Hello there, my name is Churro the Mapache. I’m just your average transcendent raccoon, goofing off around campus.
With the twists and turns that have befallen our once luxurious paradise, let me whisk you away with the tale of a man named Olé. A gaucho with legendary fame, legendary stature, and even more legendary racial significance. Our fortuitous encounter filled me with awe and left me with goosebumps. This is the Ballad of Olé, the Time-Traveling Gaucho:
‘Twas 3:30 in the morning and all around campus,
Not a creature was heard, not even the Krampus.
To the garbage I went, with a song in my step,
Ignoring peculiar feelings of dread.
I found an old burrito, looked FREEB!RDS in size;
I couldn’t recognize if it was chicken thighs,
But all seemed so quiet, and promised quite the night,
Till a voice called out to me, and gave me a fright.
A handsome young cowboy, draped fully in black,
Twirling his mustache with a gun in his rack,
Came bounding to me upon his noble steed:
A Boosted Board it seemed, at least ‘pon what I agreed.
Feeling cornered and scared, I bared all my fangs,
Tightened my paws, and suppressed my hunger pangs,
But I laid down my arms, then laid down my weapons.
This young man seemed scared as his face started to redden.
He told me the present was not for his time—
From the past he had journeyed, singing in song and in rhyme
To a place unfamiliar, with a mission that was true:
To murder this racist mascot, a change long overdue.
Despite our assumption, this archaic man
Is not Olé the Gaucho, but actually Olé the Man
And Olé the Man is Olé the Gaucho
But not racially charged, just full of bravado.
Olé told me: “Churro, I’ve been told to seek your help.
A man in the Arbor insisted we would meld.”
I was confused as could be, of what man did he speak?
I saw no one around wherever I peeked.
I implored him again, and asked him to explain.
He just told me a man was there, saying it plain.
“The skies darkened briefly, then flashed brightly with light.
Some gnomes wandered ‘round, from the previous night.”
The man watching everything, as all things should be.
Was he friend or foe, this we may or may not soon see.
Ignoring this doubt, I asked him to say,
How he had gotten here at all, which was his way?
“I invented a time machine in 18th century days,
To find this damned mascot, and set him ablaze.
Unfortunate for me, the machine lost its power,
And without a way back, my feelings had soured.
“I lurked ’round campus, I crept in the night,
Pilfered scraps of food, eating in spite
Of needing good shelter and a roof o’er my head.
What I wanted was a soft, durable bed.
“Till one day I stumbled ‘cross a mascot costume old
It looked just like me, though a little more bored.
An exaggerated mustache, a goofy looking head—
This was the man I’d been looking to behead.
“Then, a rush of students! I panicked and said,
‘You must be the Gaucho, and they’ll never suspect.
That a gaucho is a Gaucho! Boy this’ll fool their eyes,
I’ll hide in the costume, and avoid their surprise.’”
I’d asked the poor man, when all this happened to him,
But he simply pointed to the logo, and said on a whim
That it was 1944, when the U became UC,
That he’d been stuck in the costume, unable to flee.
“Did he have any friends?” I thought to myself
He seems kind of lonely, given his stealth.
But he dismissed this fact, and claimed it was a lie.
Apparently there were others who wanted to give this a try.
There was an Indian fellow, who joined his cause too
To destroy the Cleveland Indians, this cause he held true.
And, Aunt Jemima was also on the prowl
To the syrup corp that ruined her, and gave her a scowl.
But, that’s not the point, he must demolish this mascot,
And for that he would need a team of crackpots,
Daring assassins with the following skills in lieu,
In order to do what they wanted to do:
The Fall Guy, a replacement, for the mascot of old—
A guy who’s used to doing what he’s told.
The Muscle to push their way throughout rooms,
Perhaps this guy would be such a buffoon.
The Brains, to devise and execute plans smoothly.
For this role he begged me my aid profusely.
I shut down his plan, it was stupid and bold;
These old guys with money never do what they’re told!
Whether it’s right or it’s wrong, with pandemics about,
They only care about what’s in their bank accounts.
So I brought him in close, and gave a new plan—
One the university could not withstand.
To the caves of Santa Barbara, with the costume we went
With a torch in the hand, lit with intent.
In the cave, we lit the fuse—the costume igniting.
It seemed as if the flames in the fire were fighting!
The winds, the dry grass, and the leaves were all free
And eventually caught fire too: take that, trustees!
As the ashes grew high, and the flames grew higher,
We hoped the university would see this as dire,
And amend their ways to keep the students safe,
Perhaps also changing their slightly racist ways.
Underneath smoke gray, Olé was perplexed.
He asked me, “Why was that strange man not giving pretext?”
But I’d seen no man, no shadowy figure.
The young gaucho was crazy! His eyes kept getting bigger!
What I did not realize was that time had just warped,
Pushing forward new presents, shuffling months of yore.
Apparently, Olé changed the past as years shifted,
Like nothing was changed, but everything different.
Did he see it or not? Did the flow of time stop?
I’m guessing the time continuum simply dropped.
But our mission was completed, the mascot lay buried
In the Santa Barbara mountains, free of the concrete.
Starting anew, we burned all the flags
With the old Olé’s face, and gave it a rebrand:
A cute little Mapache, Churro’s the name,
Would hold mascot glory:
The one and the same.
Olé the Man thanked me, finally free
Of his century-old journey, yessiree.
I asked, “Olé, will you go back in time
To speak of your victory, for all mascotkind?”
Looking straight in my eyes, he shook his head no,
For there were many more places he needed to go:
These many more places, racist mascots ahead—
A few more mascots to be put to bed… PERMANENTLY.
Before we said our goodbyes, I asked him once more,
“Why so long to act, why not do it before?”
“A sign of the times,” he responded to me.
“The man gave me a sign, heeded my plea.
To this end I won’t falter. For while this COVID lasts,
I’ll take those stupid mascots and put them on blast.”
With a wave of his cape, and twirl of mustache,
He handlebar biked off, as he tipped over the trash.
“For you my furry friend, a feast fit for a king
The leftovers from all of IV, for your picking!”
So little mapache Churro, now mascot for the school,
Began to unravel, began to unspool
As he spoke in third person, narrating his gluttony
Inhaling all of this food, all la gastronomie.
Remembering he had a Zoom class the very next day,
He licked his tiny paws, and started to sway
All the way to his den, and who did he pass?
The mysterious, moonlit man, now I was really aghast!
And as quick as he appeared, he very soon faded.
“I need some more sleep”, I sleepily stated.
With one last breath, not wanting to break rhyme
I took up the typewriter and started to write:
‘Twas the night before COVID, and all through the campus
Not a creature was heard, not even a Krampus.
To the garbage I went, with a song in my step,
Ignoring peculiar feelings of dread… that I’ve done something again.