The second installment in the great saga of Lamont and Dude
Another question? Yes! You on the right side, sitting on the aisle, with the obnoxiously screaming child. Let me know in advance if you’re planning air travel soon, OK?
— Tell us about a time when you managed to extract yourself from a sticky situation at the very last minute.
Just so you know, it’s always the last minute somewhere. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Southern California? Looks good, right? But it’s full of traps. Now and then. Always has been. Very dangerous place. Not MY favorite, that’s for sure. Give me an old forest in the Trans-Alpine zone any day. Sure, there are foxes, but you know, if you’re a tree all a fox can do to you is take a wee on your roots. ANYwho, I was in what you know as Southern California doing a bit as a mastodon.
— Mastodon! Wow.
You might well say that. It was a desperate age in its way. The predators were, uh, predacious. There was a lot of food around, though, even for them. It wasn’t like the old days when everyone was immense. Some of us were pretty big — I was, of course, as a mastodon — but the main predator was the Sabre Toothed Tiger. He had lots of choices, but every once in a while they’d gang up and take down one of us.
— What happened? Were you eaten by a sabre toothed tiger?
No. Not me, not that time. I didn’t realize it was my old bud, Dude. He thought it was a game. He was still pretty much a kitten, I think, or he’d have been wiser, more of a strategist. I was browsing calmly on a tree when I realized the big cat was coming. I saw all the smaller animals take flight, well, some of them did, the birds for example. But yeah, bunnies and squirrels were running all round me like their little hearts would break. I looked back and, sure enough, here came a tiger.
— Did you run?
You don’t “just run” when you weigh several tons. First you look around. I had the advantage of height, of course. Then I saw it in the distance. Talk about a trap! It looked like water, hell it was water, but not just water. The water was on top of a large pool of tar. I quickly devised my stragedy and took off running along with the rabbits, squirrels, camels and what-have-you. I ran toward the pool intending, at the last minute — of course, for a being of that size, the last minute has to be longer than a minute. Once again, kill-or-be-killed. I slowed down and let the cat get closer. I could feel his breath on my heels, I could hear his low growls and in that I got the sense of who he actually was. Still, it made no difference. Dude or not, I was prey and he would have eaten me — him and his friends and whatever carrion birds happened to be cruising the area. There were some big ones then, and ugly, but they had their job to do in the interconnectedness of all things, in the kill-or-be-killed circle of life. My one fear was that I’d get to the pool too soon and step into it when I should be turning. But…
— Your stragedy worked?
Yes, by the grace of, grace of, I don’t know what. I veered quickly right. I felt a splash of water and tar on my rear left leg. I turned and saw Dude lunge into the pool. He fought, of course, and the more he fought the more firmly stuck he became. He called out, in tiger, of course. I trumpeted my apologies and said I hoped I’d see him later when we weren’t in this miserable predator-prey connection. Soon bubbles rose to the surface.
Next time I saw Dude, we were both trees. But that’s LA for you. If it’s not traffic it’s tar pits.
Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with in 2014. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past incarnations which gives them an unusual perspective on life, the universe and everything.