In order to photograph the natural world,
one must love that world.
In order to capture the essence of a wild thing,
one must allow it beneath one's skin and never flinch.
Only an amateur,
only a poseur, a human monkey with thumbs,
disrespects his subject.
Let such cardboard-souled dabblers eat scorn and vomit shame.
I have been waiting for hours,
flexing my fingers to restore blood flow,
stamping my feet as quietly as I can,
training my telescopic lens on a mountain side,
hoping to capture an image of the rare and beautiful snow leopard.
Today, she has left her injured mate behind,
and she hunts alone, looking for the nimble mountain sheep.
I am nearly as electrified as the leopard when she spots one,
downwind and oblivious.
I should have left the gin alone last night.
I am finding it hard to maintain concentration,
a recurring fault my ex-wife would be happy to tell you about.
I blink hard and refocus...
Yes, there she is, nearly upon her kill!
Too late to double check my settings,
no time to choose a better angle;
I can almost feel her empty belly in my own body,
and I know how badly she needs this meal.
I put my fingers slowly to my mouth,
and let out a shrill, sharp whistle that echoes off the rocks.
The mountain sheep jerks his head up, then bolts,
and the snow leopard misses him by a body length,
or at most, two.
She turns in a quick circle,
beside herself with furious frustration.
I take several dozen shots at high speed--
Yes! I can demand twice, even three times the going rate
for the best ones.
The cover of a glossy monthly will not be out of the question!
The snow leopard disappears among the rocks high up,
and I put away my gear.
The injured leopard may die tonight. The huntress will not eat.
That's a shame, but I can't keep the grin off my face as I stow the last of my equipment.
This could make my reputation,
and pay for a lot of Tanqueray
and eager whores.
for Kerry's challenge at Real Toads: the unreliable narrator.