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Fly Tiers love ancient ritual, which ritual is a harder lesson

Dull Knife sleeps alone 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…

Dude, NASTY.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 …

11 Comment(s)

  1. Fat Guy Alex | Feb 3, 2009 | Reply

    There is a strange kind of molestation going on here, but I can’t quite put my finger on exact brand.

    Like when you catch a small whiff of something strange on the breeze and you can’t tell if it’s the neighbors cooking or the decay of that squirrel you ran over in the driveway 2 days ago.

  2. KBarton10 | Feb 3, 2009 | Reply

    “For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind.”
    ?Yoda

  3. Steve Dobson | Feb 3, 2009 | Reply

    Here is a simple rule of thumb I use:
    If you spot it before you smell it, it’s fair game for tying supplies. If you find it because you smelled it, tell your buddy where it is and get some of the fur from him later.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  4. SMJ | Feb 3, 2009 | Reply

    They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps.

    Now suppose a fellow were to stumble across a dead Great Blue Heron…

  5. KBarton10 | Feb 3, 2009 | Reply

    Then, allegedly, all bets are off and it’s every Man for hisself.

  6. Charmed Life | Feb 3, 2009 | Reply

    Being the spouse of the alleged Mr X, I can only attest to the delightful aroma that emanated from the future-fly tying material. MUCH appreciation to SingleBarbed who suggested treating this treasure somewhere other than my kitchen sink.

  7. Steve Dobson | Feb 3, 2009 | Reply

    A fellah was hauled in front of the Judge down here for shooting a Great Blue Heron.

    He explained that his kids were starving and he was desperate for food. That was why he killed the bird.

    The Judge was touched by his plight and decided to let him off with a stern warning.

    As the man was leaving the court house the Judge asked him, strictly from curiosity, what the Heron had tasted like.

    Well, the man said, kind of a cross between a Bald Eagle and a Spotted Owl.

  8. Matt | Feb 3, 2009 | Reply

    That is flat-out the gnarliest fly tying materials story I’ve ever heard.

  9. SMJ | Feb 3, 2009 | Reply

    It’s kind of funny how women think they have the right to decide what is and isn’t allowed in the kitchen sink. If it’s something they care about, like their hair, their lingerie, or a baby that just crapped himself, then it’s OK to wash it in the kitchen sink. If it’s something I care about – a good paintbrush, a fly line, or some “free” fly tying materials, it’s “Do that outside.”

    One other thing: we wouldn’t dry our hands on your lace curtains if you hung towels on the curtain rod like you’re supposed to.

  10. Dave | Feb 3, 2009 | Reply

    And here all I was thinking Mr X did was cut a snippet of shinny yarn from her knitting basket.

  11. KBarton10 | Feb 3, 2009 | Reply

    Mrs X – my condolences, the only appropriate penance for the angler is to allow you to wash and starch his fishing vest. Bring Kleenex, it won’t be pretty…

    SMJ – that is the most eloquent rebuttal possible – and there’s not a dry eye in the house. Unfortunately “Mrs. X” owns the house and she’ll determine fact and fantasy.

    Matt – it’s a definite “8” on a ten scale, but we’re just starting to confess a multitude of sins.

    Dave – if he did that there’d be more blood in the picture, and “X” would’ve slurred his speech due to the puffed lip.

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