This is a deer hunting story. I’ve told it before, but I can’t find the original version, so I’m going to tell it again.
Vegans and vegetarians: deer hunting. You have been warned.
Long, long ago, in a state and county far away, Rick and his friends Chris and Bill had fallen on hard times. Rick and Chris were recently returned from Vietnam. They and Bill had teamed up and rented a place together. The three of them picked up what work they could, but the rent was due, and they didn’t have much money or any food in the larder.
They decided to go deer hunting, but they did not have any firearms. Bill, a resourceful young fellow, took a length of pipe, cut a diagonal off the end, and sharpened the pipe to a point. Rick and Chris looked at him with new respect and a little fear.
Chris, the electrician of the crew, fixed up a spotlight that would run on the battery of Rick’s car, Wreckage, so they could spot their prey.
(Wreckage was a VW beetle the Tuels shipped home from Germany when Rick’s dad, Mark, retired from the Army. Mark handed the car down to Rick, and Rick painted it cop car blue and white, with eagle decals on the doors. He got stopped by real cops regularly.) Back to the story:
They planned that when they went hunting, Rick would be the driver, Chris would be the deer spotter, and Bill would throw the spear.
But where do you go hunting for deer in the (mostly) genteel suburbs where they lived? They figured: a golf course. So after the sun set, they went to see what provender they could forage on the links.
Rick was driving Wreckage with the headlights off and Chris was holding the spotlight out the window from the back seat.
After a while cruising around the various greens and fairways, they spotted a deer. Rick hit the accelerator. Chris shined the spotlight in the deer’s eyes. The deer froze. Bill leaned out the passenger window and hurled the pipe-spear.
Unfortunately, Bill’s arm caught the wire that ran from the spotlight to the car battery, so the light went out, the car died, and there they sat in perfect still darkness.
Chris did as quick a re-attachment of the wires to the battery as he could in the dark, and soon they had light again. A scan of the area with the spotlight showed that Bill had hit the deer with the spear, and it was down. Rick administered the coup de grace with his hunting knife, and they loaded the carcass into Wreckage and went home.
When they arrived home, they realized that the power was out in the neighborhood, so they carried the deer into their apartment in the dark – which was probably for the best.
Most apartments do not come with a facility for butchering game, so they lit a lot of candles, hung the deer up in the shower and went to work.
At this point, their landlord came knocking at their door. And there they were, surrounded by candles, carving away at a bloody carcass hanging in the shower.
The landlord was somewhat taken aback.
The guys explained to him that they were dressing out a deer they had killed and managed to talk him into accepting a deer haunch in lieu of rent. He went off with his fresh venison, and they carried on with their work of parceling out the deer and putting a lot of it in the freezer for their own consumption over the coming days and weeks. They ate well that night. All in all, a successful night’s hunting for three broke hippies.
Bill and Chris could correct me on a lot of the details, but that’s how I remember Rick telling it.
SHAMELESS PROMOTION: I will be playing at the O Space on Saturday Night, September 29, from 7:20 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. I will be singing and playing some of my original songs.
Seven acts will be performing that evening. This is part of a series Pete Welch is calling Catch Us While You Can – musicians who have played on the island for thirty years or more. The implication being that we will die soon. Thanks, Pete. Always nice to be reminded I haven’t got long.
This shindig kicks off at 5:00 pm the O Space with The Spotlights; Bob Kueker at 5:50; High and Lonesome (bluegrass) at 6:30; Mary Litchfield Tuel 7:20; Subconscious Population at 8:00; Chuck Roehm at 8:50; and Sinner and the Saints at 9:30.
MORE SHAMELESS PROMOTION: On October 5, 6:30 p.m., Listen in the Kitchen will perform at the Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union for First Friday. You should come hear us. Really.