#1897739 - 12/27/07 04:55 PM
A Completely Legitimate Tale -- by the shaman
The shaman was digging through his fan mail the other day when there came a
phone call. He looked down at the Caller-ID. Along with the number it just said
"Hello?" he asked.
"Is this the shaman that sits by the Campfire?"
"Sometimes I suppose."
"Is this THE shaman?"
"I try and think of myself just the shaman."
"Well, Shaman. I'm very happy to talk to you."
"Well, actually it's just 'the shaman.' It's a title and not a name. It's like
saying 'the plumber," or 'the postman.' It's not really my name."
"Well, what do you want me to call you?"
"Well, I'm just the shaman around here."
"Doesn't that mean I can call you 'Shaman?'"
"I suppose you can call me anything you want." said the shaman. "Is this call
business or pleasure?"
"Business." said the caller. "I've got a proposition for you."
"In that case," said the shaman. "You can stick with 'the shaman.'"
"Okay," said the caller, "But that's a little awkward. The English language
doesn't really lend itself to that sort of thing."
"That's okay." said the shaman. "You said you have a proposition for me. Let me
hear the proposition and from that I can figure out what you can call me."
"I represent a new agency dedicated to matching up promising writers with
promising products and services."
"I'm all ears."
"This is CLOE Associates calling you, the shaman. We have a number of writing
opportunities for you."
"Completely Legitimate Outdoor Enterprises." said the caller. "Allow me to
introduce myself. My name is Snake."
"Yes, that's right."
"Is that a first name, a last name, or a nickname." asked the shaman. "Or is it
a title, like mine?"
"It's my name." said Snake, sounding a bit peeved."You were recommended to us by
one of your associates at the Campfire."
"Really? Which one?"
"A Mister Nosmo King."
"Ah, Nosmo." said the shaman. "How's the old trickster?"
"Well," said Snake. "I really did not meet Mister King personally. "
"Oh," said the shaman. "I was wondering how his wife, Sofa, was getting along.
By the way, it says here on the Caller-ID that you're not CLOE, you're 'GREYSUIT.'"
"Oh, that" said Snake. "That is the name of our infrastructure service provider.
We rent our office space from a Mister Greysuit."
"Okay, so what's the proposition?"
"We have a number of writing opportunities available for legitimate outdoor
writers such as yourself-"
"But I write mostly fiction. I would not call that legitimate."
"Fiction." said the shaman. "It saves a lot on research."
"But this fiction," said Snake. "It's about the Outdoors? Guns? That sort of
"Almost exclusively." said the shaman. "I recently completed a novel that had a
brief cameo appearance by Hitler in it, but it was mostly about hunting."
"Great!" said Snake. "That's just what we need. Do you do product reviews?"
"As I said," said the shaman. "I write fiction."
"Still, you would be willing to do product reviews???"
"As long as their fictional," said the shaman. There was a deathly silence and
then both parties laughed. The shaman decided that he was laughing for a
different reason than Snake.
"We do, like our name says, completely legitmate reviews." said Snake. "What we
do is find opportunities and then match them up with the proper writer and then
help the provider of the product or service with venues for having this work
"So you handle the submissions?"
"And you handle getting the products and services?"
"And you find the writers, make sure they're compensated properly, and take your
"Yes, we take all the hassle out of this process."
"And this is all completely legitimate?"
"Completely Legitimate is in our name."
"Wow," said the shaman. "This is a really new twist. I like it. Okay, what have
you got for me."
"Well," said snake. "We have a client that is looking for someone to review a
revolutionary new cough and sneeze suppressor."
"Cough AND Sneeze?"
"Yes." said Snake. "Would you be interested?"
"Sure. I'd give it a go. I'm not sick at the moment, but-"
"We'll take care of all that." said Snake. "Don't you worry. We want you to
start your field trial as soon as you can. I'll contact the manufacturer's rep.
As soon as he gets the loaner unit back, he'll get it turned around and out to
you. We'll expect the unit and one thousand words of copy back to us within six
weeks. I'll FAX over the contract immediately."
"What is this about a loaner unit?"
"We are completely legitimate." said Snake. "We completely monitor the whole
process. Everything we send out for review comes back to us for return to the
manufacturer. In this way we insure our quality and provide only completely
legitimate content to publishers."
". . .And the unit you're sending me is not new in the box?"
"Oh, it will be repackaged after its return. It will be just like new."
"Ah," said the shaman. "Snake, I think I'm going to have to pass on that one.
Have you got anything else?"
"How about a treestand?" said Snake. "Would you like to review a treestand?"
"Sure." said the shaman. "I wrote a story on treestands last year-- twenty years
as a survivor of treestands."
"Congratulations." said Snake. "Was it published?"
"This one will be," said Snake. "I can assure you. The manufacturer has just
come out from under a bunch of crushing lawsuits and they've re-engineered their
product line to cut costs down to the bone. They want to prove their stands can
still hold up to normal field conditions even though most of their assets have
gone into settlements with the litigants."
"On second thought," said the shaman. "Maybe I'll pass."
"I can assure you they're legitimate." said Snake.
"I hate to turn away stuff." said the shaman. "It's my allergies. I'm allergic
to . . . to falling."
"Oh," said Snake. "I hear that can be bad. Oh well. Would you be interested in
field testing a rifle?"
"We have a rifle manufacturer that needs some good press right now. You're a
"Yes I am."
"Well, this one is a rush job." said Snake. "They've been having problems with
the bolt on their rifles. So far no one has lost an eye or anything, but we were
looking for someone to cook up some insanely hot loads and take them out to the
range and show how this manufacturers guns don't come apart, no matter how hot
you load them. We have a couple of magazines saving space in their March issues
for this one."
"Doesn't sound like a good gig to me."
"They'll pay us extra if it does come apart on you. You can then write a sidebar
on how insanely good there no-questions-asked customer service is in replacing
the rifle through a swap via a no-fault Overnight Express lifetime warranty
service plan. They just struck a volume deal with Norfolk and Waypal that needs
some good press."
"How about deer rifles?" said the shaman. "Do you have any deer rifles that need
to be reviewed?"
"We have one." said Snake. "It's a name brand you'd recognize."
"Really? Which one?" said the shaman.
"Errr. I can't really say" said the Snake. "But all I can say is that it's a
really 'GREEN' company and let it go at that. They want to give a 'Green' light
to this project. Quite frankly, they're tossing money around every which way,
and if I can hook you up with them, you'll be rolling in 'Green.'"
"I get your drift." said the shaman. "So what is it that they want reviewed?"
"They have made improvements to their legendary rifles." said Snake. "In the
past there was some goofy flap over the rifles going off when you took them off
safety-- more rumor than anything."
"Oh, yeah." said the Shaman. "I heard about that. Sucks, don't it?"
"Well," said Snake. "What we have here is an all-expense paid trip out to Idaho
to hunt a plethora of big game all on the company's dime. They'll provide
everything, but especially the firearms. You just tell it like it is. Let them
know what you think of the rifles when you're done. The rifles will be yours to
keep, but to keep things on the up-and-up, you'll agree to turn the rifles over
to charity so that they can be used by kids with cancer and the like. We take
your picture, we make a big hoo-ha over it. Everyone, including the kids make
"I'm all for it."
"You'll be hunting with a focus group of at least one hundred other writers."
said Snake. "This is a dramatic revolution in the history of firearms. In order
to take care of the problem with the safety, they've swapped the function of the
safety and the trigger. When you think of it, it's ingenious. They are taking
advantage of what the military calls 'muscle memory' to adapt the
familiar-feeling parts of the old technology to be utilized in dramatically
different ways in the new innovative technology."
"So when you pull the trigger, you're actually turning off the safety-"
"And when you turn off the safety, the trigger fires!" said Snake. "Isn't it
"And you're saying it's a big shindig with 100 outdoor writers." said Shaman.
"That's just what we've booked." said Snake. "There may be more. Everyone gets
the new 30 ULM version."
"Thirty Ultra-long-magnum." said Snake. "It's based on the 7.62X63, only they're
using different powders and an ultra-premium bullet to get the same performance
as the 300 Win Mag with only 10 times the recoil and three times the price. They
had to redesign the rifle primer and use a military crimp to keep it in the
"That sounds dangerous." said the shaman.
"And it will be." said Snake. "I can't wait to see who gets the elk."
"In one part of the hunt they put one elk in a ten acre preserve so that
everyone has the same legitimate chance at him. They set you all loose a
half-hour before sunrise, and the first one back with the elk gets a new ATV."
"A new ATV?"
"Yes," said Snake."Of course if you or another of CLOE's representatives gets
the elk, you will turn it over."
"To the cancer kids?"
"No," said the Snake. "This time it's going to the amputees and quadriplegics."
"That makes sense."
"I can't wait to see you with their shining faces. That's publicity you just
"No, I suppose not. So. . ." said the shaman, "So, let's just say I sign up for
this shindig. What's in it for me?"
"You get to hunt with some of the biggest names in the business."
"Yeah," said shaman, "and???"
"And you get to sit in a focus group and discuss the radical new changes and how
they enhanced your hunting experience."
"And you. . .you. . .what are you trying to ask?"
"Oh, nothing." said the shaman. "I was looking for what I get paid in all this.
"Sir!" said the Snake. "We are a completely legitimate operation. We can't go
throwing money around. What would people think?"
"So what sort of compensation is there?" said the shaman.
"You get a leg up into the realm of premier outdoor writing!"
"You become part of the CLOE team."
"You need to ask?" said Snake.
"Yes," said the shaman. "If I go out to Idaho on this, I'm going to have to quit
my job. I need health insurance, a 401K, maybe dental."
"You can provide that yourself." said Snake, "Out of the proceeds from your new
career as a top-shelf outdoor writer.
"Nosmo put you up to this?"
"Nosmo recommended you."
"Is Nosmo signed up for it?"
"I do not believe Mister King is an associate of ours, but I'm not really at
liberty to discuss this any further. Mister Shaman."
"Please, I keep telling you, I'm just the shaman."
"Look, Snake? It's been great. I really appreciate the offer. I just can't make
these gigs right now. Maybe I could send you some of my stuff and you could try
to peddle it through your channels. I'd really appreciate it."
"We don't take unsolicited submissions we're a legitimate-"
"I've got a book on. . . it's a beginner's guide to deer hunting. Would you look
at a sample chapter?"
"I am sorry Mister Shaman. "
"But. . . "