I get one of those hushed phone calls from “Mr. X” this weekend, I’m in between refills of the spinach dip – after a long trek up the creek that morning, and I’m thinking a serving of couch and Superbowl may be warranted.
It’s counsel that’s needed, and I know already the sin committed is horrible – it’s likely a triple threat; crime against society, crime against Nature, and pure crime – where something innocent suffers and we’re unashamed.
“Allegedly, …” the conversation begins in a whisper, “what would a fellow do if he stumbled across something that he knew he shouldn’t take, but he takes anyway – after sawing on the sumbitch with a dull Buck knife?”
” … and specifically, if a fellow was take such a thing, and it was in raw form – and wishing to disguise the crime by curing and drying the object, so’s his friends and spouse continued to speak to him, how would he do so?”
I’ve been here before. That critical junction in a fly tyer’s career where the Dark and Light sides of the Force are equidistant, and what I say next could tip the fellow in either direction. Knowing the weighty responsibility, I respond appropriately, “..what’s my cut?”
“There was this big dead seal and my friends told me not to touch it, but it had fur on it and so I carved it up!”
I told him, “I did that once, it was dark, I was drunk, and I tripped over it while carousing with pals at Ocean Beach. Naturally I had the same thought … seal fur is rare, expensive, and illegal, three stunning reasons to help myself. Problem was my carving hand was seeing double and went too deep, causing a goddamn tsunami of decaying flesh and gas to envelop my buddies, who no longer thought fly tying was quaint – and after we’d all finished puking, they said I’d ‘harshed their buzz.’ ”
As a reformed whore, I diligently describe how to prepare his “find”, how to keep it out of sight of his spouse, where to hang it so the neighborhood cats don’t serenade the thing all night, and how to cauterize the interior of his brother’s car to get the smell out.
Today, I get a “before” picture in my email…
I’ve changed my mind and revoke all style points awarded this weekend.
Fly tiers love American Indian rituals, and often refer to each other by their Indian names.
Dull Knife? This is a corpse you count coup on – not something you scalp.
“Counting Coup” is when you’re close enough to your enemy to touch him with a “coup stick” (not your fingers) – which demonstrates your bravery and fearlessness.
“Scalping” is when you wish to be “imbued with the powers of your enemy” – or want to double your money on concert tickets.
While not a board certified pathologist, the shrunken and discolored facial area, multitude of white dots where hair used to be, coupled with the distended stomach and flotation of the corpse, suggests you’ve acquired a fistful of something that might not ever smell sweet.
In a case like this, summon your buddies closer, make sure they’re on the downwind side, get your camera ready and puncture …