Of Heroic Lineage

And just like that, it was over.

Liberty ships and troop transports began to load up, sometimes 15,000 men at a time, their decks stacked six-high with bunks. By September 30, 1946, Operation Magic Carpet had returned over 8 million soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines back to American shores from the European and Pacific theaters.  The war was over. Here’s your discharge. Thank you very much.
Many of the veterans found their way back to their old lives, retaking their place at the family farms and stores. Some took advantage of the GI Bill and got a college degree. Many bought their first homes on VA loans and started families. But many had a tough go. They were crippled. Disfigured. Mentally ill. Most suffering from PTSD, they’d never again find any semblance of normalcy in their lives.

There were heroes who’d seen action - the fighter pilots, the tail-gunners, the tank drivers, the Marines charged with taking beaches and mountains inch by bloody inch – who missed the noise, the excitement, the adrenaline-pumping existence of a life lived at full speed, who found their old life utterly, completely and devastatingly boring. Some of these men returned to service. In the new America, after all, another war would always be just around the corner.

Some though, found what they were looking for on the expanding American highways: speed, freedom, open horizons, camaraderie, and life on the edge. It was all there. They began to form motorcycle and hot rod clubs. They lived a relatively obscure life of satisfaction.
In 1947, came the Hollister Riot. LIFE magazine took notice of the new breed of men, these outlaws, these “1%ers.”

And in 1948, one of those “pissed off bastards” from Bloomington, California split with his motorcycle club and created something new: The HELLS ANGELS.


A Distant Consular Posting

From the day of her birth, she was perfect, and as she grew from infant to beautiful young girl, it became obvious to all in her seaside village that she was highly favored by the gods. The priests in the temple cautioned her parents to take good care of her lest some tragedy befall her. And they did. Everyone did. And she was loved.

She reached puberty with her purity intact and her body unscarred, and not long after, word had reached the seat of government in Cusco that a new candidate was ready to accept an ambassadorial scholarship. When the official delegation arrived to escort her to the Incan capital, a great feast was ordered. It was the first time the village had been honored in this way, the first time that one of their own had reached such a pinnacle of grace. Surely they would be blessed for the rest of their days.

In Cusco, she was treated like royalty. She was assigned a small army of grooms and maids and teachers, given the finest clothes. She ate fresh vegetables and fine fat llama meat at the table of all the great nobles. The king himself would visit her personally to check on her well-being and progress.
At the end of the year, she was deemed ready. She was given her assignment and an enormous entourage set out on the thousand mile trek. Though only fifteen, it was to her credit that she only sprouted a handful of white hairs by the time she arrived at her post on the top of Llullaillaco on February 6, 1499. Her job title, after all, was fairly stress-inducing: sacrificial virgin.

Beautiful in life, the archaeologists who discovered La Doncella’s incorrupt body 500 years later also found her breathtakingly beautiful in death.


Folie à Deux

They were sisters. All the things that sisters shared, the secrets, the crushes, the dreams, and worries, they shared too. But Sabina and Ursula were not just sisters, they were identical twins. All of their experiences, they shared from the womb.

When they fed, they shared their mother’s milk. And when she died, they shared each other’s tears.

When their father would come home drunk and angry, they’d share the hiding space in the attic.

At school, they shared their lunch. And their homework. They shared a love for sports. And when teased by bullies because of their poverty, they shared their ears and shoulders and hearts.
But, as happens in life, they grew up. And soon, Ursula met a man she fell in love with. An American. She married and moved to the United States and left her sister in Sweden.

They stayed in touch though, almost every day. Still best friends for life.
On May 17, 2008, Sabina and Ursula were reunited on a rather spur of the moment meeting in London. And they were sharing again.

This time though, they were sharing symptoms.
Irritability. Nonsensical speech. Irrational fear. Confabulations and hallucinations.

So when Ursula ran out into the highway and jumped in front of a speeding truck, it was only natural that Sabina would follow suit and dive into the path of an oncoming car. A case of emotional contagion is the explanation. Perhaps.
But that doesn’t explain how the sisters not only survived the violent collisions but continued to viciously fight off rescuers until they were subdued by a half dozen police and bystanders. Nor does it explain how Sabina survived a 40’ jump from an overpass the next day after murdering a sympathetic Samaritan.

The Eriksson sisters, the police, and the courts still refuse comment.