I found Mudrock, my personal muse, pouring a quart of 90-weight into his '68 Mustang.
"Mudrock, that stuff's for the rear end not the engine. Have you ever thought about new gaskets for that beast?"
"Nope. Ever' last part on this car is original an' replacin' any of 'em might lower its value."
"The value of this heap can't get any lower and the real reason you won't change gaskets is that to get to them, you'd have to dig through more sludge than you'd find in the LaBrea tar pits."
"Lar, you come here to do anythin' other than insult my car?"
"Now that you ask, I did. I was deer hunting near Twisp and I've got a story that's a bit hard to believe. I thought that if you believed me, I'd go ahead and tell everyone else."
"Story wouldn't be that you finally hit somethin' you was aimin' at would it? Ain't no one gonna swallow that one."
"Now who's insulting whom?"
"Just gettin' back for that comment on my Mustang. What's your story?"
"Well, I'd gone several days without seeing anything, so I began looking for other areas to hunt. I found one that looked flat and that had a few ponds nearby, so I decided to take a look. I got there early and grabbed my rifle along with my map and a compass."
"Forgettin' somethin' ain't you?"
"Your readin' specs, Lar. Your arms ain't long enough anymore to even sort out headlines."
"Yeah. I had my reading glasses too. So, I started in. Map in one hand. Compass in the other. Glasses perched on my nose and, about then, I was overcome with the need to divest myself of the two cups of coffee and the bottle of water I'd had earlier that morning."
"Man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, Lar."
"So I'm standing there doing my part to prevent forest fires when I heard this crashing in the bushes about 10 yards away. When I turned, all I saw was the back end of a really big animal. Mudrock, you've got to understand, my brain was in deer hunting mode. It'd be like you were fishing for trout and the Loch Ness monster surfaced ten yards from your canoe. What would you have done then?"
"Probably put a stopper in whatever I'd been nippin' at."
"I hadn't had anything to drink, though, and, when this thing turned around, my eyes started sending some pretty frantic signals to my brain -- telling it that there was a full-grown bull moose 10 yards away."
"By the way, Lar, were you still marking his territory?"
"Really bad idea. Gets 'em upset as all get out."
"It gets worse. He started moving my way and that's when I realized, One: This moose looked angry. Two: He probably weighed a thousand pounds and I wasn't anywhere near as big. Three: I didn't have enough gun and what I did have was still on my shoulder. Four: It was past time to leave and my hunter ethics told me that since he'd been there before me, I'd let him have the spot. Luckily, he let me go in peace."
"So, why you tellin' me all this?"
"I needed to know if you'd believe I saw a full-grown bull moose near Twisp."
"Hell, Lar, don't see why not. Fits right in with you talkin' to your dog over coffee at breakfast an' thinkin' the Saints have a football team."
"You're not going to forget that crack about the car are you?"
"Nope, now pass me another quart of 90-weight."
"I'd love to be here when your starter tries to stir that stuff on a cold morning."
"Let it be, Lar, or I'll let folks know what you look like tryin' to fly fish."
Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to: email@example.com
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