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14. Blood and Guts

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Fourteen

Blood and Guts

Lawyer Amanda Bonner: And after you shot your husband... how did you feel?

Defendant Doris Attinger: Hungry!

Adams Rib, 1949

Patrick lost another one in the dark and rain. He was very high up the mountain, where the terrain is steep and treacherous. Hed been tracking a buck and took a shot. The hit was fatal, but the kill wasnt instantaneous. Running after it, Patrick found bone, blood, and hair before the pounding rain washed the trace away. A weaker animal would have dropped in its tracks. Five friends came out the next morning to look for it, and all they found was the gut pile left by a stranger whod stumbled across it.

Is it poaching to take another mans quarry? Its not unusual for hunters to lose their animals in the forest. Humans stand out. Animals blend in. Within seconds, the wildlife can vanish, even if you know exactly where they are going. So if a hunter stumbles across a buck felled by another mans bullet, the right thing to do is to dress and hang the carcass, alert the game warden, and have a nice day. To walk off with the deer violates an unwritten code. Its the hunters version of the girl crush. A nice girl never steals a boy that her girlfriend likes. A tramp would hit on him just for fun, and steal him if she could. Its one of the ways you know shes a tramp. Sure, alls fair in love and warbut in real life, its not exactly true.

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6. Bard the Joint

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Six

Bard the Joint

Let the meat cake.

Mary Antwinet, leader of the French revelation, from blog, shitmystudentswrite.tumblr.com, 2012

The recipe begins: Skin the coot. (Do not pick). Wash in salt and water and let stand overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup salt and water to cover. According to the editors of Yankee Magazine, who decide such things, Stewed Coot is a Maine specialty. The problem is that I have never seen a coot, let alone eaten one. I dont know if its animal, vegetable, or mineral. Ive heard that they are both crazy and bald, as in Crazy as a coot and Bald as a coot. This information is not very helpful, because I could say the same about Britney Spears.

I decide to check out Cootworld.com, because if you want to know about Coots [sic] this is the place. To my surprise, a coot is neither a relative of raccoons nor a cucumber pickle. Its an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) that twists 45 degrees in the middle, exactly like a Dancing Barbie. The coot is both funny looking and tough. It lives in tricky water environments such as whitewater rapids and shallow lakes with rocks. I have never seen anything quite like it in the wild, but it went extinct in 1985.

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9. Do Not Feed the Bears

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Nine

Do Not Feed the Bears

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.

Archy the Cockroach, from Don Marquis, Archy and Mehitabel, 1927

Weeks later, as fall draws near, the morning sun means that John and I will be bushwhacking up the mountain in back of the Big House. The reason is to look for moose and deer sign, because this is what hunters do. Its also just to get to the top of the mountain, because its there, and its a beautiful day. Dressed in hiking gear and ready to go, I start filling water bottles to stuff into our daypacks as John sits at the chair by the door and starts lacing on hiking boots.

Just so you know, Don says laconically to John from his lounger in the living room, the McKennas were back there, setting up bear bait.

(... bear bait?)

They quit hunting bears, Don continues. Now they run a little guide business for tourists who want to see bears. But dont be surprised if you smell something.

(... smell something?)

Err, I say, raising my hand to object.

Not likely youll find yourself in the same spot, Don drawls, pointedly ignoring the surprised look on my face, but no need to worry. Bears get timid as soon as the bait comes out because they know the seasons starting. Theyll just run away from you.

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10. Coyote Mobile

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Ten

Coyote Mobile

The loudest duck gets shot.

Chinese proverb

Im going to kill the chicken, Don announces without preamble. You want to help?

Uh... sure, I reply uncertainly. I feel obliged to witness its death since Im responsible for pointing out its scabrous condition. A little while ago I went out to the henhouse to say hello to the chickens. Hello, chickens! I said. Right away they lined up, pressing forward to see if I brought food. They all came over to greet me except for one, the one with the weird walk and the bloated stomach. She looked really bad. Chunks of feathers on her back were gone, and her demeanor was sullen. Worse, she was huddled in the corner where the first bird had croaked. She couldnt smell death, because death smelled like her.

Shes eating, Don remarked, when I returned to the human house and tattled on her. Its probably not a disease. Dourly, he scratched his chin. He was not particularly interested in deciphering the clues.

The feathers on her back are funny, I insisted. Either shes picking them out, or the other birds are pecking her.

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2. Hustle

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Two

Hustle

In good cookeries, all raisins should be stoned.

Amelia Simmons, American Cookery, 1796

On my way back from the Bon March to my studio apartment, Id often make a detour through the Luxembourg Gardens, where children would play with the toy sailboats in the central fountain. Each child would get a short stick and a boat with a numbered sail. Theyd poke their boat with the stick, and off it would float across the rippled surface of the large circular pool. Eventually, their boat would drift back to the edge, coming close enough so they could poke it again. This activity involved a lot of waiting and chasing, because it was impossible to predict when or where your boat would return to the edge. The children were always trying to poke the wrong boat, just because it had drifted close to them.

This is how I feel about romantic relationships. We begin by coveting what we see every day, Hannibal Lecter purred to FBI agent Clarice Starling, whod been visiting him at a prison for the criminally insane. He was correct, but who takes romantic advice from a cannibal serial killer, even if he is a doctor with great teeth? Studies have shown that people tend to date inside a ten mile radius, because theyd rather pretend that proximity is destiny instead of fessing up to being lazy. What happens when the boys go after a girl who accidently drifted within poking range? They take a stab at her, and the girl floats away. The process repeats itself until the pokers get bored and leave.

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