I stomped the brakes and swerved onto the shoulder in a blaze of dust, flying gravel and shrieking women. “AAHHH! — Humberto!” Shirley yelled as her coke splashed across the dashboard joined by her french fries. “Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND?!..What ON EARTH is WRONG with YOU?!”
“Da — aaAAADD!” Monica shrieked from the backseat. “Lookit THIS!?” and I could picture her chocolate shake all over her stylish, 60 dollar, high-water pantaloons. Good. Maybe they’re ruined. They sit a little low if ya ask me.
But I wasn’t looking. My eyes were locked on the corner of a field across the road. They’d just logged it last month, to the horror of many neighbors. “All those beautiful old trees!” blubbered my sister. “Gone forever! And some were 60 years old!”
For me the panorama was much more beautiful now. Three deer stared back at me from the far corner. They’d been oblivious to the traffic, munching contentedly on the lush green browse already sprouting, . But boy — just let a car stop!
Those heads pop up instantly. Whoops!… Then the ears spring up….then one flicks the tail…then the other flicks — -then they bolt! At least in Louisiana.
And you can’t blame them. A few years ago the La. Wildlife dept. people put a plastic deer with luminous eyes beside a well travelled bayou highway, planning to stake the place out that night and maybe nab some “poachers”.
When they came back a little later for the actual stake out, that deer was already…..remember Bonnie and Clyde? Remember Sonny Corleone at the toll booth?
Well, they got off easy compared to this deer. Plastic deer confetti is what they found. The thing had been blasted to smithereens by every calibre bullet and conceivable projectile. A few recognizable pieces of plastic even had arrows sticking out of it. We take our cuisine seriously down here.
So the game agents came back with another plastic deer, put it out and STAYED this time. If I recall from the news story, about four of every five vehicles — everything from pick-ups to limousines — stopped and had a go at the deer with armaments ranging from standard rifles to shotguns to pistols to crossbows. One guy charged it with a pocket knife, cheered on by his wife. Another guy was observed belly-crawling towards the deer clenching a tire iron!
True story here. The game agents said they almost needed respirators on this fascinating assignment. Their midriffs ached for days.
Our license plates don’t call it “Sportsman’s Paradise” for nothing. Then we hear about the deer “overpopulation” in the Beltway — and howl with mirth. “Shoot man,” Pelayo always snorts. “We’ll remedy the thing in ONE WEEK-END! Just let us at em!”
Anyway, you can’t blame Louisiana deer for bolting. “TWO MONTHS!” I howled from my window as they loped into the thickets. “I’ll be waiting for ya October 1st! on my deerstand” I rolled down the window and shook my fist like a lunatic. “Just sit right there! I’ll be back!”
I get giddy just thinking about it my friends. Bow season’s right around the corner! Yes! Bliss!
Good thing old man Fontaine stood his ground. He ‘s the cantankerous old goat who owns this land. An ex-marine with scars from Guam and Iwo Jima. He’s roundly loathed by everyone around here — except me.
“Bah Humbug!” he snarled at some “community meeting” full of typical urban greenies holding plastic water bottles and sporting Nike emblems who wanted the plot preserved as “green space” — at taxpayer expense of course.
Wasn’t enough that he stormed out of the meeting, cigar in hand and muttering obscenities. Then he logs the place! Then he gives oafish bloodthirsty hunters (myself and my cousin Pelayo) the run of the place! Whatta guy!
Mr Fontaine and I get along famously. And not just because of the venison roasts, sausage and backstrap I bring him, or even the Red Snapper fillets. “Shoulda taken out that goddam Castro when we had the chance!” he always barks when we sit on his porch for an afternoon snort of whiskey. “Hell! It woulda been easy!”
He actually says this in Spanish. He loves to speak it with Pelayo and I. Mr Fontaine worked for an export company with holdings in pre-Castro Cuba and actually lived there several years.
“Beautiful place,” he always says with a sigh. “Wonderful people…gone all to hell now…a goddam shame what Kennedy did to you people — sold ya down the river! Had a young fella worked with me in Cuba went on that damn Bay of Pigs invasion….fine boy, good worker. Got killed at the beachhead. ran outta ammo, they say, because that damn…….well… ”
He always nods and grimaces here. “Bernice and I always visit his Mama when we’re in Florida….sweetest lady ya ever wanna meet. Gettin up their in years — like me — Ha!” and he slaps his knee and takes another slug. ” But she’s always ready with that smile and those little cups of Cuban coffee.” Then he recovers.
“And promise me this,” he growls. “If ya see any endangered type critters on my land like dem gopher turtles or Red-cockaded woodpeckers or whatever — shoot em! And bury em! — DEEP!….I don’t want no government people nosing around out there! Next they’ll be telling me it’s a “wetland.” Happened to the landowner next to me, the widow-woman, Mrs Mc Kee.
“That was the poor woman’s nest egg, those little 20 acres.” He growls and chugs. “Her husband was one of the finest men I ever knew. They’d owned that land for four generations! What the hell’s goin on in this country when some little government faggot pulls up and tells this dear woman she can’t do a damn thing with HER land!”
He was getting worked up now. His eyebrows twitching right below the scar from “the Jap sniper bullet.” “Hell man!” He barked after another hearty gulp of Blackjack. “At least Castro’s people were upfront about it!….Still remember when they came to the plant. “This property belongs to La Revolucion!” said some bearded guy with a machine gun. “If you’re not outta here by next week, we’ll stand ya up at the paredon as Imperialist spies!
“That little chump kept waving that machine gun under my nose too — till I grabbed it! And jerked his arm behind his back. He started yelping like a Beagle caught in a coon trap. I had him in a chokehold and I was ’bout to snap his collar-bone — but my coworkers held me back.
“That was my last day in Cuba.” He laughs and nods. “Went into hiding when the chump limped out, still yelping and whimpering, to get his buddies. Then I flew out in a little Piper Cub the next day…..had a lotta fun in Cuba” He slaps his knee and laughs again. Then brow furrows.
“Some Canadian company’s got the property now!” he gulped again and snorted. “Outright thieves, I tell ya!” he was pointing his cigar at Pelayo. “You try that. You try buying stolen property! Hell, we thought we might be able to sue those damn Canadians if Bush upholds the Helms-Burton…but don’t look like it’s gonna happen. Looks like he’ll knuckle under again.
“Hell man, private property is private property, RIGHT!” His eyes were blazing. “Thieves are thieves, RIGHT! What’s the courts FOR! Where’s the goddam PROBLEM?! Bush is surrounded by a buncha pansies and faggots! THAT’S the goddam problem!”
Man has a point. But back to his “green space.” Oh, I wanted “green space” in the neighborhood too. But not my sister and them’s kind. Not the kind favored by typical urban greenies with it’s manicured “jogging trails” and cutesy “bike paths” and such junk, so they can ride their fancy bikes.
Hell, I could buy a four-wheeler, a new deerstand AND a new bow and shotgun with what my sister paid for her bike. And those cute little squirt bottles for mineral water that attach to the rowbar? I can buy a case of Bud cheaper.
Anyway, in this case I was the genuine “preservationist.” I wanted nature in the raw. I wanted the eternal drama of fang and claw — and razorsharp broadheads. I wanted man in the equation, and performing our primal role — PREDATOR!
Yes sir. That’s the thing about these greenies. How many of them actually spend any time in the woods, or swamps? How many know how nature really works? None that I know.
You think Al Gore does? Don’t make me laugh. To these people nature’s a combination Disney Cartoon and Disneyworld pavillion. Yeah I ‘d like to give them a taste of that “biodiversity” they’re always cooing about — UP CLOSE.
Wish he coulda followed me last year for an early hunt in the Pearl River Swamp that straddles the La. Ms line.
Come on Al. Let’s go. Slip out of those $60 Birkenstocks and into some imported Korean hip-boots ($14.95), like mine. Wash off that Jovan and smear on some Deet — you’ll need it. Take off that $200 Benetton blazer and slip into a $2.99 camo T-shirt. Let’s see that biodiversity up close buddy.
Yes those are spiderwebs clinging to your face, Al. In fact that’s a big banana spider on your forehead now….
“AHHHHH! — AHHHH! Get it OFF! — AHHHHH!”
And that other thing on your neck’s a caterpillar..Go ahead and swat at it all…..calm down now. Calm down….Geezuz, Al. You’re getting all worked up. That face. Those jerky swatting arms. And here I always thought John Belushi did the best Joe Cocker imitation? They’re just bugs, Al.
It’s okay. Calm down now. They’re off. And here — STOMP — That’ll teach em hunh?….And that smell, Al? No it’s not Slick Willie after a tub of Pork n Beans and Cole slaw. That’s what a swamp smells like when you’re trudging through it Al. If Sierra and Outside magazines had scratch and sniff pages that’s what you’d smell under that breathtaking swamp panorama….
Now calm down, it’s just a caterpillar sting. A spider takes out a bigger chunk. And Yeah RUN! Let’s Go Those are ground hornet — OOUUCH!. Yeah they sting Al. And watch out for that cottonmouth…
WHOOOOAAA!! YIKES! — YIKES!
In fact, Al. Here move over a little — BLAAMM!! There. See how easy? Oh I know, I know, poisonous snakes “are part of the delicate balance of nature” and all that. But don’t you feel a little better now that it has no head?
Yeah Al, those are gnats — biting midges technically — in your eyes, ears and nostrils. Those are chiggers in your undies too. And that’s a leech on your leg..
WHAAAAH-WHHAA! — Ughhh!-Ugggh!
Yeah Al, just like Bogey in African Queen, ….Had enough biodiversity, Al?