Last night some poor guy was quietly shopping in Big Five when a zebra trotted by. "WWHHHAaaaa....!!"
"Guess who?", said my hubby at the breakfast table, peering over his Dean Adell bifocals, paper in hand. "It's gotta be Michael." In deed it was.
Michael is a mule trainer, mule trader, horse trainer, zorse breeder (zebra/horse - get it?), zebra breeder, who is trying to raise a baby zebra to be gentle. (Yeah... try to fit THAT on a business card! His just says Michael Mastagni Mules... MMM for short.) He's also been known to have a few camels... but I digress. He's a shit-on-the-boot-wearing, big-hat, speaks-with-a-cowboy-twang Carmichael boy with a passion for 4-hoofed animals. The fact he is working on his Masters Degree in business belies his good-ol-boy persona.
My daughter met him a few years ago in a line-dance bar. "Yeah, I'm a mule trainer"... Pppssssttt, she thought... weakest pick-up line I've ever heard in a country bar. Like you're a real cowboy! AS IF... Pretty cornball, if you ask me. As he left the bar, she saw a huge truck with a 20 foot trailor full of mules drive by. "Well, Ill be... who-da-thunk it???"
Michael hung out at our house for awhile, regaling stories of zorses, mule auctions, riding his horse into bars, buying camels (one named Sally), breeding zebras, and even the time his worker drove their dump truck into a burning firepit accidently - burned it to a crisp. We were playing cards one night when he told us how his zebra had just miscarried after being spooked by a dog and plowed through a fence. I have to admit, his personality is slightly larger than life.
Which is why we weren't surprised to hear of his shenanigans last night in the Sacramento Bee.
Turns out his zebras got spooked by a stray again, busted through a few fences, and high-tailed it down Sutter Street, all the way to Manzanita, where they were spotted by the Big Five guy. I hear Michael was riding around on the hood of a police car trying to rope them, and finally lassooed one which had jumped into a swimming pool, obviously in a panic.
So next time you see an exotic 4-footed animal traipsing down the streets of Carmichael or Fair Oaks, it just may be that Michael's at it again. And if you ever see a zebra that is as gentle as can be, that may be Michael, as well.