My latest book, HALLEY, awarded 2015 Jefferson Cup Honor for Historical Fiction. Awarded the Moonbeam Silver Medal for Young Adult Fiction. Available at: NewSouth Books: www.newsouthbooks.com/halley and Amazon
I read a while back about a hunter who fell out of his deer stand and
broke his arm. The thought occurred to me that maybe it was no
accident. Probably he was already freezing his rear end, plus some
other valued body parts, before he even climbed that stand to crouch
down in minus zero temps waiting, waiting, waiting for a deer stupid
enough to walk right in front of a box on stilts with a gun barrel
sticking out of it. The man’s thinking probably went like this: Let’s
see, do I want to (A) freeze my buns off in one more attempt to prove
my manhood by being able to strap a deer across the hood of my truck,
or would I rather (B) sit home by a nice warm fire with a remote in
one hand and a beer in the other?
Quickly figuring out the correct answer was B, Bozo (a fictitious name
to protect me from the hunters of my acquaintance) then puzzled out
how to do this without appearing soft to his family and ridiculous to
his hunting buddies. The easy way, of course, would be to hit a deer
on the highway, and how hard would that be, since he had nearly
crashed into eight this very morning. But the damage to his truck
might undo his story.
“Hey!” he said, suddenly feeling brilliant. “If I ‘accidentally’ fall
and skin myself up a little, I could go home with my image intact.”
So he decided to fall from the fourth rung. Not far enough, he
calculated, to actually cause serious injury, yet enough to leave
bruises to show to his wife. Laying down his rifle (Only a dummy
would risk falling with a $1500 rifle that could blow away a platoon),
he began climbing, only to jam his right thumb into a gigantic
splinter on the first rung.
“Dang!” he exclaimed (Actually he exclaimed several other manly words
that I won’t repeat, in case any young people are reading). He rammed
the thumb into his mouth for a moment, and then realized he was
wasting valuable blood. Pulling out his thumb, he squeezed it enough
to get the blood flowing and then smeared it on his padded vest, his
quilted pants, and his face.
Avoiding the splinter this time, he resumed his climb. When his right
foot reached the fourth rung, he looked down and wondered if he should
risk one rung higher, just to be sure he would have impressive
bruises. Suddenly, there was a sound of splintering as the rung he
clutched disintegrated and he plunged, maybe I should say “rocketed”
to the ground. A horrible pain shot through his left arm and the
world spun. As he lay on the frozen dirt a deer wandered from the
woods and sniffed him. He thought he heard snickering as it dashed
“Get up!” he ordered himself. “Get up, or you’ll die.” He managed to
sit up, but was too shaky to stand. Pain was burning through his
shoulder. He tried to reach the ladder with his good arm, but
couldn’t. His rifle! That would fit the bill. If he lay back down,
he might just be able to get it and use it to help him to his feet.
He squeezed his eyes from the pain as he swung blindly and grabbed.
BAM went the rifle. BAM! This was obviously a repeating rifle.
The next scene takes place in an emergency room, where a doctor is
bandaging Bozo’s arm and preparing to put it in a cast, while his
hunter buddies, Lester and Festus wait.
“Doc,” says Festus, “When we happened up on him, we couldn’t believe
that 18 point deer Bozo bagged. And him with a broke arm.”
Lester nods. “Reckon he shot out the tire of his four wheeler just to
“Well, he’s out of the woods ‘til next season,” says the doctor.
Bozo is medicated against pain, but still, his brain is working.
“Maybe this arm won’t be well next season,” he mumbles. “I can hope,
The rest of us can too.