Thomas Wictor

Romance, rescue, and revenge

Romance, rescue, and revenge

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been deeply affected by tales of romance, rescue, and revenge. It’s not a mystery why: We yearn for that which eludes us. I experienced true romance just once.


It was only three years, and it ended more than two decades ago, but it still visits me in my dreams. Out of nowhere, I’m with the Cardinal Ghost again, and we’re happy.

I’ve avenged myself a few times. On the last day of school before winter break of 1974-75, I threw Bobby Joe Manziel III’s clothes, shoes, wallet, and Rolex out the gym dressing-room window. Bobby had tortured me for all of seventh and half of eighth grade. He was allowed to do so because his family donated huge sums to the school.

On that day, he hit me on the side of the head with his massive book bag. When I ran after him, the nuns scolded me. I tossed Bobby Joe’s stuff out the window in front of everybody, but nobody saw me. For that moment I was given a cloak of invisibility. Bobby Joe had to spend the whole day in his sweaty PE clothes and jockstrap. People pulled down his shorts in front of the girls. I wonder if because of the unaccustomed humiliation, Bobby Joe went on to become the petty career criminal that he is.


I hope so! He’s spent more of his adult life in prison than on the street.

Currently I’m attempting to rescue Brother Cat, a feral whose mother dumped him on me when he was six weeks old. I managed to get his brother Lyle to the vet for neutering and vaccinations, and now Lyle is a completely different cat. He changed virtually overnight into a friendly, extremely funny weirdo. He loves playing Chase the String, and after five or six revolutions around me, he simply falls over on his side, hitting the carpet so hard he goes, “Ermf!


Three days ago, after a three-hour battle, I caught Brother Cat in my house. It was my nineteenth attempt. The next morning I tried for an hour to put him in a plastic tub so I could take him to the vet’s, but he’s still Houdini. I may have to keep him in my house for much longer than I thought.

But like his brother, he’s changing. Before, he never let me get within three feet of him. Now he insists on sleeping at my feet, even after the hour of chasing him.


He comes over and rubs his head against my hand. Maybe like Lyle, he’ll transform himself.

After I caught Brother, I had to go to the local Western Union office to pay my Web designer for making my site damn near impregnable. In the supermarket parking lot, there was a 1970s Dodge van with black smoke pouring out from under the hood. An old man was trying to get into the driver’s seat while about a hundred people stood around and filmed the spectacle with their cellphones.

Since nobody was helping the old moron, I went over and told him he had to get out of the van. He barely spoke English and said that his license was in there. Gobbets of flame began dripping from the underside, and the old guy dove into the blackness again. The smoke smelled like burning plastic and vomit. It was so thick that all I could see of the old man was his calves and shoes. He was coughing his head off.

I was preparing to reach in and pull him out when another old Hispanic man came over and shouted in Spanish, “GET OUT OF THE VAN! IT’S GOING TO EXPLODE!

The two old men and I backed off a few dozen feet, and then the front of the van burst into flames. A police car pulled up, so I went over and told them who the owner was.

“Do burning cars really explode?” I asked one cop.

“You bet!” he said and laughed. “The tires will be the first things to blow up. Then the fuel tank, if it’s half-empty.”

No sooner had he said that then the van was rocked with explosions. The tires popped, the windows blew out, and smoking bits whizzed in all directions.

The driver of the van was on a cellphone.

“I left my pistol in the car,” he said in Spanish.

I told the cop, who said, “Well, we’ll find out in a minute.”

Two fire engines arrived, and firefighters began dousing the flames. Since nobody said anything to them, I went over to the commander and said, “I just overheard the driver of the van say there’s a pistol in there. Rounds were cooking off right before you got here.”

“Whoa!” he said. “Thanks very much!” Then he told his men.

I went in and made my transaction. When I came out, the van was a blackened shell, and the old man was being interrogated by several cops.

What if the pistol rounds had gone off when I was trying to save the old bastard? I was standing right next to the van. It was an almost-rescue that could’ve killed me.

Speaking of dangerous rescues, on December 17-18, 2014, the Kurds saved the last of the Yazidis from Mt. Sinjar, where they’d been under siege by the Islamic State. It was a lightning two-day assault, which forced the terrorists to retreat. The Islamic State had been murdering, raping, and making sex slaves of Yazidi women and children. What’s remarkable about this operation is that Kurds don’t even like Yazidis.

The majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslims. Sunnis have traditionally accused the Yazidis of worshiping Satan. So think about the caliber of people the Kurds are: They launched a military operation against fellow Sunni Muslims to save people they don’t like and who will create a major financial burden on the Kurdish region.

I’m in awe. We need to arm the Kurds with all the weapons we ourselves are too gutless to use.


In terms of art, the best illustration of romance, rescue, and revenge is the film Dead Calm, starring Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman, and Billy Zane. It’s perfect. A deeply traumatized married couple goes to sea to try and begin recovering from a tragedy, and they’re set upon by Hughie Warriner, one of the most repulsive villains in cinematic history.


If you want to see the best rescue scene and best revenge scene ever filmed, this is the movie to watch. I won’t say anything more about it, except that I wish real life could be like art.

For some of us it is, and for some of us it isn’t. But that’s why God made movies.

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