Roy Horn of "Siegfried and Roy" emerged from the jaws of a near-death experience last week, speaking publicly for the first time in a year about the mauling that occurred on-stage during his Las Vegas show.
I took my dinner in the living room to watch the anticipated event. There was no way I was going to miss a scintillating hour of television such as this.
An added bonus, Maria Shriver was making her own comeback, emerging from jaws of retirement. She seemed perfect for this assignment. It would require more of an entertainment approach than actual critical news-coverage. Her experience with bad accents (Arnold) also would endow her with the necessary leverage to handle Siegfried and Roy's discombobulated speech.
I invited Link, my Dungeons-and-Dragons-obsessed neighbor to enjoy the spectacle with me.
In permanent masquerade, he came wearing a brown cloak with a dragon-headed knife sheathed at his waist, which he absolutely refused to remove. But strangely, he was missing his red-colored contacts, leaving some escape to the sub-dweller style of his accouterments.
We sat on my couch munching on pretzels as happy images of Roy passed over the screen. He was riding his tiger bareback through the verdant foliage of his exotic backyard in Las Vegas.
But somewhere around the time when Shriver referred to the mauling, darkening her tone, my neighbor became agitated. He started lacing his fingers around the knife at his waist.
Something about the reenactments displayed on the screen was causing tumult within my ghoulish friend. Quite possibly, it was these ethereal silhouettes that NBC was using to depict the violence of Roy's tiger. (NBC would not play the actual video of the mauling out of respect for Roy's privacy. In lieu, they used graphic representation.)
These transparent, white figures worked to create some sort of Pavlovian response in Link. His extensive time spent battling the imaginary ghosts and goblins in Dungeons and Dragons was being confused with the graphic silhouettes on the screen.
As Shriver narrated, dropping her tone lower and lower, my neighbor capitulated to his internal chaos.
He was brandishing his knife now, just before my face. I stood paralyzed in fear, suddenly identifying with Roy's petrifying experience with his tiger.
Out of some basic mode of survival, I managed to yell at him to stop. But he pounded the knife down onto the coffee table, beckoning me to defend myself.
Of course I couldn't. First I had no weapon. The only blunt object around me the oversized TV remote control had slipped between the cushions of my couch and was just beyond my grasp.
Hanging there defenseless, I began to accept my fate. My obituary a humiliation: "Reporter killed at the hand of a board game geek."
Pounding coming down the stairs of my apartment rejuvenated hope. My roommate was home, and as he bounced around the corner, he exposed his brand new Uzi, firing some bursts into the ceiling.
He had been able to purchase the gun because of the expired federal ban on these types of weapons.
Link curled back in fear. He was used to spells, magic, and dagger fights. Not the cold, hard reality of an automatic weapon pouring out dozens of rounds per second.
Replacing the dragon-headed dagger in its sheath, he crept past my roommate, ducking his head under his hood as he left the apartment.
I was suddenly filled with resolve for the National Rifle Association's cause. George W. had blocked the renewal of an automatic weapons ban and in doing so, saved my life, not to mention my pride.
My roommate had proven that giving gun maniacs legal access to Uzi's and AK-47s does actually serve a purpose, especially when that purpose is self-defense in the likely situation that a knife-wielding, Dungeons-and-Dragons freak attacks you.
Justin Boron is the government reporter for the News-Daily. His column appears Mondays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-478-5753 ext. 281.