I was the one who started calling our next door neighbor to the east Mysterio. In a township of two-hundred hominids, which is maybe during high summer and not counting drop-ins and squatters, he is an enigma. He moved into the studio cabin a little over a year ago, and has never been overly social. Upon arriving home, he scuttles inside quickly and draws the blinds. He has two vehicles; one is a pick-up, which is so rusted out and beaten up, it looks as though it should be shot. The other is something sleek and sporty and sorry-about-your-dick.
Our encounters have been less than pleasant. The first time I spoke to him was a few days after seeing a bear nearby. I'd gone along our row of houses, letting everyone know as to watch their trash, dogs, and/or children. He listened dismissively, and I found myself hoping the bear might find itself in the mood for monkey meat and that Mysterio would be the monkey.
My theory is he's actually a monkey hunter; out there murdering hitchhikers, men hu, and nurses, placing their butchered remains in his refrigerator so he might gain their power as he gnaws at their flesh. In the if and when of him eventually being caught for this and the media descending upon our Kashmir like scavengers upon carrion, I wouldn't do the cliche thing of saying Mysterio was the quiet type. Oh no. I figured he was a psychopath and I'm just exceedingly glad he never decided to try hunting me.
Sabina figures he's a dysfunctional wildlife photographer. She bases this on the fact he does not mow his yard, has dug out a sort of pond, and takes great effort to attract the birds. For all either of us know, she might be right. But I like my story better.
It was Sabina who saw the carcass first. We were storing some extra pellets when I heard her making messianic proclamations. When I looked in her direction, I saw her pointing into Mysterio's yard. There, crumbled, as though it had been road kill, was the corpse of a deer, which the ravens were feasting on.
"I sure hope that doesn't attract a mountain lion," I said. Never mind that the cats stay up along the trails for the most part, my utterance was all that needed to be said to feed Sabina's dragons.
She went and spoke with our lord mayor, a warm, friendly, hard-drinking, and slightly lecherous man around my father's age. He is short, maybe coming up to ankles when I'm barefoot. Sabina also spoke to law enforcement and animal control for our Sahel. Fuck, to a degree, I almost got in on it. I was going to phone law enforcement too and make mention of being concerned for my wife and daughter and ask if we were going to be served and protected.
Law enforcement basically stated it was not their nachos with a cheese side of I-don't-give-two-tugs-of-a-dead-dog's-cock. They had bad guys to catch. Let the lord mayor and/or animal control handle it. I like the lord mayor fine. Between him and his wife, I've heard some neat tales of Africa, from when they lived there. But the man is around my father's age and maybe comes up to my ankles when barefoot.
The animal control officer, who lives across the river from us, and dislikes and distrusts Homo sapiens as much, if not more so, then me, said he wasn't going to get involved. It wasn't really his nachos neither, but the Department of Wildlife, and they'd only bother if the corpse began to stink or a mountain lion was sighted. Although, the animal control officer and lord mayor were much more helpful about the situation than law enforcement was.
Our Kashmir is what is called home-rule. We have no standing law enforcement of our own. When Sabina and I first arrived, we were told the open container law was you'd better have one. This was the type of place one could walk down the dirt streets with a beer in one hand and a joint in the other, and no one would even blink. We've done the walking about with a beer or a bottle of wine before. It was fantastic.
Law enforcement can only come within our borders if they are summoned. They cannot just drive through looking for someone walking down the dirt streets with a beer in one hand and a joint in the other. We exist in a state of organized anarchy, where we are left to police ourselves.
As someone who has called themselves a moderate anarchist, I can groove with that. I cannot say I've ever been overly trusting those who wear badges and carry firearms in open view, and I try to avoid them. There are too many instances, both apocryphal and observed, of those cats abusing the power their station grants them. There's also the very simple observation an overseer made when I was helping to count monkeys in the name of Empire; those of us come to the mountains, like those who go to any in-between place, do so because we want to be left alone.
All things for a price, that is the nature of the deal. Only that, which is cheap, can be purchased with jingling coins and folding paper. Blood and karma is the true currency.
The price we pay for our organized anarchy is a brusque next door neighbor with a deer corpse we can see from the kitchen window when brewing tea, grinding coffee beans, or making breakfast. Since it is winter here, it's not stinking, but we see more ravens than usual. When the mercury gets just a few degrees above freezing, the dogs become rather interested. I see their noses turn and twitch in the direction of Mysterio's yard.
"Not yet," I tell them. "Let the other scavengers clean it off first. Perhaps closer to spring, one of ya'll can sneak over there and steal me the skull to put up on the barn."
Chevy especially likes himself some carrion. He gives me a look. Perhaps it is to tell me he'll get me the skull. Maybe he's disappointed I won't let him, Whistler, and Milarepa go to get a taste of the strange. It could be I'm just anthropomorphizing.
Whether I get the skull of that deer corpse is kind of irrelevant. Even if I do acquire it and hang it on our barn, what the fuck is Mysterio going to do about it? Both Sabina and I can speak to effectiveness of contacting law enforcement. But, when it comes down to brass tacks and bedposts, we'd not have it any other way.