I just happened to be sharpening the blade of my favorite guillotine when the red phone rang.
“I need Don Parnell’s mailing address. I have a present for him.”
It was my friend Monty Gelstein, speaking with the voice of a man who’d just found a fix for his schadenfreude jones.
That’s a strange coincidence, I thought. It was only yesterday that Don posted a comment on The Daily Maul that read: “I hope Monty will be addressing this vileness,” and included a link to a post on GrindTV’s Outdoor Blog whose lede tells us: “Whether Brent Crawford has captured the world’s largest alligator gar will never be known … But this much is clear: The gar Crawford landed while bow-fishing recently in Texas’ Lake Corpus Christi is among the largest specimens ever captured.”
“What kind of present?” I asked, suspecting with good reason that it might involve something the U.S. Postal Service would decline to ship.
“It’s a piece of Texas history,” Monty told me, as I followed a link in the GrindTV blog post that brought me to a column by David Sikes in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
“Does it have anything to do with a guy named Brent Crawford?” I asked calmly, not wanting to give Monty any ideas he didn’t already have.
“Why?” Monty demanded to know, “Did you know him?”
He used the past tense, didn’t he? I asked myself rhetorically.
“Don’t say anything to Don,” Monty insisted. “I want this to be a surprise.”
“Listen, man,” I told him, “I don’t have Don’s mailing address.”
I felt somewhat relieved, until Monty laughed and let me know that he’d already looked it up and put a “very special gift” in the mail.
“Don’t you want to know what it is?” Monty asked excitedly.
“No, I really don’t, to be honest,” I began, before Monty interrupted, saying, “I know you want a hint, David. Check your e-mail.”
And there it was: evidence of a felony. Attached to Monty’s e-mail — whose subject line read: “Shrunken Head for Don Parnell” — was a photograph of what I can only assume was Brent Crawford’s headless carcass strung up like a murdered alligator gar.
I hung up the red phone and resumed sharpening the blade of my favorite guillotine, my own schadenfreude jones satisfied, at least for the time being.