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The Hudson Valley

ChroniC

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volume 1, no. 1 • October 2008

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The Burning of Allan Wikman A modern-day incarnation of Don Quixote wages hopeless battle against everything that sucks

By Steve Hopkins

the chase. The pirates, apparently fearing capture, set the DeSager adrift in the middle of the river. The crew recovers the craft and returns to camp as the marauders slip southward into the night. Meanwhile the police arrive, sirens screaming, lights ablaze. The encampment is in an uproar. The gall! The indignity! It’s an unusual call, to say the least. The re-enactors eventually go back to sleep, although this time with an alert sentry posted. Waking up to what they think is a rain deluge but is actually the college’s automatic sprinkler system giving them a dousing, they sail/paddle to Kingston the next morning, cursing the name of Marist but arriving on time to join in the British attack on the beach. A police report is filed and forgotten. Nearly one year later, the foiled crime remains unsolved, and the mysterious pirate force is still at large.

I

t’s a quiet October night on the shore of the Hudson River in the northern reaches of Poughkeepsie. Waves lap gently against a floating dock populated by three antique wooden sailboats. A miniature village of pup tents is clustered in the lee of the Cornell Boathouse on the Marist College riverfront, each one enveloping a sleeping soldier in Revolutionary War garb. The group is camping for the night in anticipation of their last leg of a 53-mile humanand sail-powered journey up the river from Verplanck to Kingston, where they will join in the misguided annual “celebration” and re-enactment of the pointless and cruel torching of that city by retreating British forces in 1777. The scent of roasted meat lingers in the frost-tinged air. No one notices a dark figure lurkAllan Wikman, pirate, provocateur ing at the edge of and patriot. the encampment, snapping flash photographs of the sleeping re-enactors. A few hours later the quietude is ruptured by a loud cry: “Hey, a**hole! What do you think you’re doing?” One of the vintage craft, the 25-foot-long DeSager, is being pulled away from the dock, swiped by what is thought to be a pair of pirates, who can be heard paddling furiously offshore in a work boat, slipping out of sight in the murky gloom. The sentinel, Chris, with the adrenaline jump-starting him from what was a deep slumber, decides against leaping into the DeSager, which is still in range of the dock; he doesn’t really know how many of them there are or if they are armed. The rudely awakened campers check the remaining two boats, upon one of which, before he had risen with a full bladder for a midnight pee, Chris had failed to notice a tall man standing a few minutes earlier, fumbling with a nearly impossible knot. Someone reaches in his floppy leather

The candidate

In this tiresome political season, with kneejerk Red vs. Blue America once again trying to decide between its two hackneyed ideologies by means of another flawed pair of anthropomorphic cartoon caricatures foisted upon the electorate as presidential “candidates,” and with powerful incumbents from both major parties destined to preserve the status quo on the congressional and state levels against weak competition, one relatively obscure local race in the Hudson Valley stands out as a genuine story: the three-way tilt for the right to become the first-ever executive of Ulster County, which in 2006 approved a new charter creating that form of government. The obvious shoo-in would be recently mintDark horse candidate for Ulster County executive Alan Wikman stumps ed Democrat Mike Hein. A telegenic smiley for votes at Rocking Horse Ranch. guy, he’s the virtual incumbent by reason of his position as the county administrator and his pack, pulls out his cell phone, dials 911. anointing by the region’s hydra-like bipartisan power A crew jumps into one of the remaining boats, the Cod structure. But he has some remarkably interesting comPeace, and rows out into the river in hot pursuit. Another petition. The Republican entry in the race is Len Berre-enactor grabs a large stick and starts running southnardo, a likable and reasonable-sounding skating rink ward along the river’s edge, peering after the marauders owner, Independence Party member and proponent of and hoping to catch them coming ashore. He notices the Continued on Page 2 Cod Peace gaining on the thieves before losing sight of

Now on www.hvchronic.com This Debate’s For You! Doesn’t anybody else notice that the big Presidentiallooking eagle seal behind the debating candidates is THE ANHEUSER-BUSCH LOGO!!!? (without the big ‘A’ ). There’s a reason for that.

Celente Was Right The Hudson Valley’s resident prognosticator had it right on the money way back in August 2007: we’re toast. Buy gold, guns and ammo, and don’t give up that self-storage unit just yet. You’ll probably be living in it.

Nobody’s Business What if Barack Obama really is the Antichrist? “All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.” -- H. L. Mencken

What is the Hudson Valley Chronic, and Why Now?

T

he entity in your hands is technically not a newspaper. It features just one ripping yarn, a year in the making, which cried out for the sort of full-on treatment that increasingly finds little column space in today’s world of sound bites and watered-down infotainment. For all the overwrought prose on these three pages (plus one monstrosity of an ad; thank you, ReBath), it is merely a teaser: a medium-format, relatively low-tech means of inviting you to experience a new world of long-form journalism on the Web at www.hvchronic.com, where there is plenty of room for even more hijinx. Something like this will be appearing at Metro-North train stations and other reader-friendly venues about once a month. Enjoy it; we’ll try our very best to fashion one or two doozies in each issue. Meanwhile, please visit the Chronic online every once in a while, and watch us grow like a runaway virus, gleefully eating everything in our path. Welcome aboard, esteemed reader (hey, Jason), and enjoy the slow, bumpy, hopefully entertaining and illuminating ride. Steve Hopkins Editor, publisher and sales guy


The Hudson Valley

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Page 2 • October 2008

Wikman’s War

From Page 1

green technology. sion – his blessing, even – and to his credit is Even more interesting, until last week, that is, willing to let the chips fall where they may. was the big, unpredictable fly in the ointment: AlWhen you’re done reading it, you may or may lan Wikman, a tall, gaunt septuagenarian who lives not decide, as I have, that if you’re an Ulster alone in an apartment on the fourth floor of a seCounty registered voter, you’ll be writing in nior public housing tower, subsisting on a $1,169-aAllan Wikman’s name on the ballot for county month Social Security retirement check. He takes executive on November 4. medication to ward off depression, which doesn’t “Steve, do you have a wetsuit? Do you know prevent him from maintaining a surprisingly wide where I can get a boat?” Wikman asked me variety of acquaintances and friendships that he one October afternoon in 2007. nurtures by making daily rounds of his adopted I didn’t, but as I knew him to be a man of town of Kingston, N.Y. on foot or on a bicycle, 12 risk-infused action and a plotter of grandiose months a year. While his carbon footprint is as close schemes, I was intrigued. It didn’t take long for to zero as a white man in America can hope to atme to figure out where he was going. He had tain, his ambition is boundless. found out that a band of Revolutionary War Wikman is one of those figures who have plagued re-enactors would be wending their way up the local municipal boards and legislatures across the Hudson to the annual “Burning of Kingston” land since before the British were driven from these celebration, and he was thinking about trying shores; he’s a political gadfly of the worst – or best – to stop them. He said he had tried to recruit It’s my Birthday Party and I’ll cry if I want to. sort, depending on your point of view. Philip Riley, the artist who was arrested by the A former actor and Madison Avenue idea man with a Coast Guard that August for attempting to pilot his reppassing physical resemblance to – take your pick – either lica of a 1776 submarine, the Turtle, through restricted to them. Porter was represented – some say recruited for Jimmy Stewart or Franklin Delano Roosevelt (whom he waters up to the Queen Mary 2 for a gonzo photo shoot, the task as well – by arguably the most powerful attorney played in a traveling show of Annie, despite the fact that but that hadn’t worked out. in Ulster County, Andrew Zweben, a guy who really dehe disdains pretty much everything the man stood for), “I don’t want to know any more,” I said, lying. serves his own story as a ubiquitous string-puller. Wikman made his mark with multimillion-dollar camThe weekend-long Burning of Kingston celebration The petitions were predictably turned down, and on paigns for Colgate-Palmolive and other corporate giants starts every two years with re-enactments of a couple Tuesday, September 23 Wikman appeared before state in the time before his nervous breakdown brought him of alleged skirmishes between the overmatched AmeriSupreme Court Justice Christopher C. Cahill in an aplow. A proudly iconoclastic figure, he is prone to longcan defenders and boatloads of British troops landing at peal to overturn the election board’s decision. It was a winded and sometimes baffling public pontifications, Kingston Point and in the Rondout. Fake cannons fire valiant, Quixotic effort in the courtroom, as Wikman, either in a stentorian oratorical style reminiscent of a and fake soldiers run around on the beach and under the representing himself quite eloquently and earning the 1950s newsreel, or in rambling, oddly punctuated e-mail Route 9W bridge, shooting their muskets and lighting a grudging praise of his opponent, county attorney Josh missives, taking on the powers that be regarding such Koplovitz, almost made the judge’s eyes wamatters as taxes, budgeting, corruption, incompetence ter by throwing himself on the mercy of the and governmental reform. In his elliptical, dyslexia-incourt, telling the story of his lonely quest and fluenced way, he often makes enough sense to be taken of fighting through his dyslexia to get the erseriously. He runs speaking seminars, lobbies successror-ridden forms in on time. Cahill dried his fully for public school music programs, performs literary eyes and threw out the appeal, and now Wikreadings, and engages in vigorous e-mail campaigns to man is trying to mount what nearly everyone publicize the many issues that intrigue his active mind. believes to be an equally hopeless write-in campaign. And yet … Cleaning up, just to get mud on your face A Wikman administration would either be In running his insurgent populist campaign for Ulster a marvel of bureaucratic efficiency or a loCounty’s top spot, Wikman has taken his political omgistical nightmare. Falling politically somebudsmanship to new levels in recent months. He’s donned where along the Libertarian axis (he’s been a suit and gotten a real pair of cufflinks to replace the seen sporting Ron Paul for President buttons paper clips he was wearing, engages in some remarkably and stickers), the candidate has produced a effective PR for a technological Luddite, and has actu19-point platform of promises stressing acally stood onstage behind a dais with his name on it, decountability, accessibility and complete govbating on an equal footing with Hein and Bernardo and ernmental transparency, and committing to more than holding his own in a room full of people who a preternaturally optimistic public appear- Channel 6’s Paula Mitchell interviews Wikman following the candidate debate had no idea he was on psychotropic medication, lived ance schedule that would put a man half his on June 10 at Highland’s Rocking Horse Ranch. in a housing project and didn’t really know how he was age in the hospital. He says he’ll hold “town going to get home that night. Having tirelessly accosted hall” meetings in each of Ulster County’s pedestrians in shopping malls and at public events, he 21 municipalities every month, as well as amassed a symbolically significant 1,776 signatures on visit each town supervisor and mayor once a petitions, a feat he wrongly presumed would, even if month – presumably not on his bicycle. many of them were thrown out by the nefarious powers He’ll host anyone, any time in his office, in the major party-controlled Board of Elections, mean by appointment – assuming he’ll ever be in. that he would succeed in getting his name on the NoSomewhere in there he says he’ll find time vember ballot on his “1776 – The Birthday Party” line. to videotape a weekly State of the County Indeed, Wikman’s petitions were deemed enough of a message. He promises to cut spending by threat to the power elite that a guy named Robert Porter, improving employee productivity, that a Democratic Party foot soldier and former Kingston alhe’ll slash property taxes by 10 percent and derman, came out of the woodwork to file an objection veto any property tax increase sent to him by the legislature, or forfeit his own salary. On his wish list is a scheme to consolidate school districts across the region – not just one or two, mind you, but all 56 districts in a fourThe Hudson Valley county area (Orange, Sullivan, Dutchess and Ulster) into one behemoth he says would be able to do the job for $30 million a year less. He envisions a beefed-up tourism deEditor & Publisher partment that would be a moneymaker for Steve Hopkins the county to the tune of $3,600,000. It’s not clear where he gets his numbers, but it’s clear Associate Publisher and Webmaster when looking in his deeply obsessive eyes Paul Joffe that he believes in them. Whether or not Allan Wikman’s political Advertising platform makes sense, or whether his many Steve Hopkins almost alarmingly innovative ideas could biffthuringer@gmail.com actually work, is not the point of this story. What is most astounding is that this dirtpoor Hudson Valley cross between Randall Contact us at: McMurphy and Walter Mitty even got to the point at which he was tying up a state phone 914-388-8670 Supreme Court judge, two political bosses biffthuringer@gmail.com and a pair of high-powered attorneys for a few days, getting himself interviewed by regional public radio, and getting this tired old Photography journalist jazzed about writing something Paul Joffe for the first time in months. Andy Uzzle He should not be underestimated. Plus, Steve Hopkins there’s one more thing …

CHRONIC

The Hudson Valley Chronic PO Box 3057 Kingston, NY 12402

The Hunt for Red October

Now is probably as good a time as any to relate a salty yarn I’ve been sitting on for a while, not really knowing whether to believe in its veracity, and not knowing whether Wikman would acquiesce to its ever seeing the light of day. But he gave me his permis-

The three photos above were taken by the re-enactors along the 53-mile route.


controlled brushfire or two. Then everybody settles down and does their usual encampment ritual a few miles uphill from the river in Kingston’s Historic Stockade District, viewed by whatever tourists and locals happen to be around. Columns of British Redcoats march colorfully through the streets of Uptown. They go to historically accurate local taverns to drink and carouse. There is a Colonial ball, with uniformed officers and fancy ladies. Wikman’s contention, after researching the 1777 calamity and talking to various historians including Kingston’s Ed Ford, was that there was no Colonial resistance to the British landing, which was supposed to be one of a series of “diversions” to lure Continental Army units southward away from Saratoga, where nobody knew that British Major General John Burgoyne had already surrendered to American Major General Horatio Gates. The interlopers simply came ashore and walked up the hill to the town’s center, setting fire to everything they saw. “There was no battle! It was an atrocity!” says Wikman, the outrage as fresh as if he were talking about September 11, 2001. “There was no immediate justification for the burning of the city. The British being pyromaniacs … they just burned the city because they were pissed at us and wanted to burn it. You might as well ‘celebrate’ the Holocaust!” I had been aware of Wikman’s views on the Burning of Kingston event for some time. He had been railing against it for years in letters to the editor and with phone calls and e-mails to the mayor and other public officials, and had told me of his run-ins with people like Kingston’s Heritage Area Visitors Center director, Katie Cook, whom he says called him “silly” and “a kook” for his haranguing of her to call the thing off. Naturally no one listened, despite his going to extraordinary and even disturbing lengths to spread his message. “I got a list of all the veterans in Ulster County from Terry Breitenstein, head of the veterans’ service organization. He gave me a printout of all the veterans, and I called some. And I even called the commanders of the local VFW and the American Legion and so on, and they could care less. They could care less,” he moans. “I read in the Daily Freeman that a man from Tillson had been elected state head of the VFW or the American Legion, and I couldn’t find his telephone number. So being a former executive recruiter, and accustomed to doing some detective work, I found out that the guy had a son who was a policeman in Poughkeepsie. So I called over there and left a message for him. And when I finally reached this idiot in Tillson, he read the riot act to me. He said, ‘What the f**k are you doing, calling my son about me, you know, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah,’ and I said ‘Well, I apologize,’ and so on and so forth.” He contrived a typically Wikmanesque PR campaign against the event, making up what to his mind were satirical 8½ by 11 posters that he placed on telephone poles around the city, presenting himself as a re-enactment producer and pretending he was looking for “small, Oriental men and women who had their pilot’s license and who could fly Zeros,” he says. “And then I was going to produce a celebration, a re-enactment of the defeat at the Alamo. And I wanted people to portray Davey Crockett and Sam Houston, and Mexican insurgents and so on and so forth, and also the Great Chicago Fire. And we were looking for somebody to portray Mrs. O’Leary and her cow. We would need firefighters for that, and oldtime, old-fashioned fire wagons.” The obscure, elliptical humor went way over the heads of Kingston residents, who wondered what the posters were trying to say. “Then I read, on the website of a British re-enactor, an itinerary of three vintage sailboats to be delivered over land to dockage at Verplanck, ‘from whence the crews will sail and/or row north over three days to Kingston Point beach,’ says Wikman, whose customary lack of restraint shifted into gear as he decided at that moment to mount an “attack,” either at the Chelsea Yacht Club in Wappinger on Wednesday, or at Marist on Thursday. He opted for Marist, and went on a reconnaissance mission on the preceding Saturday, first scouting the Highland shoreline in a borrowed car for a marina at which he could rent a boat, as he told the helpful locals, “to fish.” Someone mentioned the North Poughkeepsie Boat Basin across the river as a likely boat rental facility, but that turned out not to be so. The same day, Wikman drove across the river to the Marist campus, engaging the college’s security officer, an ex-cop, in deep conversation, telling him he was scouting the institution for his grandson, a crew oarsman. “We just stopped short of going and having a beer together; he was very helpful,” says Wikman, who then drove up to the marina, looking for a suitable boat to commandeer for his upcoming operation. The marina was closed, floodlit with security lights. A car approached – “neckers or something,” he says – and drove back out, as he kept to the shadows. The facility was primarily storage and summer dockage for power boats, and had no rental business, but the eagle-eyed and increasingly desperate conspirator wasn’t so easy to foil. He spotted an oversized inner tube, “a giant donut from one of those earthmoving vehicles,” sitting atop what he presumed to be a Sheriff’s patrol boat. “Inside there was enough room for a man, in a waterproof canvas trough,” says Wikman. “There were two handles on the outside, and a rope that

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CHRONIC

was tied to one of the handles.” That was enough for him. He resolved to continue with the plan, and would return on the night of the deed to retrieve the ungainly craft – despite reservations as to how he would propel or steer it in the river’s strong twoway current. “I said to myself, it’d be very difficult to navigate, but there’s no other boat.”

Up close and personal

Finally, D-Day arrived. In yet another borrowed vehicle, Wikman drove into Poughkeepsie from the north, picked up the big inner tube at the marina and lashed it to the top of the car. At about midnight, Wikman says, he parked in a lot near the athletic field at Marist, and approached the campsite to ensure the scene was set as he had hoped. He assumed the nonchalant demeanor of a tourist, not really considering that most visitors to Poughkeepsie are hin bed by midnight, nowhere near the dark, intermittently sex-crime-plagued riverfront. “I walked, with my camera, through the tunnel out onto the riverside walk. As I approached, I saw in the distance four or five white field tents – Army tents – set up on the lawn just north of the Cornell boathouse. All occupants were apparently sailboat owners and the crew. There was one open-air sleeper – a guard – on the bench in front of the boathouse, right out in the open. It was as if he had a huge footlocker or a steamer trunk that he was sleeping on. He was rolled up, as well as I could see.” “To test his wakeability, I guess,” says Wikman, he took “scads” of flash photos, including extreme closeups of the sleeping guard and of the three boats moored at his feet. “In other words, I’m just a curious tourist with a camera,” he adds wryly, chuckling at his cleverness and imagining the conversation he would start if he was caught: “You know: ‘I heard about this, and I’m intrigued – fascinated.’” What he did not do was loosen the ties of any of the three docked boats, an act he ruefully admits in hindsight would have increased the chances of his mission’s success. He then drove south to the launch site and parked the car. Worried about the possibility of capture or losing personal effects in the river, he stripped down to a pair of shorts, sandals and a shirt, and stashed everything, including his ID and trademark eyeglasses. He hung the car keys on a fence, away from his own things and the car, to keep his friend from getting in trouble if he got caught. “Because I thought I might have to swim this whole thing, I then carried the bag with dry clothes to the shore, and left them on the bench in front of the Poughkeepsie Rowing Club building,” which is a few hundred yards south of the Cornell boathouse. “Then I came back and I carried this huge donut down a few hundred yards to the water’s edge,” says Wikman. “Somehow I found a six-foot board, unwieldy as hell, and shoved off.” Just then, as it sometimes does, the universe held its breath to watch what would happen next.

Miracles can happen

Experience paddling a canoe was no advantage, says Wikman. “I went around and around in circles. I went from one side and immediately it sent me one way and I went from the other side and it immediately spun me around the other way, and I got very frustrated. And there was a southward current going, too, so it made it very difficult to paddle.” After an interminable struggle, Wikman maneuvered his way to the floating dock in front of the Poughkeepsie Rowing Club boathouse. He grabbed a tenuous hold of the striated aluminum decking, and had to slowly drag himself along 100 feet of dock to where he could grasp something of enough substance that he could lift himself off the craft without losing it to the tide. He was, in fact, only borrowing the donut for this little lark, and fully intended to return it. “And then I spotted the rowboat.” A rowboat with oars. For him to have happened ashore past midnight at the only spot on a five-mile stretch of river blessed with a one-man, human-powered watercraft requires a near Biblical stretch of the imagination to contemplate. Yet that, says Wikman, is just what happened. Still, it was no picnic. The ordeal had just begun. For one thing, sitting upside-down on the stern seat was a large outboard motor, a thing far too heavy for him to have lifted off the boat. And as if God were playing a game of Survivor with Wikman, the boat was laden with two feet of water. There was no time to worry about such trivialities. Wikman’s projected aura of tall, angular leanness is in fact an illusion borne upon decent bone structure. At 6 feet tall and 210 pounds, he’s a lot for a pair of 76-year-old triceps to move around, even when not ensconced in a rowboat foundering with two feet of water and a dead engine, straining northward against an outgoing tide. “My thought was, what the hell?” says Wikman. “It’s either this, or I swim. There’s no other option. And I made an executive decision. I rowed vigorously against the tide, barely moving. The extra weight of the outboard and two feet of water was extremely tough. It took me 45 minutes

October 2008 • PAGE 3

to navigate just a couple of hundred yards, to just north of the floating docks and the three sailboats.” With his legs and feet congealing in the icy water, the only image in his mind that pulled him through this ordeal, he recalls, was of rowing a warm waterbed through the mist. It worked. Ignorant of whether or not he’d be spotted pulling up to the dock, Wikman forged ahead. “I rode the tide into the gap between the shore and the floating dock, and tied the bow rowboat line to the dock. The boat was pointing out into the river, held firm by the outgoing tide against the dock. In other words, ready to move. I crawled from the rowboat to the nearest sailboat, which was just a few feet away. The first sailboat had two moorings, one on the bow, and one on the stern. I detached both, and I tied the bow rope to the rowboat stern. It wasn’t a long distance; the sailboat and the rowboat were almost touching. The sleeping guard was just steps away, on a bench in front of the Cornell Boathouse. I crawled on my hands and knees to the second sailboat, which was right in back of the first, and attached the bow rope to the stern of the first sailboat.” In the midst of creating this train of boats, a pair of headlights suddenly appeared along the shore. Wikman froze. The black SUV idled slowly past, pausing almost directly next to the sleeping sentry before moving on. Wikman assumed it was the night watchman he’d spoken to earlier in the week. “He was only feet away from where I was. It was really dark, thank God. Apparently he didn’t see the rowboat there, or he figured oh, well, it’s just a boat. And boy, my heart was beating. I was right out on the dock, down on my hands and knees. My head was sticking up. … But I got down as low as I could – maybe I got down on my stomach, and just was motionless. And this guy stopped, for maybe a minute, and then he drove on.” Wikman doesn’t realize it, but when he related this part of his story, my own heart skipped a beat. Because what no one realized until that point was that the driver of that black SUV was most likely me. I had been suspicious that Wikman was going to do something that night, and I had wanted to witness it. In the pitch black, all I could see was what was in my headlight beams. Not knowing where I was going, I had no point of reference and had no idea what I was looking for. I eventually parked the car near the Poughkeepsie boathouse further south, convinced that that must have been the campsite, but no one was there. I left, thinking nothing at all had happened, or that if it had, I had missed it by a mile. To think I inadvertently nearly scotched Wikman’s mission …

A god among mortals

Anyway, here we are at the point so heavy-handedly foreshadowed at the outset of this odyssey. The rest is also the stuff of legend, but can be dealt with in a sentence or three. For instance, after being discovered, how on Earth did Wikman escape? The Tories must have had him dead to rights, with him huffing and puffing out there pulling what must have been at least three-quarters of a ton of boat, motor, ice water and homo sapiens. After hauling the boat (or boats; Wikman insists he had two of the re-enactors’ craft in tow, in conflict with an earnest blogger’s blow-by-low report) around a 90-degree angle from the tee-shaped dock into the outgoing tide to get going, he was probably blown southward like an Indonesian bathtub in a tsunami. If the tide was that strong, how did he get back to shore? Indeed, our hero was pretty far south when he encountered land somewhere in a post-industrial wasteland, clambered up onto the concrete levee and hurtled through the briar-infested underbrush only to find himself trapped in an abandoned factory property surrounded by an un-scalable Cyclone fence, running like a Polish refugee as sirens and flashing lights cut off every avenue of escape. Yet again, he muddled through, and was able to get himself and his friend’s car home in one piece. Perhaps spurred on by the taste of blood (pretty much all of it his own), Wikman felt compelled to attend the Burning of Kingston festivities the very next day, sidling up to the same crew he’d nearly marooned the night before, asking questions like, “So how’s it going? Everything OK on your trip?” and even considering another run at the boats at Kingston Point. He then returned to the abandoned factory property a few days later, looking for the rowboat he had scuttled there in an attempt to retrieve and return it, but managed to slip on some concrete and crack his head open. After stumbling to the emergency room to get his head swaddled like a 6-foottall Q-Tip, he stopped by the Poughkeepsie Police Department to pick up a copy of the incident report. It’s a small wonder they didn’t put two and two together. Anyway, the point of all this is, Allan Wikman in my ink-addled mind has, as a result of all this, approached a modicum of godhood. I’ll probably vote for him at the very least, but frankly, county executive would be a comedown. As with Don Quixote and other more historically real epic strugglers, the mere act of beholding a Wikman figure and contemplating his impossible life makes one a better person and the world an almost exponentially better place. Thanks for the story, Allan, and good luck with all that.


The Hudson Valley

CHRONIC

Page 4 • October 2008

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