Short Story Page

I’ve got a Tiger by the Tail

And won’t let go


by don the storyteller
created September 1995.


There were two men standing by the side of the road. A tiger ran by. One man grabbed it by the tail and didn’t let go.

The other man yelled out, “Don’t be ridiculous. Let go of that tail. Think of your wife and children. Think of your social responsibility. Think of the meaning of your life.”

The other man yelled back over his shoulder, as he was pulled by the tiger. “What is this meaning you speak about? I don’t understand.”

“Life’s meaning is to have a career, wife, kids, live, die, be reborn again, live, die, so on and so forth. You get the picture.”

“What do you mean? I don’t understand. I’m too busy with my tiger and his tail to focus upon what you say.”

“What will the neighbor’s think? What will people say?”

“I give up. What will they say? I really can’t guess. I’m too busy trying to hold my tiger’s tail. He’s leading me to so many wonderful places.”

“They will say you’re wasting your life on something meaningless.”

“Meaningless? What does this mean? I don’t understand.”

“It means you should be doing what the rest of us do. Your life has no meaning to us.”

“I am in awe. Rainbows bubble from my crown. Life stands still and the heavens open up. My tiger has led me to the gates of heaven.”

“You’re just dreaming. You’re only imagining things. It’s all an illusion.”

“I’m embraced by the Universal Mother. I made love in the midst of Paradise. I tingled from my heads to my toes.”

“None of this is true. You’re just an ordinary man with an ordinary job living an ordinary life.”

“I can’t understand what you say. Speak a little louder. My tiger has taken me to the outermost reaches of the Universe.”

“Come down to earth. Plant your feet in the soil. You are nothing special. Quite an ordinary man.” An aside: “Perhaps a manic-depressive.”

“I’m fighting the forces of evil to save creation from destruction. Speak a little louder. I still can’t hear you.”

“You’re ordinary. You’re nothing. Face reality.”

“I’m holding onto my tiger’s tail and can’t let go. I don’t understand this language that you speak.”

“You must come back to reality. Your tiger is only a dream.”

“My tiger a dream? A dream? You say my tiger’s only a dream? I don’t understand. But ->>>Whoosh!!!>>>>> I’m away again to discover universal principles, to see the machinery of Being itself, to explore virgin lands of scientific discovery.”

“You’re just fooling yourself. You’re living a delusion. You are just an ordinary man.”

“An ordinary man? Is that what you say? I can barely hear you. My tiger has taken me to where there is no space or time.”

“Here. Drink some coffee. Wake up to this world. It is the only reality.”

“I can’t Here you. Speak up. I can’t tune you into Now. I’m in the midst of a wondrous tale of good and evil. My tiger is taking me everywhere and I can’t let go.”

“You are all by yourself. You must be the loneliest man in the world. This is just a psychological reaction to deprivation.”

“The static is great. I’m painting a masterpiece and can’t slow down. My hand and eyes are on fire. The brilliance of the sun is under my fingers and is burning my vision.”

“Why, you can’t paint. You haven’t been properly trained. You haven’t even been to school. You’re out of the loop. Accept your fate.”

“Out of the loop. Out of the loop? What do you mean. My tiger is taking me to places I’ve never even imagined. The structure of space is unraveling and I’m slipping between the cracks. What’s that you say? I’m only hearing you from far, far away. Out of the loop? What loop? It’s as if you’re speaking another language.”

“Oh, Joe! We’ve grown up together. What has happened to you? We used to be so close.”

“What has happened to me? Happened to me? Nothing. Nothing at all. I just grabbed the tiger’s tail and won’t let go.”

“Joe.” Grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him. “There is no tiger. There is no tail. Listen to me . Life is suffering. Life is pain.”

“What did you say about life? I can’t hear you very well between the cracks of space and time. Radio waves can’t travel here. Did you say that life is ecstasy, glorious and splendid?”

“Joe, O Joe! What is happening to you? Where is the quiet, thoughtful Joe that I once knew.”

“I grabbed the tiger’s tail and won’t let go.”

“Joe, I keep telling you there is no Tiger, no tail, and no adventure. You’re delirious, sick. You’ve had a high fever for days and are dying.”

“I can’t hear you. I’m in the midst of this wondrous tale of a Princess and a Prince, Beasts, a King and a Queen, a Devil, a Smart and Friendly Bomb, Mother Earth and Father Sky. My reception is bad.”

“I said you’re sick and dying. You don’t have long to live if you don’t take your medicine.”

“You say that I’m dying. You’re not?”

“Joe, O Joe! You just don’t understand. You need to take your medicine. Come down to Earth. Think of your wife.”

“My wife? Oh yes, my wife. She’s here with me. She grabbed another tiger’s tail. Our tigers are in love; so their paths cross frequently. And when they do … Whew!”

“Well tell me, what happens when your imaginary tigers paths cross?”

“We meet for passionate love. I love my wife and she loves me. We love together when our tigers love each other.”

“What about your children, your mother and father?”

“What about them? I hope they catch their own tigers by their own tail and never let go.”

“Joe, O Joe! There is no tiger. There is only pain and suffering, sickness and death.”

“Sickness and death, pain and suffering. I thought that you said that it’s all an illusion.”

“Joe, you’re misinterpreting me. Your life is an illusion. No I mean that your tiger is an illusion. The tail is an illusion. Your adventures are an illusion. Pain and suffering are real.”

>>>>>Whoosh>>>>>>! “My tiger’s leaving again for another intergalactic journey. I’m sorry that I can’t hear. Our connection is terrible.”

“Joe, you’ve taken one too many fractal substances. Drink some coffee. Calm down. Look around you. You are not on an intergalactic journey. You are firmly planted on the planet Earth. And I’m trying to help you, Joe. I’m your friend. I love you and want you here with me.”

“I really don’t understand.

But I seem to need to say.

Grab your own Tiger by the Tail

And Don’t Let Go!”

The End