Mystery German update! Received confirmation today that, for the past year and a half, the Mystery German had been braving the elements, sleeping out in the woods in either a makeshift hogan, sleeping bag or both with the goal of “not being alone.” Shortly after the holidays, he returned to Germany and thus has not frozen to death, at least not in the Northwoods.
Perhaps this is just one of those small town things but for the past three months, everywhere I go in this dang place I see the same Mystery German lurking in corners. I don’t think he’s stalking me (despite my best townie friend’s concern that he’s an attractive hustler of women); rather, I believe it to be a case of bizarre coincidence. Once, I heard him being grilled by a chatty patron of the Hippie Dome who asked him what brought him here and he grizzled, “an accident” and offered no more. Then I easedropped some weeks later that he may be on his way to Cuba and / or rennovating local kitchens.
Evidence that he’s a drifter:
- wears the same clothes
- saw him sleeping in the library
- appears to lack commitments
Evidence that he’s not a drifter:
- drinks expensive coffee
- saw him in a bar with a cover charge; albeit it was only $2
In the chance that he is a stalker, I, unbeknownst to him, snapped a photograph of him in a crowd which turned out rather like something out of a dossier of international intrigue. That doesn’t make me a stalker now, does it?
In any event, last evening the plot thickened. I turned on the 1.5 station television set and one of the many infomercials that the locals broadcast flickered across the screen. This one was for a free “Jesus Christ” film from the Church of Latter Day Saints. In the dramatization footage of Jesus’s life, a medium shot revealed a character (either pre-preaching Jesus or an anguished leper) that looks exactly like the Mystery German.
What does this all mean?
On the prairie husbands widow their women-folk by grabbing their guns and rampaging into the woods for the opening of hunting season. So the women-folk shop at craft fairs during the day and at night wave dollar bills at fit young men parading around in Tarzan skivvies in Male burlesque shows. News of their mischief spread far and wide (this is a small town, after all) and way before its onset and shortly thereafter its conclusion they receive envious and unsolicited inquiries about these devilries from big cities many, many hours away.
Here I am, in class at the local community college, expecting to learn about the fine art of embroidering stuff with porcupine quills. And oh, do I ever get my money’s worth. You see, included in the nominal cost of tuition is full instruction on how to drag a road-killed porcupine off the pavement (by hooking your fingers underneath its thumbs – and avoiding the DNR) and, once it’s safely in a ditch, how to pluck the choicest quills off of it’s neck, shoulders and side. Of course, if you don’t have the time to do it right then and there, you can lift Porky into your automobile, hoist it into your garage and then heave it into your freezer for later dealings.
And dont’cha know that porcupine meat is the only kind of woodland meat which can be eaten raw because its intestines don’t contain parasites? So if you see one, lead it in a circle or figure 8 and it’ll soon grow tired and fall down. Then you can rip into its soft belly with your bare hands.
I suppose my (woman) instructor is what is known as a survivalist.
Now really, could I ever, in my wildest, wildest dreams concoct a scene where one walks into a German pub / biergarten in Northern Wisconsin and beholds 2 300+ pound Wisconsin fratties, 2 100 pound emos, 3 50-year-old J. “what is, he a used car salesman?” Looneybird clones, 1 dude in a cowboy had, 1 cancer patient, 2 Harley Davidson bikers, and a chick playing a tambourine bumping and grinding to a live band on top of a table, beneath 2 armored knights and precariously close to a glass case filled with antique steins?
And then, could I awake from this Prussian surrealism to find that the Pirates of Gitche Gumee have invaded town and that Super Walmart’s biggest grocery competitor has decided to ramp up their image by participating in a beef fest by constructing a theme ala The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?