First, it was a 10-foot tall Ed Begley Jr., terrorizing me in a shopping mall. I wanted to get new underwear -- I got Ed instead. These things seem to happen to me whenever a doctor says: "Take two of these and call me in the morning." I know it is only a coincidence, but the guys's name is Dr. Charles Sheen. Hmm.
Last night I met the Heartolope while walking past a Manhattan Poodle Parlor. One of those places where people have their uptown pets bathed, perfumed and made to look and smell like a furry hooker. I only caught a glimpse of this strange animal as a very large woman led it by the window and into another room. Curious, I went in. She was busy muscling this thing into a large tub. Over the noise of the cascading water, I inquired as to what this odd-looking animal might be.
"Hell if I know. Smells like a goat, but it ain't got no horns. Doesn't seem to have any other parts either. Fellow says it's a Heartolope, so I Googled that and it came back, 'page unavailable.' Freaky. Guy that owns it says it's extinct. Ought to be the way it smells."
"Where do they come from?"
"Guy said somewhere in southeast Africa. They lived in a crater there. Sort of, I guess. Guy drinks like a fish. You know, perfect pet for a rich guy. You don't even have to feed it."
"Doesn't have a mouth...here look for yourself. Doesn't have an asshole either."
So I decided to go to southeast Africa and find out about this animal. Seemed like the thing to do since I had no idea why I was in a Manhattan Poodle parlor anyway. But seeing how this was a dream, it wasn't long before I was standing in a crater in southeastern Africa chatting with a grizzled old buzzard of a man holding a spear. He had all kinds of tattoos, scars and sharp things shoved through his lips and eyelids. Really wondered if he had a belly-button piercing, but that seemed a little personal for a first encounter. Fortunately, he spoke English or otherwise the dream would have ended right there.
"He was called the Heartolope by the early Masi. He was known as the Szxxcohtzx to us, but we were never good with words, so we adopted the other name. We were great hunters until they opened the Wal-Mart."
"Are there any left?"
"No. The last two were eaten by Christian missionaries. The said we needed to be saved from our Pagan habits. You see, we thought that maybe the Heartolope might be a god, since it needed nothing in this world."
"The name? Heartolope. Why was it called that?"
"The old man scratched his head and spat on the ground. "Bad teeth. The story is told that the animal is born with all heart and no organs. His life is sustained by slowly giving his heart to all around him. A scientist came by once and said that the story is a metaphor for something else. Lions got him though, so we never found out what the 'something else' was. Happens a lot around here...I mean with the lions."
"Well, how did they...uh, reproduce? I mean, make more Heartolopes."
"I don't think they knew about sex. They seemed to have just come out of the ground in the crater. And then, in my grandfather's time, less and less of them were seen. And they began to smell bad. There were many stories passed down about these strange creatures who saw with no eyes, spoke with no tongue and left the land as it always had been."
"It is said they leave no tracks on the ground. And according to the Masi, other animals would bring their young to see them. It is said that Wildebeest mothers brought their calf's to the crater to teach them to have self-esteem. If I looked like a Wildebeest, I think I would have such issues myself." He spat again. "They say I need a root canal."
"What will happen now...I mean, now that they are all gone."
"Probably nothing. Nothing much happened when they were here really. We lived, they lived, the lions ate stupid scientists. But you know, nothing grows in that crater anymore..."
"It is a sad story."
"I am not sure about that. You know, I miss them at times, but I never know why. Then I kind of miss my 6th wife too, but I am not too sure about that either. I am old. Maybe soon I will go where all things go and find out."
Then I woke up...and it seemed like the bed was full of sand...and my belly-button was pierced.