Archive for Harrowing Tales

From Battling Lions to Battling the Mind

The mind is the most deceptive beast of all, wild at heart, impossible to tame, unseen to any. Fighting the mind is like fighting a ghost, punch all you want, you’re only hitting air. I recently had the ultimate battle with my mind, and it did not end well.

It all started several months ago when I received a letter to join a dinner party of fascinating guests, I had another such party that night, in fact most of my free nights are filled with such parties, so I declined. Several weeks later, while organizing a tiger fight for impoverished children, I received a package marked urgent. I opened the package to find a rotten severed head. Inside the mouth was my declining RSVP to the dinner party, below it was a poorly handwritten note in blood asking me to reconsider. Well, anyone who goes to these lengths probably knows how to throw the superior dinner party on that particular Thursday evening, so I RSVP yes and throw an old eyeball in the envelope to further the theatrics. I chuckled to myself as I imagined the organizer trying to find the meaning of the eyeball. I just had one laying around, glad I had not thrown it away.

When the night arrived, I was exhausted returning from a stampede gone wrong in the Serengeti. I thought for a moment about bailing, but then I remembered, I only bail from damaged aircraft and parties that are clearly lame. I put on my best Maori warrior ceremonial robe and called my carriage around. After waiting nearly 18 minutes, I remembered that my carriage was destroyed by the Garulli brothers in a daring chase a few weeks back and that I shall have to take my war era motorcycle. Luckily it has a side car in case there is a lady of interest at the party. I put a large wheel of cheese in the sidecar as it will look funny when I pull up. Also makes a great gift, and I’m not going to eat all that cheese.

I arrive at precisely the right moment. The princess of Monaco is walking in frustrated with her date for not being a gentlemen. I swoop in and offer my services as an escort for the night. She accepts and her former beau is taken out back… The house is exquisite, solid marble interior with the bones of many great beasts adorning the walls. The butler takes us through the grand foyer into the waiting room. We are all offered a choice between three treats; a Rhodesian truffle, a blood red gelatin, or a hibiscus tea, then we are warned that one of the treats is a very strong hallucinogenic. Mmm, my kind of party. I suspect the tea, but that is the obvious choice, what sort of mad man are we dealing with. My first choice is blood as usual, but being a gentlemen, I let the lady pick for both of us. She chooses the blood gelatin, my kind of girl. We slurp it back like classless 10th graders and enter the dining room. Most of the guest have arrived and the butler tells us to choose our seats, but warns us to choose wisely. Each seat has in front of it a salad plate, a set of silver, two goblets, and a weapon of sorts. We see two seats open in the dark corner with a flintlock pirate pistol and a flail with excellent spikings on the ball. The princess sits at the seat with the flail leaving me with the pistol. There is mild chatter amongst the guests, mostly curiosity about the weapons and what treat all had chosen. Most went for the trifle, this should be interesting.

Finally, the host enters the room and explains why he gathered us all here. He went into some long complicated story which quickly lost my interest. The only intel I picked up on was that all of the treats were spiked. Things were quickly heating up between the princess and I and as the hosts story looked to be nowhere near completion, I excused the both of us to break away for some wild lovemaking in an strange place. I could tell you about the sex, but that would require a whole new story, suffice to say, it was grand. We returned to the dining hall to find all had left except for the two who had died right off, typical at these things, part of the reason I excused us. Sure I missed the explanation for the night, and any ground rules, but I find it’s more fun to figure those out for yourself. Most likely it’s a challenge to survive the night.

Do I regret attaching myself to this lovely women that I will now have to protect for the rest of the evening, of course not. Surviving one of these is easy, I’ve done so countless times and I appreciate the extra challenge. Also, my father taught me to never pass up the opportunity to have sex with a princess.

We take our weapons and make our way out through a side door as the foyer is certainly a death trap. We find ourselves in a long hallway with many doors, you would think they would have a little more creativity with these things. No, I’m pretty sure this party was set up by the same guy who plans all of these. He’s hard to get because he’s the best murder night party planner, but after a while, his stuff becomes cliché. Still, it’s better than the second rate guys – boooooooring.

Just then, I feel that all too familiar situation, the hallucinogenics are kicking in. I check in with the princess who is now grinning ear to ear and saying thumbs up to a painting on the wall. I tell her we must keep moving right as she decides to smash the paintings head with her flail, claiming it was speaking in tongues to her. Whatever they put in the blood gelatin was strong.

Now the floors begin to move and I am not sure if it is the drugs or a hydraulic floor system, but when a wall shoots up between the princess and myself, I’m pretty sure this house is rigged. I attempt to kick through the wall, but it is impossible. I hear a scream from the other side and fear that the world has lost a great woman, but the scream is followed by the Moroccan war cry and the sound of a body hitting the floor. All is well for now as that was clearly a man’s body. This princess may be a keeper. I take the only path I can and enter a room filled with toy baby dolls – nice and creepy. Then one of the dolls begins to speak to me. No big deal, I had my own version of a Teddy Ruxpin as a child. It was a real bear that my father had tied a tape player to, similar concept. The doll told me that I was more than what I had become. Clearly this was an open ended message intended for anyone else, for it would be very difficult for me to be much more that what I have become – I’m not the world’s second foremost preeminent professional adventurer. I used my one pistol shot to take out the doll for insulting me, and to add to the challenge. I now go forth weaponless.

There is no exit door to this room, only a mirror that they clearly want me to look into. I do so and say Candyman three times just to add to the fun, and in the off chance that Candyman is real, should I die in here, at least I know he’ll avenge me. Feel bad for the princess though, because no one survives the Candyman. In the mirror, I see the usual site, a rugged handsome man with a twinkle of insecurity in his eye, but then, that image disappears and the mirror is now blank. What is the message here, is it to look inside myself to see the emptiness, or is it that the whole world is an illusion just like this mirror.. oh wait, someone is now standing on the other side mirroring me. No message, just waiting for the guy to switch out. This man is an excellent replica of me, and he is very good at trying to mimic my movements. I touch my nose, he does the same with impeccable timing, I scratch my ear, he is right there. I perform my favorite Japanese kata, he knows it well. I touch my nose then mouth rapidly, he’s still there. So I jab my own eye, he fakes it, you can’t fake tears. He tells me enough charades and goes into his spiel. I am to believe that he is in fact me and that I am the reflection in the mirror. My entire life is just waiting on the other side of a mirror for him to look into. He tells me facts about my life that I have long forgotten. The drugs are in full effect, my mind is starting to accept his story, I am slowly losing my grasp on reality. This man is very convincing, but I know one event the internet cannot have told him about me. I ask him what was the princesses finishing move, he knows he’s caught and does his best to make up an answer.

“The Crab” he says.

How did he know, is my entire life an illusion, am I not the world’s foremost preeminent professional adventurer. I can see behind me that the room is slowly melting away, the man in front of me now has an unnerving grin across his face. He has raised my former pistol and has it trained on me. There is an ominous laughter coming from every direction. My grasp on reality is nearing the end. It has been a great life, I have been in far more harrowing of ordeals, but I cannot fight the mind like a pack of lions, no, because I only fight to kill, and it’s against my religion to kill myself – the religion of survival. I am trapped in a conundrum. I curl up into a ball and begin to weep uncontrollably. I scream out “make it stop” to no prevail. I have lost all hope.

Just then, I hear an all too familiar war cry. My daring princess smashes through the wall like a ravenous Kool-Aid Man, she has abandoned the flail and now carries a scythe which she quickly uses to decapitate the head of my imposter. His blood splatters everywhere, adding to her already blood soaked body. She takes the head and adds it to her belt collection – five kills, she’s been busy. She scoops me up and carries me out kicking through an onslaught of attack hounds that had been released. She makes her way to a third story window that looks out over a cliff. She tells me that I must jump and try to avoid the rocks below. I ask her if she will join me.

“No” she replies, “I must find another way out so it’s not all awkward later.”

With that, she gives me a memorable goodbye kiss then pushes me on my way. It’s a long fall to the icy water below, but I am entranced by her kiss and only remember in the last moments to make way for the rocks, there were a lot of them.

I swam over and commandeered a nearby boat. As I sailed off, I could hear her war cry in the distance. In the end it was she who protected me through the night, perhaps if she hadn’t found me crying of the floor, she would be sailing off with me. Oh well, she may be too much woman for me, besides, she has royal duties to attend to, me, I have surviving to do, and these, these are shark waters. Bring me a storm God.

Mount’n Everest

Today is a great day, for today is the day I’m going to tell you the story of my climbing of Mt. Everest.

I know, climbing Mt. Everest is not such a big deal these days. The peeving people of the world are flocking in droves to reach her peak. They claim health and causes are their cause. No, its for bragging rights. I know of such needs very well, for why else would I become the worlds preeminent professional adventurer.

On this day, my climb was not for bragging rights, though I’ve earned them. It was for survival, the most basic of needs, and number 1 on my list. Survival from what – the men chasing me. Why was I being chased, who was after me, what had I done? I’ll tell you:

I was on the run from a pack of Nepalese badmen whom I accidentally crossed when my Polish joke got lost in translation. I went from being a distinguished guest in their hidden mountain fortress to enemy number 1, which if I’m going to be an enemy, I’m going to be #1.

I was forced to burn the hut we were gathered in to avoid instant death. I burst through a flaming wall like a big girl at a buffet and made a run for a nearby ice bank. The badmen were right behind me, firing their ancient muskets very poorly. I quickly gained ground as they repeatedly had to stop and refill their musket ammo.

I knew their hidden fortress lied on the steep side of Mt. Everest. I also knew base camp was just on the other side of the mountain. If I could make it there, I would find refuge. They had me surrounded in three directions, the only way to go was up. And like most astronauts could only dream, up I went.

Everest is the greatest mountain of all, thousands perish each year on its menacing face.
Climbing a great mountain is easy if you keep a few things in mind:
1. Breathe – It seems obvious, but people forget up here, and if a man can’t breathe, a man can’t fight.
2. Be in peak physical shape – Another obvious one, because if you’re not, what are you doing climbing the tallest mountain in the world.
3. Never give up – Ever. Every step is pain, let that bring a warm smile to your face and you’ll be up in no time.

I climbed through the night desperately seeking shelter. This is normally easy, but I’m on the side of an ice cliff; and the hallucinogenic tea the badmen First Lady had given me was in full effect. I envisioned that I was Luke Skywalker stuck out in Hoth moments from death. While I could not find a ton-ton to cut open with my light-saber, I did find a rotting mountain goat carcass. I cut it open, pushed the maggots aside, and was just about to crawl in when I saw that this goat was hanging out on the front stoop of his massive goat cave. I cleaned my hands of his disgustingness and walked inside.

It was miraculous, untouched by any but that goat for many many years. It felt like a haunted old cathedral as the glowing cave worms lit it up like a sunny stained glass day. The wind outside howled an ominous tone of danger and death. That sweet sound reminded me of my child hood and i was quickly lulled to sleep.

I awoke the next morning to find a new goat at the cave entrance. The look on her face showed the excitement some know of finding the perfect home. I congratulated her and set out on my journey. Outside, I could see the badmen closing in. They had gathered in force and now had their attack wolves in tow. The called up the mountain that I should surrender now and die like a man. Oh they do know how to persuade me. But no, I’ll die like a man one day, hopefully fighting a cage match with a lion, tiger and a king cobra at the same time, but not today, not to Nepalese. I would not go down as the worlds preeminent professional adventurer if I die at the hands of the worlds most peaceful people. The head bad man is the Dalai Lama’s nephew for Christ’s sake.

Instead of surrendering, I grabbed a handful of maggots and hurled down toward their leader. I missed him by a good measure as maggots are harder to accurately throw than I estimated. Instead, I hit his lovely life partner the First Lady. She was trained to never react to pain or insults, but this, this got her. She vomited on the spot causing some of the others to do the same. I apologized to her as I felt she was a very nice lady and did not deserve this. They offered me one more chance to surrender. I threw down another load of maggots, missing again, and, unfortunately, once again hitting that remarkable lady. This may not be the best use of my energy. It was time for action.

I took off up the mountain at a breakneck pace. I laughed ha ha when I saw they gave no chase. Nepalese are not runners by nature and they thought my actions were that of a man possessed by a demon. They did not want to come near me, so they set their wolves up after me. Oh it will be a blood red moon tonight.

Surviving a wolf attack is easy if you keep a few things in mind:
1. Don’t let them bite you, and if they do bite you, make it only once, otherwise you’re done.
2. You have to out animal the animal, be willing to get down and dirty. Freak them out.
3. The best fight is the one you can walk away from, with a pile of corpses behind you.

My gut told me now was not the time to fight the wolf gang, so I stopped running and instead took refuge in an ice wash that would be too difficult for them to traverse. I am not afraid of many things, but I am claustrophobic. Squeezing through the cavern was one of the most awful things I’ve ever had to do. I will admit now to you that I cried that day, i cried like a brave man, with tears of survival streaming down my face.

I came out the other side and actually kissed the ground, which was a bad idea because its solid ice and my lips instantly froze to it. I had little time for games, debates or tough decisions, so I went ahead and peed onto my frozen lips.

I’ve told many a tale of being within inches of my life after severe thrashing from natures best. I would take that any day over the scenario I was in. And if you’re wondering, yes, pee got in my mouth. A lot of pee.

Finally, I was freed from my golden shackles and once again climbed towards the sky. Having been through a series of less than ideal circumstances, I barely noticed that I had conquered a good chunk of the mountain and looked to be within a half day of the summit. Just then, out of the corner of my eye – through the blizzardrous winds – I saw a miracle. It was a short cut, rounding to the other side, making base camp all the closer. For a moment, I began to take the path, but then I realized: I’m never coming here again, at least not to climb this wretched mountain. Why not add Mt. Everest to my list of conquests. It can go somewhere near the bottom, just above knocking out that elephant.

So climb it I did; well, continued to do. I drudged forward, one foot at a time, like my old one legged sherpa Tadu had taught me. My altitude poisoning was so intense that I heard triumphant music in my head, increasing dramatically with each victorious step. I saw visions of Tadu, encouraging me onwards. I kept seeing these visions, and smiling and waving in memory of Tadu. Until he finally came up and slapped me, I did not realize that this was more than a hallucination. And yes, I remember now, Tadu is not dead at all, he often hangs out in the Himalayas. Hey, it’s always tough the day after a mind altering experience.

We were safe now, once again, Tadu had lead me out of deaths valley. Tadu said his goodbyes and closed with

“I must go, I have things Tadu.”

Then he turned and left and as he did, I instantly hated whoever taught him that joke. I went to enter the camp when I got that feeling, danger was near..

All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, the entire wolf pack dropped down onto Tadu, ripping him quickly to pieces. He had no chance against six vicious wolves, being an old one legged sherpa. It was a scene all too horrifying and familiar, why familiar – ha, that’s it. I saw a vision of this to come after drinking that snake ladies tea. That’s why I thought he was dead. I love it when my visions come true. I’m sad to loose a friend, but man, how cool is that, seeing the future. Then it hit me, the actual grief of losing more than a friend, but a teacher, a guardian, a wingman, a fellow adventurer. I posture that he may be the second greatest adventurer of our time.

With that, I leapt into the air and came down on those wolves with my spiked boots instantly taking two of them out. The blood match for revenge mountain had begun. Today, I was on top of the world for conquering the world, and those poor wolves had no chance. Within moments, they were all taken care of, and I threw a proper funeral for all who lay there in rest.

I tell you now, climbing Mt. Everst is easy compared to digging seven graves in solid ice. Why did I insist on doing that. Ruined the whole trip.

And yes, the Nepalese badmen eventually caught up with me. They demanded an apology. I of course refused as I never apologize for past actions, as I am a man of action, and as such, would be a hypocrite to the moment if I had to consider possibly regretting this action later. I also would be dead, for when a gators got you in her teeth, you can’t ponder possible regret, you must snap her jaws, right there, in the present moment.

The Nepalese could no longer act in violence as I was now surrounded by fellow climbers at base camp, and as everyone knows, climbers are a viscous bunch. Now that I had some time, I explained the joke that led to trouble, and they actually laughed and forgave me for that incident, but not for throwing maggots at the First Lady, for that, they swore to kill me when they had the chance. Could not have left things off more perfectly..

I walked down that stupid mountain with a large smile on my face knowing that I leave here with a new set of mortal enemies. Life is good, when its in danger.

The Sea and Me

The sea is angry, but not as angry as my one true friend Captain Thurton Hornsmore, the Captain as his crew calls him. He appreciates the sea as I appreciate ferocious beasts, but as he cannot stalk and murder the entire ocean, he must settle to tame it.

It is rare not to find me in the most treacherous places on this earth, and today is no exception. While I’m not in the jungle stalking a mammoth killer who believes itself to be stalking me, we are in hunt of a legendary sea monster who has been consuming numerous vessels of late. How did I end up on this god forsaken boat, I’ll tell you.

I was being kidnapped again by my arch nemesis Vernon Catswold, a vile little man who’s inferiority complex unsettles the best of them. I awoke on a cargo plane heading for his jungle stronghold in Belize. His goons had clearly tranquilized me while I was at the bar seducing a past amazonian lady-friend. What Vernon did not know was that my arm had been broken from fighting a pack of wild pandas earlier that day. I used the jagged edge of my exposed ulna to cut through my restraints.

Once free, I grabbed the harpoon gun from my ankle holster and shot a hole in the side of the plane. The wind shear turned that tiny hole into a massive one that sucked me out the side. The look on Catswold’s face as I escaped his clutches again was priceless. Imagine an angry baby, then imagine the face of the mother of that constantly angry baby as she watches that angry baby being carried out to sea. Definite hints of horror at the site, but even stronger is a look of guilt at the relief she feels. Sorry to get off track, that’s more of a childhood memory than accurate description of the look on Catswold’s face. His look was more of a ‘for the love of god, why does nothing ever work out for me’ look.

Here I was, contemplating how to later describe this look while falling from 15,000 feet up. I was not worried for I had read of at least two people surviving falls from this height. To be perfectly honest, I looked forward to this challenge; ever since reading of those great survivors, I desperately needed to know if I was so skilled in survival. For one can hardly call themselves the preeminent professional adventurer if one cannot match competitors survivals.

I flattened my body to create the most wind resistance and scanned my landing point options. Below there was an old barn, possibly a roof crash then some hay bales, no, too clichéd. There is a jungle, I could chance finding a soft tree to catch me. No, a soft tree is like a soft man, not reliable. The coast is within sight, water is my best option if I can make it. I angle towards the sea like a gliding squirrel. I use my jacket for extra glide. My altitude was rapidly decreasing and I was still over land, I leaned with everything I had and barely got over water in time for impact. Now here is where amateurs get dead, they try to go feet first like children. No, the sea demands respect, and sacrifice, in that order. You must commit. You must go head first, with your hands perfectly placed to deflect water, and that is exactly how I entered.

‘SPLASH’ said the water as I skillfully crashed through its deceptive surface. Down I went, deep. Unfortunately, I was boastfully describing my survival excellence aloud and forgot to take a deep breath before impact. There was no way I’d make it to the surface. What a way to go, drowning after such a beautiful dive, the ultimate high dive. Luckily, an old shark friend approached with a dead scuba diver in tow. How did he know I’d be here at this exact moment, sharks have a 7th sense, the highest of all senses. I took the respirator tank off the diver as she no longer had use for it and swam back up to the surface.

Here I was again, stranded in the ocean. Yes, the coast was near, but so was Catswold. I knew from experience that there was an island hideaway a few miles east as I had used it on previous escapes from the Catswold compound.

I swam the good swim to the island and even though I was extremely exhausted once I arrived, I restrained from collapsing on the shore like some sort of amateur shipwreck survivor. No, I pushed through and collapsed in the jungle like a dignified gentlemen. It was only then that I realized I was surrounded. I was bound, tied and taken to the leader of these ruffians, who just so happened to be my old friend the Captain.

He greeted me with a stern punch to the face, I returned the favor with a direct kick to the sack. His men stepped forward to fight, but he laughed and shooed them away. This was our usual greeting, when you’ve survived as much as we have, a handshake just seems patronizing.

The Captain was here to re up from his weapons stockpile buried on this isle. He welcomed me upon his rotting ship, but told me I’d work for my ride. This was his backup ship as his main voyager had been devoured by a beast only legends could describe.

The Captain was not on his favored ship when it was consumed, he was on a rare land vacation. One sole crew member, Tito, survived the encounter.He would guide us straight to the scene of the massacre.

We sailed through day and night. I felt my usual sea sickness, but I refused to succumb to vomiting over the side and making myself the butt of the crews amusement for the rest of the trip. No, I swallowed down each vomit attack like a man. After a day of such actions, I was over my sea sickness.

Finally, at the hour of midnight, we arrived at the treacherous spot. A storm lay in wait for our arrival. The sea whipped around meaninglessly like a man who still uses a whip. The boat shook, there were loud sounds of brruuurrgghh and craughhh. The crew scurried to keep the boat afloat. Suddenly, the man steering the ship was struck in the face by my fist. I could not allow some random Serbian to be responsible for my life when we’re in such peril. I took command of the wheel and cut it straight into the center of the storm.

They say hindsight is 20/20, not in a storm with zero visibility. I had only driven a ship once before, and that was just a speedboat, with Columbian drug lords chasing me and firing machine guns. Ah, the sea is fun.

The waves crashed furiously and we nearly capsized several times. Suddenly, the Captain was standing right next to me. He was awoken from his drunken slumber and was not happy to find his best Serbian passed out at the wheel. He took command of the wheel and vomited the bottle of gin he consumed off to the side. A true man, not afraid to vomit when he needed. I still had a thing or two to learn about being a captain.

He turned us away from the storms epicenter. Moments later, we were in bearable waters and the Captain called Tito to the deck. He demanded that Tito reenact the events that led to the fateful sinking so we could awaken the beast. Tito told a harrowing tale of battling the great monster. All listening were enthralled. It truly was a great story, but it was nothing more than that, a story. Having told a great deal of actual survival stories, and listened to many others in their attempts to sound brave, I know bogus from brilliant.

As Tito wrapped his story and the crowd applauded, I pulled my harpoon from my ankle holster and fired it right through Tito’s dancing leg. He yelped out in pain and that’s when I told him:

“Tito, I don’t consider you a threat and as a rule, I usually spare creatures I view as such. But when I have to swallow my own vomit and endure an annoying storm, I begin to second guess my rules. You’re story was great but it lacked one thing, the gleam of pride that glimmers in the eyes of any that has survived that which they should not have.”

As I went to reload my harpoon gun, Tito reluctantly told a much different story. One lacking great sea beasts and any harrowing at all. No, Tito borrowed the Captain’s ship to impress some girls. He took them out to sea for a drunken pleasure cruise and things got out of hand. While high on cocaine, Tito decided to play chicken with a cruise liner. He lost that battle, slamming into the cruise ship and sinking instantly. He used one of the girls as a floatations device as she was heavily bloated after eating everything in the ships pantry. He was rescued the next day and concocted a great story in an attempt to keep his job.

The Captain walked over to me and asked if he could borrow my harpoon gun, I handed it to him. He walked over to Tito, pointed the harpoon right between his eyes, then burst out laughing. He exclaimed:

“Playing chicken with a cruise ship while high on cocaine is how I sunk my first boat as well.”

He patted Tito on the back and and tossed me the harpoon gun. Everybody laughed, including Tito, until the Captain picked him up over his head and threw him over the side of the rotting ship.

“But it was my ship to sink!” Yelled the Captain. “If you make it back alive, you still have a job with me, but it’s shark week, and you’re bleeding bad out of that dancing leg.”

That was the end of another wild night. The next morning the Captain dropped me off in Florida, a terrible place. We went to say goodbye, but instead had a quick knife fight.

We hate goodbyes. The cold cut across my face will be much more memorable than an awkward hug.

No great stories of survival from me this time, for today is Tito’s to survive. I never asked the Captain if Tito made it. Perhaps I should ask my shark friend. I’m sure I’ll be in those waters again soon, for Catswold never gives up; the one admirable quality of a short man.

The Deadly Fountain of Life

Look, there are some things in life that you just can’t explain.
That knowing sensation when a lurking puma is about to pounce on you.
The déjà vu feeling you get every time you enter lost Mayan ruins.
Or how when making fierce love to an aborigine woman, you always culminate the act at exactly the same moment.

But now I shall tell you about something that no words can explain.

I had just begun what was sure to be an incredible expedition to find the fountain of youth. I am not interested I living forever for when you’ve lived the lives of a hundred men, there is little need. No I was more interested in helping preserve the timeless beauty of my life partner Anne Wilshemore Beastingsly.

The journey began deep in the amazon, an overrated river. Half of our crew had already gone mad and ate a tribe of cannibals. I’ve never much cared for cannibals, so I skipped the feast and those of us with a stomach for adventure carried on.

We came upon a daunting figure, a full grown man who was the size of a large doll. He warned us that peril lied ahead. “Of course it does” I countered gruffly and he moved aside.

We quickly saw of what he forewarned, a massive waterfall lay straight ahead. So he was the waterfall warner. Personally, I was more disturbed by the existence of that little man. Where did he come from, how does he exist. No time to worry on that now, we are going over the waterfall. I’ve gone over many a waterfall in my day and have always survived because I know the secret; avoid the rocks. I tried to yell this sage advice to my plunging companions, most chose to ignore it and thus screamed to their deaths.

I chose a jackknife dive to complete my ascent and was soon joined by a sole survivor who chose a poorly executed swan dive. While suerged I noticed a golden glowing orb. A clue for sure.

I swam deep to grab it, but it was not there for grabbing. It was a beacon. I looked above and saw my final companion struggling to stay afloat in the rapids. Wup, no, piranhas. Looks like the fellowship of youth has quickly died and it’s most elder member is the final survivor.

The orb illuminated an entrance to an underwater cave. I boldly swam through with hopes of a great discovery, but most importantly, some source of oxygen. I’ve never been keen on drowning and today would be a terrible day for it.

The cave was tight like a Japanese alley, but I slithered through. Then terror, the pass was blocked off. My body was now convulsing, screaming for oxygen. Once again I looked that old bitch death in the face, literally, I saw her right in front of me, so I took a swing at her. She dodged left forcing my hand through the wall like a karate dojo master tricked by a little Okinawan. Like the wall in front of me, my hand was broken.

Death did not want me today, she merely wanted to guide my anger. The hole I punched quickly expanded under the weight of the water and I plunged through down into an underwater lake.

I swam out and took a breath of victory then reveled at my surroundings. I was in a giant cocoon in the bowels of the earth. The air seemed to vibrate and the walls glowed with life and movement. I imagined symphonious music to make this moment all the better. Tchaikovsky if you’d like to imagine with me.

The pain in my hand had ceased and I noticed the three fingers I had previously lost to frostbite had regrown. The only conclusion worth boasting was that I, Nigel Crownhorn III, had discovered the fountain of youth.

Oh how I leapt in the air and performed what must have been my greatest heel click to date. I was more delighted than a kid in a weapon store. The squeals emanating from my lungs would arouse any Appalachian river man, luckily I was deep underground.

Was this discovery worth the countless lives of the fellowship, only they could tell, and dead men have no opinions.

So here I was, entombed in endless sustenance. I felt no hunger, I thirsted no thirst. All my needs were met, I yearned for nothing and that was exactly the problem. Nigel the III yearns to yearn!

A rare feeling of anxiety arose in me and I contemplated my escape. The hole I plunged through was at an impossible height. I could see no other passage. Surely whoever designed this room made a way out. For even the Lord himself always has an escape plan.

I had exhausted myself with thought when it dawned on me. These waters give life, but could they also take it?

Without hesitation I stepped boldly into the gentle waters to end my great life. I plunged face first and once again challenged oxygen to fulfill me.

They say death is beautiful. The many foes I have faced could tell you better than me, but was I about to experience the ultimate ride.

My body reached a daunting point and began to shake furiously. But in my shakes I could feel an even greater shaking. A rumbling reminiscent of a volcano about to blow overtook the cavern. The waters smoked with fury and changed colors rapidly. Magnificent shades of crimson, emerald and amber burst forth, then, weightlessness. I could feel my body rapidly shooting upwards on a geyser bound for nowhere. Moments before I hit the living ceiling, it parted making passage out to the land of the dieing. I was relieved to be free, but I was not relieved to continue upwards hundreds of feet into the air.

The water let up and I observed a beautiful view of the hidden valley. My trajectory was carrying me towards the edge of a great cliff. I reached out in a desperate attempt to grab some cliff side scruff but I was moving to fast. Just then a rope whipped around my right arm and my fall was painfully but necessarily halted. I looked up to see who my savior was and wouldn’t you know it was that tiny man who gives me the heebie jeebies, a feeling I am unaccustomed to. He pulled me to safety and I attempted to show my appreciation without showing my extreme discomfort of being this close to him. He congratulated me on my great conquest and patted me on my lower back. The thought of that little hand touching me so lightly still wakes me up screaming in the night.

He took me back to his camp and fed me a meal fit for a tiny king. He made me a bed and laid in the grass nearby. As soon as his eyes closed I got the hell out of there.

There are many unexplainable phenomena in the world, but that little man has me perplexed more than any. Where did he come from, how do his organs work, are his parents normal size, is he a figment of my imagination, has he ever made love to a woman, what kind of woman would make love to this anomaly, surely she would have to have serious issues.

Oh well, ponderings for another day. Must get a vile of the waters I wrenched out of my shirt to Anne before too much time passes.

Till next time.

Monkey Trouble

In my many years, I have never met a ferocious beast I didn’t like. They have all made great competitors in the grand fight to survive. But recently I encountered one who changed my opinion of beasts. He was a nasty bugger, who refused to die with dignity. He chose to go out in the most ungrateful way, and may I add, it was a pleasure to see him go. No one will miss this orangoutang.

The story begins now. I was hobbling forty seven miles back to my camp after a prolonged battle with a pack of jackals. The leaders head was tied across my chest as a sign of victory and respect. I collapsed under a eucalyptus tree parched from thirst. Death once again was rapping at my shoulder. Just then, a miracle; droplets began to fall upon my face, my mouth instinctually opened to receive the needed hydration. It hadn’t rained on the plain for two fortnight. And it wasn’t raining now..

I looked up through weary eyes to see a classless orangoutang urinating down on me. I’ll admit I needed the sustenance, but that was not his intent. It was a liquid slap to the face and I was not in a receiving mood. I sprang to my one good foot and demanded he come down and apologize at once. Those who don’t know me may believe me dim for demanding apologies from animals, but one as experienced as I knows the difference between talking and letting a fellow inhabitant of this planet know he just walked into a furious fecal storm.
The baboon scoffed at me and planted a storm of his own in his right paw then proceeded to throw it at me. He quickly learned the old proverb that its easy to pee upon a sleeping bull, but never throw shit at a pouncing dragon. I juked left and returned the favor, relieving myself into my own hand and landing it squarely in his screaming mouth. It was clear this was his first time eating foreign poo, and he did not approve. He had experienced the worst form of eye for and eye retribution and he was ready to step up the battle.

He swung down with thunder to kick me in the face, but I was ready for such an obvious monkey assault. I grabbed my trusted staff and allowed him to swing right into it with his small manhood taking most of the blow. I seized the opportunity of a wounded foe and gave him a stern backhand slap. I said my peace and began to walk away, for I had no intent of killing that which I don’t consider dangerous prey. Apparently my lack of respect was even more of an insult than my poop in his mouth. He sprang forth and grabbed my bag, pulling from it my favorite stabbing knife and squaring off for an old fashioned twilight cut fest. I reluctantly reached to my ankle to grab my back up Bowie knife, it was dull from cutting through a zebra femur to make a splint, but I knew it would do.

The chimp began to swing wildly like a trained master, clearly he was not from the wild, probably grew up in Delhi performing with a beggar. Perhaps one night in a fit of starvation, the beggar turned on him and he had to make the tough decision many of us must; to kill our protector. I realized I should focus on the fight at hand and stop pondering where he acquired his knife skills, for while in thought, my foe had landed three good blows.

I slashed quickly and gave him two gashes across his cheek to remember me by. He did not approve. We exchanged a few more furious blows before taking a break to catch our blood. Once ready, we charged and continued a mighty battle as the sun crept over the plain. In the fresh light we could see the weight of our losses. The ground looked of a grand Jackson Pollack painting, all in one color; blood.

We shared a feeling of deaths icy fingers penetrating our depths. I knew this must end soon, otherwise it truly would be the end. He concurred and we charged for final blows. I never believed in cheating, but in a fight for survival, cheaters prosper. I faked an impending stab but instead threw my dull blade directly at his heart. He had the exact same thought and synchronously hurled my trusted stabber towards me. The knives clashed in mid air, leaving us empty handed mere feet apart.

He leapt forward and began to swing his arms wildly with the ferocity of a mentally challenged fourth grader. I knew this from example, I have been in this fight before, a former friend gave me a school yard beat down. I lost badly that day and vowed to never again know loss. Instead of resisting I allowed him to wail. The blows hurt, but over the past day, I had suffered far worse. I collapsed from exhaustion and took advantage of the comfortable ground to rest upon. The baboon thought the fight was his to finish. He landed a final massive blow to my temple and raised his right hand in victory. I made use of this moment of vulnerability and took the jackal head still hanging from my neck and plunged it teeth first into his neck. Oh the look on his face. I’m not one for taking pictures as I prefer to live the moment, but I’d pay any price to have a shot of his disappointed face framed on my wall.

I used the jackal head as a puppet biting off the monkeys head. I came to my good foot and began to hobble back towards camp with two heads across my chest. One out of respect and the other, just the opposite, still sitting inside the jackals mouth like an oversized apple.

It’s a rare fight to the death that I don’t enjoy, but in the end, everything worked out. On towards my next battle.

A footnote, as an experienced animalologist, I know orangoutangs, chimps, monkeys and baboons are different creatures, I just don’t care.
Till next tim

My Best Friend

Did I ever tell you about my best friend?

His names Will, Willy for short, and he’s a hyena.

Why is my best friend a hyena, Aside from the obvious; we both enjoy a good hunt, a good joke, drinking the blood of a fresh kill, and running naked across the Savannah. All good friend qualities, but he’s my best friend because he saved my life. Some African cultures would say I owe him a life debt. Luckily I’m not African, I’m South African!

Just how did this hyena come to save my life, I’ll tell you:

It was a hot day, every day in Africa is hot. I was out sunning myself on a rock when I heard a commotion. I ascended to a strategic viewpoint and saw an amazing sight. Animals of every sort were making their way across the plain. This could mean one of two things; a giant tsunami, big enough to travel hundreds of miles inland was quickly approaching, or a king had been born. Fortunately it was the latter. Today was a very important day.

Knowing full well that I wasn’t invited, I joined the parade. I’m not one to miss a party.

You may expect to hear about the proud king hoisting his son into the air over pride rock, no. This isn’t The Lion King Disney TM, this is real life. The scene looked more like this; hundreds of animals were laying around a small patch of muck where the mother was screeching out in pain as she made her big push.

I arrived just in time to see the spectacle. The queen lioness had just birthed her cub and was busying herself with the placenta. The ancy king father was in the midst of killing a spectator wildebeest for all to feast on in celebration.

To this day I don’t know what came over me, but I had to join the feast. It wasn’t hunger as I’d just eaten three Cliff bars and some bark. No, I think it was my need for acceptance. There was a celebration in progress and I’ll be damned if I can’t participate.

The king was being very generous, allowing all in attendance to come up one by one and take a bite out of wildebeest. As I approached the front I knew I must camoflauge myself to avoid obvious death. I stripped off all my clothes and rolled in the mud. I pulled large clumps of hair off the sickly giraffe in front of me. Finally, I used my high school drama skills to transform my pose into that of Bigfoot.

It was now my turn. Mr king looked peculiarly upon me, but gave me the go ahead anyway. I suddenly realized while I was changing my identity in line, I forgot to watch the others feed, so I had no idea what sized portion to take. If I take too big a bite, I might appear greedy, too small and I’ll appear weak.

Well Nigel Crownhorn the lll is never one to go small, so I took a monstrous bite of beest and it was delicious! I all too soon realized today would’ve been a good day to go small right as the king slapped me across the face with his engorged paw. I was instantly the center of attention, all the animals gathered around to witness this thrashing. And what a great thrashing it was. Sure I was the victim, but one must appreciate the sheer beauty of one creature destroying another. Blow after blow rained down on me like razor sharp hail. I could feel the life draining out of me. I looked up with my my good eye, the one that didn’t have a 9 inch lion claw lodged in it, just in time to see a miracle.

A clever hyena had taken advantage of the distracted king and made off with the wildebeest feast. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a lion so angry. RARRR he roared, all within earshot cowered, but not the hyena, he was booking it up a hill.

The now enraged lion took off after the hyenna causing a panic which turned to an unorganized stampede. I reached up with my good arm and grabbed hold of a zebra’s tail, holding on just long enough to be drug to safety.

I ascended to a good viewing spot to see that the hyena had made it to his turf and now had safety in numbers. I smiled a painful smile and drank the blood of survival that flowed from my wounds to my throat. Soon afterwards I let the night take me and I once again wagered with myself whether I’d wake up for another day.

The sun rose early the next morn and I took pride in defeating myself in the betting game with my 1839th straight awakening. My leg was broke in 12 or so places, so I made a splint from a dead gazelle femur and used what was left of his skin to disguise myself so that I could sneak into the hyena camp and thank my rescuer personally.

Upon arrival in their lazily guarded fortress, I noticed my savior already up and pondering the day. As I approached, he readied for attack. I sprung forth with my last bit of courage and using the gazelle skin, sacked the hyena inside. I hoisted him over my shoulder and quickly escaped unnoticed.

Once in the clear I released him and explained myself. He seemed to understand and was not angry. I introduced myself and gave him a proper white mans name; Will; after my mother.

Will decided to join me for a morning hunt, I passed out within the first hour due to bloodloss. Over the course of the day, he never ate me nor left my side. By night I had regained my energy, and we ventured toward civilization.

We soon arrived on the edge of a small colony of cannibals I knew I could trust, for I had bested them in an intellectual debate years earlier.

Goodbyes can be awkward, even in the animal kingdom, so I murdered an approaching snake as an offering to Will and his family. He took it gladly and vanished into the night. I turned to enter the cannibal village and wondered what sort of intellectual debate was in my near future.

Goodbye to another day well lived.

A Thorn in the Paw

Danger is never far. She never rests, never tires, and never gives up. I’m not speaking about my pet eagle Danger. I’m talking about a much deadlier danger, the kind of danger that makes me tingle inside. Shark danger, grizzly danger, Komodo Dragon danger.

Just this morning on my way to work, I ran into this very kind of danger in the form of a giant lion, a maneater
You may comment, “Nigel, nobody runs into a 500 pound lion on the way to work. You do when your house sits dead center of the Serengeti; natures jungle. We don’t have car traffic here, we have murder traffic.

So there he was, a beatiful specimen, just sitting there staring back at me. Sure I could drive around, or cut to the chase and mow him down with the Range Rover. But that wouln’t be very sportsmanlike. No I prefer to kill my predators humanely, make em think they’ve got a chance.

I walked right up to him and he let out a mighty roar. My bones shook, but not my knife. Within seconds my blade was out, just in time to lodge it into his oncoming claw drawn paw. He let out a shriek I’d heard many times before, one expressing surprise and onsetting dread that all creatures feel when they lock eyes with natures most perfect weapon.. Me.
Without a moments hesitation I pulled out a second knife to go for the kill when a strange feeling overtook me. It was compassion, a peculiar feeling, not one I enjoy. The poor fella cried out, he didn’t want to fight at all this morning. Who could blame him, he had a 12 inch Bowie knife in his paw and was in the midst of seeing his life flash before his eyes. A good life, filled with eating till he sleeps, mating till he sleeps, and best of all, stalking prey.
I sympathized with him and decided to resheath my knife, dislodge the other, and give the big baby a hug. It was the most beatiful moment of my life. I’ve never hugged a woman as long as I hugged that lion. When we were done, we shed a tear and went our seperate ways.

People often ask if I regret not killing that lion. No. Sure I could’ve mounted a 16th lion head in my game room, but that wouldn’t have been very benevolent of me. Besides, now he can make me some cubs to murder one day.

Happy Hunting

Pool of Blood

Thought you’d heard the last of Nigel Crownhorn eh. Figured it’s been awhile, he must be dead. Sorry to disappoint, but I narrowly survived another one…

I’ll begin from where it would be most helpful to begin from…

My arch nemesis Vernon Catswold had grown tired of me being the world’s premiere professional adventurer, so he sent his trained cheetahs to my bungalow to eliminate me.

I won’t lie, fighting 20 some highly sophisticated cheetahs is no simple task and it was almost my last fight, but I prevailed. How did I do so? Let me tell you.

Everybody knows cheetahs are fast, but not everybody knows they also tire quickly, because the only way to find this out is to fight one or more to the death.

It was a cruel fight, Catswold had clearly shown these cheetahs some footage of me in action, because they knew all my best moves. These cats had seen my fighting films, but I had a sneaking suspicion that he had not shown them Muhammad Ali’s. These poor beasts had never heard of the rope a dope, and I played it like a professional Hollywood actor. I let them claw scratch and maul me all over the house. They thought they were in control taking turns slapping me around, tossing me like a rag doll from one to the other, but all along it was I who was maestro of this party. With each lash, each launch, I edged closer and closer to the downstairs guest bathroom. I could feel everything, each gash, each dislodged claw freshly lodged in my bones and flesh. These beasts were closing in for the grand finale. Not today my feline friends.
For I knew they had fallen into my trap, because the bathroom threshold was now in reach! I threw a stunning kick knocking my present attacker into a huddle of his onlooking cohorts. They all tumbled comically and flopped aimlessly back to their feet. I reached out for the door frame grabbing both sides, I slid myself in kicking the door closed behind me. This gave me just enough time to crawl into the tub and start pooling my blood.

I had sustained over 57 lacerating cuts and was pouring out blood like hot syrup, the trap was set. The furious cheetas banged on the lightweight door. They wanted inside. I patiently waited as my blood creeped up the sides of the tub. I was drifting in and out of conciousness. I wasn’t sure whether I would live long enough to kill these beasts, but just as I was drifting off into death I remembered the words of my father; “A real man would never bleed to death.”

I returned to consciousness just as the first cheetah had punched a hole in the door large enough for his lean body to squeeze through. He reared up over the tub, I glanced down to see a delightful sight, my blood had filled the tub halfway. With a new found lust for life I went for the kill. I grabbed that cheetah by the head and pulled him in close, close enough to give give him mouth to mouth. But I wasn’t here to give life, I was here to take it, and that’s just what I did. I held his snout in the pool of blood and watched as my life force took his. One by one the other twenty cheetahs came in to avenge their freshly drowned brother and one by one I killed them all. I felt a great sense of relief as I put the last cat craw down in my own blood puddle. He begged for life with his flailing, but I told him I mistook it for a plead for a quick death and apologized for my confusion as he slumped down lifeless. The only thing that makes me happier than bringing down a sizable beast is mocking them as I do it.

To commemorate my great victory and to permanently soil these cats reputations, I stuffed, mounted and positioned them all into a depraved cat orgy. Vernon Catswold was the first to receive the pictures. I’m sure it’s an image he’ll never forget.

Till next time!

Hallowed Bridge

So there I was. Nestled inside an uncomfortable tree trunk, hiding out from the deadly creature who had been following me for most of the night. Still unsure as to the nature of this beast I found it best to not confront her head on. Yes it was a female, that I was sure of, but how deadly, I was soon to discover. I heard her approach, the crunch of the leaves below slowed to a haunting pace. She knew where I was, and I was cornered. A low rumble emptied from her gullet. She was inviting me to the dance of death. Being not one to turn down a lady I leapt forth only to discover in mid air the nature of my stalker. The dreaded Black Panther. She sprang forth to meet my attack, we traded blows in mid air and landed mere feet away, me with a gash all the way up my side, her with a shrapnel of bark lodged in her kidney. We were both badly wounded, but it was clearly a race to recover and finish the job. It reminded me of Rocky II, which I found very fitting, except for that Rocky only faced losing a belt, for me, it was life. And my black opponent was ready to deliver the final blow. I pulled my shirt tight to stop the rapid cool flow of blood. We rose together and met eyes. It was a beautiful moment. We saw one another’s true hearts reflecting back. She let out a groan telling me her story. It was one of pain, let down, and an insatiable thirst to be the best. We paused for a moment to pay the respect of understanding, for my eyes told a story very much the same. Then without delay, we threw caution to the wind charged forward. The end.

What happened?

I mounted her into a coffee table.

How did I defeat her?

My advantage was her femality. I’ve locked eyes with many a foe. But in hers I saw something unusual, compassion. Only a feint amount, but just enough to cause her to hesitate allowing me to lodge my fist down her throat suffocating her dead. Sure she bit down and left me four fine puncture wounds, but I wear them as badges of honor. And the blood I lost that fateful night, while carrying her body 43 miles back to base camp was a sacrifice to her honor.

Sometimes when I’m alone at night, I recall our chase, and it brings a smile to my face. The smile, of a survivor!

Psst

Your first warning, something’s creeping up behind you.

Your second warning…, won’t come..