How The Headless Horseman Positions Himself In The Marketplace

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Sleepy Hollow Chamber of Commerce, 2014

Addressing the public through a Hessian translator, the headless horseman offered an apology for terrorizing the small community since 1790. “I guess I lost my mind and hurt some people, and for this I am sorry,” said the horseman to a crowd of at least a dozen people. Looking around the room (I think he was looking around because his shoulders were moving) he quipped, “I was expecting more people. But I guess if someone told me who was speaking today I would’ve stayed home, too!

“But seriously, folks, thanks for braving the cold weather and coming here. As some of you might know, I was born in Germany in 1753. At 23 I became a mercenary with the British army and fought against the colonies.”

Boo! Boo! Cut off his arms! Take his horse! The crowd erupted.

-People, please! You have to understand it wasn’t you. I needed the money. Please, let me explain.

You may continue. The crowd quieted.

-It wasn’t easy leaving my country to fight for another country. That’s like leaving your house to live in someone else’s. At first, it’s like…okay…I can do this. I can eat like a pig and not clean up after myself. I can go hog-wild because this isn’t my place. But then bullets start flying at you. And you come to the realization that maybe this wasn’t a good idea. But then you start plundering…and you’re like…this ain’t so bad! Sure, I didn’t need to set that town on fire back there, but at least now I can eat. How am I doing so far?

What were you like before the war, you know, when you had a head?

-I was a lot like you. I had dreams. I had feelings. I would’ve stuck my neck out for anybody.

Why did you become a mercenary for the other side?

-The colonies weren’t hiring. Otherwise I would’ve fought with you guys, and I’d probably be sitting here right now with my head. If you ask me, I think England spent too much energy fighting the French in the 50s. Fighting successive wars can be quite taxing, if you get my drift.

What’s it like having your head blown off by a cannon ball? Is it as cool as it looks in the movies?

-Having your head blown off is not fun. For starters, you never see it coming. It’s not like there’s a whistling sound that warns you so you can get out of the way. When it hits you you’re like, what happened? Then darkness swallows you, followed by a warm, dull ache. And you want to throw up but you can’t because you can’t find your head. So your stomach is in knots – twisting, turning. Getting your head blown off is no walk in the park.

Why does everyone think you’re a legend?

-I don’t know. Take away my reign of terror, I’m just an average guy. But people like to dwell on my dark side. Do you know that somebody in Cleveland started a rumor about me forming a club called The Society for the Defamation of People with Heads? Do you think I enjoy chasing people around and throwing pumpkins at them? There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I did to Ichabod Crane. But YOU spend the majority of your afterlife without a head and let’s see how jovial you are! I wish things could be different, I really do. I wish I could wake up tomorrow morning and read in the obituary section HEADLESS HORSEMAN DIES, THIS TIME FOR REAL. He is survived by his horse, and those members of society who managed to avoid him like the plague. Will this make you happy?

YES, IT WILL!

-You don’t mean that. Deep down you like me. You like telling stories about me.

NO, WE DON’T. WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, YOU SCARE THE HELL OUT OF US!

-But I’ve grown attached to Sleepy Hollow. I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to go!

Stealing a line from An Officer and a Gentleman will not help you, Sir.

-How ‘bout I only come around when you’re in the mood to be frightened, say, at Halloween?

Uh, we don’t…

-You can set up a park and charge admission! I promise to throw wide, maybe just scare you a little.

We suppose you’ll want a percentage?

-I’ll have my people get in touch with your people.

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