Going on a Lion Hunt

The Hyperion Chronicles

“Let’s not say things we can’t take back”

Editor’s Note: I hadn’t gotten much written lately, what with all my campaign rallies and fundraising efforts. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a Fed-Ex package this morning from Carnivus. In it was a Kangaroo visor, a Polly Pocket with hammock, some pins from the Olympics, and a story, attached with a note:


Got to thinking about September 8, and this crazy adventure I had 21 years ago, chasing down a Teutonic Lion. Thought your readers might like it, so I jotted it down. Enjoy and keep up the good political columns.


Without further ado, then, I present to you Carny’s big Adventure.

#315 Going on a Lion Hunt

Nineteen Eighty-Three was a good year by any standard. Michael Jackson’s Thriller owned the charts. (For you kids, there was a time when Michael was the epitome of cool.) The camcorder was invented. Time Magazine would name the Computer its Man of the Year. Return of the Jedi would complete the greatest trilogy of our time, and teach us that even the worst of us could be redeemed. A young, plucky First Lady named Nancy Reagan would teach us to Just Say NO to drugs. And I…I worked with a tough committed band of Treasure Hunters called the Buffalo Soldiers.

For you students of history, the Buffalo Soldiers were all-black Civil War units that fought for the US against the Indians in Montana and the Dakotas. Later spurned by the government they loved, they Buffalo Soldiers migrated up to Canada, and settled in Buffalo Jump Provincial Park. (The park wasn’t called that until they got there, but that’s what it’s called now.)

Over the years, many of the Buffalo Soldiers died, or got married (same difference), and by the time I met up with them in late ’81, there were just five left: Smokestack, Big Earl, Little Earl, Daniel, and Asheron. (Some of you may recall in the late ‘90s, Asheron went on to build the world’s biggest mall, which he called Asheron’s Mall.) I was the first non-black soldier they let in the outfit (and come to think of it, the first non-human). This was an honor I’ve always treasured.

We had a lot of adventures. We rescued the world’s largest pysanka egg from this crazy Ukrainian named Phillip Magus. He was scared of aluminum foil and actually lived in the egg for some time. Another time we brought down a smuggling ring known as Raphael’s Roughriders, and ended up with the world’s largest bunnock bone. However, the most exciting adventure they boys and I ever had was going on a Lion hunt.

I remember it like it was yesterday, though it was September 8, 1983, to be exact. We were called to a secret rendezvous in the cellar of a Family Pizza in Stettler, Alberta. (The town was actually called Settler, but Little Earl stuttered and said “Stettler,” so we called it that.) Our employer was an odd duck. He refused to give us his name, going only by the code name CBR-600. He also looked just like Goku in Dragon Ball Z. Add that to his insistence that we meet in the basement of a pizza joint, and you have one weird dude. However, when you’re an ex-Civil-War-fighting-treasure-hunting-band-of-buffalo-soldiers, you get used to being around strangeness. And I’ve always been used to it.

CBR-600 told us about a treasure to end all treasures: the Tash Diamond. It was pink and neon blue and translucent (that means see-through to you folks in Saskatchewan). The Tash Diamond was as big as a C-cup, and priceless. CBR-600 was (if you believe him) meeting with us on behalf of the diamond’s true owner. He offered us 37 million dollars to find it. The diamond was worth considerably more, but for us, the fun was in the chase.

The catch was; the Tash Diamond was supposedly taken by Count Berthold von Imhoff, otherwise known as the Teutonic Lion; a name to strike fear into the hearts of men. When we heard this, Smokestack wanted to back out. He had a job as a piano tuner lined up, and Smoke had no wish to risk his life this late in the game. That’s how fearsome Imhoff’s reputation was. However, the rest of us talked some sense into Smokestack. The thrill of the chase, the honor of recapturing the Tash Diamond, and the 37 million couldn’t hurt either. We were on our way.

We started off in 1993 Jeep Cherokees. (Yes, it was only 1983, but Lee Iacocca owed me a favor, so we got the ‘93s.) We traveled south from Stettler, where we heard the Lion might have gone. The day was September 8th. We were going on a Lion Hunt, but we weren’t scared. (This was the Buffalo Soldier motto.)

We got down about 4 miles from the U.S. border and ran into our first problem: the Fields of Heather. For those of you who dropped out of school, heather, or Calunar Vulgaris, is a type of heath known for thick purple sessile leaves. Heather grows in bunches in the wild, and can be downright impenetrable. Our brand-new (by 10 years) Jeeps were useless.

We couldn’t go around it; we couldn’t go over it; we couldn’t go under it: we had to go through it. Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. We traveled through the dense heather, our knapsacks on our back. (Valdaree!) Finally we were past the heather, and back going on a Lion hunt. We weren’t scared. (As far as you know.)

We crossed over the border into Montana, and talked to the local Cheyenne tribe. Even though the Cheyenne’s ancestors had fought our guys, the Buffalo Soldiers were respected for their honesty, and their willingness to dance by the light of the moon with the Buffalo Gals, so the Indians were happy to help.

The Teutonic Lion had indeed come this way, on route to his lair in Iowa. It figured. If there is one place a German Lion would set up a lair, it would be Iowa. We set off again. Going on a Lion hunt. We weren’t scared. (Well, most of us weren’t.)

We cut across the Cheyenne’s land, and came to a tree. This was no ordinary tree that you could walk around in a minute or two. This tree was huge. This tree was colossal. This tree was Joan of Bark. The Cheyenne called it Brij-bren, which meant “Tree of Forever.”

We couldn’t go around it. We couldn’t go under it. We couldn’t go through it. We had to go up it. Climb. Climb. Climb. Climb. Climb. Climb. Look left. Look right. Climb down. Climb down. Climb down. Climb down. Climb down. Whew! That was tough. Now we’re back to going on a Lion hunt. We weren’t scared. (Except maybe Smokestack, but what do you expect from a man named after the Bonaventure Hotel?)

As we neared Iowa, there remained just one obstacle: the Salanna Rains. The Salanna Rains is a marsh land, so named because long ago it was a desert, and this eagle-goddess Salanna got really upset at the cacti in the desert for making fun of her, and so Salanna cursed the desert to have Forever Rain, and it turned into a swamp. If it were up to the Buffalo Soldiers, we would have avoided the Salanna Rains, but it couldn’t be helped. It was beautiful, though.

We couldn’t go over it. We couldn’t go under it. We couldn’t go around it. We had to go through it. Slog. Slog. Slog. Slog. Slog. Slog. Slog. Slog. Soaking wet and bone-tired (from holding our packs above our heads to keep them dry) we made it to the other side. After a brief rest and change of clothes we were off once more: going on a Lion hunt. We weren’t scared. (In times of stress it’s important to bombard yourself with positive affirmations. At least, that’s what Big Earl found out at a Tony Robbins seminar.)

We approached the lair of Count Berthold von Imhoff, the Teutonic Lion. Now, some may ask how we know he was a German lion (as lions are not common among the Aryans), but Asheron said he had proof. A) Count Berthold was German and B) Count Berthold was a lion. That was good enough for us.

We approached Count Berthold’s lair, which was just north of Storm Lake (incidentally, not far from Black Rocks Hold, which I believe Hyperion wrote about recently). We held a brief discussion about who should enter first. Little Earl kept trying to make a joke about Daniel and the Lion’s Den, but unfortunately he stuttered so bad he could never get it out. Smokestack opined that I should go first because I was a troll (you can’t believe how often that is used against me), and Daniel chimed in that the rest of them were used to being in the back of the line. I thought that was a low blow, since I had marched on Selma with Marty back in ’65, but to be honest, I was the best choice (because troll’s have superior eyesight), and I really wanted that diamond. We crept in, quiet as water buffalo (the most silent predator known to man, or troll).

On tiptoes we went into the lair. It was sort of a cave, with an opening that looked like a Nike swoosh. It was pitch dark, but my eyesight helped us see. Big Earl made a joke about me smiling, so they could see me, but I poked him in the ribs and we kept moving.

We got to the main chamber, and there it was: the one-of-a-kind Tash Diamond. Forget C-cup, this was Double D at least (and I fancy myself with an eye for such things, as apparently did the Count).

We looked around carefully, but the coast seemed clear. We crept up and snatched the Tash Diamond, putting a counter-weight in its place (a big Hasbro Jabba the Hut).

We started to walk out, congratulating ourselves on a job well done, when these two gleaming eyes and rows of razor-sharp teeth came out of the shadows. It was Count Berthold von Imhoff!

We might have wished to be like the Magi, and come home another way, but with a German Lion on your tail, there is not time for such thoughts. Back out of the cave we went. Run. Run. Run. Run. Through the Salanna Rains we waded. Slog. Slog. Slog. Slog. Slog. Slog. Slog. Slog. Out of the Salanna Rains we scampered. Run. Run. Run. Run. To the Brij-bren tree we came. Up the tree: Climb. Climb. Climb. Climb. Climb. Climb. Look right. Look left. Climb down. Climb down. Climb down. Climb down. Climb down. Climb down. Run. Run. Run. Run. To the Fields of Heather we came: Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. Whshh. Open the doors of our Jeeps: CREAK. Shut the door: SLAM! Rev the engine and take off. RRRRRRRRRRRR. Back up to Stettler we fly pell-mell. Slam on the brakes. SCREEEECH. Open the door. CREAK. Shut the door. SLAM! Run. Run. Run. Run back to the cellar of the Family Pizza.

Whew! Safe at last!! We started high-fiving and back-slapping each other. We went on a Lion hunt. But we weren’t scared.

That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

Carnivus Kickassius
September 8, 2004

Carny’s Credits
Thanks to Smokestack, Big Earl, Little Earl, Daniel, Asheron, Salanna, CBR-600, the Cheyenne, Lee Iacocca, and Family Pizza

Hyperion’s Credits
Thanks to Koz for editing

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since he doesn't get to the computer often, I printed it to hang on the fridge.