I defy anyone from having a more bizarre experience than Jon and I did today.
We were driving to pick up a certified letter sent to me at an address I haven’t lived in for 9 years, but still own. I was nervous about what the heck it could be, because, let’s face it, for us this summer has been filled with more bad news than a Jerry Springer episode, hell than a Jerry Springer season, and I didn’t expect the letter to offer any relief. Especially since immediately after retrieving the letter, we were scheduled to visit my 91 year old dad in the hospital with an undiagnosed illness.
We were travelling at about 40 mph when out of the corner of my eye on a busy road, we passed something odd. I shouted to Jon “stop, what the heck is that, is it a moose, what is it, turn off here so we can check it out.” Jon is not altogether surprised by these exclamations as we frequently drive by “must have” photo opportunities, and he’s learned to handle the instantaneous stopping and turning deftly.
We drove onto the nearby access road and after scouring the area, I asked Jon to get out of the car and peer through the leaves with me. I found it. It was big, but maybe not moose big, but unlike a deer. Jon thought it might be a horse. I stared and stared and saw the flutter of something mane-like while Jon looked for a way to cut through the wooded area. “Don’t scare it” I admonished maybe once or ten times. I was concerned he would scare the animal out into the road, and with my leg in a brace, any path through the wooded embankment was unwise, so I couldn’t hike down beside him. There was no easy way to cut through the trees and overgrowth, so Jon drove back around to where I’d first seen it. I stayed on the access road somewhat hidden behind a tree to waiting for it to run by me with the hope of catching a photo.
I looked on nervously as Jon walked carefully toward the beast, treading lightly, making no sudden movements. I was too fearful for the creature to even shout one more “Don’t scare it”.And then Jon started back to his car. “What is it?”, I called out to him. From down the hill, Jon answered something but I couldn’t hear him with all the traffic noise. I asked maybe three times and ultimately made out – “it’s stupid, it’s stupid”.
Jon drove back around to meet me and I insisted on going back to where he had been for a closer look and a photo. It was a fully taxidermied maybe wildebeest/gnu that was on a pedestal as if it had been in a museum diorama. On closer examination what I took to be stripes might have been tears in the animal hide so I am not sure what the beast was because he was lacking his head. And FYI, I know it was a he because, well, it wasn’t lacking testicles.
I limped to the abutting business and asked about it. The attendant was curt and dismissive. He absolutely didn’t want to talk about it and tried to stifle my now full blown curiosity overload. He brusquely said “It’s a joke, just a joke” and refused to engage with me beyond that.
So I am left to my own imagination…..
“What happened to the head?”
Jon suggested it was hanging on someone’s wall. That seemed plausible. But where does one get a headless taxidermied wildebeest-like thing? … How does one deliver it? … Why leave it there?
That last question… that’s the one that added to my stresses….is this the second warning? The one that comes after the horse head in the bed? If so, they left out the opportunity to make it so much more fearsome to any man…. why not castrate it as further warning? Okay that’s a dispute that I wanted to steer clear of.
I hopped back into the car feeling much lighter in one respect and much creepier in another. The drive to the menacing post office was not nearly as nerve wracking. All it took was one headless gnu to make me realize my own troubles were not so great – I was neither the gnu nor the recipient of a headless gnu. I’d gladly take our more mundane concerns any day.