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Thursday, July 02, 2015

When Reality Really Stinks!

This girl was drugged - only way I would ever get in a
pen with one of these beautiful but deadly creatures.
 I was doing PR for Tiger Creek a Texas tiger refuge when this short-lived reality show rolled into town. The premise was a WWF Girl, Lauren Jones, becomes a local TV reporter much to the resentment of the "real" news reporters at Tyler, Texas' CBS-19. The show died after just two episodes, but before they left town, I invited the ersatz reporterette out to see our new baby tigers. So here comes Lauren Jones across the pasture toward the tiger cages wearing a spray-on mini-skirt and stilletto heels, tailed by a sturdy, harrassed-looking woman shouldering a video camera and tripod.

They set up in front of one tiger's cage (I don't remember his name right now - we'll call him Gombe) to talk about his recent surgery or his birthday or whatever thin excuse I gave the reality TV people for coming out to give us some free publicity. I think the boss lady was kind of put out with the fake reporter even though we were getting good PR out of this whole thing. Probably something to do with the stillettos and the Versace handbag. Anyway, the boss lady neglected, in her pre-entering-the-cage-area safety briefing, to mention to Lauren, a key bit of information about this particular tiger. We had some females in nearby cages who were, shall we say, "in the mood" and this particular tiger was a notorious horn dog. So, he was likely to be a little randy.

Now male tigers have this interesting capability they don't tell children about on PBS. They like to mark their territory and they have a special gland-like structure beneath their tails which allows them to eject a pungent tagging fluid 20 or 30 feet like a water cannon (and quite a lot of it too). Well they didn't tell Lauren Jones in her tight dress and serious perfumication about this. Also they make a little chuffing sound when they like you. She did explain this to Lauren for some reason.

Lauren and the CBS-19 News Team
So, I'm watching her shoot her piece for the news. She's standing directly in front of Gombe's cage. I hear a little chuffing sound and see Gombe rubbing his face against the wire. Lauren turns and smiles sweetly at him then turns back to the camera. A few seconds later, out of the corner of my eye, I see a slow stripey kind of movement behind Lauren. The Gombers has quietly reversed his position against the chain link fence, so that he is no longer facing the camera. It's his hindquarters that are facing the camera and his tail has come up! Instinctively, I dived right to save myself, but didn't have time to shout a warning. Suddenly there's a spray like from a garden hose shooting past me and playing over the TV crew.  Lauren squeals and lights out across the grass faster than anyone I've ever seen run in stilletos. She runs a half a block shrieking before she comes to a stop and starts checking out her outfit for unsightly stains.

Meanwhile, I turn to look beside me and there's this poor bedraggled looking camera gal standing there, just dripping. Gombe had hit her square on. She really looked pitiful. I tried not to laugh, but God has not perfected my character quite that far yet.

I looked her up and down, sniffed the air and wrinkled my nose.

"I think like he likes you....." I said.

Oddly enough, she didn't think that was terribly funny. Gombe, however, was rolling on the floor of his cage, a big stupid grin on his face.

Sadly, that bit of video never made it to air. They canceled the show before that episode. Too bad too. That would have got about a million hits on Youtube.

Here's another camera guy who did record his similar experience for us, however. Watch this, then click on the Lauren Jones link and imagine her standing slightly to the left of the camera position and you'll get the idea.

© 2014 by Tom King


Mark Milliorn said...

From the reviews, the Tiger was a pretty fair critic.

Tom King said...

Yeah, pretty much. That scene would have been funny tough.