High on the Plains: Lawyers, guns and lizard people

“Enjoy every sandwich.” – Warren Zevon


Chad Christensen, Columnist

He’s trying to explain to me about how strange a human tongue really is, especially when seen through a hallucinogenic lens. Apparently, under certain circumstances, it becomes its own creature, bouncing around inside the skull until it eventually tries to secede from the body. That once the ego goes the tongue has no choice but to flee.

The evidence is lacking, in any sort of real sense, but “what’s real” seems to be what he’s implying. Usually when I get this kind of sage advice I end up losing all the loose change in my car, mysteriously ending up in his pocket.

Believe it or not (Jesus, it’s already leaning towards a Ripley scenario), the conversation started about pickles, or more specifically his hatred of pickles, and how they came to be on his pizza last Monday night. And the fact that he got charged $3 for extra pickles that he fully denies ever asking for has left him in a less-than-desirable state to be around. Plus the Cubs and Huskers lost. So basically, the man’s inconsolable.

I try to cheer him up with the latest headlines in the news: North Korea’s nuclearization, hurricanes ravishing the happy places, mass killings of country music concertgoers, Tom Petty’s death and resurrection and then death again, and of course, OJ golfing. But he only cringes and slumps down further into his seat. His sunshades slowly falling down over his eyes. Complete submission to the ugliness bouncing around him on this great blue sphere.

“Hey, man,” I say. “You ever listen to Warren Zevon?” He sits there for a moment not moving. Finally, he says “Who?”

“Zevon,” I say again. “Werewolves of London.”

He looks to the ceiling, contemplates, and then looks back at me. It’s hard to tell if he’s actually looking at me with the shades on.

“No,” he says.

I shake my head in disappointment. When I was younger, a friend and I tried to buy a 12-pack of beer from a bar, but unbeknownst to us, we didn’t realize the fact that we looked like we were 15. Maybe younger. But we were confident and, most importantly, desperate. So we went in one afternoon, fully convinced that we could do this.

Right away, the old lady clocked us for what we were. Young and dumb. But surprisingly, she didn’t seem to care. She was going to sell it to us, but not until she gave us a hard time. To this day, I can’t remember the stupid small talk we tried to say in the mere hope to appear like we knew what we were doing. It was then that the old man interrupted us. He turned on his bar stool to face us and started feeding us lines like he knew us. Like we had been friends from way back. “Let me buy this beer for ya,” he said. “We can go back to my place and drink it.” In the confusion of our conversation being side swiped, we agreed because, again, we were desperate.

Outside the bar, we did the usual stand around and talk. We commented on the lawn mower in the back of his truck, etc. He told us to follow him, and we said we would. Just before taking off we discussed the possible outcomes of following him, but figured they were worth the risk for the alcohol. When we got to his farmhouse he invited us inside and gave us each a beer. It was then that he couldn’t stop talking, his tongue flapping uncontrollably. Everything was about his ex-wife, the evil lizard woman. That’s what he called her. Why? I don’t know.

He proceeded to give us a tour of his house. But unlike most tours, his was extremely odd and extensive. I mean, he showed us every single closet in the house. And he pointed out all the stuff that were in his closets. Mostly the things that were his ex-wife’s (the evil lizard woman). Then he started giving these things to us. A vacuum cleaner, some floral tapestries, a sea shell wind chime, several Warren Zevon albums, and one of those wooden yard ornaments that’s shaped like a duck, so when you stick it in the ground they look like they’re flying. He even gave us some Christmas lights.

The man was nuts. And extremely drunk. But he was also generous, and he knew a lot about Warren Zevon, which is what’s truly important here.