This has been quite a year for the Palmer family, as I’m sure most of you know! Tonnette, the kids, and I went from hunters to hunted in less than a month. I wish we’d had the time to say goodbye to friends and family but we were forced to relocate very quickly. The team that spirited us away is very thorough: The person you saw walking back into my practice was an actor hired as a decoy. Our new address is, of course, secret–but I can tell you that we’re living somewhere in the southern hemisphere.
Everything new and beautiful that God has given to us comes as a result of my seemingly disastrous hunting trip to Africa this past July. Only those who have taken a lion, at dusk–the way a man takes a woman–can know the strength that passes into a man as the soul slips from the body of a mighty beast into his own.
Of course, that didn’t exactly happen this time around. That whole Cecil the Lion thing was a clusterfuck, so I’m not able to speak for him. I can tell you that the lion I took in 2008 still sings in my soul. As do the other animals that have come, almost willingly, to my hand. I take their unquenchable souls unto myself. And I take their heads and skins unto my basement.
But the death of this lion, Cecil: At the time, it seemed a curse. The moment I released the arrow from my bow I knew it was wrong. I hit the animal, but he wasn’t taken. The guide insisted we go back to his lodge for modern weapons and then we returned to find the lion. My guide shot him dead and stole the animal’s soul from me. I doubt it will do him any good.
I must admit that the feeling of panic and rage I experienced when I saw that the beast had a tracking collar sent a surge of excitement such as I had never known coursing through my body.
“I’m alive,” sang my heart and my bones. “I’m alive,” sang my sinews. “Maybe that wasn’t such a great idea,” sang my sense of self preservation. My guide, who is a coward, agreed only with the latter sensation.
We removed the lion’s head and skin. We did everything we could to destroy evidence of the collar. But it was not to be. We were discovered. My family was driven from our home like chattel before the hounds of the media and the cowardly fools of the Internet.
In the days that followed the closing of my practice, I prayed with my family and with the souls of the animals I’ve taken. All of us decided that our best bet was to change our identities and move far away. The country we have come to is awash in beauty.
There are few laws here regarding the hunting of animals. Dental technology is also largely unregulated, so I’ve been able to combine my two passions. My clinic is state of the art: both ancient and modern. Bestiary Dentistry has been a huge hit. The “George Washington hippo ivory” implants are a great favorite among the people here.
If you come to my country, you may be able to find me through certain secret signs. If you are able to find me, I can work with you. Your teeth will become part of your soul. Your teeth will be the living gateway between you and the beasts of the forests and plains. And yet they will be whole and white. They will flash with the beauty of a thousand suns.
For myself, each of my teeth was taken from a different beast. The front left incisor was once the horn of the last living white rhino. The right canine is from a man-eating leopard that I killed by strangling. At night, the animals come to me. My wife says I scream in my dreams, but I know my screams are the animals speaking through me. I know that I am happy.
Wishing you the best of the season!
Tonnette, Natalie, and Walt, Jr.
“Walter Palmer’s clinic” by Raul654 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons