Time

Web del Sol 1999

There was no time left. 
I was told that I had six months left to live and my immediate reaction was - oh my God I have no time left to do anything. Then I opened a bottle of gin and climbed in and stayed there for five days. When I finally climbed out, I realized that I had all the time in the world to do the things that I always wanted to do.


 First I wanted ten aspirins, a long hot shower, and clean clothes. Then I sat down with a yellow legal pad and made a list. Things like trips that I'd never had the courage to take: Kenya, the Galapagos, Fargo, North Dakota, Harlem, anywhere on the Concorde. I wrote down skiing, hang gliding, hot air ballooning, gliding, parachuting, parasailing, and rappelling. Even though I knew that I was going to die soon, I realized that I was still afraid to try these. Then I listed people that I wanted to tell off and people that I wanted to thank, and suddenly I realized that all of my list wasn't worth spit and that what I really wanted to do was leave my mark on the world before my big adios. I wanted to do something that people would remember me for. I thought of inventing something marvelous, writing a great novel, or curing a disease, and then it dawned on me that even if time wasn't a factor, I still wasn't capable of doing any of these things.

Murder, I thought. That's it. I'll leave my mark on history by killing someone. My first thought was to kill the doctor who told me that I had only six months to live; but killing the messenger was outlawed in 1741. I was going to die in six months, make it five months plus for reasons other than medical and there was nothing I could do about it. Killing a President or a Beatle makes one infamous but that had been done. I didn't want to kill someone just for the sake of history - I wanted to go out a hero as well as a murderer. So I began my list: Idi Amin, Kadafi, Arafat, the cast of Hee Haw, Ted Koppel's barber, the grand mucky-muck of the Ku Klux Klan, and then I knew that I had to get serious. Serious and realistic. I had to off someone who was universally known and I had to do it in public. I would have to be swift, certain, accurate and cold-blooded. I would go to the firing range every day, work out three or four days a week, take Kung Fu and Judo and get a switch blade. In my waning days as I became deader I would become deadlier.

Why was I becoming deader? I had swallowed a vitamin pill made with slow-acting poison that cumulated to a massive toxic dose in six months. I thought I was taking my morning multivitamin. It was in the usual box filled with all of the Disney characters in various costumes and colors - each color being a different flavor. The doctor said that I should be taking vitamins, and these were the only ones that I liked. Both the taste and the characters. But a disgruntled and deranged employee in the factory slipped me a Mickey. The person confessed to the company and they searched me out and gave me the bad news that there was no antidote. They offered me two million dollars in cash for a guarantee that my survivors would not sue. I signed on the dotted line and went out and bought a red Porsche, a lizard-skin jacket, a 9mm Beretta, an Uzi-silencers for both, and the next day is when I climbed into the gin bottle.

Now I'm ready for action and I do all the stuff a guy in my position is supposed to do. I write a will. I write a letter and make a video tape disavowing my previous pledge to the vitamin company. I go into a bookstore, but only buy short stories. I start eating red meat again and buy a box of Ring-Dings. I no longer check fat content.

Still the idea doesn't come to me until I wake up in a nightmare sweat. My underwear and sheets are soaked and I know what I have to do. Forget the hero crap. Get mad. Get even. Mickey is killing me - I'm going to kill Mickey. I'm going to blow that fucking rodent's head off where everyone can see.

I make my reservations for Disneyworld and then go about my business of getting my affairs in order, as they say. I have my mail forwarded to a box in Orlando and take a room at one of the hotels on the grounds of Disneyworld. I go to the park every day and follow the Mouse around. After three weeks I could do his routine. I am able to work up a real hatred for the squeaky little bastard. In the afternoon I take my rented car and go to a shooting range and practice for two hours. At night I plot and drink and sometimes go bar hopping and sometimes I even get lucky.

Finally I remember about my mail and go to the post office and pick up two carton's worth. Little by little I go through it and toss it all out, except for the book and record clubs, and those I buy tons of stuff from. The same with the catalog companies. Sharper Image is at my door passing L.L. Bean a couple of times a week. When they're not there UPS is bringing something from the Home Shopping Network.

The Plan. I mustn't forget the plan and I have ignored it for three weeks while I went on this buying orgy. My room is so filled with all this shit that I have to take the room next to me and I tell the staff that I'm preparing for a family reunion and that's why all the gifts.

The Plan. M-i-c-k-e-y. I'm going to blow his ears off when he's leading the Character Parade. There will be many thousands of people there with their videos taking pictures and I do believe that my bumping off the Mick will make a statement that will be remembered for a very long time. That's it. Simple. Elegant. Meaningful. Poetic justice too.

I feel myself growing weaker and it's only the start of month five. I want to do the deed with just enough time left for recognition. I find myself taking more frequent and longer naps and think about moving up the timetable, but I have a plan, and I will stick to it.

I'm not ordering anything anymore and I read very little of my mail. I come across a letter from my attorney who asks, me to call him right away. Urgent he says. It was postmarked over a month ago. I call him and he's out on the golf course with the doctors. He finally calls me back and tells me that they think that they might have found an antidote and that I should come back and check into the hospital and let them try to save me. I tell him how weak I am and that it's probably no use by now because it's a month too late and he tells me that they tried the antidote on rats and it worked twenty percent of the time and I tell him that when they try it on mice and have better than a fifty- percent save ratio to give me a call. I hang up.

M day arrives and I pack my gear. I have my silenced Beretta and I'm wearing my Disney T shirt, Mickey gloves, and Mickey ears. I blend in. I throw away all of my other weapons.

It's dark at seven when the band comes marching into the Magic Kingdom. I have a seat on the curb that I staked out two hours earlier. The floats come by and the fireworks are going off and the Characters start to appear and suddenly I look up and there's Mickey's float rounding the corner heading my way and everyone is yelling for Mickey and he's right across from me and he's waving his white-gloved hand and I blow a hole clear through it, and before he knows what hits him I empty the other fourteen shots into his black and white and oozing red body. People are screaming and they begin to run. I calmly get up and follow the pack trying to get away and out of the park. It's difficult under the best of conditions and I realize as I toss the gun down a sewer just how weak I am. Suddenly I can go no further and I just lie down on the curb and feel the crowd climbing over me.

I wake up in the hospital, IV tubes in my arms and my doctor is there with my lawyer and they are staring at me. "You were right," my lawyer says. I'm too weak to speak.

The doctor says, "We took your suggestion and tried the antidote on mice and it was eight-five percent effective. We're pretty sure that you're going to make it."

Just as I'm nodding off I hear the lawyer telling the nurse not to mention anything about the Mickey tragedy to me. Obviously Mickey was my hero, he says, otherwise why would a dying man spend his remaining days hanging around him. He'll tell me all about it when I'm stronger, he tells the nurse. The nurse nods knowingly.

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