Tell me about the rabbits, George Takei.

On my way to the airport, picking up a client. I’ve been an outfitter for three decades in Nevada. I know this land better than my old lady knows I can throw a hook. She rips and runs monthly when that SSI hits and keeps watermelon lime-a-Ritas on deck, so routine ego checks abound…but anyway.

This client initially called and I thought at first he was a Jerky Boy, those wacky crank callers who’ll embarrass you nationwide. He sounded like he was overdoing an impression of a white weatherman a la Dave Chappelle and demanded I address him as Ty. He kept saying “like on Extreme Makeover, the dream maker” and nearly hung up on me when I asked if it was short for Tyson. I was hip to his game: he dropped an “axed” mid-convo and the melanin alarms sounded.

As I see no color but green, I asked “Ty” what he was looking for. With no safety ed or license, it was down to paying to fly out to hunt unprotected coyotes or rabbits. I was told if it wasn’t a pit, dogs ain’t it, and he was coming out to “wet” some thumpers. Outside baggage claim, I first spotted the crisp snow white New Balances, glinting in the sun like the white rear end of a mule deer late summer, peak bow hunting season. Draped off his frame were jeans and a button-up; Kirkland, I believe. Never been a fashion bug personally. Great value does me well enough…I opened the door for Ty and he introduced himself as the science don. I don’t know how science is like the mafia, but he kept calling some guy named Bill Nye “Fredo.” We called science nerds queers growing up, but times have changed and you’re not supposed to do that anymore.

I explained to Ty how rabbit hunting works. We can walk a grid, sit and glass, call them in. Shotguns, 22s, .17 HMR, all these terms obviously going over his head. I rambled about responsible harvesting, conservation etc. and got nothing. He turned to me and asked me if I was a bitch. I didn’t fully have the UH out of my mouth when he said he came here to kill game, not learn and be lame. He explained to me how, in actuality, he despised learning as a whole but he was chosen to be a pop science icon by [REMOVED PER NDA].

Out in the seas of sage, scanning for glimpses of black-tipped ears and fresh droppings, “Ty” explained the celebrity belief system based around sacrificial slaughter and his personal unquenchable bloodlust. Most hunters grow out of bloodlust and a desire to kill and into a gentler, conservatory hunting mindset as they hit their thirties, but this wasn’t Ty’s world. Ty wasn’t a hunter, he was a killer.

Ty, a simple man with dreams of janitorial and superintendent stardom, was chosen against his will for a life of TLC appearances and annoying Tweets. His one outlet in life was killing and it was obvious why: he needed to release his rage. Rage at his parents, at science, at “them.” I sat and let that man kill 33 jackrabbits over the course of two days, going against my moral and ethical code as man and hunter. No intention of eating or using the pelts…I saw his pain and his healing.

Ty was appreciative; he knew it wasn’t in my comfort zone in many ways, but he gave me something that I’ll cherish forever as a thank you. I dropped him off, turtleneck and New Balances, at the airport. Just like the Mean Joe Green coke ad, Neil DeGrasse Tyson turned and tossed me something.

Instead of a sweaty tank jersey, he threw me a card. It was an N-word pass with a hard-R rider. He smiled and walked through security. I’ve never met another celebrity, and hope I never do to be honest, but I keep that pass in my wallet to this day, waiting for the right moment when an Asian senior is driving 5 MPH too slow in the fast lane. Ty will smile down upon me when I let that N-word ring out, sing out.

Rest in peace Neil DeGrasse Tyson ?-2018.