Saturday, February 7, 2009

A psychological thriller with the Arrowhead as the backdrop. Part I

2009 Arrowhead Race Muse.

Dear Readers: A special treat, a glimpse into a conversation between a twisted, tormented mind and the mental health professional charged with its healing. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, but the transcripts are otherwise unabridged. Look forward to several installments…

Therapy Session #1:

Highly paid professional Freudian therapist with a bald head and a little goatee, “I trust your insurance will pay for this? Have you discussed payment with my secretary? Hold on just for a minute, make yourself comfortable on the couch. Lay back and relax, let yourself go. Relax…Now tell me about these dreams or visions that you have been experiencing since that silly Arrowhead race you went to up north, Remember, I told you not to go. And can you tell me why these fantasies cause you so much stressful anxiety?”

Aging amateur cyclist suffering from bouts of both dementia and self-doubt, “Well, Doc, I aint well. To this day the surreal vision of those two gaunt, ghastly men, encompassed in putrid smoke while the mournful Keepers of Hades’ eternal fire look on hinders my slumber and disturbs my normally pleasant disposition. In this oppressive reverie, it is the sight of my hero Dave Praminn crumpled on a tipi floor that haunts me most. I am especially confounded as to the state of this once indomitable figure and Arrowhead’s most noblest figure, as he lays mummified within a hair’s breath of the inferno of infinite damnation, his once strong physique in anguished and cramped repose, uncomplaining, but his forlorn eyes tell the story of trials and tribulations of which only the survivors, the chasers of the aforementioned can contemplate. As the dream progressives, for it is always the same, I spy a hideous Gollum-like creature opposite Praminn convulsing in a semi-fetal position, whimpering for nourishment and a bit of warmth, as a pair of manly footwear roasts on the fire-pit of doom adding to the steamy and thick clouds of choking smoke that gathers within the tight confines of this conical hell on earth. Yet upon closer inspection it is the once proud and zealous Lance Ander that lies before me, and it is his hi-tech winter boots that are roasting! Mr. Ander, a young, healthy man that just a few hours before was brandishing his sporty cycle across the frozen barrens with a sense of entitlement that was both adamant and confident. By all accounts he was a man on a mission, the man perhaps that could pry the title of “Arrowhead Champion,” from the wily Praminn. Now, here in this tipi of death and transformation, he is reduced to but a bag of wasted bones, a mere shell of his former grandeur…What has become of these vanguards of honor, integrity, and sportsmanship? Physical fortitude, anatomical structures, kinesthetic compliance all exhausted or useless due to their ultimate sacrifice so that others, less talented ones, may ride these hard won tracks to Tower and the House of Sinful Wagering! Still in the trance, I contemplate their fate—surely in the near future Lucifer will allow them safe passage from this place of which deadly pestilence, loneliness, and desperate cold reigns supreme. Certainly the Angel of Darkness will grant respite to these most innocent and compassionate of mortals and free them from this tipi of grim trepidation and eternal suffering? And what of the fate of the Keepers themselves? Their only crime is that of the Good Samaritan! Why must they be sentenced to such grisly duty? Why must they languish and lament in such a hideous environment? Will Beelzebub sentence these two gentle volunteers to an eternity of life in this tipi of despair? It is at this point that I usually awake sweating and anxious…hoping that it was just a bad dream.”

Highly paid professional Freudian therapist with a bald head and a little goatee, “A tipi, like the kind in Dance With Wolves? Your friends are trapped by the devil in a tipi. Very interesting. Are you trapped as well? What I sense is a feeling of deep psychological, even pathological guilt. Are you feeling guilty? Perhaps it is best to start from the beginning. This may take some time, many sessions. Are you sure your insurance premiums are paid up? Before you leave today make sure and see my secretary."

Aging amateur cyclist suffering from bouts of both dementia and self-doubt, “How many sessions? Guilty? May be a little, although I associate guilt with the moral high ground, so I doubt it is guilt, but maybe a tinge of culpability. After all Praminn broke trail the whole way. And Lance was riding well “LANCE-like.” Plus in the dream, it is as if I am viewing the scene from afar. I peer in, the Keeper says, ‘turn off your light for there is no light here.” Praminn mutters to me. ‘Leave now before it is too late.’ As far as my insurance premiums being up-to-date…Yep, at least I think so; my wife takes care of all that kind of stuff. But I do help out some at home; I shovel snow, stuff like that, after I get my biking in of course.”

Highly paid professional Freudian therapist with a bald head and a little goatee, “During the next of many sessions, I will have you tell me about the beginnings of this silly race; this Arrowhead affair. Again I am afraid that we have a good deal of complex psychological issues to work through; did you say you are with Blue Shield/Blue Cross?”

Aging amateur cyclist suffering from bouts of both dementia and self-doubt, “What! We are out of time already? Don't I still have a few minutes?…We all met up in International Falls, the epicenter of something or another, I think may be the world’s focal point for car battery testing. The boyz from North Dakota were kind enough to meet me at the end point which was a big modern House of Sinful Wagering, where mostly old, even ancient people smoke cigs and automatically with a sense of desolate fatalism put their shrinking savings into slot machines. From the finish Dave, Rick and I ventured northward to the start which is at a Holiday Inn in International Falls."

Secretary on intercom: “Doctor, your next appointment is here.”

Highly paid professional Freudian therapist with a bald head and a little goatee, “Very well, we have made some head way. But we have a long road ahead of us. See my secretary, I think I will need to see you again in a day or two. In the mean time stay away from tipis and check with your wife about those insurance premiums."


  1. Well done race Charlie. I'm happy for you to have a good finish. With respect to the writing...I'm sitting on the edge of my chair waiting for the next installment!

  2. I somehow feel involved in this great tale! But have no memory of this Arrowhead thing...