So last week I came second place in a story writing conversation to name the fake moose head the Trust and Safety team have in their section of the office.
Here it is, in all its moose-y glory!
California Joe was called that because he often told the other moose that he had spent a summer in California in his youth. The other moose weren’t entirely convinced the story was a true one, but the details Joe gave in his stories about the sun drenched beaches, the gentle crash and hush of the waves and the unsurpassable beauty of the girls he had seen there were diverting enough on a wintry New Brunswick afternoon.
To say California Joe lived in a dream world would not be entirely accurate. Joe was an avid walker and eater of deciduous plant matter, and there were legends about the time he had squared off against a wolf to protect Sally’s calf and dashed the wolf’s head in with his large hoof. There were naysayers who swore to each other that this was a fabrication but none ever said it to Joe’s face.
Besides California and the wolf, Joe was known for his wit. Not a moose in the province could match his quick tongue for quips, gibes and puns. Many a time an unsuspecting moose would walk away from a conversation with him and realise – too late – that he had been made fun of. There was one instance, on the birthday of the venerable old Cyril, fast approaching his last winters, when California Joe was called on to make a speech.
Moose in the area are still remembering that speech with fondness, the affection Joe had for the old moose was obvious but he painted a picture of Cyril both hilarious and accurate. Many a moose still laughed in recollection.
California Joe, of course, met his last winter sooner than anyone expected. One long walk through the wilderness in search of fresh aquatic greenery brought him to a beaver pond, where he stood and browsed for hours. While eating he became lost in a dream. Perhaps of his days surfing on the beaches of Santa Monica or perhaps of Sally, who once had been referred to as Joe’s true love but that was before a particularly nasty fight from which neither’s feelings truly recovered.
None can say exactly what Joe was dreaming of, as he was shot down by an opportunistic hunter who liked the look of his antlers. The hunter was a young Irish woman who had been taught how to hunt by her father and was overjoyed to have felled such a magnificent specimen.
Joe’s head was stuffed and mounted and placed in the house of the girl, but as she matured she started to find the idea of her kill distasteful and gave it away to her boyfriend – a government worker. Joe looked over the decision makers of Ireland before being stolen by a drunken intern from New Zealand. He was brought to that shore so distant from his homeland when she came home. After a year trapped in a garden shed California Joe has finally found another home in the offices of Trade Me.