Excerpted from General Granblaniar Vol. 5: Triumph, Fear and Other Emotions. (Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.)
Feb. 9, 1807
Birth of Granblanìar aboard English packet ship Hurricane II. Full baptismal name: Fernando Jose Napoleon Granblanìar de la Queso y Augusto Compresa Corto Linderman. Senora Granblaniar is pronounced dead during especially treacherous onboard labor. It is a point she will raise with her son many, many times in the coming years.
Oct. 23, 1814
Local banditti raid on the Granblaniar hacienda in Ecuador, forcing the family to hide in a cramped wardrobe while estate is plundered. During terror, Granblaniar tells his father that he shall devote his life to seeking justice, for wealthy and impoverished alike, and also to please stop standing on his right ear.
Participates in Grand Tour of Europe. Approaches Lord Byron at a roadside osteria outside Rome. Not fully appreciating whom he has encountered, asks Byron only for directions and as an afterthought whether he thinks his new waistcoat makes him look “a little like a fatty-fat fat-fat.”
Learns of death of father, from complications related to chronic lack of common sense. Rushes home on the merchant ship Electra, where he is told he shall come into an inheritance worth forty million cruzdados. Is unsure whether this means he’s rich or not. (He is, but just barely.)
Begins attending revolutionary salons in Caracas with other young members of the aristocracy. Finds himself becoming intoxicated by talk of radical social equality, pledges of unity with the peasantry, an impatient atmosphere of transformation, and costly gin. In his first act of solidarity with the lower classes, vows to always personally lift the silver platter dome off any meals he is served (breakfast foods, dessert cart selections and weekdays excepted).
Friends introduce Granblaiar to Teresa Maria Tequila, daughter of a wealthy silver mine operator. Each finds the other entrancing, and they instantly develop a passionate attachment based on mutual adoration of Enlightenment philosophy and hushed, polite sex.
April 3, 1828
Outbreak of civil war in Greater Venezuela. Outside Caracas, Granblaniar named Comandante of rebel brigade, assigned to fight flanking action against Spanish viceregal army. Distinguishes himself as a wily tactician by organizing several highly successful retreats in the face of much smaller forces.
May 4, 1829
Secret marriage to Teresa Maria Tequila, in opposition to wishes of his mother Senora Granblaniar.
Meets two men who will eventually become key figures in his life: Future rival Luis Santa Andres, then a captain in the hussars; and the man who would soon become his personal secretary, Umberto Tancreda, then an object of mirth.
Late Sept., 1830
Spanish Viceroy secures Caracas with royal army. Granblaniar returns to Europe in exile, taking Umberto Tancreda along with him as his personal secretary but accidentally leaving sunglasses behind.
Dec. 14, 1830
Prints celebrated advertisement in Times of London: “Dauntless patriot of the world seeks occasion to fight aside fellow warriors for liberty, wherever we might strike, asking in exchange only some little tincture of glory for himself and the surety that tyranny has been in some manner thrust back. Or best offer. – FJNGDLQYACCL.”
Learns rumors of coup d’état overthrowing Spanish rule. Returns to Venezuela in the guise of a mustache repairman. Arrested on arrival and jailed in infamous Maldeyuc prison.
While incarcerated, writes pamphlet On the Rights of Every Free Man, which, with the help of sympathetic guards, is smuggled beyond the prison walls inside an empty gourd. Also pens the story of a dancing, magical gourd, which is smuggled out inside another, even emptier gourd.
Sept. 2-5, 1832
Proposed public health measures lead to destabilizing rumors among superstitious peasantry. Open rebellion emerges with reports that government plans to introduce forced childhood vaccinations as well as requirement to at least rinse fruits and vegetables before using them in salads. The so-called February Revolutions shake capital cities throughout northern states of South America. As elite rulers flee, Granblaniar is freed from prison and rushes to Lima to participate in first Congress of the Federal Americas.
Oct. 14, 1832
Becomes signatory to Federal Constitution, bringing former Spanish colonies into political union. Document promises equal rights to all, respect for basic human dignity and a strong defense force. This will be commemorated as Federation Day throughout the region.
Oct. 15, 1832
Five thousand mestizos rounded up/arrested throughout newly formed federal republic on suspicion of being unduly loyal to the old monarchies, Spanish rule, or their homeowner’s associations. This will be commemorated as Round Up/Arrest Day throughout the region.
Nov. 11, 1833
Death of beloved wife Teresa Maria. Granblanìar vows never to marry again. He does, however, purchase a hamster, which he names Bananas and attempts to dress up in tiny petticoats.
Confesses to rage at learning that his rival Santa Andres has been promoted to regimental Colonel and pleads with Federation Congress to provide him a similar promotion. This begins the so-called “battle of the rankings” between the two, each struggling to stay one step superior to the other in military position.
Aug. 11, 1834
Death of Bananas. Vows never to purchase another hamster and instead proposes overhasty marriage to the widow Ana Fuentes, to whom he promises a life of devotion and rapture.
Aug. 11, 1834 (A little later that day)
Aug. 13, 1834
Death of the widow Ana Fuentes.
Feb. 19, 1835
Radicalized elements of national guard seize control of capital and declare the so-called Rule of the Five Hundred. Granblaniar named public enemy and goes into hiding.
March 2, 1835
Escapes capital disguised as a humidor. Flees to swamps of Nicaragua to set up exile camp.
Working to keep his mind active, takes up music. Owing to paucity of available instrumentation, as well as constricted talents and inability to focus, attempts only the slide whistle and cymbals. However, develops brutal, night-long practice regimen in hopes of achieving mastery. Soldiery respectfully informs him that these sessions are causing general sleeplessness in camp or, at best, psychotic nightmares, but he feels consumed by his new passion.
Informed by personal secretary Tancreda that calculations show exile camp now numbers more than ten thousand exiles. Emboldened, Granblaniar writes to ruling junta confidently swearing he will return at the head of a conquering expatriate army. (Upon going to review camp personally, realizes Tancreda probably carried too many zeros and the actual number of exiles is, at best, seven or eight people, tops.)
Distraught over apparent misplacing of beloved cymbals, turns his attention to learning how to bake.
Late Fall 1837
Receives reports that Rule of Five Hundred is becoming increasingly unpopular back home. Orders preparations for return to homeland.
Overthrow of the Five Hundred by coalition of aristocrats, clergy and Junior League members. Granblaniar called back from exile.
March 8, 1838
Upon arrival home, learns that Federation Congress has promoted him to Brigadier-General one day ahead of similar honor being accorded to rival Santa Andres. Laughs silently to self.
May 3, 1838
Mulatto fishermen near Kingston report capture in their netting of what appears to be a pair of cymbals bearing numerous mallet and hammer indentations.
May 27, 1838
Takes up residence in capital, accepting position as Minister of War. Refuses proposed salary, declaring the people need the funds more than he. However, does accept proposal of complimentary beef on wheat toast with fries.
After encouragement from friends, begins writing memoirs.
Puts on uniform once again to fight uprising of peasants in Oxxapha. However, complains of body pains shortly after leaving for campaign.
Unable to continue march, reluctantly turns command over to rival Santa Andres.
July 30, 1839
Specialists sent for as Granblaniar shows symptoms of malaria and early onset raisin allergy.
Early Aug., 1839
As his condition worsens, moved by mule to seaside lodgings in order to take in coastal waters. During journey, secretary Tancreda records Granblaniar’s delirious ravings. Later historians decipher his mumbling as a northern dialect of Hindi, which he never studied, and comprised mainly of the epilogue for the pilot episode of My Mother the Car.
Aug. 23, 1839
In one feverish night, pens legendary Splendid Manifesto On Freedom, ordering it rushed to Federation Congress. Due to postal mix-up, document is addressed to Randolph Dropner, age twelve, of West Haven, Conn. (USA).
Continuing his literary output after recovering from illness, completes memoirs, titling the work, From the Struggle Shall Arise Our Power. Makes decision to trust publication to a startlingly lethargic literary agent, Enrico Manyana. Decision will result in cover design that includes sketch of what appears to be three turtles making love, as well as several hastily written international translations.
Oct. 3, 1839
When informed rival Santa Andres has been named Major-General one week before himself, Granblaniar smiles wanly and pretends not to care all that much. Is seen, however, snapping two pencil tips while working a Sudoku.
Entertains novelist Herman Melville at his hacienda. Later tells friends that he laid out to the author the central themes for what would become Moby-Dick. Examination of Melville’s private journals reveals that the author spent the evening, as far as he remembers it, thinking about whether string cheese can be effectively used in sandwiches.
Feb. 13, 1840
Federal marshals arraign Randolph Dropner, age
twelve, of West Haven, Conn. (USA), after he declares his former wet nurse to be a “free city.”
May 7, 1841
Breakaway republics declare “eternal, full, and irrevocable separation” from Federation. Santa Andres named commander-in-chief of western armies to put down secession.
May 8, 1841
Granblaniar’s memoirs translated into Portuguese with title, How I Struggled to Get My Muscle Arisen.
May 11, 1841
Hearing of Santa Andres appointment, breakaway republics issue new declaration, insisting that previous announcement of separation was of course meant to be taken ironically.
As rivalry reaches high pitch, flustered High Command inadvertently asks out Granblaniar and Santa Andres for the same night to the same restaurant. On being confronted by both at the bar, blurts out new commission to each, telling them they are being raised to Supremiest Generalissimo of the Armies.
July 11, 1841
Concerned about republican spirit spreading to his own nation, Emperor of Brazil declares war on Federation. Granblaniar takes place as head of the so-called Patriotic Brigades to fight Emperor.
Memoirs published in France with the title, How Come All Last Week My Sides Felt So Moist?
Sept. 10 1841
Granblaniar defeats Brazilian vanguard, earning citation from Republican High Command for dexterous utilization of terrain and weather conditions and perfectly positioned enfilades. Responds by courier to High Command with famed declaration: Sí, sí. Yo er la intención complessemo de que. (“Yes, yes. I, er, totally meant to do that.”)
Learns he has been elected by Congress as Second Vice-President in absentia, when he receives withholding allowance forms.
Senora Granblaniar announces she will accompany her son on his upcoming campaigns. Writes to the quartermaster that she desires to be treated like any common non-commissioned soldier, the exception being it might not be “so bad” to assume that this one soldier could turn out to be the General’s mom.
May 1, 1842
Memoirs appear as the libretto for an Italian light opera with the title If Wishes Were Knishes (I’d Be Running a Deli By Now)
Senora Granblaniar begins her nightly routine of indiscriminate and
largely gratuitous berating in the barracks.
Aug. 2, 1842
Battle of Xacuzxeppexa. Granblaniar encircles demoralized Brazilian troops, forcing an unconditional surrender. Allows enemy soldiers to retain their private firearms while returning to their hometowns; however, orders confiscation of all snacks.
Sept. 13, 1844
Triumphal parade down boulevards of Quito, Ecuador. In a resolution, city assembly becomes the first to style Granblaniar with the epithet “The Grand Warrior.” (Rejected appellations include: “The Great Participant,” “Very Snappy Dresser,” and “Dorito Breath.”)
Federation Congress finally ends the so-called battle of the rankings between Granblaniar and Santa Andres by flatly refusing to establish proposed new title of Mariscal de Campo Multiplicado Por Infinidad Más Uno, or “Field Marshall Times Infinity Plus One.”
Sept. 23, 1844
Mulatto fishermen near Kingston report capture in their netting of what appears to be Senora Granblaniar bearing numerous mallet and hammer indentations.
Sept. 23, 1845
Granblaniar returns to family hacienda, telling friends he plans to retire from public life and turn his attention to exploring the wonders of Nature.
Memoirs appear in Bulgaria as a cookbook marketed to recent amputees and singles over thirty-five.
Departs for private voyage to remote flatlands of Rio Orinoco Valley. On return, learns that during political strife in federal capital over past months, he had been named, in his absence, to new ruling junta. Also learns he was also subsequently overthrown before serving two terms as military president and then being ousted during coup led by woodwind section of the coast guard marching band, all in his absence.
June 9, 1847