When Shamans Speak – C. Harrison

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You’ve heard it told how Mr. Michael Nitrous of West 43 Street was a wily little street urchin when he was young. Back in the day he was known as Little Mikey Nitrous, and there was more than one thing that held his interest. Some people thought that he was an orthodox druid, but he was not – his parents had been reform druids for some time, but little Mikey himself was more of a shaman. He used to eat druids for breakfast. In fact, on Little Mikey’s unicycle there was a bumper sticker to that effect (no small feat on a unicycle) – “I eat druids for breakfast” it read.
Little Mikey used to make his way down to the shamanic mall every now and again, especially when they held a smoker. Mikey would fire up a cubeb (usually a cubeb, anyway – sometimes he would smoke a lizard, as it was said that Mr. Huston fellow did upon occasion), and hold forth on some great and important topic related to shamanism. It might be harmonic vibration or badger innards. Who could tell? Little Michael Nitrous covered it all. At least in his own mind, and at least until people stopped referring to him as “little Mikey Nitrous” and began referring to him as “Mr. Michael Nitrous of West 43 Street.”
Everything changes. Some of it for the better. Just wait…you’ll see.
At one particular smoker, little Mikey came face to face with a demonic shaman – one who was just right testy, believe you me. The fellow wore a red jockstrap and a headdress made of calf’s liver – you don’t get much more testy than that, if you know what I’m saying. The demonic shaman saw Mikey and shook his little bird-bone rattle at him.
“Quee-hotch!” shouted the demonic shaman.
“Awww…applesauce!” cried back little Mikey Nitrous.
“May the spirits confound your aura!” shouted the demonic shaman.
“Yer mama’s got a confounded aura!” shouted back little Mikey, waving his hand.
This was too much for the poor shaman to take, and he limped off to the wet bar, seeking a cool draught of gin and milk. Little Mikey Nitrous wiped his hands on his trousers and smiled a contented smile. He might have just as well licked his chops, but alas, he did not.
Licking one’s chops” is a phrase that was used profusely throughout the 20th century, and it referred (in the literal sense) to a person or animal licking his or her teeth with his or her tongue – often in anticipation of eating some nearby and readily-available food. In the figurative sense, this referred to eagerness or anticipation of some soon-to-be-realized source of pleasure. In the 21st century we stopped using this phrase altogether. By the early 22nd century we had begun using the phrase “dulking the mudjow.” It means about the same thing. Trust me.
Little Mikey Nitrous followed the demonic shaman to the wet bar and skulked up behind him (Mikey had always been an expert at skulking). With a little shake of his very own bird-bone rattle, Mikey began to sing the “Rime of the Ancient Shamanic Mariner.” The demonic shaman looked on in disbelief.
Several hours later, little Mikey wiped the spittle from his chin and adjusted his balsa-wood breastplate. He looked the demonic shaman in the eye. He looked him up and down. He looked at his hairy left ear. “Sorry for sayin’ that about yer mama’s aura,” said Michael.
The demonic shaman narrowed his eyes until they were showing as little red slits.
“I shoulda’ just pointed out yer sloping mast and dipping prow,” said Michael, “but I thought yer name was Coleridge, so I just left it alone.”
Michael turned on his heel and walked back to the dancefloor. The demonic shaman collapsed in tears, and a puddle of milky gin.
Some things are just too hard to take, even for a demonic shaman.
Just wait…you’ll see.
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