Eulogy for Jim Zumbo  02/24/07
Home Up The Black Hole Literary Review Wm. E. Allendorf, Prop.

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#1271215 - 02/24/07 09:31 AM A Shaman's Eulogy for Jim Zumbo

The newcomer to the campfire arose late, fully rested. He emerged from his tent and caught the first rays of the
sun peaking out over the adjoining ridge. There was still coffee in the pot and a few biscuits and a little gravy.
He found a spot close to the fire and sat. After finishing off his breakfast and watching the sunrise, he started
taking in more of the scenery. His attention was drawn to a strange figure out in the middle of the little meadow,
south of the fire.

He was an odd one to be sure. He had on a fur cloak and the strangest looking headdress—a bit like antlers. Oh
well, he’d seen stranger sights in this world. Every campfire had to have their eccentrics. With breakfast done,
the newcomer decided to walk over and see what this fellow was doing.

The stranger was cleaning up around a marble pedestal. On one side was a carved “TRVTH.” There was a small, yellow
bear holding a dust pan. The stranger had a broom.

“Whatcha up to?” asked the newcomer. He noticed then the smell of burned meat and hair coming from the pile the
stranger was picking up.

“Cleaning up.” Said the stranger. “Somebody made quite a mess.”

“What happened?” asked the newcomer.

“Oh,” said the stranger. “Some outdoor writer decided to try out my new invention.”

“What’s your invention?”

“Folks call it the ‘Pedastal of Truth.’”

“Oh,” said the bear. “Is that how you say it?”

“Yes, Pooh.” Said the stranger. “Here now, you’re spilling stuff. Be mindful.”

“Sorry,” said Pooh. He walked over to the dustbin and emptied the pan. I didn't know how you pronounced the "V".
Truth. Hmmmm. That's a nice name. Don't you think?"

"Yes Pooh." said the stranger.

“How does it work?” asked the newcomer.

“Very simply,” said the stranger. “You hop on here and speak your mind. If what you say is true, you get a little
green indicator light and a nice chirpy sound.”

“. . .And if what your saying isn’t true?” asked the newcomer.

“Then a lightning bolt descends from the heavens and strikes you.” Said the stranger, rather matter of factly.

“Wow!” said the newcomer.

“Care to try?” asked the stranger

“No thank you.” Said the newcomer, taking a step back.

“Okay, I thought that’s why you were coming over. Are you an outdoor writer?”

“No.”

“No difference,” said the stranger. “It works the same for everyone.”

“That sounds like a frightful thing!”

“Oh, it’ll put a serious hurt on you. We had an outdoor writer come here last week and try it. I’m still cleaning
up. Nobody saw him come in; we were all sitting around the fire on late Saturday night. All of a sudden we saw this
guy get up on the pedestal, say something about black rifles and terrorism, and . . . well, you should have seen
it! The whole campground lit up like it was daylight. Funny thing too: the lightning kept striking and the thunder
kept rolling for days. That’s why there’s not to many folks around today—most went somewhere else to get away from
the din. Heck, I like fireworks, but even I had to go sleep somewhere else for a couple of days. “

“Wow!”

“Yep, should have been here yesterday!” said the stranger. “But then that’s what most guys will tell you when you
show up in camp: “Wow, you should have been here yesterday! Fish were jumping in the boat, and the bucks were
fighting each other as to who was going to get to eat the acorns under your treestand. Shoulda been here!”

“I suppose. That pedestal sounds terrible.”

“I put it here a few months ago to take care of a few problems we were having.” Said the shaman. “Not too many
people have tried it. I don’t think that outdoor writer would have climbed up there if he’d really known what he
was doing, but, well, there you are.”

“Shaman,” said Pooh, “Could you sweep this pile up for me?”

“Sure,” said the stranger. He took the broom and swept a few shreds of fabric attached to a scortched green patch
with “Rem_ngt_” on it. There was also part of a moustache and a badly burned ear.

“Not much left.” Said the stranger. “By the way, they call me the shaman.”

“Glad to meet you, Shaman, “ said the newcomer.

“Welcome to the Campfire." said the shaman.


__________________________________________
Epilogue


#1271790 - 02/24/07 03:33 PM Re: A Shaman's Eulogy for Jim Zumbo [Re: shaman]


When the shaman had finished his chores, he grabbed a rifle case and returned to the pedestal. No one else was
around. There was a little step ladder close by. The shaman put it up next to the pedastal. Opening the rifle case,
he brought out one of his favortie deer rifles-- a 7600 in 35 Whelen. Along with it came a couple of ten round
magazines, loaded full. He twiddled the Leupy quick-release mounts and removed the scope. In its place, he afixed a
peep sight. Just for kicks, the shaman reached into his cloak and pulled out his old soup-bowl steel helmet and put
it on. It didn't do much, but it was an ironic twist. The funny headdress was put gingerly on top of the case.

Mounting the step ladder, and making sure no one was around, the shaman stepped onto the pedestal. After one more
look ( he did not want to make a show) the shaman stood up straight and held the rifle to the heavens.

"This is my deer rifle." said the shaman. " There are many like it, but this one is MINE. My deer rifle is my best
friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My rifle without me is useless. Without my rifle,
I am useless.

"It has never been about just deer hunting. It will never be just about deer hunting. My deer rifle and myself are
the defenders of my country, such as we are. Before God I swear this creed. "

When the shaman had finished making his oath, he looked down at his feet. The little indicator light on the panel
flashed green. There was a pleasant little electronic chirp. The shaman got down and put the rifle back the way it
was, put his headdress back on and went back to his cave. Calibrating the pedestal was always an emotionally
draining chore, but after last week, he wanted to make sure the episode had not knocked the pedestal out of proper
alignment. It was time to take his Saturday afternoon nap. No one saw him leave.



 


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