A woman appears one wintry night in a Colorado mountain town with her six year-old daughter and a bag full of money, begging to be frozen dead. Terminally ill and running from a dark past, she arrives as the town is preparing to celebrate a dead Norwegian whose frozen body remains cryonically preserved in the nearby mountains. Four town residents must decide her fate. When an undercover FBI agent shows up, convinced that the woman—the prime suspect in an Arkansas murder—is hiding somewhere in town, he finds more than he can bargain for among a cast of eccentric characters living on the margins of mainstream America.
Welcome to Nederland—an old mining town set high in the Rockies with a colorful history of iconoclasts, drugs, music, and general weirdness. In short, a fitting resting place for Grandpa Bredo. Bredo arrived in Nederland from Norway by way of a cryonics lab in California where he was frozen in liquid nitrogen following his demise in 1989. His daughter and grandson, residents of Nederland, wanted to start a cryonics facility of their own, so they sent for Bredo and placed him in a Tuff Shed outside a house they had built to withstand a nuclear attack. But when the grandson was deported and the daughter returned to Norway shortly thereafter, the town was left with a frozen body on its hands. After some deliberation, the town decided to do what it does best—throw a party. Thus, Frozen Dead Guy Days was born.
Into this bizarre history walks our heroine, having come to Nederland based on a rumor about her long-lost aunt and a news item she saw on television about the Dead Guy festival. Under the mistaken impression that a cryogenics lab exists in Nederland, she arrives in town and immediately states her intentions. With only a few months to live, she’s determined to do whatever she can for her young daughter, no matter the cost. Cryogenics at least offers the hope that the two can be reunited sometime in the future.
Only a few people in town know about her situation: a Buddhist biker who looks after a young schizophrenic, a draft-dodger cum drug-dealer who sees a potential business opportunity, the aunt who must perform a shamanic ceremony to heal her troubled niece, and the cryogenics caretaker who can’t resist her beauty and courage. Tracking the young mother is an undercover FBI agent who must infiltrate the town to learn the whereabouts of his murder suspect. This leads to afternoons at the bar and impromptu conversations about quantam theory, the nature of consciousness, American democracy, the Individual and the State, and more.
But in these mountains, it’s hard to separate history from myth. And nothing is ever quite as it seems…