He was baking in the scorching sun. The gritty sand beneath his bony figure. A small herd of cattle saunters by – the living beings to his now lifeless frame. They stare ahead disinterestedly, kicking up dirt as they pass.
As the dust encircles him, finally settling all around, a hawk flies overhead. His ivory face stares blankly at the azure abyss above, the hot, New Mexico sun baking everything in this vast expanse.
Little did he know, he would end up, mounted proudly, on my wall.
So, obviously, I made all of that up. But, I guess, that’s kind of how I imagine it in my head – the “dramatic” story of how the longhorn skull I purchased on my sojourn in New Mexico ended up at the roadside craft place in Santa Fe.
And then, of course, up on my wall.
I commoditized him. I feel bad, when I think of it that way – I love animals, so really, I did nature a disservice. But, I had always wanted one of those. Maybe it’s a weird thing to want (I mean, I’m well aware it’s literally a skull), but I love anything Southwestern, and those longhorn skulls are, well, basically, in my view, THE symbol of the Southwest. They’re iconic, if you will.
Actually, there’s a funny story that goes along with this.
He was too big to bring on the plane (with his horns, that definitely would have been a parlous endeavor), so we actually had him shipped back home (I know, a lot of work and expense just for a skull). He finally arrives, and I excitedly open the pink bubble wrap, the white, fluffy popcorn flying around my room. As I pry the tape off and peer inside, I notice these worm-like things crawling and wiggling around inside the wrapping and on the skull.
Needless to say, it was once a living being, and the skull is legit. So naturally, it would follow that there may, just may, be bugs crawling on it.
Something I neglected to think of when I bought it.
My parents sprayed it with stuff and hosed it down outside. It took awhile, but he no longer has bugs in him. Believe me, he would not have been hung on my wall if he were still crawling with bugs.
But, he looks awesome – his name is Tito, and he’s got a sassy straw sombrero draped over one horn, fitting for his culture.