Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Delusion for a Dragon Slayer

Harlan Ellison, one of the most prolific Fantasy writers of the 1960's and 1970's wrote a Hugo nominated story Delusion for a Dragon Slayer in 1966.  The protagonist is creamed by a construction wrecking ball at the start of the story.  Since he has never been truly tested in life, he finds himself on a quest facing a series of challenges.

Today felt like a Delusion of a Dragon Slayer day.

The Old Guy

In the story, the "Hero's" first fail was when he looked past the task-at-hand and his ship crashed on a reef resulting in the death of his entire crew.

My first fail was when I saw an old guy fiddling with his trash "dumpster" by the road as I was driving home.  Watching in him in the rear-view mirror, I saw him start to drive up his driveway, door open, holding onto the dumpster as he towed it up the driveway.  I hesitated for two seconds (at 88 feet per second).  I said "Crap" out loud.  I pulled into the next driveway and turned around.

He was half way up the driveway by the time I parked and trotted after him.  He was an old man.  His skin had that spotted, stretched, tissue paper look of a long time steroid user.  I finished the job and asked for a handshake as payment.

I score myself a "C" on this.  My actions were polluted by the political signs that festooned his yard earlier this year.  Shame on me.

The next encounter

In the story the "Hero's" second fail is when he encounters another knight.  The "Hero" sneaks up behind his 'rival' and strikes him dead.

My second encounter was at the Quality Dairy as I was filling the minivan's gas tank ($1.86/gallon).  I heard a "BOOM" like a 300 Winchester Magnum going off.  The car driving down Knight Street darted into the parking lot with a flat tire.  The driver parked on the other side of the building.

She was on her way to work.  Her right, front spring had broken and poked a hole in her tire.  I had twenty minutes before I had to pick up Kubota after school.  I suggested that she take some pictures of the flat tire with her phone and send them to her boss.  I got the tire changed and made it to the school parking lot three minutes before Kubota came out the door.  I have a little practice changing flat tires.

The third encounter

In the story the "Hero's" third failure occurs when he sees the beautiful girl in bondage in the mists of a waterfall.  He has his way with her.

My third encounter occurred as I was driving into town to pick up Mrs ERJ from her volunteer working gig.  A young lady was walking down the road, crying.  I offered her a ride into town (Eaton Rapids).  She told me she was walking to Lansing which is seventeen miles away.  She was about 5'-2" and weighed a buck-twenty.  She was wearing vinyl boots.

I offered to drive her part way to Lansing, thinking I could still pick up Mrs ERJ at the appointed time and place.  She and her boyfriend had been delivering pictures and had a falling out over a delivery address that had been written down wrong.  He kicked her out of his car.

I made an executive decision.  I called Mrs ERJ and told her I ran into a damsel-in-distress.  I dropped the girl off a block from where she lived.  I did not want her to think I was "a creeper".

The fourth encounter

In the story, the "Hero" meets the dragon.  The dragon is enormous.  The Hero realizes as the dragon bites bites off his head that the only way he could have defeated it would have been if his crew had built defenses and engines of war, if he had a powerful ally to divide the dragon's attention and if he had the "intelligence"  that could have been provided by the damsel-in-distress.

The construction crew were struck by the expression on the man's face after they pried the wrecking ball off of him.  Even though his skull was crushed, his face was frozen into a grimace of forlorn consternation, of an eternity of lost chances.

My fourth encounter was with Mrs ERJ.  I picked her up an hour later than the original plan.  I had left her a couple of messages.  We have daughters.  She understood.  She did not bite my head off.

Karma is only a bitch if you are.


  1. And you're also paying it forward sir. I'd say you 'won' this round...

  2. A good man does what he can . . . You're a good man sir . . .