Campbellton — In the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine, children and parents alike are looking for new activities to boost their spirits and retain a sense of community. One of the ways that people around the world are doing this is through a new, communal game: stuffed animal scavenger hunts.
Families are propping up stuffed animals in their windows so that when others in their neighbourhood go out for a walk, they can spot and count all the animals they see. As fun and as comforting as this might be for some, it seems one Campbellton man has missed the point entirely.
“Yeah, I had her out for two, maybe three hours,” said 49-year-old Arnie Preston. “And 364 complaints to the local police! God knows why, I’m real proud of the ol’ girl.”
Rather than putting out a teddy bear or a Beanie Baby, like most, Preston chose to display his stuffed Canadian lynx — an atrocious piece of taxidermy that permanently wears a terrifying pre-attack snarl.
“People have been making comparisons to, uh, what’s that show? Tiger King?” he said. “Apparently it’s some show on the Netflix about some guy who has sex with his tigers.”
No, The Manatee corrected. Tiger King has more to do with bad business practices and a murder plot. There is no mention of having sex with animals.
“Oh, then no, that’s not like me, then,” he said definitively.
How did Preston actually come into possession of a stuffed lynx?
“Hold up, my lawyer actually gave me an answer for that exact question,” he said, finding a crumpled sheet of paper on his desk and reading from it. “Okay, so…‘I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might, uh, incinerate me.'”
The display prompted a number of calls to the Campbellton Police from concerned parents who felt that this particular stuffed animal was not in the “spirit” of the game. While Preston did remove it from his window after a visit from the local authorities, he told The Manatee that he isn’t done participating.
“No way, José. They can’t say that Arnie Preston’s a quitter…I will soften it, though,” he said. “My wife, god rest her soul, passed away a few years back. But I still have some of her clothes and makeup. So, next time I put this li’l lady in the window, she’s going to be all done up like the belle of the ball.”
Wouldn’t that be rather strange, dressing up a stuffed animal in the clothing of his dearly departed wife?
“Nah, man,” he said, shaking his head. “I do it all the time.”