“Have you ever heard a mountain lion scream? It sounds like an opera singer being slowly mutilated with an axe.”
“How’d you know?” I pounded away on my Cousin Jerry’s Nintendo DS while lounging on the side of his dad’s brand new pool.
Jerry didn’t say a word. That was so weird I finally put my game on pause and looked up at him. He was biting his nails and staring at the sun.
He finally blurted, “My dad and I caught a bunch of mountain lions last summer!”
“Dude, if you saw a mountain lion you’d shit your pants so bad they’d smell it all the way in Chicago.
After that Jerry was quiet long enough for me to get to the next level. He finally jumped up and ran for the door. “Come check this out!”
I put the game on pause and dropped it onto the lawn chair. “Fine! Just to see what a dumb liar you are.”
I followed through the giant house his dad had bought when he’d become a millionaire overnight.
We reached the basement door and Jerry hissed, “Now you gotta be real quiet!”
“I sure will!” I wished I hadn’t left the Nintendo back by the pool.
Jerry opened the door and I was ready to shove him inside and lock it on his stupid face when I heard the weirdest sound. It sound like….well, to be honest it did kind of sound like an opera singer getting mutilated with an ax.
We went down into the basement and there was my Uncle Rick with five cages each holding a half grown mountain lion. Fire was burning under two of the cages. One of them was attached to a motor so the cage walls were closing in on the cub and Uncle Rick was jabbing the last two with pointy sticks. Needless to say the lion cubs were shrieking right into microphones set up in front of the cages.
“What’re you doing?” I shouted.
Uncle Rick jumped up. “Jerry! What the hell are you doing?”
“He didn’t believe me about the mountain lions!”
“No one’s supposed to know about the lions. Get the hell out of here!”
“What’s wrong with you?” I shouted, backing away. “Why’re you doing that?”
Uncle Rick took a deep breath. “It’s just how the music industry works, son.”
“Where the hell do you think music comes from? I’ve been torturing animals and selling their screams to wanna be composures years.”
“All the greats got their ideas from the sounds cute animals make when they’re tortured. Opera is completely based on lions screaming. Blue Grass comes from squirrels being skinned alive. Disco would have never happened if it weren’t for puppies being skewered on a stake!”
“I thought that was heavy metal!” Jeremy scratched his head.
“Ironically that’s the only genre of music that has never been influenced by the sounds of dying animals.” He walked toward me. “It’s just the way the world works, son. I’m sorry but you can’t-.”
I ran for the door, sprinted past the pool and jumped the fence. I didn’t stop running until I got back to our trailer. I tried to tell my mom about it but she just yelled at me to be quiet. She yelled at me when I tried to call the police.
Tonight I’m heading back to Uncle Rick’s house and I’m going to free those lions. I don’t care if that’s how the world works. Everyone complains about what a little jerk I am but even I know that’s not right.