewn wooden steps of D34, smoking a Lucky Strike cigarette. It seemed colder than usual and the sun no longer shone so brightly. It was beginning its winter decent. Except for the lights on the base that the big ship in the harbor powered, Thule and the entire land of the midnight sun would soon be in total darkness for nine months.
In ten days, the jazzers, the twangers and the Princess would unleash Geronimo for the very last time. They would tuck the little ivory polar bear carvings they bought at the BX, into their suitcases, load their instruments and board a C121 bound for McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. This chapter of their lives would be over. New entertainers would arrive, some female no doubt. They’d be excited about being in the Arctic. They’d be eager to start working.
Shelly wondered if a new piano player would be issued her parka. But, not if Shelly had anything to say about it, she wouldn’t. Shelly’s parka belonged to her. She earned it! Who would want a parka that had rips in it? Who would want a parka that had dirt, so fine you couldn’t get rid of it, in the bottom of the pockets. Who would want a vomit stained parka? The parkas were government property and were to be returned. It said so in the manual that nobody really read. Shelly couldn’t part with her parka. She’d offer to pay for it or she’d steal it. She must have it. She had worn it every day and night for the last six and a half weeks. She had made love in it with Karl. She must keep it.
Shelly donned her parka on the Sunday Karl came for her with a picnic basket and a big shiny thermos bottle full of icy martinis. He refused to tell her where they were going, but he seemed to have a destination in mind. Shelly was surprised when her Danish lover steered the dark blue station wagon in an easterly direction and actually left the base driving on a rough gravel road, that ascended right onto the ice cap. He must be taking her some place special. Karl had been attentive, denying himself nights of sleep to be with Shelly. He was thoughtful, generous and sensitive, but in spite of the time and attention Karl gave her, Shelly knew he would not ask her to become part of his life. He was right when he said now was their time and Thule was their place. Shelly didn’t want to live in Denmark and she didn’t think Karl wanted a musician for a wife. Greta would get the Danish ‘Greek God’. There was little doubt of that.
Karl encouraged Shelly to sip the icy martinis and pass the thermos to him. He was in a jovial mood and very pleased with himself about something. He hugged and kissed his passenger as he steered the station wagon along the gravel road. Their destination was a secret he wouldn’t divulge.
One and a half hours later, having driven to the end of the road, Karl pulled Shelly and the picnic basket from the car. They tramped through the ice and snow, until they came upon a white nylon tent staked out on the vast snow-covered ice cap. Karl unzipped the opening to the tent and ducked inside. Shelly followed. The two of them stood, staring down at a double bed mattress heaped with polar bear skins. The blonde couple fell on the mattress, laughing, hugging and kissing. They grappled each other in the soft warm bed, shed their clothes and under the white furs, became one. Karl was a sensitive lover. Shelly always left him feeling satisfied but wanting him again. Now they slept, wrapped in each other’s arms, until hunger awakened them. They pulled on their pants and sweaters and delved into the picnic basket. Shelly wondered how Karl found time to haul a tent, mattress and bear skins to such a remote area. It would be a three-hour trip by the time they returned to the base. Thelma’s words came to her, ‘enjoy the moment.’
Karl hiked Shelly to a jagged crystal-clear bay. She was surprised to see they had driven onto the cap, turned at some point and arrived near the ocean. Karl explained that the North Star Bay was the only place on the planet where three glaciers emptied into the same body of water. The glaciers and ice cap were so elevated it was impossible to get up on them without a helicopter. With the exception of an area near to North Star Bay, the ice cap was ten thousand feet deep.
“Remember,” he clued her in, “the ice cap halts its movement just short of the area where the base was built. The glaciers surround the base on three sides. The road we were driving on was built because the cap levels off near the base. We drove east to get onto the cap and then we drove north along the rim of it. I want to show you where some of the small icebergs are ‘calved’, or born. That’s what we call it when a piece of the cap breaks away, forming an iceberg. It’s a magnificent sight.”
It was a magnificent sight, all right. At first the silence was deafening. It seemed that the universe was literally frozen in time. Then it began. The sound of the moving ice was barely audible but then it grew so loud Shelly covered her ears against the horribly loud scraping, grating, grinding noise made by the ten story baby berg, as it struggled to free itself from it’s mother. The baby was mammoth! Karl and Shelly watched spellbound as the monster splintered and cracked, wrenching and twisting, spewing snow and ice high into the air and down into the water, until it ultimately tore itself loose. The gargantuan mountain of ice pitched over and sank into the depths of the Arctic Ocean. It created a cavernous hole, causing titanic rolling waves to crash up on the mother ice cap, cleaning away the after-birth debris.
Karl’s chest heaved against Shelly’s back, as they stood, beholding one of nature’s miracles. He wrapped his arms around her, protecting her from the icy wind. She turned to face him. “I know,” Karl whispered, breathing hard. “We can leave now. The berg will stay submerged for days, maybe weeks. It will eventually right itself, only to submerge again and again, and again, until it loses its momentum. Some day the towering giant will remain upright and float, nobody knows where or for how long. You are probably the only white woman to see an iceberg being calved.”
Still sitting on the steps of D34 Shelly smiled, remembering how watching the berg tear itself free and hearing the deafening birth noises excited the couple. Her handsome Dane wanted to treat her to an experience few people in the world would ever have. He wanted to impress and excite her. Well, it worked! Experiencing the birth of an iceberg, with a Danish god, proved to be extremely stimulating foreplay.
Standing in front of the tent, Shelly threw her arms around Karl, begging him to make love to her again. They crawled into the tent, fell on the bed and tore off their clothes. Under the warm bearskins, Shelly unleashed her emotions, laughing and crying, purring and screaming. Karl eagerly accepted her wild, unrestrained sexuality. In fact, he welcomed it. He wanted it. He loved it. He had never known his controlled American pianist to be so uninhibited.
“What’s that?” Shelly cried out, turning from Karl’s passionate kisses, still buried in the pile of bearskins. “Do you hear that?”
Karl lifted his tousled blond head. “Oh my god,” he exclaimed, gazing down at Shelly.
“What is it?” Shelly cried.
“It’s a helicopter and it’s coming this way. Get dressed.”
Shelly scrambled into her clothes while Karl jumped into his pants, pulled his sweater and boots on and scurried from the tent.
Shelly heard Karl talking to a man. She assumed it was one of the cocky Lieutenants from the Westwind. Karl returned to her, insisting that she leave with him immediately.
“Come on,” he insisted. “We have to get out of here. They’re going to activate the radar systems in ten minutes. We have to go or we’ll be cooked like two pieces of bacon.”
“What about your mattress, the bearskins, the food?”
“Leave everything. There’s no time.” He pulled Shelly to her feet and they fled from the tent to the waiting station wagon – Karl silently praying it would start.
Shelly sat silently as Karl leaned into the steering wheel, swearing because no vehicle was able to move more than a few miles an hour on the Cap, no matter how much gravel was dumped on it. The navy blue vehicle crawled along the gravel road, spinning dirt behind it.
Crushing out the stub of her cigarette, Shelly felt certain witnessing the calving of the iceberg was the most exciting thing she’d ever do. The tent, mattress, bearskins, picnic basket, food and thermos bottle were scorched to ashes when the radar antenna, the size of a football field, was activated, testing its ability to function against an invisible enemy. As dangerous as their picnic was, it was not, however, the most dangerous thing Shelly and Karl would do.