One of the ostensible perks of returning to blogging was supposed to be a return to having sex with my wife. Not that I had stopped having sex with my wife, but there was the explicit threat that I’d be cut off if I carried through with my plan.
So when I wrote my “People of the Philippines: I have returned!” post last week I was fully expecting to hop back in the saddle the next day, right after NewWifey(tm) read it. And I said so.
“Nope” she said. “I’m outta here.”
“What?” I said. “You’re leaving me? Didn’t you read my entry? I’m back to writing stupid stories again!”
She laughed. “Not ‘leaving you’ leaving you. I’m teaching at a stitching show in Virginia this weekend, and I still have to pack. I wanna be on the road before nightfall.” She looked at her watch. “I guess I could give you a quick hand job though. But it’ll have to be one-handed, since I need to text the event organizer about some of the details.”
Beggars/choosers. I took it.
Three hours later she was gone. Gone, it turns out, for two weeks. After the Virginia gig she’s booked events in a couple of other grits eating states before swinging home.
You know what that means.
TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!!
Wait. Never mind. I forgot, I don’t have any friends. Donning a toga and smashing grape bunches into your face all by yourself is pretty sad. I guess I’ll just hang out in my hammock.
Long time readers know I love my hammock. This is the hammock my uncle gave me as my wedding present back in 2001. The hammock I hated him for because it wasn’t cash.
Hated him, that is, until I climbed into it.
Now I love my uncle.
Not to belabor the point, but I spend a lot of time in that hammock. So much so that a few years ago when NewWifey(tm) embarked on a weeks-long teaching tour during the winter, I set it up indoors while she was gone:
I don’t think I slept even one night in my bed.
Well, why not do it again?
This past Saturday then I trundled across our yard with the intention of breaking down the hammock stand and reassembling it inside the living room. A five minute operation at most.
However it was such a nice day out, sunny and unseasonably warm, that once I got to the tree line where ol’ Swingy was set up I thought it would be a shame to not enjoy it right there while I still could. I mean, it’s great having a hammock in your living room (until your wife finds out), but there’s still nothing that compares to swinging in the open air on a beautiful day. I plopped down, gave a kick to start her rockin’, and within 5 minutes I was blissfu-zzzzzzzzzzzz..…….
I don’t know how long it had been once I drifted off, but at some point I became vaguely aware that I was still rocking. That was…odd. Normally, unless you kick out a leg, or start rocking your butt cheeks back and forth, a hammock will gradually, gently, wind itself down within a minute or two.
I opened an eye. Then another.
Or rather: oh deer.
There, standing right next to the foot of my hammock, was a deer. A young buck, with a full rack. He was eating my wife’s hostas.
My wife has been waging a series of pitched battles with our local deer population over her hostas ever since we moved up here. She keeps planting them, and they keep eating them. Nothing she’s tried – repellent sprays, malorganite, inflatable hunter figures, Trump posters – has had any success deterring them at all. I’ve suggested plowing under our entire lawn and resurfacing it with AstroTurf, but she’s grimly determined to win this war.
But that’s neither here nor there. The point is, a deer was eating one of the hostas my wife had planted right next to my hammock. I was rocking because the beast’s flank kept bumping the cotton webbing every time he went down for another mouthful. I don’t know how he didn’t at least smell me – from that distance I could overpower an unregulated Calcutta abattoir – but there he was. Maybe he just liked hostas so much he was willing to risk olfactory injury to get some. Maybe he was retarded. Whatever. He was there, rocking my world.
So here I was, mere inches from a magnificent native woodland creature grazing peacefully at the edge of a wooded clearing on a beautiful fall afternoon. I suppose I could have just lain there and silently observed this beautiful spectacle of nature playing out right before my eyes.
Instead, I sat up and screamed “STOP EATING MY WIFE’S HOSTAS, YOU STUPID FUCKING DEER!” and threw my SpongeBob pillow at his tail.
This did not sit well with the deer. Instead of running off into the woods, or at least slinking away with his head hung in shame, he jerked his head up, swung it around, and stared at me. I counted 7 points on that rack.
Have you seen any of the many, many “Deer Attacks Hunter” videos on YouTube? I have. This one made a particular impression on me, for obvious reasons. So when my bellowing and throwing of soft, fluffy cartoon character pillows didn’t cause him to bolt, I had a funny feeling I knew what was gonna happen next. And it did.
In one swift motion that buck stood up on his hind legs, pivoted to his right, and came crashing down antlers-first into my hammock.
Where I wasn’t.
I may be fat and filled with alcohol, but my finely honed sense of self preservation allows me to react with remarkable speed and cowardice at the first sign of danger. When those 7 Points of Death hit the webbing I was already gone. As soon as I saw the monster rear himself up I’d rolled off the right side of the hammock into the dirt and was hightailing it for my porch. I didn’t look back until I was halfway up the stairs.
Once I did look back I saw quite a sight, and heard quite a racket. The deer was back up on his hind legs, but now with my hammock swinging around his body. His antlers were stuck in the webbing! I guess when he slammed those head-knives down to gore me and I wasn’t there (sorry, buddy) all those prongs and protrusions got tangled in the latticework of cotton cording, but good. Now he was bucking up and down and tossing his head around wildly trying to free himself.
I ran the rest of the way up the stairs to grab my camera.
Of course, my camera is still my little Nintendo DSi so first I had to wait for it to boot up, then tell it that no, I did not want to play “Animal Crossing: Wild World”, then scroll through the menu to the camera function, and then run back to the porch to take the shot.
But when I got there:
Amazingly, as you can see, the frame landed upright. But…my hammock! That hammock was supposed to be my sofa/reading nook/dining room table/video game station and maybe port-o-potty (bucket underneath – all those gaps in the webbing aren’t just for decoration, you know) while NewWifey(tm) was gone. And now it had a huge deer-hole in it!
Oh well. I guess it was better than having a huge deer hole in me. The deer itself, by the way, was nowhere to be seen. I guess he had his fill of hostas.
I didn’t care. I wanted an indoor hammock, and I was gonna have an indoor hammock, deer hole or no deer hole. I went back inside and grabbed some rope.
Two hours later I had reconnected enough of the torn webbing that it would support my weight again, at least if I shifted over far enough to the other side that my right ham was hanging out into space a bit. I could live with that. It was too dark to disassemble the thing and set up back up in the living room by then though, so I packed up and went inside.
The next day, Sunday, was another warm one. So although I fully intended to just grab my patchwork hammock and drag it inside, I couldn’t resist. I plopped down for one. last. swing. in the sun. And almost imme – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…….
Again, I don’t know how long I was out. But once again I woke with the uneasy feeling that I was still swinging long after the swinging should have stopped.
That stupid deer! I swear to god, I’m gonna dig up every hosta in our yard and replace them with plastic ones. $2.99 apiece at WalMart – I already checked. As long as I don’t tell NewWifey(tm), I bet she’ll never look close enough to notice the swap…at least til winter, when they don’t die. But I’ll deal with it then.
However first I had to deal with the current hosta muncher. I didn’t want to make the same mistake as yesterday, since I didn’t have much rope left if I needed to repair another deer hole. I figured I could just slowly ease myself out of the webbing without being noticed and then maybe throw rocks at it from the safety of my back door.
I cracked open one eye to guage when it would be safe to scoot.
But it wasn’t a deer I saw standing next to my hammock.
It was a bear.
A freakin’ bear!
Shit. Change of plans.
I didn’t have time to be subtle about it. The bear was already pointed at me nose-first, and only about two feet away. If he didn’t see me he needed to be fitted for a red-tipped cane and a guide dog. I threw myself hard to starboard and hit the ground running. Behind me I heard a loud snort, and then the sound of a 400 hundred pound meat rocket launching. I prayed adrenaline would give me wings.
However, after that initial explosion of events I heard what sounded like a real explosion. I didn’t dare look back – whatever I was doing was keeping me alive, so I didn’t want to change things up – but something big had obviously just happened behind me. I made it to the stairs, took them 3 at a time, and vaulted over the railing, bypassing the gate.
Then I looked back.
The bear was still at the hammock. And he was fighting it to the death.
Just like the deer, he was all tangled up. But unlike the deer, his whole body was cloaked in webbing, not just his head. He must have leaped for me with all four limbs splayed out to get caught like that. (On reflection, he looks like the bear who poached my garbage back in May. I could still smell my coq au vin on his breath.)
I had to get a picture of this. Back to the bedroom for the Nintendo, wait for it to boot up, tell it not to load the fucking game, and run to the porch.
Only to see this:
Well, that does it.
I’m buying a beanbag chair on my way home today. And 50 plastic hostas.
Ciao, kids. Eat more venison.