Needless to say, it’s been an adventurous week. Hunting a manticore – for research or for sport – is dangerous, exhausting work and I am finally home in Brooklyn, sipping tea and licking my wounds.
A manticore bite is nothing to scoff at, you see. My arm is still swollen around the wound and my cheek is healing with a rather stunning scar. Bubo assures me that I look fearsome and dashing, but she’s been particularly attentive and I know my two day fever was a concern to her.
Mordecai and I were successful in finding the manticore; it was prowling the woods near the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. We were able to observe from the cupola of a stunning home on College Street, and I would have been fully content with a notebook full of observations. My brother, naturally, was not satisfied. He needed to get closer to the beast.
His insatiable need for closer examination is how we, decked out in thick protective gear to ward off the deadly spikes of the manticore’s scorpion-like tail, came to find ourselves creeping through the wooded backyards of Montpelier’s fine citizens, carrying woefully useless weapons of self-protection.
The manticore itself is how we found ourselves speeding off towards Sugarbush at 3 in the morning in the jalopy. The manticore is a shockingly fast runner and the jalopy is a shockingly slow vehicle and while we nearly lost the creature in Duxbury, we came to a head on Route 17 in Camel’s Hump State Forest. Mordecai nearly lost an eye and I received the full glory of a mantiore bite on my arm.
The jalopy withstood the brunt of the attack and it appears that there’s nothing like old tire rubber to disgust a composite creature. Bald tires may be horrid to drive with but they’re the answer to a cryptid attach. When the manticore spat a few teeth and tire bits out of its mouth and roared towards Bristol, Mordecai and I launched a Dunkirk back towards the Mad River Valley.
Dunkirk is a noun meaning a retreat to avoid total failure; a crisis situation that requires a desperate last effort to forestall certain failure.
Coined in the early 1940’s, the word refers to the evacuation of 330,000 Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkerque, France in the face of enemy fire in World War II. This military maneuver occurred in 1940 and was considered a desperate move to avoid what surely would have been a crushing defeat.
Our Dunkirk took us all the way into New Hampshire, where we sought solace with old friends and my delightful pen pal Esme. She brought me a tiny bat-eared fox totem that kept me company while I slept through the worst of my fever. Bubo was exceedingly brave and flew west to ensure that the manticore was not on our tails. It was not. It appears there’s a sea monster in Lake Champlain that was unimpressed with the cryptid sipping at its shores.
I am allowing myself this week to recuperate and then I shall force Mordecai to shed his ridiculous eye patch and assist me in rebuilding the jalopy. I shall also consider drawing up plans for a tank. If Mordecai insists on chasing dangerous cryptids all over the country, he should at least have a proper vehicle.