By A.G. Bennett
I missed the shot.
Best damn looking buck I ever seen too. So beautiful. I got spooked, or I woulda made the shot, ‘stead of staring back at him, all bug-eyed. I wish you coulda seen him, big ol’ five-point like that. That buck was something special, alright.
It was up by the second blind—you know the one—that Jake and I put up in sixty-five…Jakes’s dead, but I guess I maybe told you that. Did I tell you about the funeral? Musta been three hundred folks there, all for that crazy son-of-a-bitch. Prostate cancer, the doctors said, but you coulda fooled me. Last time I saw Jake he could still piss over the top of a Volkswagen.
About that buck.
I’d had a helluva time getting up the hill with all that gear and hauling it up into the blind, and it was colder’n a witch’s you-know-what, so my hip was pissing me off, and I took a coupla those pills your mom had from that last surgery.
Yeah, I know, but it’s what I had on me at the time, and it isn’t like she’s here to bitch at me anymore, is it? Anyways, I musta dozed off, ‘cause all of a sudden, there he was—big as you please—over by that rotten fir stump…
Hey, I bet I never told you this, but pretty much this whole cabin we’re sitting in is made outta that one tree.
Oh, I did? Hell of a thing. They don’t grow trees like that anymore. See the rough cut? That’s from the portable mill they used to have down at the ranch. Jake and me took that whole fir down with the misery whip, that same one they’ve got hanging up in the big house now for the tourists. Of course, it wasn’t all painted up with flowers and mountains at the time.
Just an old saw.
Old, even back then.
Days it took, just the two of us, stripped down to the jeans, smack in the middle of July. You wouldn’t believe it now, but we were something to see back in the day, the two of us with that saw.… ‘Course Jake was the real lady killer. A regular James Dean, back before your mom and Rita came into the picture.
About that buck.
Alls I’m saying is, chance of a lifetime, buck like that. I had him in my sights too—a clean shot, straight through the heart. But then, wouldn’t you know it? I waited too long. My eye teared up—the bad one—and got all blurry.
I blinked, and he was gone.