Shmall Town News Twelfth Edition. Welcome To The Jungle.

A hibernating Serengeti Tree Snake. Photo by Chen Hu

August 6th, 2018

Welcome to Shmall Town News: Small Town-Big Ideas-Huge Problems.

A subsidiary of the Shmall Town Distribution Network, WSTD Channel 4.

Today’s news is sponsored by:

Nacho Livre Booksellers.

“If you didn’t pay for it, leave it the hell alone.”

By Gladys Ritton

Today, I am interviewing Jude The Animal Expert Dude in the Serengeti. As most readers and citizens of Shmall Town know, there is one Shmall Town News Reporter who has a thing for a man in a loin cloth. When Jude accepted the interview, I immediately jumped on the first plane out of town and headed to the wilds of Africa to meet up with the most courageous animal expert in the world. The following interview was done on location in Africa.

Photo: David Clode

GR: What is it like living in the Serengeti?

JTAED: It is just like camping in your backyard. Except it is 12,000 square miles of grasslands, forests, swamps, and rocky hills. Plus it has dozens of wild animals that have no second thoughts about killing you. And you can’t go inside to go to the bathroom. And there is no internet. And you can’t have microwave popcorn. And if it rains, you can’t run back inside the house. Other than that, it is just like camping in your backyard.

GR: Do you bait animals in or stalk them like the Paparazzi?

JTAED: I study animals behaving naturally in their natural habitat. I would never sink to baiting animals. Although you might be surprised at how many animals come running when you open a pack of Starburst Fruit Chews. They love them!

GR: What do your “observation spots” look like? How are they set up? How many are there?

JTAED: I usually try to find a natural location to conceal myself. Like a tree or a bush or a rock. But sometimes I just wear camouflage clothing. I have several grass jumpsuits, plus leaf jumpsuits for all four seasons, and various animal costumes. The elephant suit is the hardest to pull off convincingly. It all about the sway when you walk. Of course, you don’t want to wear animal costumes during mating season. Especially the elephant costume.

GR: What is it like to come face-to-face with an “Elephant-Monkey?”

JTAED: Sadly, the Elephant Monkey has eluded me so far. It is an incredibly sly creature. Despite its obviously enormous size, it is quite stealthy. They usually only come out of hiding under the cover of storms. Several times during thunderstorms I have been awakened by a large branch snapping under the weight of an Elephant Monkey. But by the time I got to the tree, the Elephant Monkey was gone. I am considering changing their name to Houdini Monkey.

Photo: AJ Robbie

GR: Have you ever been attacked by an animal while on safari?

JTAED: Luckily, I learned early in my career to always carry Starburst Fruit Chews with me. Those will placate almost any animal. It is a trick I learned when I was 12-years-old and fell into the water at Gatorland in Orlando, Florida. My dad quickly opened his emergency Starburst package and tossed them into the water. The Gators all ignored me and went for the fruit chews. If not for my Dad’s quick thinking I probably wouldn’t be giving this interview right now. I consider that moment the beginning of my career as an animal expert.

GR: Do you have a regular sidekick? Assistant? Sherpa? If so, what are they like?

JTAED: I had a pet Zebra for a while. But he got tired of my snoring. One morning I woke up and he was gone. Along with 60 packs of Starbursts. I do regularly hire locals as guides. They usually know the best places to eat.

GR: Will you be staying in the Serengeti, or traveling about soon?

JTAED: The Elephant Monkey has kept me here longer than I anticipated. But I am itching to check out rumors of an Antarctic Hippopotamus. Apparently, they have evolved skin that looks just like snow and ice, making them nearly indistinguishable from snow and ice. I have a very convincing ice suit being tailor-made for me right now in Canada.

GR: Have you found any unusual animals? I mean for the area?

JTAED: The Serengeti Tree Snake is probably the most unusual animal I have discovered. It is a snake that looks exactly like a tree. It is amazingly convincing. A local guide tipped me off to that one. I also found convincing reasons to believe there was once a Serengeti creature that looked like a giant elephant-sized beanbag chair. Sadly, now extinct.

GR: Thank you for letting me snuggle the tree snake, Jude. Photo by Pietra Schwarzler on Unsplash

GR: Will you be safari-ing in Shmall Town any time soon? We have a few crazy creatures. Sasquatches, Lizard men, talking monkeys, and other accidental beasts created by the Shmall Town Biohackers Club.

JTAED: Not likely. If I wanted to study unnatural creatures I would be on social media.

GR: How do you feel about biohacking?

JTAED: Anything with “hack” or “hacking” in it sounds bad to me. Trust me you haven’t heard real hacking until you have watched a lion hack up a fish taco. I tried to warn him not to eat the whole shell in one bite, but lions rarely listen to advice.

GR: Are you married? Involved?

JTAED: Ms. Ritton, you are you trying to make me blush? I am single. I know animals, but I never could understand humans. Plus I frequently spend months in the field. I don’t think it would be fair to expect someone to sit at home waiting for me to return. And I have yet to find a woman willing to spend eight days in a highland grass jumpsuit laying on the ground waiting to hear a Highland Cow whistle an old Peeples tune. Maybe someday.

Photo by SergioDelgado

GR: Have you ever encountered “Head Hunters” or cannibals in the wild? If so, how did that go? Did they invite you to dinner?

JTAED: Nope. Only in old Tarzan movies.

GR: Do you carry weapons?

JTAED: Only a knife. It makes opening Starburst packages easier. My superior knowledge of animals makes weapons unnecessary. I also use animal telepathy to let animals know I mean them no harm. Plus I make a mean taco. Animals are far less likely to rip me to shreds once they have tasted one of my world-famous tacos.

GR: How do you feel about Anacondas? Have you wrestled one? If so, how many animals have you wrestled? Any memorable beast wrestling moments?

JTAED: I rarely wrestle animals. Unless they try to take the last taco. Although I do enjoy a good monkey wrestling show. It is a lot of work to put on the giraffe costume, but you do what you have to do for entertainment in the wild.

GR: Did you know Steve Erwin? Any memorable moments with him? Memories? Did he teach you how to properly pronounce, “Crikey!” and “Mate!”

JTAED: Steve was my hero. None better. Sadly I never met him in person. But some nights, alone in the wilderness, I think “Steve did this. I am doing this.” That’s special.

GR: OK. Thank you, the pleasure was all mine.

This is Gladys Ritton, with Jude The Animal Expert Dude in the Serengeti, reporting for Shmall Town News.

(Humor, not real news. Thank goodness. Jude The Animal Expert Dude written by Mark Starlin.)

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