Dread Waits

Snowboy is the villain in The Bicycle-Wheel Genius.

It is not an easy thing to have to wait for bad news.

You know what’s coming. You know why it will happen. You know how it will happen. The only thing you don’t know is when.

My father is in hospice car. The doctor doesn’t believe he will last much longer. I will still be in Texas when it happens… probably. My mother is planning a cremation and later service when the pandemic has released its grip on us all. Of course, it is a nightmare for her. Not being able to visit the man she has loved and been companion to for 64 years. No kisses. No hand-holding. Only looking at him through a window with a mask on. And most of the time he doesn’t even know who she is. Last week he asked for her, wanting her to come to him. By the time she got there, he didn’t remember what he had wanted… or again, who she even was. There is nothing for any of us, my mother, myself, my two sisters, my younger brother… to do besides wait.

How Timothy Trollhammer Managed to Marry a Princess

And of course, there is more than one dread thing I have to await. This pandemic is highly likely to bring an end to me. My number two son, in his new job working for the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, had to deal with a prisoner who has COVID 19, and he was wearing his mask, but three days later he is not feeling well. And I have been sick since last weekend, and started coughing and sneezing today. It may just be that both of us are having a bad reaction to mold from the rain, but if it gets worse, I may end up being tested again so I can wait on pins and needles for another seven days before finding out the verdict. I am too susceptible, and the virus is too relentless. It will eventually have me before it’s run its full course.

So, here I am dreading the impending visits from the Grim Reaper. Why then do I choose to illustrate with cartoon villains? Well, Snowboy is a robotic device originally created to be an assassin by alien beings working for the US Government. He was wrecked by an individual given the power to do so by his future time-travelling self after a good-hearted scientist tries to bring him back to life in the form of the son he had previously lost in a fire the robot had caused. And, much as we all do in a life plagued with random tragedies and ill fortune, he spent time (and lots of it, thanks to his time machine) trying to figure out what he will do and why he should do it (though most of us can’t use WWI German Fighter Pilots and man-eating chinchillas to do it.)

Timothy Trollhammer uses his handy hammer to win himself a beautiful barefoot princess for his wife. But the trick for old noggin-bopping Tim is to keep her once he’s won her. And that’s a problem he can’t solve by bopping it with a hammer. He has to learn patience, and kindness and… maybe even love. The lesson does not go without its moral to the story.

As much as we may fear what’s coming very near,

We must be ready to to pay the price,

It’s certainly very dear

And though it’s something not so nice,

The due date now is here.

What more is there to say? I await God’s twisted sense of humor when it comes to my fate and the fate of my father. And waiting is all there is to be done.

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