The scene: Awesome Advice Central HQ
On a beautiful Queen Anne-era table lies a carefully unwrapped package, surrounded by the plain brown wrapper in which it was delivered. The package consists of a shoebox containing an 8-track cassette tape; the tape itself appears to have been smeared with a pungently aromatic oily substance. And when we say “pungent” we mean it smells as though it has been in the vicinity of a recently demised skunk.
The Awesome Advice team is appropriately horrified, and clutching their lavender-scented lace handkerchiefs to their noses, they slip the cassette into the 8-track player their last pool-boy, Dylan, left behind when he fled their employ.
This is a transcript of what they heard:
Dear Awesome Advice Central,
I’m a friendly person. Maybe some say I’m too friendly but I just think it’s my duty and pleasure in life to reach out and make someone happy. Pay it forward, keep ‘em smiling, never let ‘em see ya sweat.
I’m good at that stuff. I like to comment on women’s shoes as they pass by. They like that.
When I’m standing at the local coffee bar, I tell the barista that the person behind me will pay my bill. That also goes over pretty well. I also like to pick up hitchhikers, because they’re people, too, right? But I’m not stupid, I always frisk them for guns and knives before I let them on the buggy. I also check their ID—if they’re under 65? No way, find your own ride, mister, you’re not going to make a mince pie outta me!
So it’s a fact that I get on with pretty much everyone. That’s what makes what just happened so puzzling.
I was sitting on a plane bound for Weasel Skull, and we were just getting down to the serious business of eating our delicious onboard meal. I had the dandelion salad for starter, the sautéed skunk with red wine jus, and for dessert, a delicious acorn pie.
My neighbor, who thus far hadn’t said a word to me, not even “Excuse me while I put my deer carcass in the overhead woven basket, I hope it doesn’t bleed too much on you,” had the local delicacy, weasel brain with chili mayonnaise on her plate, and man oh man, did I ever want a taste of it.
Once she’d removed the paper towel from her tin plate, I leaned over and took a small forkful. I stuffed the brains into my mouth and then nodded and smiled in appreciation at its delicate texture, aroma and taste. Honestly, there’s nothing like a good weasel brain, and this was nothing like it. Yum.
Imagine my shock when I saw her make a face at me. She must’ve had a particularly chewy piece, probably the cerebral cortex or something, and that’s what was causing her to screw up her face like that, so I put it out of my mind and concentrated on finishing my own meal. I’d attempt to clink glasses with her, but it was kind of hard to catch her eye, so eventually I gave up.
We settled into the flight and I was watching “The Wonders of Weasel Words” on the personal TV set they kindly set upon my tray. It only costs a quarter for 15 minutes, which is a pretty good deal as far as I’m concerned (I’d stocked up on 10 bucks worth of quarters pre-flight, so I was all set. I’m a deep thinker that way).
I was just watching the bit where the famed Traveling Weasels were beginning their toe-tapping dance revue when I happened to look over at my neighbor and saw she was beginning to nod off.
Taking this as my cue, I turned off my TV, leaned over the armrest and gently began singing her a lullaby, to help her to sleep. It’s my personal favorite: “Kill the Moose, You Silly Goose.” I just knew she’d like it.
Her eyes opened, which isn’t what I’d intended, so I shut up straight away. She looked around, like she was searching for assistance or something, then closed her eyes again and relaxed in her chair.
I tried again, this time my second favorite, “I Can’t Stop Crying (Since That Scorpion Bit My Testicles).” Perhaps you’ve heard it? It’s a sweet one! Her eyes opened a bit wider this time, so I quickly moved back into my seat and made a play of finding another quarter for the TV.
I was probably too late to watch the weasel dance revue, but for sure I still had time to see them attacking their enemies the mountain goats, up high in the Rockies. I’d been looking forward to that all week, actually.
I watched a bit more (did you know that weasels jump on the backs of mountain goats, grasp the horns in their weaselly paws, and then do an ancient weasel tap-dance on their backs that causes the goats to die a slow, painful death? Interesting what’s on TV these days). Then when the coast was clear, I leaned over and sang again to my neighbor again, choosing one that you know as well as I: “Oh When the Elephants Come Marching In and Eat all the Otters.”
This time, her eyes flew open and she grabbed my arm, rather strongly, I thought. She yelled “Help, help!” and the flight attendant charged down the aisle to see what was going on.
I started to explain about the weasels and how I was actually trying to help this lady relax, but SHE got her side of the story in first and now I’m strapped into the airplane seat until we land in Weasel Skull, where I’m apparently going to be sent to the police station to explain my actions.
What actions!!? I was just being helpful and kind!
Would you do me a favor and have a word with the good people of Weasel Skull, and tell them I’m a nice guy with only kind intentions? The airplane people won’t let me write my story down—they say they don’t have any paper, but I think they don’t trust me with a pencil—but are letting me record this on my 8-track cassette machine, which I bring with me everywhere I go. I hope you have a machine in your office, you two look pretty modern so I’m sure you’ve got the latest technology.
Please send help immediately, and while you’re at it, I’d really like some beaver candies, the musky ones please, not the salty ones. Thanks!
Walter W. (not for Weasel, haha) Easel
We confess ourselves intrigued. Repulsed, yes, but also intrigued by your most peculiar story.
In fact, we wonder whether you might perhaps be dwelling in some alternate reality, quite separate from the one we inhabit. A reality in which it is considered normal to consume members of the family mustelidae; one in which the 8-track tape remains the pinnacle of technological wizardry.
Or perhaps you live in Tennessee, or Texas. We really cannot tell, and your taped missive offers no clues.
Truly, sir, you have presented us with a conundrum!
Much as we would like to be of assistance, we fear we must leave you to your own wits on this matter, in part because we are unable to locate the local constabulary to put in a word on your behalf.
We did look up Weasel Skull on GoogleMaps and were unable to locate it…but then, if you’re living an an alternate reality (or Tennessee or Texas, as the case may be) GoogleMaps would mean nothing to you, would it?
In any case, we couldn’t find beaver candies, but have enclosed a packet of black salted licorice, which is just about as objectionable and should suit the purpose.
Good bye, good luck, and please, next time you feel moved to communicate with us, could you do so via pen and paper? And hold the skunk juice.
Thanks ever so,
Awesome Advice Central