Monday, July 1, 2013
Death Valley is where Death lives. (There is no Life Valley.)
Death is not a tall, pale, frightening bald man with a roundish white-washed face wearing a foot-length black gown with a hood who’s skilled at chess but an ordinary bodega owner who likes dominoes.
No matter how thirsty you are, he won't sell you a bottle of water, even at an inflated price—not if it means moving from his comfortable position on a chaise lounge.
He tells you to go die on the other side of a nearby rock formation that has been there for ten million years.
"It's where every Death Valley hiker ends up," he says. Begging doesn't help. You try to grab him, but he evaporates. After all, he's Death, not Life.
He reappears 50 feet to your left, still on his chaise lounge, sipping from a bottle of orange-flavored seltzer.
There's nothing you can do—you've gone too far to turn back—so with the last of your strength, you climb to the top of the rock formation. The view is spectacular. Then you slide down the other side.