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Fishin' and giggin'
by Turtle Jones
So continuing with our food day ideas, and cause some of us promised to tell you stories, we continue with the theme. This is about hunting for food. Yeah, I know. Sometimes it's gruesome and for some strange reason it happened mostly in our childhood. We are both not hunters and what other people do is their own business. We are not PETA and we really don't care what you say or do, but the simple fact of the mater is, we both did it. Hunting for food.
Here are ours.
Oh, I could tell you I stared down the mighty buck horns of a deer with a rifle, but I haven't. I could tell you I have 12 gauged a beautiful pheasant out of the sky, but I haven't. I could tell you I fought a grizzly bear to the ground and killed it with a toothpick, but I haven't. Well, I have eaten Ostrich burgers before, so I guess that kinda counts. Them ostrich birds needed to be in my belly. They needed to be eaten. I took care of that. See. Hunting man turtle.
But, lets get on to funny stuff.
Woke up at 2 in the morning with a spear to my chest and some whiskey smelling guy telling me to get up and get dressed. What the fuck was this all about. We are going where? To a lake? Ok. Let me find my shoes. One thing I have learned in life is not to talk shit when someone has the spear of fucking the Merman King from "The Little Mermaid" shoved in your chest. Just get up and put your shoes on. Slam a beer and keep moving. Something was handed to me as my Grandpa asked me if it was too heavy.
Too heavy for what?
Oh christ. Gramps must have been on an all night bender for this idea to show up from nowhere. I mean we are talking about olympic fucking drunk if he and his buddies wanted to go giggin' at 2 in the morning. Like Greg fucking Loganis like drunk. Oh shit. Were talking the Miracle on Ice of alchoholism here. They held the gigs above their heads like the damn Stanely Cup and tied them down to the car. Oh christ. Someone needs to pass out here so I can go back to bed.
No one was falling.
The giggin' was on.
Whiskey was passed around as the strong smell of booze and blood was coming from somewhere. I didn't ask. I didn't want to know. If someone tells you in slurred words that you are "learning culture you damn son of a bitch" you just kinda go with the flow. Swerving along the highway with people singing about something. Shit. I still didn't know what I was supposed to do.
Three in the morning. An aluminum boat was found and we were dragging it to the water. A gig was handed to me. Small instructions about flashlights in their eyes as I gigged them. What? Something about how they froze when a light hits them. My confusion and questions were answered with "You just gig them!" This is not telling me much. I looked at this weapon. Three barbed prongs attached to a ten foot pole. Stick a frog and pull it back in. Put it in the bag, then we move on. My thoughts of over the counter liquor were dashed as Grandpa started in on the corn whiskey. Oh crap. All we need is Boss Hog yelling at us with Enos and we are as fucking white trash as could be.
I thought this was California?
I started to fade out as I heard "Gig!" from the front of the boat. What? What the hell happened there? A squirming frog was brought back on board and shoved into a burlap sack. "Gig!" Whoa! These guys are having fun! Killing frogs and pounding back moonshine! "Gig!" Oh, I'm so full into this. I pulled my flashlight and saw one. Big bullfrog. Beutiful eyes. Croaking wildly. These were the Kings of the Night. They were the Keepers of the Lake. Their strength and pride kept these waters clean. The look on the face of the frog was almost to much to take. He looked at me and almost silently asked me if I thought I could take him.
I nailed that little fucker thru the mud.
Kings of the Night?
Kings of the Kiss My Ass, Dinner - T
Michele takes a shot at it. Get it? Hunting? Well, I thought it was funny.
Hunting for food.
Let’s get something straight here. I don’t do it. It’s not because I’m some animal activist. Cow is my favorite food group. It’s a combination of laziness and an ignorance is bliss thing. I don’t need to know how you gut a fish after you catch it. I just need to know that the fish will eventually end up on my plate with some lemon, garlic and butter. Really, the only thing I hunt for is an open fast food joint when I’m on a road trip late at night. Preferably a Taco Bell. Those meximelts are hard to catch, you know.
When I was little and spent most of my summers upstate, we’d go fishing a lot. Trout fishing in America. Wasn’t that the name of an album? I vaguely remember that. Anyhow, I’d sit in the boat, crying that I wanted to go back to shore because I hate being in the water. My cousins would rock the boat to make me cry harder. And then they’d catch a fish and shove it in my face. The fish would be squirming and wriggling. I’d cry harder. Well, what do you want from me? I was about eight. Maybe nine. Ok, it could have happened when I was 14, too. But a flopping fish in the face? And knowing I was staring eye to eye with my dinner? I’d look at the hook stuck in the corner of the fishie’s mouth. The look of abject terror on its face. Cry some more. This is why I can’t watch that Faith No More video. The flopping fish. It’s a post traumatic thing. Brings back memories of being on Lake Muskoday with a smelly, dying trout staring at me, pleading with me to save it, send it back to its family in the lake.
Later on I’d go in the kitchen and see Grandma standing there with this cleaver thing, chopping the heads off the fish. Cry some more. Tell everyone how cruel they are. Think of the poor fish families who lost loved ones today.
Then dinner time would come. Fish! Straight from the barbecue! Lemon, butter, garlic. Corn on the cob. The bulging eyes, the hooked mouth, the face of the fish turning into Mr. Limpet as I watch it flopped around....all that disappeared as I shoved back mouthfuls of delicious fish.
So, yea. My noble feelings for fish and all edible animals only goes so far. I’ll be happy to eat the fuckers. Just don’t make me watch you go in for the kill.
Another food product that came by way of upstate was deer. The first time I was asked to taste venison, I had visions of Donder and Blitzen in my head. I thought Santa would be really pissed off if I started eating reindeer. So my uncle explained that these weren’t exactly reindeer. Then my cousin explained how there was no Santa Claus. Well, thanks a lot you son of a bitch. I cried. Yea, I cried a lot. And my aunt shoved a plate of venison in front of me to shut me up. I tried it. It was pretty damn good. So I came to look forward to the winters when my uncles would bring deer meat home from upstate.
Because that’s what they did, right? They brought the deer meat home. In neat little packages. I never gave much though to the fact that they actually shot the deer and dragged the deer back to the car and then drove home with the deer tied to the roof rack like some carnival prize. Other hunters beeping their horns and giving the thumbs up when they saw how many antlers your prize had. I never gave much though to how the deer went from being a whole, albeit dead, animal to being pieces of meat covered in onions and mushrooms on my dinner plate. Who needs to know that? I don’t ask how my cows or chickens are killed. I don’t care what Wilbur had to go through to become my bacon sandwich. I just want to eat. I am carnivore, hear me roar.
One night pretty close to Christmas - I was about ten - I was sitting on Grandma’s breezeway (that’s kind of like an patio) with my cousins. The same cousins who shoved fish in my face and killed Santa for me. I think Grandma had kicked us out of the house because we were making fun of Wheel of Fortune. So we sat out in the cold talking about Christmas. One cousin says to me that he knows where my parents hide my Christmas presents. No shit? Now, I’m a pretty impatient person when it comes to stuff like that. Just ask Turtle. He keeps dropping hints about my birthday present and I keep yelling at him that I need to know NOW. I don’t really like surprises. I’m all about instant gratification. So when my cousin says he knows where the presents are, I get curious. I just want to feel a few boxes. Shake a few. Figure out how many boxes are clothes as opposed to toys. This way I know how much fake joy I have to put out on Christmas morning. Oh. Yay. A pair of bellbottoms. You shouldn’t have. Really. So, my cousin tells me: Presents. In the garage. He points to the door right behind him. Well, it kind of makes sense. They’ve stored stuff in Grandma’s garage before. This wasn’t so out there. He says we should go look. Just for a few minutes. Someone else would play lookout. Ok. Fine. Let’s do this. He turns the knob slowly. It’s completely dark out now, and pitch black in the garage. I fumble for the light. Flick it on.
Deer. Dead. Deer. Hanging from the rafters of the garage like some suicide scene straight of The Far Side. There were two. I think one was hanging by its neck. The scene kind of morphed in my head as time went on so I’m not sure. All I know is one was whole, except for a bullet wound. The other one was. Well. Open. Slit open. Gutted.
I swayed on my feet. Sucked in my breath. My cousins were hysterical laughing but their voices seemed to be coming from far, far away.
I stared. I couldn’t take my eyes off those deer. Off the guts. The bullet wound. The eyes. Donder. Blitzen. I wasn’t aware that I was screaming until my uncle came running into the garage to see what was going on. He grabbed me by my waist, turned off the light and brought me back outside. I was crying. I called my cousins stupid fucking bastard assholes. No one yelled at me. Let’s face it, that was a mean ass thing to do. I spent that whole night trying to fight off nightmares about deer with guts hanging out of them chasing me through the woods. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw Donder and Blitzen hanging from the rafters.
The next day was Sunday. Dinner at Grandma’s. Besides the usual pasta, there was venison. A plate was pushed in front of me. Cousins staring at me, watching. Waiting for me to cry or scream or call them fucking bastard assholes. My mind flashed for one second on the hanging deer. Those two dead guys whose insides were now sitting in my plate.
Smothered in onions and mushrooms.
Dinner time! -M
That's our hunting stories. As you can see, we really never did any big hunting. Not with guns and stuff. Well, one of us spent way too much time playing Deer Hunter on the PC. But we're not gonna say which one. So what about you guys? Ever hunted for food? Got a story to tell us? Don't tell me about that time you hunted the great white shark, either. I know you weren't on that boat with Quint. And yea, I guess going clamming counts as hunting for food. But blueberry picking? Not so much. Blueberries don't scream when you pick them. Just so you know where we're at here. Hunting stories.
What have you got?