Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Captain's Log, Day 185: Deer Me!

          Some kids are born troublemaking, some kids achieve troublemaking, and others have troublemaking thrust upon them. I was of the last category, but only because Dad wouldn't let me borrow the ax when I was twelve.
          "Nemesis! Wanna go make some forts in the woods?"
          My brother looked up from his car book. "I dunn--"
          "Well, Mom's going to kick us outside anyway," I added as an afterthought. "She's kinda mad." I neglected to mention that I was the one who ticked her off by more or less destroying the kitchen in an unsanctioned attempt to make muffins.
          Nemesis didn't bother with any follow-up questions. No one messed with Ma when she was on the warpath. "Sure, let's go."
          "I'll get the ax," I volunteered.
          "Dad says--"
          I waved a hand airily. "Oh, it's fine. He just doesn't want you getting hurt. I'll go down and check on the chickens--" I made some air quotes, "--and hide it in the woods over behind the barn. We can go in the woods behind the house and circle around to get it and no one will know!"
          Nemesis acquiesced, secure in the knowledge that it was my kiester--literally--that would be in the line of fire should our parents find out I was messing with the ax. I departed the house via the downstairs window before our enraged mother could hunt me down and made a beeline for the barn. Ax safely hidden in the woods, I met up with Nemesis and took twenty minutes to retrieve said ax because we insisted on having swordfights with every downed branch we found in the valley.
          The valley was in the woods. There were a lot of downed branches.
          Now, everyone knows location is the most important aspect of fort construction. Nemesis and I crisscrossed the woods, trying to figure out the best place to place the headquarters of our path to world domination. (We got a little ambitious. Something about that forest...) Eventually, we settled on a spot that would later turn out to be the location for some tree houses. However, we weren't time travelers, so we didn't care. Also, all our forts inevitably fell apart with the first good wind.
          We didn't mind. 80% of the fun of a fort was the construction process.
          I got to work with the ax, chopping up the longer deadwood littering the area and making a small pile next to me for use in future ramparts. Nemesis located smaller wood chunks that were already suited for walls. At least, that's what he was supposed to be doing; in reality, he kept getting sidetracked by cool stuff he found. I eventually got used to him wandering off and just kept working with the single-minded determination of one who knows that he's gonna be the one to name their creation.
          After a while, though, I heard a lot of crashing coming from behind me. I initially assumed Nemesis had slipped and fallen down the hill (we were building on a plateau in the hillside), but the crashing continued for far longer than I though it really should've. I mean, my brother was clumsy, but he wasn't that clumsy. Also, the noise was getting closer. I put the ax on my shoulder (you know, like a real lumberjack would) and turned around to see what was going--
          I came face to face with a deer.
          No joke. There was a giant buck, antlers and everything, about fifteen feet away from me and closing fast. It was fairly obvious that he would be all up in my kool-aid in about two seconds, so I let out a decidedly un-heroic squeak, dropped the ax, and dove to the side. The big guy thundered by, almost hitting me with his shoulder as he passed. Seemingly oblivious to the small child he'd almost flattened like a pancake, he disappeared over the ridge.
          I watched him vanish into the forest, part of me still keyed up from the sudden wildlife encounter and part of me disappointed that, when my life had flashed before my eyes, I still didn't know where I'd lost my favorite remote-control truck. You'd think with my highlight reel being that short, there'd be more useful information contained within.
          It took me a moment to remember that I'd come out here with a brother. When the realization hit me, I spun around to try to locate him.
          He was fine--he was standing behind and uphill from me, mouth open as he stared at the spot where the buck had dropped out of sight. He caught me staring at him and closed his mouth with some difficulty. "Radar! Did you see that?"
          "See it?" I demanded. "I almost got hit by it!"
          "I know! That was so cool!" Nemesis yelled.
          "Why didn't you warn me?" I yelped.
          He closed his mouth and shrugged. "Forgot."
          I thought about yelling at him, but decided that it would be wasted breath. Besides, now I had a great story to tell everyone. I pushed myself up into a sitting position...and promptly discovered that the story would need some editing.
          I'd dropped the ax on my foot. Blade down.
          "Ow," I muttered, examining the gash. Fortunately, the ax had landed across my foot, so the bones kept the blade from penetrating too far; also, I wasn't that tall yet, so there wasn't much time for the ax to build up speed. Still, I was leaking a lot of blood.
          Nemesis wandered over. "Oh. Ouch. Did you hit yourself with the ax?"
          I glared at him. "No, I dropped it on my foot when I almost got run over by the deer that you didn't warn me about!" I pushed the ax away, wiped my hand off on my shirt (a wasted exercise; my t-shirt was dirtier than my hands were), and slapped my hand over my foot. Then I looked at Nemesis' feet. He was wearing boots. (Not a member of the "Forever Barefoot" club like me. Something about "splinters and thorns"...) "Are you wearing socks?"
          He shook his head. "No."
          "Ugh, fine." I took stock of my situation. There was only one thing left to do.
          I'll leave my solution out of this, because it was a little gross even though it was effective. Let's just say I hopped home; that's sort of true. Nemesis and I bragged about the deer all the way back, too. After I stashed the ax in the woods, I washed off my foot in the mudroom, forgetting that I would also be washing off what little clotting happened. Needless to say, I tracked blood through the entire house. Ma was not pleased with me.
          I did manage to get my cut hidden under several band-aids and told Mom that I cut my foot on "something" while "dodging a giant deer!" There was some skepticism until Nemesis backed up my story. He also left out the ax part; I'd impressed upon him the importance of keeping that part of the story secret, pointing out that the ax was technically "something" and the deer portion of the story was more interesting anyway.
          Especially since the deer had antlers. Nemesis claimed there were "fifteen! Like at least fifteen antlers!" I claimed twenty, and informed him that "I was closer, so it was easier to count!" (Neither of us were very good at math yet, apparently.)
          Anyway, we successfully distracted Mom so she didn't yell at us for the mess. We did have to help clean up, though.
          Still one of the coolest things that ever happened to me! I bragged for've almost hit a deer? Well, I almost had a deer hit ME!
          Note: Now that I think about it, there probably weren't "twenty antlers" on that deer. Probably closer to "twenty-five."
          Just sayin'.

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