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How Paul McCartney became a vegetarian (The Bambi part is true)

The dream begins in a meadow. There’s pollen drifting through early morning sunbeams, and all is at peace. In case there is any doubt, clouds of butterflies offer reassurance as they funnel about, conducted by earthly rhythms. Bulrushes are laden with dew, and squirrels are made wet as they scamper through. There is scarcely a sound, just the enormity of the planet humming quietly.

National Geographic writers, present in a small, nature-loving assemble, are completely stumped. They have satellite phones, and, eager to meet deadline, one of them files an ellipsis. Fired, he is banished from the meadow without his compass. The others will feast on his remains as they navigate their way out of Paul McCartney’s subconscious.

Speaking of whom: Sir James Paul McCartney smiles in his sleep. He’s had this dream before, finds it quite groovy, and can remember most every moment, although the ending steadily eludes his waking hours. Nevertheless, he does remember Bambi, who suddenly makes a princely entrance.

Dear, spotted Bambi, picture of innocence: On spindly legs he frolics to and fro, here and there, not a care in the world, smelling this and staring at that. His ears flap away hungry flies, and his white tail twitches with the same intention. Silly Bambi, Paul thinks; the flies just want to kiss you. And of course it’s true. With Bambi are his skunk friend, Flower, and Thumper the rabbit. They too enjoy much frolicking and staring and kissing-tag with flies.

As per usual, Paul enters the dream sequence from a passing cloud. He’s wearing only a red suit blazer and blue pants, a recorder stuck between his lips. He trills a lovely note, but it’s not what recorder-fans have grown to expect from the mighty wind instrument. Instead, it sounds like birds chirping the world’s most soothing melody. Paul is always saddened when he is unable to remember the tune after he wakes. World peace, no doubt, is holding its breath.

But Bambi isn’t. That’s because — check it out — Bambi knows how to speak English.

“Don’t eat meat, Paul,” Bambi instructs. “For aren’t I meat?” And then he points one hoof at Flower and, with great coordination, another at Thumper. “And they — aren’t they meat?”

“Yes, Bambi,” Paul says, the revelation as intense as the first time. “Yes, they are.”

“And aren’t we friends?”

“Yes, Bambi!”

And Paul runs to them with his arms outstretched. All four animals drop hits, hold hands, and dance around in circles, the birds giving them a sweet sitar line to make it happen right.

And, as they circle merrily, Paul finds the recorder once again hanging out of his lips. Looking around at the other animals, he finds the encouragement he needs to lay a sweet lead line over the bird beat. Ready, steady, go.

A volley of burning led explodes from the end of the recorder, smashing Thumper and Flower into thick, red clouds, and peppering Bambi all over his princely figure. The doe hits the ground with a multitude of sucking chest wounds, blood squirting from him in bursts.

“Paul,” he gurgles. “Get my mother.”

Paul looks around the meadow, but he knows it’s too late. Jesus Christ, what went wrong? Was the recorder a plant? Are the hunters back? The feeling of dread is all over him, and he’s in no way surprised to see Bambi’s unnamed mother’s skeleton hanging from some trees in the distance, hordes of flies not exactly kissing her.

“Your mother is all around you, Bambi,” Paul says, not with much conviction. “Snuggle this, her bountiful bosom.” He tears up a piece of bunchgrass and puts it under Bambi’s snout, causing the animal to sneeze.

“F--- off, you has-been,” Bambi screams. “I thought we were friends. I thought you loved me!”

“I do,” Paul protests, but it’s too late, and Bambi expires with a lot of coughing, snorting and gasping.

At this point, Paul’s attention is drawn to Bambi’s girlfriend, Faline, who, unfazed by the violent death of her could-be mate, is busy striking poses for the remaining staff of National Geographic .

Paul wakes up screaming, a crumpled burger wrapper on his nightstand. Cheeks moist with freshly fallen tears, salt smarting the tip of his tongue, Paul grabs the wrapper and clutches it in his shaking fist: “Never again,” he hisses. “Never. Again.”

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