Flim Flam

The Times they were a-changin’. Tumbleweed Tom knew this better than anyone. Of course, that wasn’t his real name but a showman needs a catchy moniker and “Tumbleweed Tom’s Ottoman of Oddities”… well, it just rolls off the sun parched tongue.

Sad to say, his dusty roadside tourist trap was falling by the wayside. Used to be a guy could solder a pair of antlers onto a bunny rabbit or a fish tail onto a mummified monkey and pass them off as “mystery beasts from the darkest side of the unknown”.  But no more. Now it was all flashy amusement parks with multimillion attractions. But then… just as swiftly as his luck turned sour, the fool fates grinned down upon him in his desert hideaway

He found *fanfare please* The Skull. Some sad soul had likely fallen to the elements but as Tom stumbled across it, he saw the shadow of the mighty sagauro cacti casting upon the bones… and they looked like HORNS.

All he needed was a pitchfork he still held from a failed farm venture. He took the skull home, soldered on a couple of rocks and placed the pitchfork alongside it in a nice sturdy display case. And thus, motorists passing down the lonely backstretch of Highway 56 would bear witness to a spiffy handwritten sign : “ABANDON HOPE BUT CONJURE WONDER ALL YE WHO VENTURE A LEFT AT THE MAILBOX AND TRAVEL 9 MILES. WITNESS THE EXTRAORDINARY DEVIL MAN PRIMORDIAL BEAST OR FORGOTTEN RELIC??”

…….he was quite proud of that sign, even if it was a tad long winded.

But then the unbelievers came as they always do to doubt Thomas and his admittedly hokey wares. Were the red lights and the scratchy Night on Bald Mountain soundtrack too much? Tom didn’t care. But he had a business to maintain and he couldn’t have naysayers driving away his patrons (there’s one born every minute, y’know).

So he did the most logical action his mind could conjure. He collected the $1 admission fee and slaughtered the naysayers with the pitchfork. Easy peasy. No muss, no fuss. Well, there was a mess but being in an isolated location made that easy to take care of. Plus he got to use the bones for more creative taxidermy.

Let’s see, what to create? Clean the bones, boil  ’em. Let’s add the spines of a cactus to the fingers and the hide of a Gila monster. Presto, instant “Reliquary Lizard Man”. Or perhaps you fancy the feathers of a roadrunner glued onto an arm bone? Obvious, indisputable proof that man once had wings!

And lo, it worked! People came from near and far to gaze at his wonders. His new Oddities proved successful enough that he was able to purchase a big, flashy billboard. His collection grew in a number equal to his number of victims. Coincidence, yes? Surely, for he was a master showman and was fortunate enough to stumble upon these rare, miraculous specimens.

I hear Tumbleweed Tom is still in business. These days he’s promoting the mysterious “Whatzit”. Whatz a whatzit, you ask? Venture about 9 miles east of route 56 and find out for yourself. I hear it has it looks like a mummified human body covered in coarse hair, sporting tusks and antlers. Don’t take my word for it. Go and see. And believe me when I say his specimens are 100% authentic. If you don’t believe, just complain and scoff loud enough for him to hear you. He always has room for more exhibits.

Tumbleweed Tom’s Ottoman of Oddities.

Well worth the price of admission….

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