Date: Tuesday, May 20, 1997 12:59 PM
Subject: Never twist a Jaguar's tail
The sound of the shot could not be missed.
The hills by the lake formed a kind of echo chamber, carrying the sound on rolling waves through the morning fog.
Alejandro awoke with a jolt. Someone hunting on my land! The rage nearly overwhelmed him, yet he narrowly controlled the urge to frenzy. That time will come soon enough. Need my wits!
Quickly, he shifted to the true jaguar form and loped off toward the east side of his woods. This area was on the verge of his realm, the land he owned extended beyond the pale of his awareness here. Must be on the Crane hill, he thought. Loping rapidly through the woods, he came to the base of the slope and stopped. Sniffing the air, he caught the unmistakeable scent of stinking, redneck human. Ahhhhh, my man, you came to the wrong place! he growled. Yet he was curious. What could this fool be shooting at this time of year. The deer were long departed to the other side of the lake, boar were uncommon, birds were no challenge this time of year. And that was a hunting rifle, distinctive sound. Probably a 30-30, he mused.
Then he spotted the man, moving quickly about midway up the slope. Hmmm, 150 yards. Going up low on his belly slowed him down, but he still overtook the shabby, beer-gutted goon with the Ford baseball cap. At fifty yards, he started as he saw the quarry. My friend, Ms. Bobcat. Then he lost it. She has a new litter! roared in his mind. Uncontrollably he lurched out of cover, shifting to the massive crinos form. In seconds, he had the man under a paw, bent rifle somewhere up a tree. The man was out cold. Lowering his fangs to rip the throat, he caught himself at the last moment. Not yet! So he shifted to the massive three-quarter man form, not as terrifying as crinos. And he waited.
After a couple of minutes, the fat, smeely man came to. Groaning, he lifted himself up on his elbow, looking around. When he saw Alejandro, he froze. Alejandro spoke softly, "You are on the land of a friend of mine. You were armed, but that has been remedied. You were also trying to kill a friend of mine. You have thirty seconds to tell me why."
"I, uh....uh. I seen that cat from the road. Damn pests, figgered I'd do yore boss a favor...Everbody knows 't theys bad...." Then it sunk in. "You said I'z trying to shoot a friend o' yours? You mean that cat!" Confusion took over.
Alejandro grinned an evil grin. Laughter turned to growl as he shifted from glabro to jaguar and back. "You see, fool. That is my cousin. Now I am just guessing but 'ah figger your'n knows cuzin when ye hears it' ", he laughed again as the man turned pale. "The people of Chiech-Balam, Smoke Jaguar God of the Mayans and Aztecs, have returned to this land after a long absence. You, my unfortunate buffoon, are the first of your kind to learn this. Too bad you will not be able to tell the story!" And he lunged.
Two hours later, Alejandro was walking along his fence line as the Sherriff whizzed by, lights and siren blaring. Leaving his tools, he jogged down to the bend in the road. Slowing to a walk, he approached the accident scene. "Sherriff Howard! Ya'll need any help?"
"Allie Stone! I heard you'd come home. How are ya?" The two shook hands. "Nah, old Tom Minor got drunk and used on of your big trees there to stop his truck. Been comin' a long time. Well, the game warden will miss him. Busted Tom every year for poaching." he sighed.
"That's old Minor that used to mess with my dad?" Alejandro asked.
"Sure enough. Your daddy used to whoop him real regular. About every other week. Tom, bein' white trash, was always kinda upset that your daddy, bein' Spanish, had more brains and money than him. I was real sorry to hear about your folks, son. They were good people, we're all gonna miss 'em."
"Call me Bill. Your daddy always did."
"Well, Bill, I appreciate it. I miss them alot. I only wish I'd been here..." he trailed off, genuine sadness choking him up. Bill Howard was a good, solid country man, laid his hand on Alejandro's shoulder.
"They'd be real proud of you, son. Comin' out of that guerilla war, bein' trapped in the jungle and all. I always said you'd make a fine soldier."
"Thanks, Bill." I am a soldier now, he said to himself. "Well, I'll let you get to your business. Here's the ambulance. Come up to the house when you get done. I'll fix you some of mom's Empenadas!"
"Boy, you don't need say no more! I'll be up in about an hour! See ya, Allie!"
"Adios, Bill!" smiling, he walked away. So, that was Tom Minor. Two stones with one bird, he grinned. As he headed toward the house, he saw the bobcat. Have to try to convince her to move inside the den area, safer....
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