The Lion of Leon


There wasn’t one real lion in the town of Leon Mexico.

 No, in fact, there were two.  In 1840, the town was named “Los Cojones” The mayor at that time was one, Juan Carlos Blanco y’ Blanco who, as everyone in the town knew, had,  due to an unfortunate circumstance of birth, been born without any. This physical anomaly was doubly embarrassing to the town because Blanco y, Blanco was, as he and the entire town knew, a devout coward.

 Gun and knife fights were a daily event in this wild town where men were tested and gauged by the size of what Sr. Blanco unfortunately did not, in either case, posses. The fact that Blanco was the mayor was only due to his superior administrative ability and that the town council and its  leading figures liked and trusted him. It was however, a source of embarrassment to all, that in a town known for its “cojones,” the mayor was…well, as he was.

 One day, Senor Raul Miguel de la Siesta, the town constable, awoke at a council meeting with an astonishing announcement. He had an idea! That Raul Miguel had an idea was in itself remarkable…they listened. “Since we all want Sr. Blanco to remain as our mayor and since we have some difficulty in having a mayor who has no cojones in a town named Los Cojones, I suggest that we consider changing the name of the town.”

 This was such a remarkably simple solution. They were stunned into  silence by its elegance. Si, why not?  Raul Miguel, being, when awake, a fearsome hunter, further suggested that Sr. Blanco y’ Blanco “ accompany me on a wolf hunt and return with many pelts of the terrible beasts and in this way rid himself of the stigma of being thought lacking in courage.” He continued,” The town might then be more peaceful and its mayor perhaps accorded respect.”

 Blanco, seeing the logic and wanting his entire life desperately to dispel the notion that he was entirely without courage in a city where that quality was valued above all, understood that if he could be seen to possess courage, the city would surely be easier to govern.

 “I have always admired the Lion,” said Blanco “and wished that I had his heart. I think that if the town were named Leon and led by a mayor who was thought to possess the qualities of a lion, that this would be a good thing.”

 A call went out to zoos far and wide to locate a lion for sale. It was decided. The town would hold a grand fiesta and announce the change of its name on the very day the Beasts arrive.

 Finally, a large crate was deposited in the town square. Inside of which  were not one, but two huge, shaggy, emaciated, very hungry and old lions.

 They quickly escaped their pitiful cage and ate the first horse they found and running off into the bush,  proceeded to eat several cows, a couple of townspeople, dogs, and whatever else they could find.

 Blanco was blamed for this utter stupidity and was thrown out of office… He blamed Miguel, and the council blamed them both…

 There was only one possible course of action, Miguel and Blanco had to hunt the stupid lions and kill them. Easier said then done… Blanco and Miguel spent several weeks in the bush… shivering through the cold nights and finding no lions.

 The lions found them….

 When the townspeople finally found them, there was only Blanco’s boots and Miguel’s hat, lying in the dirt… there were also two lions, dead… What was left of Blanco was found in the stomach of the lions…They had died of poison…  poison that Blanco must have had in his pockets, intending to take his own life rather than face his fellow citizens as a coward and a stupid one at that.

 The town council decided there and then to change the name of the town to “Leon” and it has been such ever since.

 The dead Lions were packed in ice and sent to Mexico City to be stuffed… they were made to look far fiercer in death than ever they had appeared in life. They were placed in the entryway to the town offices where they became the single source of civic pride for many, many years… 

 20 years ago, understanding that no one alive had any idea why they were there, the council decided to sell them.  A local hotel brought them both and now, the wonderful lions of Leon can be seen today…..a little worse for the wear,,, mangy and flea bitten to be sure,  but still, you can see what terrible beasts they once were… and Blanco y’ Blanco, well,  his statue sits today in the town’s square,, the plaque beneath saying,

  “Here was a man, a lion of a man, the one true lion of Leon.”

 Now you know the real story…..

 Robert Firth

Leon Mexico, Jan 31, 2003





A short sorry


Robert J. Firth

 In Summit New Jersey, on June 14th, at five pm, in Holly Cross’s maternity ward, Mrs. May-Ann Snopes, with much sweating and swearing, brought into the world her first and only offspring whom she named Ishmael Billy Bob Snopes, a name she remembered from Sunday school in her native Alabama. Her husband, Big Dick Snopes was a tower of support and affection for her and Ishmael. He was proud of his new baby boy, handing out 5 cent cigars to everyone in the waiting room and, two days latter, driving her and Ishmael home in his 1950 Ford Pickup.

 May Ann, at 22 was a decidedly gorgeous and sexy young lady. The fact that she was also a nymphomaniac with the mind of an 8 year old never particularly mattered to her husband or any of the dozen or so men that happily became acquainted with her charms including, her religious instructor, Pastor Grimm Brooder. Big Dick working the night shift in the local firehouse was blissfully unaware of his wife’s strange affliction.

 Big Dick and May Ann were pillars of the local Baptist church. Ishmael grew up listening to the pastor rant and rave about salvation and damnation for a number of hours every Sunday and then listened to him again, shagging his Mom through the thin walls of the Snopes' home.

 At 19, Ishmael decided to leave home for a porters job with Amtrack. By then, Ishmael, never a particularly good student, was miraculously able to recite the entire Baptist Bible and had learned by rote, every one of Pastor Brooder’s fiery epistles. On his way out of town, Ishmael stopping off at the Pastor’s residence, beat him to death with a baseball bat and left the good man with his privates removed, to be found later on his pulpit. The crime was never solved.

Ishmael learned to play poker with the train staff and watched life in general until his 24th birthday. Then fate stepped in and decided his future and he was to begin in earnest, his life’s work.

 One of Ishmael’s fellow workers, William Peacock, sometime in the early morning hours, polished off his flask of 100 proof Moon-shine that the staff always purchased at a stop in Hattiesburg Mississippi for resale in Newark, and, making a left turn instead of a right to visit the train’s lavatory, unfortunately, stepped out over a trestle bridge, falling 100 feet into the Mississippi river. A week later a fisherman finding the body, called the sheriff and a service was arranged in Newark. The entire staff and several corporate officers were on hand to send old Bill, who had served for 20 years, to his just reward. Ishmael, due to his knowledge of the bible, was chosen by the staff to give the eulogy.

 This was Ishmael’s first, but not his last by any means, pubic speaking  experience. Using the late Pastor’s Brooders favorite psalms and exorcisms, Ishmael felt a strange elation standing before the crowd. He liked the feeling of controlling the thoughts and emotions of his audience and determined, then and there, that he would find more opportunities to practice what he perceived as his “gift.”

 There followed then, for a period of years, a virtual spate of tragic accidents on Amtrack wherein no less than 20 trainmen met their ends in a series of bizarre and fatal accidents. Each time, Ishmael was asked to say a few words for the dearly departed. By now the quality of his eulogies was approaching bombastic perfection.

 Oddly, Ishmael just happened to be on every train where a fellow worker expired and this fact was, by the 19th incident, not entirely lost on his fellow trainmen. Despite this odd coincidence not a shred of suspicion ever fell on our hero. This fact might speak volumes for the duplicity of trainmen in general, but, even more of a problem was that many of the men did all possible to avoid any train that Ishmael was assigned to and eventually he realized that his avocation was becoming a liability.

 Ishmael left Amtrack and took up with a traveling band of Hari Krishna’s whom he found begging money in Washington’s Union Station. They thought they might have found a convert in Ishmael who, with his remarkable ability to exhort and overwhelm his listeners with unrelenting religious dialogue, soon was the group’s un-official spokesman and by far, their best money winner.

 His amazing ability eventually came to the attention of the Krishna’s official leader,Rev Sun Rat Moron. Moron sent for Ishmael and had his official Bentley (one of 30) pick him up at the flophouse in Georgetown’s distressed north end  where Ishmael and his band of street beggars  slept on the floors in a communal one-room apartment.

 The Rev. Moron, holding forth from his permanent quarters at the Mayflower, welcomed young Ishmael to his 5 room deluxe suite wearing a $1000.00 Seville row dark silk suit and sporting a twenty thousand dollar Rolex watch-  a remarkable inspiration. His effusiveness in greeting Ishmael was only exceeded by the raw smell of money that created an intoxicating and rarified atmosphere, sweeping Ishmael off his feet.

Whatever Moron had to say was lost in a swirl of giddily elation. Ishmael latter would say that he had absolutely no idea what Moron was talking about so great was the influence of the presence of such wealth.

In no time at all, so it seemed, the interview was over and Ishmael was deposited back in his dirty flat in Georgetown.

 Ishmael spent the entire afternoon meditating on what he had seen and what he was going to do about it. It helped that he had absolutely no compunctions whatsoever about anything and if ever diagnosed, would have been classified the perfect text-book sociopath. Ishmael vowed to exercise more control over the group and began that very day his climb to the pinnacles of wealth and power.

 His first goal was the winning over of the motley band of shaved and dimwitted Kristina’s.  Ishmael began exercising control over the group and swayed them from blind support for the “rich Jap” as he perceived the diminutive Korean religious icon to be.

 This first task was easily accomplished and the group began delivering 100% of the “fruits” of their begging to Ishmael. He moved them from the tenement into a decent home in Arlington. He insisted they clean up their act, growing back their hair and wearing clean shirts and ties as they worked the more affluent sections of the town.

 Ishmael rented a vacant storefront and put up a sign naming the place as “SALVATION’S DOOR”. His minions soon collected a sizeable flock who came regularly to listen to Ishmael’s sermons. The collection plate was overflowing. Ishmael hired a young accountant who was a loyal member of his growing flock. There was nowhere to go but up.

 Ishmael took to wearing white angelic gowns of pure silk and with his wholesome Southern country charm, inherited from his parents and pleasant innocent features, he soon needed a larger facility to house his congregation. One of whom, as luck would have it, was a technician at a local radio station and it was through him that Ishmael learned how to reach a far larger audience.

 After radio came TV and with  “SALVATIONS DOOR” now housed in a multi- million dollar edifice of white marble and red satin, reaching a national audience of millions, Ishmael understood that the only worthwhile goal was to amass the largest possible personal fortune.

 With their salvation in the afterlife being tied, through Ishmael’s fiery rhetoric, to the amount of money they sent, cash poured in at an astounding rate. Before he was 35, Ishmael had a net worth estimated at $50 million and growing.

 His success had not unexpectedly, come to the attention of the tax authorities who naturally wanted to share in the wealth. One of them, a Malcolm Sweeny, was particularly troublesome, suggesting that since, as far as he could tell, Ishmael was a graduate of no recognized seminary and his “church” a member of no existing religion that, perhaps SALVATIONS DOOR might be one huge swindle and entitled to no tax exclusions whatsoever. Sweeny demanded a face-to-face meeting with Ishmael who, while providing bona fide evidence of his prior tax filings as a “qualified church,” was becoming seriously annoyed.

 It was at this meeting that Ishmael re-discovered his second calling. Sweeny, not taken in with Ishmael’s innocence, thought him a perfect charlatan. The conversation abruptly ended when Ishmael, pulling a huge chrome plated sword from the wall, the same that he often wielded from the pulpit in what he called his “Onward Christian Solider” exhortation, lopped Sweeny’s head from his shoulders with a single mighty blow.

 Seeing that this headless idiot bleeding all over the marble floor might pose a problem in that his offices were well staffed and many knew that Sweeny was meeting with him, Ishmael thinking quickly, sponged up the blood and sticking a ruler into the late tax collectors neck, jammed the decapitated head on the unfortunates torso and walked the limp body out to the parking lot, talking to him all the while like two old chums.

 Here Ishmael’s genus was truly inspired. Laying the late collector on the sidewalk and calling 911 on his cell phone, he reported a man needing medical attention and ran back to his office. The EMT crew found the poor fellow and rushed him to Mount Sinai emergency room. The resident, seeing that the patient was not breathing, ordered the “code blue” team to shock the body which, when the paddles were vigorously applied, caused the cooling corpse to spasm, the ruler to loosen its hold and the head to fly across the room bouncing off the far wall and spinning on the floor like a insane top. Gasping in shock at what they had done, the young Doctor in waiting, failed to notice the ruler, which fell quietly to the floor.

 No one ever called on Ishmael and he never heard of the incident again.

 Recognizing again this additional gift, that being the ability to commit murder and get away with it, Ishmael commenced on his third and by far, most satisfying career. During his “days on the Line” as he referred to his five murderous years of service with Amtrack, Ishmael certainly understood that he was a most talented killer but since then, and up to his incident with the late and unlamented Tax collector, had concentrated on building his religious industry and had not engaged in any gratuitous taking of life, human or otherwise.

 Understanding how personally pleasurable knocking off his fellow man truly was, he vowed to make up for lost time and thus began one of the nuttiest reigns of terror the city and indeed, the world has ever known.

 His first victim was a young lady who had lusted after Ishmael for years. She would wait for him near his residence to find an excuse to greet him and joining his congregation, volunteered for all manner of chores only to be close to him. In the early days of her infatuation with Ishmael she was a little overweight but, when finally convinced that he had no interest in her, added considerably more pounds and finally decided to accept a proposal from a remarkably fat Jewish tailor who had had his only eye on her for years. The two of them made quite a sight walking down the street, bumping hips as it were, like two pachyderms in a matting dance.

 Ishmael, cleverly disguised at a street vagrant, approached them both from the rear while they sat Mooning on a park bench. They never heard him and were only momentarily surprised when he clamped cloths saturated in ether over their noses and mouths. I say momentarily as they were both soon completely unconscious. Ishmael then stripped them naked and pouring several bottles of a new super glue (which at that time had no known solvent) over their fat naked bodies, bound them together with several rolls of duct tape. The park police, finding them just as they had Vince Foster several years before, were well and truly shocked.

 Both were awake and screaming, glued and taped permanently together face to face where they remained for many months until dying from a massive and incurable red rash which spread over their uni-body driving them both completely crazy. The doctors had un-wrapped the duct tape but were absolutely unable to break the bonds of the glue. The police were never close to solving the ridiculous incident.

 This bizarre happening was only the tip of the dark iceberg that spread over the parish of Ishmael.

 He decided that his trademark would be in inventing odd and curious demises for his victims. Reeling with the success of his money gathering activities Ishmael, opening thousands of envelopes and dumping the cash into a dry swimming pool in the living room of his residence, was inspired to commit one of the most radical and wonderfully wacky crimes ever recorded.

 Secretly, purchasing canisters of helium he began practicing on small animals in his private basement office developing his radical technique to perfection- one he was certain would utterly confound the authorities.

 For this latest stunt he decided he would need only a single victim. He chose a hugely obese young woman and, luring her into a van with a warm pizza, drove her to a remote location. The double size Pizza, which she totally consumed, was laced with a powerful knock out drug, guaranteeing her unconscious state for many hours  and fortunately for her, rendering her impervious to physical pain.

 Ishmael carefully prepared her for an astonishing debut and, at eight o’clock the next morning,  this obscure young  woman immediately became the single most talked about happening in Washington and, in minutes, she was on every morning TV show across the nation and soon thereafter, the entire world.

 She floated over Washington’s’ Memorial bridge 200 feet above the river, tethered to a light post. The Washington monument and the nation’s capital dome were in the background. The skin of her naked body was inflated to over 20 feet in diameter and had been filled with helium painted over with a clear varnish to keep the gas from escaping. She was clearly still alive and was screaming to the high heavens.

 When the police and Emergency crews reeled her in they had no vehicle in which to place anyone or anything that large. A Doctor, who was stopped on the bridge,  suggested that “perhaps the gas might be released and she might then fit into the ambulance.”

His advice, while well intentioned and eminently logical, was, as it turned out, amazingly poor. Forgetting what happens to balloons; one of the EMT crew reached into his shirt  took out his pen and poked the inflated lady in her rear.

 In a word, “the shit hit the fan!” The wretched young woman exploded with the terrific bang! Her remarkable colon, large even before meeting Ishmael, and now indeed, a most colossal colon, burst over the crowd, spraying them all with a huge shower of the foulest mess imaginable.

 Rising like a rocket, she broke her tether and climbing at a high rate of speed into the air, headed, with a continuous ear-piercing scream, toward the far shore, all the while gaining altitude. Her spinning body was reaching a terrific speed and heading toward the White House’s no-fly zone.

Having no earthly idea what it was approaching them sounding like a German dive bomber, the protective staff immediately fired a wire guided missile toward the rapidly approaching and quickly deflating screaming  balloon woman.

 The missile was a direct hit and the ensuing explosion seen on every TV set in the world.

 In the aftermath, which lasted over a period of several months, no one ever thought, even remotely, of connecting Ishmael or anyone else with the crime. Many thought that the unfortunate young woman had somehow done this to herself wishing to commit a most unique public suicide. Her parents hired a promising law school graduate who became famous suing the Federal Government for wrongful death as it was clearly obvious from the massive amount of TV footage that, at the time of the missile attack, she was still alive albeit, suffering serious posterior damage.

 Eventually, the Government reached a settlement with the family and the incredible spectacle faded from the public eye, except of course, for the anniversary showings on the news stations.

 And Ishmael, well, he actually retired from the serial killing profession, as he felt reasonably confident that he could never top himself and wanted to quit while ahead.

 He remains today at the head of his ministry, having founded a successful college of higher education and brought thousands of lost souls to God. He is now an older and much venerated senior figure in the televangelist community and refers to himself in the pontifical plural. “Call me WE” he tells his followers and throughout the religious world Ishmael is called “WE” by one and all. None of his terrible crimes have ever been solved and not once has any suspicion ever been aimed at “WE.” For all this “WE” are happy and grateful.



 Like Ishmael, many members of the clergy have parallel dark sides that often remain well hidden all of their lives. Such men as Jimmy Swaggart who spent years frequenting whorehouses and James Baker who swindled millions and chased young women along with the many others who, while hiding behind the cloth, enjoyed buggering little boys with gay abandon. Few however, are as talented and sick as our Ishmael. For this we can, perhaps thank God?

 Robert J. Firth

Leon Mexico, 2004