Something to ponder on as you wander on


Some liars are born that way, some are self-made; but the really great ones are elected to Congress…
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

THE HUNTERS..............

THE HUNTERS……………..

“When did you say this guy was supposed to pick us up?”…

“Uhh,, lets see…about 35 minutes ago”…

“Your guides kind of late”…

“He’s not my guide,, Bob Fisher recommended him to me,,
said he was a great guide and knew this area as if he owned it…
helped him and some of his company clients get a couple
of 7 point Elk last year”…”you remember Bob don’t you?”…

“Yeah,, well…I just don’t like to be standing here waiting that’s all…
I expect people to show up when they say they will”...”Bob Fisher?...
yeah I remember him,, a talkative little weasel if you ask me”…

“Well,, from what I hear he’s doing pretty well with his
chain of carwashes”…

“Maybe,, I won’t know…he’s not someone I’d do business with”…
”come on where is this guy?”…

“Take it easy,, we’re of vacation remember?”…”want one?”…
Jim Trainer asked,, offering his friend Gerald Backman a beer
from the cooler they had stored in the back of Gerald’s Hummer…

“Yeah sure,, why not”…

“So how’s business?”...asked Jim…

“Not so good right now”…the real estate market has really taken
a beating”…I’m just glad I was able to unload a number of
properties in San Gabriel,, before the bottom fell out”…

“Its always that way in California,, I’d don’t know how anybody
can afford property in California”…Damn stuff’s so high priced
you’d think it was made of gold or something”…

“Yeah well,, some of it is,, if you can get in early enough”…
“How are things going in the Supermarket business?”…

“Not as well as they were”…”damn tomato recall really put
a bite into last months earning”…”I had just purchased
20 shipments of them for my stores and I had to get rid of them”…
”and the damn insurance companies are fighting me,,
saying its not covered”…”damn a**holes”…”and now I heard
rumors that the UFW are going to go on strike just as the lettuce
crop is about to be harvested”…
”Mexicans,, I could do without them”…

“Yeah,, somehow I doubt that…nobody else is willing to…"
“you hear that?”…

The sound of a trucks muffler echoed thru the trees,, as
Gerald and Jim looked down the dirt road hoping to see
what was coming…a 1988 red Ford bronco soon appeared coming
up the road,, bouncing along kicking up the road
dust as it went… on the front hood was strapped the
carcass of a mule deer…it came to a slow stop next to where
Gerald and Jim had parked…Alan Marks,, got out of the truck
and greeted the men…

“Sorry,, I’m late…are you guys Jim and Gerald?”…

“Yeah that’s us,, who else would be standing out here
in the middle of nowhere?”...

“Oh,, I don’t know,, drug runners,, weed famers maybe”…

“Do we look like drug runners?”…”and how come your so late?...
I don’t like waiting around”…snapped Gerald…

“I’ve seen all types of drug runners,, they’re not all
Hillbillies and Columbians you know,, some of them look
just like normal everyday folk”…

“Yeah well,, we’re not drug runners,, and you know it…
we’re here to do some Elk hunting”…

“Well if your ready,, throw your gear in the back and
we’ll be going”… Alan responded as he untied the
ropes holding the mule deer to his truck hood…

“What’s with the deer?”…

“Oh,, well that’s why I’m late…three of them were crossing
the road as I came around a curve and I hit this one”…

“What are you keeping it for?”…

“I normally cook them up and feed em to my dogs”…
“If you must know”…

“Yeah,, we gotta know’’…and don’t get smart”…
“we’re paying you as a guide…not as some smart mouthed
comedian”…

“I can always leave if you’d like”…

“Hey,, Gerald…take it easy…I’m sure he didn’t mean anything
by it”…”lets just get our gear loaded so we can get moving”…

“Yeah”…

The three men loaded the hunting gear and camping supplies
into the back of Alan’s truck and were soon traveling the
old logging road towards the Eastern foothills of the Cascade Range …
Alan had always had good luck there when he was hired as a hunting
guide,, and he was sure that this time would be no different…
The front sit of Alan’s Bronco was a tight fit for the three men,,
with Jim sitting in the middle trying to keep his knees from hitting
the 4 wheel drive floor shifter…Gerald sat by the window,,
not pleased by the way he was crammed into the truck and the
way Alan spoke to him,, he was used to more comfortable trips
and being the one who gave orders to everybody…

“You’re kind of young to be a hunting guide aren’t you?”…
Jim questioned…”how old are you anyway?”…

“29,, maybe a little young,, been doing this for 7 years
now…lived here all my life,, so I would say that I know the terrain
pretty well”…”I know where we can find some Elk”…
“Can’t give any guarantees tho”…

“Yeah well,, you had better”…Gerald mumbled as he attempted
to light his cigar…

“Ahh,, Gerald is it?”…”don’t light that cigar in here”…said Alan …

“Why not?”…”we’re paying good money for this trip,,
you’re not one of those smoke free environmental creeps are you?”…

Alan slammed on the brakes,, bringing the truck to a quick stop
and throwing Jim and Gerald against the dashboard…

“Lets get one thing straight before we go any further”…
Alan responded…”I’m the guide here,, and that makes me
in charge…you see that timber out there?”…”we haven’t had
a decent rainfall in 2 months,, that means everything is dry
and just ready for a spark to set the whole place on fire”…
“is that what you want?”…”well I don’t”…”so just put the cigar
out and sit there and listen to what I’m telling you”…”I’m not
going to take any sh*t from a couple of California city slickers
who come up here throwing money around and act like they
own the place”…”that ain’t gonna work with me,, so you can
either listen or I can turn the truck around right now”…
”which is going to be?”...

“Yeah well,, listen here boy,, I’ve had my own business for
20 years,, and I’m not used to taking orders from a punk nosed
kid like you…we’re paying you good…..”

“Gerald,, lets just calm down”... "Alan I’m sorry…
we’re just up here for a little relaxation,, its been a tough year
for both of us,, and well…I think we just need some time to
unwind and relax”…"everything will be fine”…
“right Gerald?”…

Gerald just sat there staring out the window,, the unlit cigar
firmly clinched between his teeth….

“Just remember that I know this area better than you do,,
and if I was just to leave you here,, you wouldn’t last 3 days
without me”…

“Is that so?”,, muttered Gerald…
.
“How long before we get there?”…asked Jim,, trying to
change the subject and calm everyone down…

Alan eased up on the brake and stomped on the gas,, leaving
behind a cloud of dust and gravel…the Bronco bounced along
the old logging road,, sometimes grazing the slopes on the side
as Alan would go round a corner…the logging road hadn’t been
used in years and little grading or repair had been done to it…
a quick look to the left offered a view of the fully grown forest
with a steep falloff at the roads edge into the forest…

“Yeah well,, do you think we could stop for a break?”…
asked Gerald after they had been driving for about an hour…

“Sounds good to me,, this road is doing a number on my kidneys,,
and I’d like to get out and stretch my legs for a bit”…said Jim…

“OK”…Alan replied…”it can get kind of cramped in here”…

Alan eased the truck to a stop in the middle of the road…

“Certainly is beautiful country up here”…”untouched,, I’ll
bet it looked just like this when the first explorers came thru
here”…remarked Jim as he grabbed a beer from the cooler…

“Do you mind if I have my cigar now?”…

“Naggh,, go head,, just be careful of your ashes”…

“Yeah,, I got the idea”…”forest fires”…

“How much longer?”…Jim asked again…

“I’m gonna guess about 1 ½ hours more driving,, that’s if the
road is clear and hasn’t been washed out…then we’ll have to
hump our gear for about an hour till we reach an old logging cabin
I know of”…”we’ll stay the night there and then head out first
thing in the morning”…

The sun was almost set when the three men reached the old
logging camp cabin…it wasn’t much more than a four walled log
building,, with the porch roof half fallen in,, but it would afford at
least some comfort for the night…

“Put your gear down here”…”before we go inside I want you to
be aware that this cabin is always unlocked and that there may
be some animals inside,, last time I was here there was a badger
hiding under the bunk bed,, so we need to go in and make sure
the place is clear”…”got that?”…”and watch out for snakes”…

Before entering the cabin,, Jim took out of his bag,, an old Colt 45…

“Are you sure you’re going to need that?”…asked Gerald…

Jim just shrugged his shoulders as the three men carefully
entered the cabin…

The cabin was empty except for a pair of Gopher snakes curled
up in the corner,, and various cobwebs and spiders…The cabin
was about 16’x 16’ with most of the windows broken out and
covered with what ever pieces of wood could be found…
The stone fireplace was built from boulders found in the nearby
creek,, odd bits of furniture,, a crude sink area,, some cupboards
hung on the wall and a handmade bunk bed that was turned
over laying on the floor…

“Does this fireplace work?”…asked Gerald…

“It did the last time I was here”…”there should be some
logs we can use outside”…
“Jim why don’t you go out and gather the firewood while
I clean the ashes out,, at least we can have some hot food
tonight”…said Gerald as he started to clean the ashes out and
put them into a large pot he had found under the sink…

“Why don’t we just use the camp stove we brought?”…

“Its probably going to get cold tonight,, it would be better if
we started a fire…we can use the stove in the morning”…
Alan replied…

“Jim,, just get the wood”…

Early the next morning grey clouds filled the sky, with the
Sun trying to break thru…the ground had a heavy frost,,
the night had been colder than any of them expected...

“Damn its cold in here”…”you were right about it getting colder”…
Jim complained as he put on his coat…

“The weather changes quickly up here,, especially in the valleys”…

Yeah well that’s great to know”…Gerald said as he
walked out the door…

“Coffee will be done in a couple of minutes”…
yelled Alan …

“Your friend is kind of an ass,, isn’t he?”...

“Oh,, Gerald’s alright,, he’s just used to being the boss is all”…
“And I think he’s having some health problems”…

“He had better lighten up a little,, or things aren’t going to run
every smoothly”…I’m not being paid to be barked at or treated
like a servant”…

“It will be alright,, I’ll have a word with him”…

The breakfast of corn beef hash mixed with eggs didn’t take long
to eat,, everyone was eager to head out in search of the
Elk that Alan assured them would be around…they still had
a long walk to Mark’s favorite spot near the tree line…
after about an hour of walking the men stopped near a small
brook that came down from the mountain…

“This is it”… Alan said…”there’s a game trail over there in the
tree line”…”we’ll wait here for a while to see if any Elk
come down to the stream”…

“Yeah well,, how long are we supposed to wait?”…

“A couple of hours maybe,, can’t tell”…

“That’s it?”…we’re just going to sit here?”…
“I thought you knew where the Elk would be”…

“Listen Gerald,, hunting Elk is not like going to the zoo
and just shooting one while they’re in a cage”…”this is where
I’ve had success finding them for the past 3 years”…
“if you have a better idea”…

“Yeah well kid,, I’m beginning to think you just got us out here
for the view,, and you don’t know where the Elk are”…

“Hey guys,, calm down”…”your shouting at each other is
going to scare off anything that might come by”…”lets just wait
here awhile and see what happens”…

”Try and talk some sense into your ‘friend’ Jim,, I’m going to
get some fresh water”…

2 hours passed with the men just sitting and watching for any
movement in the woods beyond…

“Well this is doing a number on my back”…”how much longer
are we just going to sit here?”…Gerald complained as he started
to stand up…

“Sit down and be quite”…”I see something moving in the trees”…
ordered Alan quietly…

“Where?”…asked Gerald…

“Just behind those 3 fir trees there”…

Gerald looked thru the scope of his rifle into the
trees…”yeah,, I see em,, a bull and two cows”…

“Why don’t you take the shot Gerald?”…Jim whispered…

“Yeah I think I will,, man he’s got a nice rack on him too,,
he’ll look good on my trophy wall”…

Gerald quietly laid down in the tall weeds and rested the barrel
of his rifle on a clump of small branches that was in front of him…

“Come on,, come on,, just a little farther,, now smile sucker”…

(bang) the echo of Gerald’s shot carried thru the valley…
Across the stream the Elk dropped to its knees and fell
behind a stand of river weeds…

“You got em”…Jim exclaimed…

Suddenly the wounded Elk jumped up and dashed out of
sight into the woods…

“He’s not dead,, he just took off into the woods”…
said Alan …

“That’s impossible,, I just put a slug into em”…”lets get over
there and see what happened”…

The three men hurriedly crossed the small brook to where the
Elk had fallen…

“You got him all right”…Jim said pointing to a pool of blood…
”there’s a blood trail,, lets follow it”…

“We better get our gear before we go hiking through the trees”…

“What for?”…complained Gerald…”he couldn’t of gone far”…

“You don’t know how far he could of gone”…”he’s wounded
and he’s going to be acting crazy,, I had to track one of these
Elk for a day before I found him”…”and it ain’t going to be easy
looking for him in these trees”…explained Alan …

“Aggh,, Ok lets get our gear”…Gerald said while putting a fresh
unlit cigar in his mouth…”lets hurry then before he gets to far”…

The three men retrieved their backpacks from where they had
waited on the other side of the brook,, and then started the slow
task of following the Elk’s trail… Alan took the lead as they made
their way thru the undergrowth of brushes and small trees…
Always keeping an eye on their footing,, due to the roots and
fallen branches that were hidden under the leaves…the Elk’s trail
lead them up and down the mountain terrain,, never in any kind
of pattern,, often it seemed that they were backtracking along
the same path they had just followed…

“How are you guys doing?”… Alan asked after about 45 minutes
of trudging through the forest…

“I’m doing fine”,, said Jim…”certainly getting my exercise today”…

Gerald didn’t say anything,, it was clear to both men that he
was having trouble climbing up and down the steep terrain…

“Alan,, why don’t we take a break for a while,, I’m getting
kind of thirsty and tired”…”maybe just a short break”…
Jim said having watched his friend struggle…

“OK,, that looks like a good spot over there”…”we can
rest awhile and catch our breath”…replied Alan …

The men stopped near an oak tree that had fallen over,,
the ground was somewhat clear and level…Gerald removed his
backpack and let out a sigh of relief to be sitting down and
off his feet…

“Do you think it would be alright if we started a fire?”…
Jim asked Alan …

“Yeah sure,, just make sure you have a clear dirt spot,, and use
some rocks around the edges”…”I’m going take a look around”…

“What for?”…Gerald questioned…

Alan just turned and walked away…

“Damn kid”…”I don’t trust him”…

“Relax Gerald,, we’ll find your Elk and then we can
get out of here”…

“Jim,, Gerald,, I’ve found something”…yelled Alan …

“What is it?”…Jim yelled…

“Come here and have a look”…

Jim and Gerald followed Alan’s voice to where he was standing
under a large pine tree…

“What did you find?”…asked Jim…

Alan just nodded at the two men and looked up…

“What the hell is that?”…

“I’ve been standing here looking at it for the last five minutes,,
and I think it’s a dead guy hanging from a parachute”…
replied Alan …

“How the hell”…Gerald muttered…

“Gerald,, why don’t you get your rifle and shoot him down?”…
said Alan …


“What for?”…”there ain’t much left of him,, let him stay there…
its none of our business”…

“Fine just fine,, I’ll do it myself”… Alan replied…

(bang,, bang,, bang)
Alan’s shots broke the limb that the man was hanging from
and the body dropped through the tree limbs landing nearby…

“Damn there isn’t much left of him,, he must have been up there
a while”…Jim said as he knelt by the body…

“See if you can find a wallet or something”…ordered Gerald…

“I’m not touching him”…

“Here let me do it”…replied Alan …

Alan took out his hunting knife and cut away the remains of the
parachute and cut the straps of the two nylon bags that hung
around the dead mans neck…

“Here look in these”… Alan said as he tossed the bags towards
Jim and Gerald…”I’ll see if he’s got any identification”…

Jim and Gerald each reached for a bag and began to unzip
them as Alan searched the dead mans body…

“Holy shit”…exclaimed Gerald as he opened the bag…

“What?”…said Jim…

“Its full of money”…

“Hey,, mine is to”…”what’s going on here”…

“Here’s the guys wallet,, nothing in it except 52 dollars”…

“Damn this is a lot of money”…“what do you think the guy was?’…
”a drug runner or something”…Jim said excitedly…

“Yeah well,, I know who he is”…replied Gerald…

“Who?”…asked Jim…

“He’s that guy that hijacked that airplane back in the 70s,,
Db Cooper is what he called himself”…”don’t you remember
it was all over the papers and the news”…”and look at the bills,,
not one of them over a twenty and they’re all dated 1969”…
”the Feds are still looking for him”…

“Hey,, I’ll bet your right,, he jumped out somewhere over
these mountains”…Jim replied…

“Maybe”…said Alan …

“What about the money?”…asked Jim…”the feds are looking for it”…

“We’re keeping it”…Gerald said in a firm voice…

“We can’t keep it,, we have to turn it in”… Alan replied…

“We’re keeping it kid”…”we’ll split it three ways,, you can do
whatever you want with your share,, but leave us out of it”…
“we’re keeping it”…

“You’re right,, I could use the money,, and nobody knows we
found it”…”except us”…said Alan …

“Lets head back to the cabin,, and then get the hell out of here”…
”I’ll take this bag”…Gerald said…

“We’ll divide the money up here”…”and each of us will be
responsible for his share”…said Alan …

“Yeah sure kid,, less weight to carry anyway”…

“What about the guys body?”… “shouldn’t we bury it or
something?”…asked Jim…

“Naggh the animals will take care of it for us”…

After dividing up the money the three men started to make
their way back through the forest to the log cabin… Alan lead the
way thought the trees…each man was very quite and there was
little conversation between them…each of them worried about
his share of the money and thought about how to spend it…
The sunlight coming through the trees was beginning to fade as
they were climbing up a steep embankment…

“Uggh’…Gerald groaned as he tripped and fell over a
fallen branch…”hey kid,, give me a hand will you?”…
Gerald yelled to Alan …

“You go ahead Jim,, I’ll help Gerald”…”we’ll be right behind you”…
”here old man,, give me your hand”…said Alan as he grabbed
Gerald’s hand…

Suddenly Alan shoved Gerald in the chest and he fell backwards
tumbling down the embankment head over heels,,
as he was falling his head hit a stump and he slid down the
hill finally stopping against a large pine tree…

“Jim,, Jim”… Alan yelled out…

Jim came running back to Alan …”what happened?”…

“He slipped and fell as he was coming up the hill”…

“Is he alright?’’…

Both men scrambled down the slope to where Gerald’s body
lay motionless…

Alan examined Gerald’s body…”he’s dead,, I think he broke
his neck”…

“Oh,, God”…now what will we do”…lamented Jim…

“We’re not going to do anything”…”but your going to give me
Gerald’s backpack and yours too”…

“What do you mean?”…

“I’m taking the money,, that’s what I mean”… Alan said as
he pointed his rifle at Jim…

“You pushed him didn’t you?”…

“That’s right”…”now put your rifle on the ground and
give me those packs”…

Jim carefully removed his rifle from his shoulder and
flipped the safety with his thumb…

“Put it on the ground”…

Jim slowly knelt down and put the butt end into the dirt
then angled the barrel towards Alan …
(bang)…Jim stood up with his rifle and shot Alan again…

“I’ll be taking the money,, if you don’t mind”…said Jim
to Alan’s dead body…

Jim gathered the back packs with the money in them and
started down the mountain…He spent a cold night in the forest
waiting for the sunrise,, as the Sun rose higher and higher thru
the trees Jim made his way South to the log cabin….Jim figured
that when people asked him what happened he would tell then
that they were attacked by bears and he got separated from
Gerald and Alan …Only just barely making it out of the woods
by himself…After a long walk up the trail he finally arrived at
Alan’s truck,, then drove off in the direction of his hotel,,
where he would tell his story…Jim traveled down the old logging
road,, always trying to keep as far away from the roads edge as
possible,, sometimes scraping the hillside just as Alan had done…
Jim kept turning over and over the events that had happened…
Would his story about being attacked by bears convince the local
police?...How was he to get the money home,, should he hide it
before reaching town and come back for it later?...He wondered
if Alan had told anyone where they were going,, he needed to
make sure that everything fit,, that no one would press him too
hard on what happened… The twisting and turning of the old
logging road kept him from concentrating on his story…he had to
be sure of every detail,, he had just killed a man,,
another human being…
Maybe he should go back and bury them,, so no other hunters could
find them…As he rounded a bend in the road,, a small herd of
mule deer darted out in front of him,, Jim applied the brakes to
hard and skidded towards the shoulder,, the soft shoulder gave
way and the Bronco plunged down the steep embankment
crashing into a tree…
Gasoline dripped onto the hot muffler,, and the truck burst into
flames with Jim and the money inside…

The mule deer just watched as Jim screamed for help…….

3 comments:

Marvin the Martian said...

Blood money - it ain't worth it! ;-)

Bob Johnson said...

Love your writting, moral of the story, what goes around comes around.

gt281 said...

to AStroBob:
Perhaps the moral of the story could be...Use a bigger gun when Elk hunting,, that way you don't go
hiking in the woods and find dead bodies...

thanks for the read...