While I was a student in Calgary, I would get a hankerin’ for some good old country food, food I grew up with; caribou, char, and bear meat. So when a friend was cleaning out her freezer and found an old caribou head, I bussed it over and picked it up. If you’ve never had caribou tongue, you are missing a true delicacy.
I picked up the head at her place and jumped back on the bus. That’s when things got interesting. My backpack didn’t quite take the entire head so the snout was sticking out and the tongue was hanging eight inches down from its mouth. Boy you want to get a whole row on the bus all to yourself, carry around a caribou head in your backpack in Calgary. The zipper on my backpack was broken and the head fell out just as the bus came to a stop and rolled about nine rows forward. You want to see a guy try stuff a caribou head back in a backpack, that was me.
When I got back to my apartment, I didn’t have any cardboard to skin it so I went in the alley. My apartment was just on the edge of Snobsville. Across the alley were half million dollar homes and people with too much time and money. Anyway, I ran a piece of twine through the snout and hung the head from a tree out back and started skinning it. Just then this woman who walked her dog through our back street to the park came by with her French poodle. That thing had more bling and clothes on than I had. I had just peeled the skin from the head and was ready to cut it off when that little poodle stopped dead in its tracks and started snarling and barking like a rabid dog. I cut out an eyeball and threw it at him to shut him up. But instead of eating it like a normal dog, he jumped into her arms and pissed all over her. Not wanting to waste a good eyeball, I picked it up and brought it over to them. I cut it open and tried to show the dog how good it was by biting off a little piece and chewing on it. I’ve never seen people faint but it’s just like in the movies. They just drop. Just then an old Chinese woman picking bottles came upon us. What she saw was me, a native guy, a knife, blood on my hands, and a woman on the ground. She dropped her bag of bottles and shuffled off in a hurry. I ran after her, not realizing I still had a knife in my hand. I was yelling at her to stop. I guess she was saving all her speed for that one moment cause she took off like Ben Johnson. I went back to check on the woman and her dog. The poodle was standing on her chest and shivering. I opened her purse to see if there was a number I could call. Just then four cop cars pulled up and all pointed their guns at me. Let me tell you, it’s true what they say about seeing your life flash before your eyes. What I saw was me trying to keep from getting raped in the penitentiary. So I was pretty relieved when she woke up. I explained the knife, the skinless head hanging from the tree, and her on the ground to the sergeant. He let me off with a citation for a disclosed weapon. Then they called in the hazardous waste team to get rid of the caribou head. Just as the robot was dropping the head in a nuclear waste barrel, I ran and cut off the tongue. The lady sued me for the cost of drycleaning her cashmere sweater, Italian leather boots, and yak-skin gloves. I still get calls from the collection agency to pay that bill.