Hey! How are you doing?
The wind caught his words and threw them up the face of the cliff. Sweat slipped out of the edge of his red and white bandana. Every muscle in his body quivered. His fingers ached. The toes of his rock-climbing shoes dug into the shale. His breathing came at the same rhythm as his heart. He would not fall. He simply would not fall.
God damn it! He turned his head to the right and looked up.
Lillian was high above his perch. Of course. She would be. She always was. Not that it bothered him. But, Jesus, what was he doing here projecting from a wall? Just get him to the top and he promised he'd never have a smoke again. What a joke. Of course he would smoke. Strike that. Just let me get to the top
Good God! What was he doing? Asking a favor of God! He didn't believe in God or any other higher being, for Christ sakes. He was an atheist.
All those spiritualist types down there in Taos, he wasn't one of those.
So put up or shut up!
He stretched out his arm and caught another ledge.
Jesus God, would his collarbone hold?
It's okay women go higher than men. They need their chance. His fingers clasped a razor-sharp stone. Fuck! Blood oozed down his arm.
"Hey, Frank, come on up. It's a stunning view up here!"
A fly landed on his nose. He wanted more than anything to swat it. The fly moved down his nostrils, stopped and sandpapered his feet.
"Oh, please! Mother of God!"
"Piss off," he mumbled.
He shook his head. The fly flew away. He sighed. It landed on his lower lip. Improvising, he curled his tongue and poked it out from the circle he made out of his lips. The fly disappeared.
"Frank! Dr. Evans! Do you want me to pull you to the top?"
Frank grimaced. "Like hell!" He propelled from his right foot, clasped the next ledge and pulled, moving upward.
"Ugh! Fuck! I can do this," he grunted.