• author
    • Donald Sanders

    • October 13, 2017 in Columnists

    I need a red cape and a Viking ship

    I’m getting older now and I’m running out of time to make the changes I want to make before I die. I know now that time is speeding up because just yesterday I was still 20 years old and a senior in high school. I was afraid I’d have to spend another year in school but the Dean told me they had to graduate me because they couldn’t have a 21-year-old kid in school dating 16-year-old students. So there I was, a high school graduate, and I didn’t even have to do anything.

    After that came the U.S. Army and I didn’t have to do anything there either. Except for a few days, it was the most boring time of my life. It was a time of venereal disease and crouch critters, but it was nothing a can of Raid couldn’t handle. I really enjoyed the helicopter rides; well, all but one anyway. I liked the days I got to play with machine guns too; well, all but a couple of times anyway. The rest of my Army experience was just passing time.

    All of a sudden, the war was gone for me and I was back on the block and then it was on — the party I mean. From 1971 until well into the ’90s, I was in a fog, so don’t ask me about that because your guess is as good as mine. I do remember sniffing Amyl Nitrate in the theater while watching the first Star Wars though. My brother Michael lost the cap to the bottle, so eventually the whole theater reeked of the mind-altering chemical.

    That was just yesterday!

    I never noticed how fast time was going because I was so messed up. Somewhere in there, I had a couple of wives, but I don’t remember much about them either except the way I broke their hearts and eventually made them hate me. The first of which wanted to kill me, I think. Like I said before, the whole thing is a blur that isn’t worth remembering even if I wanted too.

    I wrote a book one time and I tried to be as accurate as possible, but when you’re dealing with foggy memories, things get jumbled up a bit. Foggy people sometimes get credit for something someone else did or sometimes they did something before or after it really happened. One mistake that I know of in the book was the fact that my great uncle was just an uncle. You know, stuff like that.

    It’s a wonder that I ever got it published because fearing lawsuits, several publishers told me to go elsewhere. It took 10 years to get it printed. I’m working on a second book now, based on my grandfather’s handwritten diary about his experiences in World War I. His lungs were burned by mustard gas in 1918, causing him to suffer the remainder of his life. For his trouble, he was awarded a disability pension from the Veterans Administration that amounted to one dollar a month.

    That was all just yesterday too!

    Like I said, I want to make some changes before I die. The first of which is I’m going to go out and buy a cape; a red one. I’m going to wear it around town here in good old Winters, California. Everybody thinks I’m a prince anyway, right? With time speeding up so fast, before you know, it I’ll be laying on my deathbed and the whole town will be wondering where the old guy in the red cape went to.

    Speed up a little more and I’ll be dead.

    Not to worry, though — I have the whole funeral thingy figured out. Tomorrow, I’m going to start building a Viking boat. I hope to have it ready by the time I die so we can put it in the Putah Creek that still won’t be polluted by then. You guys can put me on the boat and push it off to float towards Davis.

    Everybody can stand along the creek and shoot arrows at my body like in a real Viking funeral. Well let’s make that flaming arrows, OK? Hopefully the damn boat will catch on fire so that by the time it gets to Davis they won’t be able to identify the body and make the people of Winters take it back.

    With time speeding up like it is, I think that I should smell pretty ripe by then and that’s what those people in Davis deserve, because they are always coming to Winters on the weekends and I think they all stop to pee on my hedges.

    If I have enough time left after building my funeral Viking boat I’m going to run an electric wire into my hedges. Maybe I should try to make time for that, but now that I think about it, I’d probably electrocute myself.

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