Monday, April 2, 2007

Sid Gustafson

Sid Gustafson is a novelist, veterinarian, and professor of equine studies at UM-Western, where he manages the Natural Horsemanship Program. he was born in Montana, as were his parents and children. His latest novel is HORSES THEY RODE. He hides out in Bozeman.

Before she could see what it was, Sweet Banana had identified the crawling creature with her vomeronasal gland. It was none other than her old nemesis, the dogwoman from the Heel of the Valley Animal League. Evidently someone had reported what they perceived to be a dazed, lost Lhasa waltzing down I-90, but then Banana did have her Tibetan roots.

Sweet Banana had dealt with righteous riff-raff of the dog-catching sort on a previous animal-at-large escapade. Banana belted the control officer good with her powerful tail, up one side and down the other. By the time the dog-catcher had Banana bagged and in the trunk, she’d taken a real beating. In the quarantine ward at the pound the bruised animal officer scanned Banana and, sure enough, picked up a bleep under Banana’s mange-riddled hide. She subsequently traced the electronic ID to Irwin’s address at his silo flat. They called Mr. Irwin Finkelstein, but to no answer. The League conferred, finding it in their hearts to sedate and deliver Banana to her rightful owner. Next thing Banana found herself in the treehouse with a bowl of maggots, and Irwin’s mommy was back fermenting in the silo with her dandered son.

The following morning, after serving his mother an oatmeal-and-raisin breakfast in bed, Irwin checked his email and found another message from Bottled StillWater, (his real name, in the proper Absaroka order). Irwin called the Native. Bad news. Apparently, StillWater had checked out the Lenny play under consideration and discovered it had been written to good affect by a failing horsedoctor, and previously produced at High Horse University in Dillon, sell-out cowboy crowds for a three-week run. “Stole the thunder plum away from Butte.”

“Couldn’t be,” cried Irwin. “Virginny swears her pal Lenny wrote it all his self.”

“Nope,” said StillWater , “that Lenny’s a literary thief with a faux bibliography long as Pangolin tail. The horsedoctor had himself a hit in Dillon, and later in Dell on the Red Rock River.”

“How’d you know about Pangolin?” Irwin asked.

“Oh, I have my informants in Bozeman. Police and the like. Plainclothesmen.”

“Are you sure it’s the same play?”

“Same play, same clowny, cowboy plot,” said StillWater.

“What about the music?”

“I didn’t hear the music. Can’t read music.”

“Well, can’t we just change the music, if that’s the case?” asked Irwin.

“Well I suppose we could. We could change the words too, as long as we were at it. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about a thing.”

“Well jeez, let’s do that. Change the words, write the music.”

“Any ideas who might accomplish that?” asked StillWater.

“No problema. There’s enough deluded writers hanging about the Seed and Bean coffeehouse to have a circus, and all those ring-nosed musicians strumming away just outside the door, I’m talking tattoo talent.”

“Well, let’s get down there and see what kind of creativity we can resurrect, see what kind of music waiting writers can conjure up for us. See if they can dance the words. Maybe we’ll find some actors sipping lattes to script in, too. Maybe we can turn this keyboarding charade into something real, a real play, with live music and actors. Something like art.”

“Things are coming together, and o so sweetly. We’ll have those Willson and Main juggernauts write a play, find some strummers to strum in, drag actor folk off the street and turn this into a real production behind a real script, a story with a morality and resonance? Something people will watch and be better for it,” declared Irwin.

“See you down there in an hour.” StillWater, Montana-CoffeeHouse-AmericanIndian-PlayProducer he was, fired up his Pontiac and headed to BozAngeles.

Irwin blipped off his phone, did the silo dishes, kissed Mom on the top of her head, fed and slopped the anteater, hopped on and pedaled his ten-speed through the slush to meet StillWater at the Seedy Bean…


Sam Louden said...

Sid hints at the pangolin's mammalian being, but too kind to contradict such an established character as Sweet Banana Tail II, he turns on the stalled musical. The voracious spirit of Bozeman usurps Butte's fallacious salvation. A more perfect portrait of BozeAngeles has been only a few times more perfectly rendered. Alas, poor Butte, I knew her well, Horatio. At least the musical will be rewritten!
Hidden in the debunking of the musical lies a self-deprocating insertion of Sid's self, the horsedoctor/writer of High Horse University (MSU-Western). At least, this is my supposition.

Sam Louden said...

Botched it again, that is UM-Western, not MSU.
Also, I should note that this was the fastest entry. At twelve hours from receiving to sending-back, Sid wins the Hero of Quickness award.

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