Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Tiger's Paw

First: before proceeding, you should maybe at least have a passing familiarity with this, or least the Cliffs Notes version that starts at around the 2:20 mark. Second: tips of the cap here and here. Third: this post is for what Miss Cleo would call "entertainment purposes only," so don't sweat the chronology. Amongst other things.

The Tiger's Paw

A sunny Saturday afternoon, at that declining flea market just off Highway 280 between Harpersville and Childersburg ...

Have to say, don't think there's any part of the offseason I enjoy more than my trips to the flea market. The hand-made crafts, the one-of-a-kind antiques, the collections that represent the work of a lifetime ...

... and most importantly, the collapsed faces of these pathetic vendors as I pretend to offer them the one sale they might hope for this entire miserable day before I stalk off in a contrived huff! Bwa ha! Crushing the hopes and dreams of the innocent is all well and good on the football field, but it takes on an especially satisfying flavor at the flea market or the orphanage. Wouldn't you agree, my pretty?

SCREECH KEE KEE SCREEE ("Sure, whatever. So long as we go by the peanut vendor's on the way out."--ed.)

Let's see what we have here ...

Baseball cards! Get your mint- or near-mint-condition classic baseball cards right here!

My good sir, why, I came to this fine market today in the hopes of purchasing nothing but baseball cards! *snickers* Would you kindly show me the best *snickers* of what you have to offer? Your beard is of a most excellent and kingly quality, by the way.

Thanks! If you're into beards, this is a 1987 Donruss Ozzie Virgil, very nice, and here's a Steve Bedrosian from the famous 1985 Topps set I think you'll enjoy. The current issue of Beckett's currently lists it at ...

Oh, no need to say anymore my good man. These are *snickers* exquisite indeed! As money is no object with me, sir, I will take both of these, and 20 more besides at any price you care to ... Wait ... what's that?

What's what?

That wrinkled, orangeish claw-like thing on the table behind you. Is that for sale?

Oh, that. I'm sorry, but I don't think you'd be interested. It's not even supposed to be on display. Just an old thing I picked up in Borneo on a scouting ... I mean, at a yard sale in Homewood. Sure, it might grant its owner three wishes, but ...

Wishes? You serious? How much you want for it? Name your price--we'll take it out of the nutrition budget. Our boys can get by on hosewater and graham crackers this fall if they gotta.

You don't understand. This is a forbidden Tiger's Paw, corrupter of souls, cursed by the blackest demons ever bound by the Prince of Darkness himself, wielded by the foulest sinners ever pitched into the Hades. Just to gaze upon it is to have one's very heart quiver and shrivel to ...

Evil, right. Gotcha. Cursed, soul-withering, horror of horrors, blah blah blah. Give you 5 G's for the paw and that '84 Fleer Pascual Perez.

Your funeral, buddy.

CHK CHK SCREEEEEEECH CHK ("Speaking as a monkey, this all seems unsettlingly familiar. If only I had some peanuts to comfort myself with."--ed.)


Several weeks later, at an office in Tuscaloosa ...


I don't know about you, my pretty, but I could freaking hurl I'm so sick of reading about Tommy Tuberville. It's like they don't even realize there's two Division 1 programs in this state. I think it's high time we gave Coach Tuberville something much more frightening to worry about than a mere thumb, don't you think? Bring me the paw!

KEE SCREEECH SCREE CHK CHK KEE ("And here we go. Probably should tell Mrs. Monkey I'll be working late. And that I'll be quadrupling my life insurance coverage at the next open enrollment."--ed.)

Let's see. It wouldn't be sporting to just wish ol' Tubby into wormfood. I just want him out of my hair. Gone. Somewhere else ... somewhere, say, he might accidentally wind up in that pine box he was always going on about. It's hardly my fault if he drops into some war zone and the worst that could happen happens, is it? Bwa ha ha ha!

PAW! I would like to make my first wish! I wish Tommy Tuberville was sent to Iraq!

Right-o, chief.

Wait a sec ... I forgot to specify whether he'd come back or not. Can I add an addendum?

Sure, of course. What'd you have in mind?

I wish that Tommy Tuberville was sent to Iraq and never sets foot in this country again!

Yeah, I was totally kidding about that whole "addendum" thing. You make a wish, you get it granted, slick.

But Tuberville is still getting sent to Iraq, isn't he? You can't even do that, I can sure as hell go out and find me a paw that can.

Calm down, buck-o. You'll get your wish.


On the other side of the state ...


Hey, this is Tommy.

Coach Tuberville? This is Colonel Schlotz with Armed Forces Entertainment. We were wondering if you'd be interested in joining a football coaches' tour of the Middle East to help raise the morale of our American men and women in uniform overseas.

Well, I'm not sure. Sure, I have a father who fought in World War II and it would mean a ton to the men and women who are risking their lives to help keep me and my family safe, but I'm really not sure I can spare the time away from my program.

You can bring a photographer.

*Placing carefully-folded "Fear the Thumb" shirt in suitcase* See you at the airstrip in 10.


Several weeks later ...


Damn it! I don't think he was even shot at. What are those Iraqis doing these days? Oh well, hopefully it won't help him in recruiting. Bring me my mirror, my pretty!

CHK CHK SCREEEEEEEEEEECH ("Yes, he's got a magic mirror to go with his flying monkey and wish-granting cursed paw. Next week, he's tricking Kodi Burns into pricking his finger on a spinning wheel."--ed.)

Mirror! Show me ... *looks over Auburn offer list* ... Philip Lutzenkirchen!

*puts down newspaper* Well, I hadn't planned on even giving Auburn a second look, but now that I understand it's my patriotic duty as an American to play for a red-white-and-blue hero like Tommy Tuberville, I'm off to the Plains! Don't worry, coach Tuberville, I'll pledge my allegiance!

Bah! Fine! I'll offer him myself! I'll offer him two scholarships!

SCREE SCREE SCREE CHK ("If all the kids you've already offered a scholarship sign and qualify, your roster's going to go 597-deep. Monkeys will fly before ... nevermind. My point is that the NCAA's not going to let that slide."--ed.)

I hate to say it, my pretty, but you've got a point. We should probably start by just getting down to the 85 scholarships those fascists at the NCAA think is plenty. But how? Our entire secondary could disappear down the river from "Deliverance" and we'd still be over the mark. How? ... How?




PAW! My second wish: I wish that Alabama's football team was under the 85-scholarship limit!

You got it, buddy.


Approximately 11 p.m. on the Tuscaloosa campus ...

Yeah, so I tell Beemer, I'm like, "Brah! If that chick isn't in your pants by the end of the night, I swear, I'll pay for the damn ...

*strides out of the bushes* Hands up! I'd like your money, please. I've got a gun.

Yeah, dude, no sweat. Hey ... aren't you Alabama football player Jeremy Elder?

I sure am.

Cool! Nice to meet you. But dude, I have to ask ... why are you robbing us at gunpoint?

Well, I was pretty much just chilling at my place, studying for this Bio test I've got tomorrow, when this bird flies in through the window and runs into the wall. And it's got this gun tied to its leg. That's kind of a sucky thing for a bird to have to deal with, right? It's what my Bio book said. I figure that's why it ran into the wall. So I untie the gun, the bird flies off, and now I've got this gun. I decide I'm gonna turn it in to the police, but I don't get too far before I start getting crazy hungry. You know studying's gonna give a big guy like me an appetite. So I start heading to the Checkers, 'cause I gotta eat. But it turns out I'm totally outta cash. I've got this gun with me, though, right? So I figure one quick little robbery, no biggie, I can get my Double Champ with Cheese on and maybe toss the gun in the first bird's nest I find. Sounds good to you, right?

Hell yeah it does! If I wasn't on my way back from the Awful Waffle, I think I might have to check out some of that Checkers myself. Here man, that's all I got in my wallet. Hope they get your order right. Oh--you know I got to tell the cops, right? I mean, armed robbery and all. Not a big deal, but it's the sort of thing you just naturally report, you know?

Oh, sure thing, man. Thanks for the cash. See you round.


It's late, but I'd better keep studying if I ever want to fulfill my secret dream of being a veterinarian. Being a famous college football quarterback, or tailback, or fullback, or linebacker would be great, sure. But I wonder if anyone will ever know how much I want to help animals?


Hey there, Jimmy. I'm here to help you with that.

A shoulder-devil! Nice to see you. But ... aren't I supposed to have an angel on the other side?

Usually, yeah, but not inside T-town city limits. Tuscaloosa City Ordinance 12.45.A. So, about those animals ... you know what the most misunderstood animal of them all is, Jimmy?

Wait, I know this ... the pit bull terrier?

B-I-N-G-O. It's too bad there are so many unscrupulous dealers out there just looking to make a buck off of their awful and undeserved reputation. Crying shame if you ask me. Or us, am I right, Jimmy? With your credibility as an Alabama football player and your respect for the breed, I think you ought to become a breeder yourself--show people it's not all about sleaze and violence.

That sounds great! But where am I going to find the money to start my own business like that?

Well, you don't have to take my advice. But the quickest, safest way I know of is to sell and distribute large quantities of cocaine.

Seems like someone I know told me it is a hell of a drug. Let's do it!



DAMN IT. You would think they'd want to talk about how finely trimmed Jimmy's beard was. I mean, that's what looks like the story here to me. But Noooooooooo, it's all "Fulmer Cup" this and "minimum sentence" that.

Paw, this is all your fault! Maybe I'm seeing some effort, but your execution has been terrible.

There's a group of folks in Monroe, La. who might suggest it's the guy putting together the gameplans that's the problem rather than the guy putting them into practice. You're the one doing the wishin' here, champ. I'm just doing the grantin'.

Shut up, paw. You'd never even be here if it wasn't for that stupid baseball card seller. He knew what you were and he sold you to me anyway. Damn him! I take it back: this is all his fault. I hope he just sits there in that infernal, barren flea market and rots! PAW! My final wish: I wish that baseball card seller never sells another baseball card ever again!

You sure? This is your last one, you know.

You're probably right. Let me word this carefully: I wish that every weekend for the remainder of his days, the man who sold me this paw returns to his baseball card stall and sits from sunrise to sunset without a word of greeting, an expression of comfort, or so much as a glance of pity from any other member of humankind, until the gnawing misery and desolation of his soul drives him to appear at my very office door begging for a job doing nothing more than washing my football team's stinking, sweaty, blood-stained and pus-filled laundry! BWA HA HA HA!

Wow, that wasn't bad. You should have wished that the first time.

What do you mean, "the first time"?

Oh, I think you know what I meant, hoss.



You suck.








No, seriously, you suck.

Dude, do you know what has one dewclaw and is cursed? This guy.


At the flea market...

Goodness, I can't even say what I was thinking this morning when I told Suzanne I was coming out here. It'd be nice to finally finish off this '88 Donruss set I've been working on forever, but I'm never going to find the Glenn Hubbard Diamond King I need in this dump.

Baseball cards! Get 'em here! All your favorites: Ken Oberkfell, Rick Camp, Gerald Perry! While they last!

Ken Oberkfell? Hey there, buddy, could you tell me if you've got ... wait a minute ... are you Tony Franklin? You're Tony Franklin, Troy's offensive coordinator, wearing an amateurishly drawn black wig and a fake beard.


Yeah, I am.

Your offense has looked damn useful when I've had the chance to see it. What on earth are you doing out here selling baseball cards?

Well, you know Troy's simultaneous copyright lawsuits against USC and that big condom company? They're not going so well. My last couple of paychecks bounced. So I'm out here trying to make a little bit of extra scratch on the side, though I can't say it's been worth my while so far, though. For whatever reason, the kids just don't seem to have much interest in the cards I've got.

Well hell, Tony, I'm in the market for an OC. You should have called. Forget the cards, I'm hiring you. On the spot. You're working for me now.

All right! I'll never sell another baseball card ever again!



SCREECH SCREECH SCREECH SCREEEEEEEEEECH ("Why am I dressed like a bellhop?"--ed.)?



Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a comic The Auburner did a while back...

thewareaglereader said...

good stuff, i could really go for some hosewater and graham crackers myself.