A Loco Viewpoint

Calmar Is Now Cougar Country

Calmar is a nice little town; quiet, peaceful and vastly safer than the wild streets of Devon with their throngs of deadly deer; or so I thought until last weekend. Suddenly Calmar’s threat level was off the scales. The good burghers of the tiny community, out grilling their dinners, were suddenly thrown into turmoil and terror. (Mmm… barbecuing burghers!)

The threat we faced had nothing to do with funnel clouds, wasp invasions, neighbours with too many zucchini, or any other of our usual reasons to panic. The town, according to many reports, had been invaded by either a single cougar or an entire herd of cougars, depending on the source of the information.

By cougars, I am talking about the four-legged variety, of course, not the two-legged, leopard-print yoga-panted, boy-toy seeking ladies of a certain age variety. Heaven knows both are as deadly, however, and you wouldn’t want to meet either in a back alley at night.

The cougars I’m talking about though, can leap, from a stationary position, a full ten yards. They would be an awesome asset in the CFL if they could be trained not to eat their opponents. The other type of cougars can’t jump nearly as far, although they’d enjoy the CFL more than their quadrapedal counterparts.

According to the initial reports, the cougar sightings occurred one morning last week down by the FasGas, and then another alleged appearance at the hardware store. (I, too, often start my day that way; grabbing a coffee at FasGas and then heading to the lumberyard to get honey-do list supplies, or as many as I can afford.) My news source was woefully short on details, such as who actually saw the beast. I always wonder when stories are about ‘some guy’.

Nonetheless, the next update was when it was revealed by someone else, while discussing ‘The Cougar Problem’. Their cousin’s uncle’s former roommate, or something, had spotted two cougars over by the storm water reservoir in the new section recently. He says they’re there, “all the time.”

“What do you think we should do?” fretted Cupcake.

“I think we should go sit on the love seat and make out,” I helpfully replied.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she responded.

“I meant, what should we do about this cougar problem?”

“Do you really think we are suffering from a cougar infestation?” I asked incredulously. “Even in the extremely unlikely event there had really been a cougar seen in town, I am sure it would have skedaddled by now. Cougars fear humans, even though we are plump and tasty and not very tough compared to badgers or porcupines. But we have guns.”

“Like everybody walks around with guns,” gulped Cupcake. “Maybe we should, in case we see the cougar.”

“Yes, let’s have people walking around town with hunting rifles ready to start shooting at any moving target that looks even vaguely cougar-like,” I smirked. “What could go wrong?”

“What about poor Beaker?”

Cupcake went on unrelenting. “Maybe we should keep him inside so he doesn’t become cougar kibble.”

“Oh for heaven’s sake,” I said. “We are not going to have Beaker making messes all over the house because you have an irrational fear of cougars.”

“It’s not irrational!” Cupcake shot back shrilly. “We need to take this threat seriously. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. You can’t stick your head up your…. er… in the sand!”

“I’m not going to over-react to something about as likely as a UFO,” I grunted. “Cougars just don’t come here. There are too many farmers’ fields between here and the river. We are about as likely to get attacked by a cougar as we are a bear.”

“Don’t say that!” Cupcake gasped. “Now I’ll be afraid of bears, too!”

“Look here,” I said, thrusting my iPad at her. “This article lists all fatal cougar attacks ever reported in North America. There have only been 22 since 1890. Every attack took place in a wilderness area like a national park. Calmar may be out in the boonies, but it’s hardly a wilderness area. I doubt you’ll be number 23.”

The Cougar Problem was the hot topic at play rehearsal, as well. Reports of the cougars had everyone concerned. One lady even stated that a hyena was sighted on the highway between Calmar and Leduc (I swear I am not making this up!).

“Seriously, you want me to believe there was a hyena on the loose in Alberta?” I frowned, shaking my head. “You do know hyenas are only in Africa and western Asia, don’t you? Surely it could have been a mis-shapened coyote or something.”

“Nope,” came the answer. “It was definitely a hyena.”

“I see,” I sighed. “Well, it was good luck it was spotted by a trained African wildlife biologist. They are almost as rare around here as hyenas.”

“The guy said he knows a hyena when he sees one,” came the retort.

“All I know is that I am not going to go walking in town anymore. I will drive everywhere from now on,” said another. “Why take the chance?”

“Come on, people,” I plead. “Be reasonable! Cougars are three feet at the shoulders and can grow to almost eight feet long. Where could it hide? Besides, here’s the main reason it is impossible a cougar could be spotted in Calmar,” I said with a side-long glance.

“And what, pray tell might that be?” Cupcake challenged.

“If it was spotted, it would be a leopard, not a cougar,” I snickered. “Cougars don’t have spots. I think it’s all a bunch of guff.”

“You know what I think?” asked Cupcake. “I think you should fire your joke writer.”

People in the throes of a delusional danger have no sense of humour.

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