I should explain something about my last post. You know how I said “the deer won’t move in this wind”? Well they did. You know how I said “you won’t see a buck”? Well, Dr. Mingo saw a buck. You know how I said “Dr. Mingo never misses”?
It was one of those days. The same day the press insisted Hillary Clinton would complete her assured, inevitable, unquestioned, “on the correct side of history” march to victory. Deer don’t move in the wind and flyover country voters don’t matter. Of course, I wasn’t thinking about that. The point of hunting was to think about anything but the election.
I caught up with Dr. Mingo half an hour after he fired two shots. He had a puzzled look on his face. Actually, it was not “puzzled” so much as “anguished”. He had the thousand-yard stare of a man who is seen the impossible and who cannot wrap his head around that which should not be. There was no doe piled up in the grass. There was no buck piled up in the grass. There was no blood. He was shocked, stunned, flabbergasted…
He was wandering in concentric circles muttering; desperate to see the tiniest hint of blood. A single drop would indicate the unthinkable had not occurred. I questioned him at length about the behavior of the animal before and after both shots. The story, which I pieced together from Dr. Mingo’s tortured apologies and sentence fragments, was that a buck emerged from the forest precisely where was predicted to be and it was just as magnificent as I told him not to expect. When Dr. Mingo (a marksman far superior to me) took the shot, the buck merely looked around; as if wondering where the sound had come from. No interrupted gait. No bunny hop. No terrified headlong charge. No indication whatsoever of a connected shot. After the first shot, Mingo cycled his action, drew a careful bead, and took a relaxed shot. It also had no effect whatsoever. The buck simply turned around and stepped into the forest; unhurried, relaxed, and leaving behind an absolutely infuriated Dr. Mingo.
I was odd that he would miss at that distance. However the buck’s behavior indicated a clean miss. The absence of blood indicated a clean miss. I recalled Dr. Mingo had been fussing with his scope earlier in the day. Was there a wounded buck out there or had Dr. Mingo, who never misses, just plain blown it? I made a judgment call; “You missed. It was a clean miss. Life sucks. We’re done for now.”
Meanwhile Dr. Mingo was thrashing through the brush. He was looking for a trace of blood which wasn’t going to be found. He was also trying to wrap his head around missing the best shot he was ever likely to see. I assisted until it was pitch dark and then dragged the poor man out of the forest.
As we hiked out Dr. Mingo was wracked with guilt and uncertainty. “I never miss…” He muttered.
“You missed. Suck it up Buttercup.” I offered, exhibiting the kindness and support for which I am famous.
“No! I never miss!” He argued.
He was disconsolate. I understood his frustration. I also refrained from mocking him because I didn’t want to end up beaten to death.
“Maybe I’ll get another chance?” He was looking for a silver lining to this terrible event.
I was no help whatsoever, “it walked toward my neighbor’s property and it was dumb enough to let you get a shot. My neighbor will get it at dawn tomorrow.” I was sure of this. Each hunting area has it’s own “personality”. In this particular spot you must take the chance when it comes. You’ll almost never get the chance again. Not all places are so unforgiving but this location has very few do-overs (or bucks).
As we hiked past a stack of lumber I practically had to drag Dr. Mingo away from it. He was so wracked with guilt that he was about to build a crucifix and nail himself to it.
“This is awful!” He moaned.
“Speaking of awful, I have to vote. Get in the truck.”
Thus two deplorables, dressed in blaze orange, driving a vehicle the EPA would love to outlaw, and toting guns to which we apparently “cling” arrived at my rural voting station. Dr. Mingo had already voted by mail. [Note: Mingo wished to clarify this and I did so in the comments.] I like voting “old school”. The idea of 300 million Americans all getting off their fat asses and doing anything at all en masse is a good thing. [Also I think electoral college electors should don a tri-cornered hat and ride a horse all the way to DC to do their duty. I wanna’ see some goddamn commitment!]
Additionally, sweet little old ladies operate my voting station. (It’s always run by elderly ladies… they’re apparently unaware of the misogynist system that’s stacked against Hillary). Grandma types always have cookies. How awesome is that? When I vote I get a homemade cookie. (You must take the cookie. If you don’t they might chase you down and cram it in your mouth!)
Dr. Mingo fell into an animated conversation with several men standing around the sidewalk. First there was a brief support group moment about the unmitigated tragedy of a missed shot at a good buck. Then they broached subjects which make pussies run for their safe space. I heard words like “freedom”, “Constitution”, and “that bitch”. Meanwhile I filled out my ballot. Nearly everything local was “unopposed”. Twenty one of 28 choices were “unopposed” for boring stuff like “school board” and probably “dude who drives the snowplow”. It was refreshing to think of politics involving jobs and people actually doing them.
I fed my paper ballot into the magic counting machine it was locked in a box, and Diebold machines nationwide groaned with displeasure at the paper trail. The counter incremented by one. In 2012, I was roughly voter number 200. This time over 500 people had voted. The masses were pissed!
On the sidewalk Dr. Mingo and others were still using scary non-PC words like “federal debt” and “those assholes”. I had an “I voted” sticker in one hand and a cookie in the other.
Then Dr. Mingo slapped his neck. “Holy shit! Is that a tick?” Everyone knows ticks don’t last beyond the first freeze. There’s no way in hell a tick could be alive in November! But there it was, Dr. Mingo had captured a tick.
The Cubs don’t win, deer don’t move in wind, ticks don’t last beyond the freeze, and Hillary was up 5 points in every poll. I thought about counting campaign signs during road trips and the doubled number of votes this year.
Mingo threw the tick down and stomped on it. I was walking towards the bar. Every rural town has a bar. A rural town lacking a bar is officially a ghost town.
“Where are you going?!?” Dr. Mingo demanded.
“I voted for Trump. I need a drink!” It had been necessary. I had done what must be done. When Hillary’s reign of terror peaks with self-immolation due to her flawed character I would watch it all fall down like a Greek Tragedy and know… I had voted against the bitch. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to vote for Trump. I needed as many shots of tequila as the cash in my wallet would buy. That would burn my soul clean again.
“Oh no you don’t!” Mingo steered me back towards the truck. “The bar will have election coverage on the TV. Each time a state goes blue it’s going to be more depressing.”
“That’s why need a drink!”
“I know you. You’ll be doing a shot every time state turns blue. New England alone will kill your liver. By 3 AM you’ll need a stretcher.” He reasoned, “That’s why we’ve got the plan. You don’t want to know. I don’t want to know. Shit will suck in the future, don’t make it come any faster. Get in the truck!”
Dr. Mingo was wise. If I was sitting on a bar stool during a Hillary sweep, the hangover would last till Christmas.
(More to follow…)