(From the Subcategory: “Critters”)
The Old West – movie-style – from the unique perspective of the classic “Critter’s” character…
“The Hoot Owl”
(Speaking in his own words.)
“The Hoot Owl creates heightening tension. Uncertainty reigns. Is it a Hoot Owl? Or is it Indians?”
“It’s pitch dark nighttime. Perilously surrounded, a troop of cavalrymen huddles around the campfire, drinking coffee, and listening for trouble. Feeling relatively safe because Indians don’t attack at night. Although sometimes, they do. Their behavior, frustratingly inconsistent. Maybe it depends on the tribe. Though I could not say for certain. I am only a Hoot Owl, and my education is limited.
But boy, can Icreate heightening tension.
“A ‘Hoot Hoot-Da Hoo-oo’ pierces the silence. A ‘hair trigger’ tenderfoot blurts, ‘What was that!’ An ‘Old Hand’ in such matters says, ‘Take it easy, Sonny. It’s only a Hoot Owl.’ ‘Only a Hoot Owl,’ they collectively agree. And tranquility returns around the campfire.
“There it is again!
And the jangling question returns.
“Nerves are beginning to fray. It is really a Hoot Owl? Or is it Indians, signaling in the dark via cannily accurate Hoot Owl impressions? It’s a tough call determining which ‘Hoot Hoot-Da Hoo-oo’ it is – the ersatz or the authentic – the two sounds indistinguishable to the untutored ear.
“It’s important to know the difference. One’s an unthreatening “night sound”; the other, a prelude to an attack. You can see how it would be helpful to know which one is which.
“The thing is, you can never be totally certain. That’s where the heigtening tension comes in.
“Finally, the camera cuts to a “close-up” of me, sitting on a branch, hooting away in the moonlight. ‘It wasonly a Hoot Owl’, they relievedly conclude, sharing a good laugh at their own trepidatious expense, as they comfortably bed down for the night.
“Of course, there are times when the random hooting’s followed by an all-out Indian assault. Proving two things:
“One – It wasn’t a Hoot Owl.
“And Two – ThoseIndians do attack at night.”