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November 12, 2005

Silver Oak Frogs

We take the birds to a place to have them cleaned, and they’re all tossed into a shopping cart. We have to sign up for the birds, so that each hunter claims 3 birds and writes his little hunting license number down on a slip of paper and turns it over to the game processor. They give us a sticker that says “Just Shoot It?, and we take the fleet of trucks back to the hotel.

After we get all cleaned up, we meet for drinks in the lobby and have 40 drinks before we go to dinner at some Italian restaurant, and we’re a party of 9, so they take a while to seat us, so we’re drinking at the bar again. I’m just following Brian’s lead, migrating from beer to tequila to wine. The guys in the hunting party are all over the poor girls that’s going to seat us, fawning all over her, giving her full body hugs, and saying horribly inappropriate things. I’m feeling bad for her, and I half want to go up to her and apologize on behalf of the entire human race. And I’m like “Brian, you ought to call off your buddies? and he’s like. “Dude. These are hunters. These waitresses are used to it.? And I realize he has to be right. When we drive through town, there are giant banners everywhere that say “Welcome hunters? and “Just Shoot It?.

When we sit down, Kevin orders them to bring a shopping cart of red wine to the table. And it’s Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the wineries out in Napa that I did a tasting at. So, I know this wine is in the neighborhood of a hundred dollars a bottle. There’s some other wine there that I’ve never heard of. And so I’m guzzling this red wine, and our hot waitress is this chick named Lori that has 3 sons 13-17, but no boyfriend.

And the guy’s are all fighting over the bill, arguing over who’s going to pay, each person swearing it’s his own turn for glory. His own turn to fall on the bill, like a soldier diving on a grenade. And I’m just silent, ‘cause I’m basically unemployed and broke.

And the guys at the table next to us are handing out prizes. They’re giving a box of tampons to one of their buddies because he shot a hen, and he’s wearing a pink hat. And they've got a guy from France at their table, and they’re all telling jokes about frogs, gays, and women, and it’s just side splittingly funny, so somehow they challenge our table to a joke off, so we’re taking turns telling jokes, standing up and telling jokes in turn. We we're just ripping into the french guy. Just eviscerating the guy with the most off-color jokes ever mouthed in public. And we’re all just pissing ourselves like little school kids.

Back at the hotel, the dogs are unkenneled and led discreetly into the hotel rooms. Ushered in the back entrances to sleep the night in a warm bed. The hotel rooms are $64 a night, so the dogs get to sleep in the bed for a night. The sign says “no dogs in hotel except seeing eye dogs? But, what they mean is, no hunting dogs in the bed. But they sleep there anywhere.

And when I get back to the hotel, the room is spinning and I climb in bed and pass out, leaving the television playing all night. And I wake up, no idea what time it is, cotton mouthed as a dog at the end of a pheasant hunt, and stumble down to the juice machine. I’ve got a handful of change, and I’m ready to blast the machine with a 12 gauge if it won’t deliver me a can of grape juice. But there’s a lady and her kid at the other vending machine, so since there’s witnesses, I know I’ll have to moderate my behavior to meet some semblance of societal norms. I have no idea what time it is, I’m guessing that it’s 3:00 in the morning, and I’m wondering why this lady is out here with her kid at this time of night.

I really have no idea what time it is. The time zone runs right through the middle of town. Some genius decided to float the time zone on top of the Missouri River. So, you can drink until 2:00 a.m. in Pierre, and then cross the river to Fort Pierre and then drink for another hour. They don’t really set their clocks different over there, but they are technically in a different time zone so you can legally go over there and drink for another hour.

I want to just empty the machine out. Drink everything inside of it. But I settle for a can of grape juice and a can of apple juice. And then I hear Stormy. The dog is barking like crazy from inside a hotel room somewhere. Kevin’s trying to slip down to the Dakotamart without Stormy, and Stormy is freaking out because he thinks Kevin is going home without him. Stormy cut his tongue yesterday on the barbed wire, and got so hot and tired from the days hunt that he was stumbling and staggering, so he had to sit out the last hunt in the truck. And the dogs know what’s going on. Stormy was pissed that he missed out on the last hunt.

Kevin, what time to do you reckon it is?

“It must be getting to be about seven oclock.. See you at breakfast.?

Posted by Peenie Wallie on November 12, 2005 at 6:40 AM


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