Tuesday, February 21, 2006
I was on a hillside in Italy, having decided to take a short hike in the snow, and that's when I saw him. He was dressed in a skin-tight orange and green leotard, and he was carrying two long skinny boards. I had never seen the like before in my life, so I just had to find out. I walked up to him and engaged him in conversation.
"Hello! Is the circus in town?"
"I was just, um, admiring your outfit and I was wondering if you might be with the circus."
"The circus? No. I'm with the Estonians."
Ah, a religious cult! That would certainly explain the clothes. I continued my enquiry.
"What are you going to do with those boards?"
"Well, do you see that ramp over there?"
"The one that ends in mid-air, some fifty feet above the ground?"
"Exactly. I'm going to strap these boards to the bottom of my feet and then propel myself down that ramp as fast as possible. When I reach the end of the ramp, I'm going to jump."
"What! Don't do it, man! Think of your wife and children!"
"My wife and children? They're down there at the bottom of the hill."
"Well, then, you just turn around right now and walk back down to them and thank your lucky stars someone came along and stopped you from killing yourself."
"Killing myself? What are you, insane? This is what I do for a living!"
"Not if I have anything to say about it! Where's your keeper?"
"The man who feeds you and gives you your medication and makes sure you get back to the home safely whenever you escape."
"Feeds me? Medication? Oh, you must mean my trainer. He's over watching the skeletons."
"Skeletons! Where are they?"
"The next hill over."
I raced as fast as I could through the snow to find this man's doctor before he could carry out his suicidal plan. I came upon a long stretch of frozen ice and told the first person I saw what had happened. I asked him where I could find the Estonian's doctor.
"Oh, do you mean the trainer? I'm him."
"Oh, thank God! I was just over at that hill and..."
"Good Lord! I think that was a man!"
"Well, yes, it's the skeleton."
"No, no. That was a living person with a horrible grimace on his face and he must have gone by us at 80 miles per hour!"
"79.6, actually. Too bad. He's out of it."
"If he did that on purpose, he certainly is! Aren't you going to do someth..."
"There goes another one!"
"Ah, much better. 83.2 miles per hour! He's got a good chance."
"I don't think so! You say you're a doctor?"
"And you're just standing here watching these poor souls go hurtling by and you're doing nothing more than timing their hellish descent with a stopwatch? Your name wouldn't be Mengele, would it?"
"What are you jabbering about? This is the skeleton run."
"I suppose so! The bones must be piling up gruesomely! You fiend! I've got to find the police!"
I ran as fast as I could, looking for a sane person to direct me towards the nearest police station. I came upon a lovely young girl of perhaps 15 or 16.
"Excuse me, miss. Where is the nearest police sta..."
I then noticed that she was only half-dressed. The poor child. She was obviously indigent and had had to wear the same clothes for many years and had outgrown them.
"Um, I don't mean to be indelicate, miss, but your panties are showing. Here, take my jacket and wrap it around your waist."
"Get away from me, you pervert."
"I don't have time for this. I have to get to the show."
"Show? What sort of show?"
"The ice show, of course."
"Ice show? What's going to happen there?"
"See these boots I'm carrying, with the skinny iron rods attached to the soles? I'm going to put them on and attempt to maneuver around a sheet of ice."
"Uh-huh. Wouldn't it be easier if you didn't have the metal rods on your shoes?"
"Duh! I don't have time for this, Grampa. I have to meet my partner."
"Oh, you have a partner?"
"Yes, he helps me around the ice."
I wanted to say, "Wouldn't he be more of a gentleman if he helped you home, where you could put on some decent clothes and a sensible pair of shoes?" However, she seemed rather determined. I asked her what else her partner did with her on the ice.
"He picks me up and spins me around and then he throws me in the air with all of his might."
"What?!? The brigand! I'll brain him! Where is he?"
She pointed off to her left, but the only person there was a rather slight fellow dressed in an ill-fitting sky-blue waiter's outfit. Not to be too indelicate, but he appeared to be the sort of man who wouldn't find touching a woman especially pleasing, if you know what I mean. Perhaps this explained his aggression towards the waif. I went to have a word with him.
"Excuse me, sir, but do you intend to forcefully lift that young lady, twirl her in the air, and then toss her away like yesterday's rubbish? I swear I'll not see it happen!"
With that, I raised my walking stick, fully intending to bring it down upon the top of the rascal's skull. However, as he started to run away, screaming, someone grabbed my cane from behind. I turned and saw a member of the local constabulary. Thank goodness! Now I could finally get someone to stop these many asylum escapees from doing harm to themselves!
"Come along, sir. There'll be no more of this from you."
He placed a pair of handcuffs on me!
"Wha.. What are you doing?!? There's a man over there throwing himself off the side of a mountain while his wife and children watch! A madman with a stopwatch clocking how long it takes for a living human to slide down an icy mountain! A poor defenseless underdressed urchin being forced to undergo physical trauma at the hands of a deranged waiter! Let me go! Let me go!"
As the policeman was dragging me away, I heard large crowds cheering. The last thing I remember seeing was a man sliding a large rock down a sheet of ice while two other men with brooms feverishly swept a path in front of the rock. The man who had slid the rock was yelling, "Hard! Hard!"
"And that's when I awoke, doctor. I fear I may have gone insane. No one in his right mind would have dreams like these for the past ten days. What should I do?"
"Shut off your TV before you go to sleep, Jim. Or, at least, don't leave it on NBC all night."