2014 – December 26 – In Telluride

Women kissing while man watches

Too many cooks/

On the 26th day we’re reading “In Telluride” by Gary Percesepe.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist:  “Gabrielle, Anna, Fifi, Pee Wee: make a choice and stick to it !”[/cryout-pullquote]

Gabrielle decided to meet me for Christmas back in Telluride, with Anna in tow. My ski partner and former college roommate Henry joined us, bringing his girlfriend Kate, thinking this was too good to miss. We booked a room in Mountain Village and settled in for the week. Christmas was weird, alternative and swell. Presents all around.

Souvenir book cover


The Shot series stands out for it’s brutally honest portrayal of a character we do not particularly admire doing things that are often verge on loathsome, and yet we have developed a modicum of sympathy for him along the way. We understand him well enough to see that what he does he does out of a sense of love and longing, even if the result is harmful to the people around him. It makes us want to forgive him. We want him to find some path to redemption, however mild. As I said, though, this series is about brutal honesty, not wishes and unicorns. Last month found Gary bedding a college coed. This month finds him abandoning the daughter with friends, to go skiing (and screwing) with her mother. More of the same? Well, not so much, as a complication ensues. A phone call from Henry as the pair is driving.

“Gary, Frankie’s here. She got in early this morning. I picked her up from the airport. Where in the goddamn hell are you? It’s the fucking day after Christmas and you kidnapped the kid’s mother? Are you fucking kidding me?”

“What the fuck! What is she doing there?”

“How the fuck should I know, man!”

Henry lowers his voice, and whispers, “She’s your wife, remember?

Ah. Something will have to give now.

Silence on the line. “Listen,” she says. “Is it OK if I stay in the hotel suite with you all tonight?”

I hesitate a second too long. I register the mistake, but hesitate some more, compounding the error. Then say, enthusiastically , “Of course.” Which sounds idiotic.

Gabrielle pokes me in the ribs. I frown and cover the mouthpiece. “What,” I say to her.

“What?” says Frankie.

“Nothing. Sorry. Sure, it’s OK. It’s not a problem at all. I want you to.”

“Good,” Frankie says . “Because there are no rooms in Telluride over the holiday.”

Even better. Finally, Gary is going to have to face up to his womanizing. There will be a fight, an epiphany, and Gary will learn better. It’s what we have been anticipating all along, really. Let the fireworks begin. But that’s not how it plays out at all. This is, let us recall, a series that cares not a whit about convention or what we want, but about revealing character, warts and all, and forcing us to recognize our own less-than-noble motives and aspirations. To be fair, the series also reveals a good deal of uplifting truth as well, and reinforces our belief that as ugly as we are, we are also beautiful creatures, capable of kindness and love. But mainly, this is a series that does not let us turn away from the mirror. Which is why this ending-as undeserved as it may seem-is probably a perfectly appropriate way to leave us (and Gary). We may not be sated, but we have been fed.


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About Stephen

I live in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania with fellow writer, Susan Urbanek Linville, and a herd of reformed feral cats.

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