They were spotted last January, mixed into the crowd at the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration. Spectators noted a group of young people in fashions that were out of sync with the moment. Not a shawl or trendy trench coat among them. They were dressed head to toe in polyester, like Antarctic explorers. They wore mountain ranger coats, heavy duty backpacks, climbing pants, and clunky boots, but what made them really stick out were their helmets. They were dressed for scaling the alps not for watching Carson Daily count the ball down.
As the seasons changed, the mountaineers kept appearing at sights of major news events. Always keeping to themselves. Never intermingling with crowds. In New York they circled the Central Park field hospital before it was taken down. In Minneapolis they took souvenirs from the third precinct before it was set afire. In Seattle they surveyed the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone before it was raided by the police.
While the mountaineers wear helmets, they seem averse to facemasks, social distancing, or shelter in place directives. According to the CDC the mountaineers have been spotted in every major city and yet none of them have been admitted to an ICU or even tested for the virus. “They behave like they already have an immunity.”
The mountaineers act like they’re on vacation
During Italy’s lockdown, the mountaineers were seen riding gondolas through the Venetian canals. CCTV footage shows them skipping through Disney World and vanishing before security patrols could converge on them. In Sweden, they were spotted gossiping outside of crowded bars and cafés, openly mocking patrons.
The mountaineers also appear to be following President Trump like groupies on a concert tour. They gathered outside of St. John’s Church hours before the president’s photo-op was announced. They materialized outside the White House moments before the president was being escorted into his bunker. And they had front row seats for his Tulsa Oklahoma rally, in which they appeared to be applauding ironically, like patrons at a midnight movie. They spoke along with the president like they were reciting lines from Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Five mountaineers were spotted atop Mount Rushmore during the president’s independence day address. Park Service Staffers tried flanking them from the underbrush, but the mountaineers were onto them.
One ranger said, “I had them in my sights, but when I set down my binoculars they were gone.”
What the mountaineers fashion sense tells us about them
This has been one of the hottest summers on record and yet the mountaineers shed no layers, show no signs of perspiring, and spend most of their time in the sun. It’s as if their snowsuits have onboard air conditioning systems, a technology SONY is just now pioneering.
It was members of the fashion community who speculated the mountaineers could be visitors from the future. They believed the mountaineer look had less to do with backwoods culture and more to do with shifting exercise trends.
Gen Xers wore sweat bands and tennis outfits long after gym class. They wore sleeveless shirts with or without biceps. They wore skin-tight running shorts with flannels. It was an active look.
These days millennials wear crop tops and leggings outside the Yoga Studio. Even at the grocery store they’re making statement about their commitment to fitness. Gen Z is getting into hiking and appreciating the environment. It’s only natural their exercise apparel would reflect that.
Fashion authorities say gorpcore, or ‘mountaineering modern’, is in its infancy, but once hiking becomes the dominant form of exercise gorpcore will hit its stride.
There could be more to the mountaineering look
Theoretical physicists speculate that the mountaineers wear helmets for a reason. They believe the half dome shape serves as the neural interface for a time travel device. “Einstein’s theory of relativity states just such an accessory could warp space time without crushing the human mind.”
Another sign the mountaineers are from the future is how they make no effort to conceal their wearable technology. They search the web in their open palms. They answer calls by flicking their earlobes. And their eyes shine whenever they’re recording. The tech uses a gesture based interface. Mountaineers make cameras with their fingers and pinch and expand to zoom.
Mountaineers clash with demonstrators
Throughout the demonstrations against police violence, statues of confederate generals have been toppled. Columbus sculptures have found their way into harbors, and monuments to slave owning presidents have been burned.
As more effigies have been shattered more mountaineers have appeared, swiping at the air as if to frame the scene.
Demonstrators suspected something was off when they overheard what the mountaineers said to each other.
“They kept using expressions no one could understand. They called restaurants ‘carnivore stores’ They called retailers ‘object exhibiters.’ They called cars ‘dinosaur drinkers.’ They waved the air away from their faces and said, ‘era aroma is real.’ When someone tossed a Molotov cocktail into a Speedway a group of mountaineers cheered, ‘Roaring twenties!’ like we’d know what they meant. I heard one of them mutter, ‘I expected more gunfire.’”
Demonstrators reported feeling mocked by the mountaineers. “One of my older friends asked, ‘Aren’t you warm under all that?’ and they fired back, ‘OK Millie.’ I started to say, ‘Her name’s not Millie’ when one of them said, ‘Ok Zed’ to me.”
Linguists theorize that “Millie” and “Zed” are meant to be pejoratives for millennials and Gen Zers.
Mountaineers don’t care about messing with the spacetime continuum
Theoretical physicists are baffled by the mountaineers’ behavior.
“Whoever gave them this technology didn’t coach them on how to use it responsibly. One of them pointed out how our flags had too few stars, saying something about Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Another pointed to the empty pedestal in front of the capital and whispered, ‘That’s where they put the Prince statue.’ One rattled off the names of the next three presidents like it was nothing. Oh and they were all too happy to spoil the ending for Stranger Things.”
History professors have considered the possibility that the mountaineers are students from the future here to witness our interesting times firsthand. “There’s so much to learn from. A pandemic. A recession. An authoritarian administration. A laundry list of social revolutions. I just wish they weren’t so rude while they were making their observations. From the quotes we’ve gathered and the slang we’ve deciphered it seems like the mountaineers view us the way we view townsfolk during the Salem witch trails: undereducated, superstitious, and hysteric. You know, when I say it out loud. It kind of makes sense.”
Meet Noelle, a Hollywood transplant that’s been subsisting on instant ramen and false hope. She’s on the verge of moving back into her mother’s trailer when her agent convinces her to take a meeting at the Oralia Hotel. Enchanted by the art deco atmosphere Noelle signs a contract without reading the fine print.
Now she has one month to pen a novel sequestered in a fantasy suite where a hack writer claims he had an unholy encounter. With whom you ask? Well, he has many names: Louis Cypher, Bill Z. Bub, Kel Diablo. The Devil.
Noelle is skeptical, until she’s awoken by a shadow figure with a taste for souls.
Desperate to make it Noelle stays on, shifting the focus of her story to these encounters. Her investigations take her through the forth wall and back again until she’s blurred the line between reality and what’s written. Is there a Satanic conspiracy, is it a desperate author’s insanity, or something else entirely?