Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018: Day 4 - Shootout in the Back Forty

It was just at dusk, and I was sitting downstairs at the bar considering which cocktail to start my evening with, when Albert strolled in.

"Dad's gonna shoot some guy!"


"Dad's gonna shoot some guy!"

Knowing Shotgun Bob as I do, there may actually be some truth to this, but given Albert's tendency to elaborate on factual information I sincerely doubt that this is an emergency.  Still, I wouldn't want my brother to go out with homicidal intentions and not have backup.  I put on shoes and my international orange hoodie, grab my pistol (Smith and Wesson 686 in .357) and head out behind Albert.

I've got to get a shoulder rig.  I put the pistol in my waistband and my pants fall down.  This makes me look ridiculous and hampers my movement, so I put it in the pocket of my hoodie.  I have to hold it there or it'll fall out.

I'm trailing by 100 yards when the two of them hit the woods, which is not good, and I'm wearing loafers, also not good.  I get as far as a wet marsh and loose 'em.  I wait around for a while, listening for shots, but I hear nothing but the wind.  It gets noticeably darker, and I can barely make out the lights of Shotgun Bob's house through the trees.  Pretty soon my phone rings.

It's my brother, Shotgun Bob, and he informs me that he and Albert are on their way back.  Very good; I'll wait.  Five minutes later they show up.  It turns out that Albert was in his tree stand when he saw a hunter walk past.  The hunter didn't see Albert, so I suppose Albert could have popped him with the .30-30, but bushwhacking is bad form.  Seriously, the man is trespassing.  Seeing as how this is deer season, old Bob didn't think he should come back into the woods unarmed, and so is carrying the lever action .30-30 I gave him as a wedding gift.  I bought it from Commander Cody and never got around to shooting it.

Observing my footgear, Bob suggested that Albert get the four wheeler and bring it around, then give me a lift back home.  I accepted this generous offer.  A 16 year old with a four wheeler - what could possibly go wrong?

If anyone should ever ask if I'm as dumb as I look, just tell them 'No - he's one whole helluva lot dumber.'

The four wheeler is top heavy, a fact that I'm keenly aware of.  Put Albert on it, and you add maybe 130 pounds.  Put my fat ass up there and you've not only exceeded the recommended weight limit, but you've made the stupid thing so top heavy that it's likely to roll at a 30° tilt.  I don't think Albert is fully cognizant of this fact, but I am and I do not want to end up in a ditch with a four wheeler in my lap.

"Okay, Parnelli, take it easy and no shenanigans," I tell him while I figure out how to heave my considerable bulk onto the passenger seat.

"Okay Uncle Jack.  Hang on!"

Holy fuck.

It's dark by this time, and the lights on the four wheeler don't work.  At all.  While the forest isn't exactly impenetrable, there's a plowed field next to us that runs parallel to the forest.  Along that edge is a neat little drainage ditch, about a foot or so deep.  We run with two wheels in the ditch and two wheels up on the field.  I lean into the tilt.  After a few hundred feet of this, Albert puts his left foot on the ground and starts pushing, sort of like a kid might push his scooter along the sidewalk.

"What he hell are you doin'?"  I inquire.

"Tryna' get us out of the ditch!"

"Okay, hold up a minute."

The four wheeler stops and I consider getting off and walking.  I stay aboard, which is a mistake.

"We've got four wheel drive, right?  So turn to the right and just ease it out of the ditch.  We'll climb right out."

Albert does, and we take to the plowed field.

For those of you who are not familiar with farm life, allow me to enlighten your dumb asses.  Me being a reformed country boy, my version of a plowed field involves a Cub Cadet 8.5 HP tractor pulling a plow through soft ground and producing furrows that are perhaps six inches deep at the most.  By contrast, this field I'm in now has been plowed by a 1000 HP four wheel drive farm tractor towing a device that turns the earth over and produces furrows that are around two and a half feet deep, maybe deeper.  Driving through this with a four wheeler is a bit jouncy.  My coccyx will never be the same.

After a few miles of this we come to the end of the field and hit the gravel road that leads to Shotgun Bob's house.  The road is bordered by a shallow ditch and an undeveloped berm next to it.  We take to the berm, natch.  In the nearly pitch black gloom, I see a phone pole approaching.

"Okay, hold up a minute," I say, trying to keep myself rational.


"What about that pole and the guy-wire next to it?  How are you going to handle that?"

"I'll get around it one way or another."

"Right.  Let's take the road instead."

"But then we'll have to cross the ditch!"

I'm tempted to ask if crossing the ditch might be breaking some local taboo, but I refrain.  This is neither the time nor the place for levity.

"Back the four wheeler up and turn it so as to approach the road at a 90 degree angle.  When we get to the ditch, just ease on through and we'll be fine."

And he did that, and we were.

Now we're on the open road, no traffic, no lights, it's dark, and since Shotgun Bob lives out in the middle of no where, no ambient light.  Albert hammers it.  Wheeeeeee!

We, or rather Albert, find the driveway by route memory.  He slows and uses a hand signal for a left turn.  No, I'm not kidding.  I couldn't believe it either, but he's just got his driver's license and I guess he's being correct and careful.

We pull up in front of the house and dismount.  I'm thinking that any landing you can walk away from is a good one, but instead I congratulate him on doing a good job and getting me home.

My first stop is the bar downstairs, where I put away a shot of whiskey.  Neat.


CWMartin said...

Hah! What an adventure! Here's mine.

A LONG time ago, when my mind could readily absorb MJ without drastic side effects at the time, we were at the lake getting "loose" and four of us boarded a three wheeler- two on the seat and one on each back wheel- and went up the back trail into the state park. Other than my fellow wheel-rider falling oof twice and rolling behind us, it was uneventful- until...

A nearby resident of the area called the cops on us. And the boys from DNR met us somewhere in the woods, and made us (except the driver) walk with them back to the road. A $63 "entertainment tax" later, we were allowed to go back to the cottage, but it was a near thing- brainsurgeon who would have been so dumb even if he hadn't fell off the wheel twice, tells DNR: (mind you, we heard them before we saw them)"Boy, I'm glad to see you! I thought you were a bear!" (last bear sighting in that area: maybe 50 years ago).

Old NFO said...

Sigh... At least you made it back in one piece! Only ONE shot? I'm proud of you! :-)

Mad Jack said...

Four on a three wheeler? Beats anything I was crazy enough to try. I can just hear the caller to the DNR - Those kids are going to kill themselves!

Old NFO: I've been trying to cut back. Trying, mind you.