The Prairie Spy
Alan “Lindy” Linda
The Yurho brothers were sitting in Smut’s Bar and Butcher Shoppe Emporium, all four of them: Stinky, Coffee, Pinball, and Belkula. They were tightfistedly nursing tap beers and watching through the big plate glass window over the bar as several men butchered their way through an assortment of deer.
Only in Boatville does deer butchery become raised to an observer sport.
“Lookit there,” Pinball said, “Skinny Yurho just about sliced his leg open on that little four-pointer.”
The others turned to see. Some folks watch football. Some folks watch car racing. In Boatville, since there wasn’t much going on most of the time, Smut Yurho had come up with the idea of putting in the window. Now you could watch what could arguably become the bloodiest sport of all, the production of T-bones and hamburger, all while getting pleasantly intoxicated.
And wives couldn’t say much. It was the only locker in town. Smut was a genius.
“You know,” said Pinball, “on the way into town, I was looking at all those hunters running around in blaze orange coats and caps, because they’ve been told that deer can’t see color.” He took a swallow of beer, looked at his brothers. “What if that’s a myth?”
“Naaah, that’s true.” So said Mouthy, sitting down the bar a ways. “Deer can’t see colors.”
“Prove it,” said Pinball. “It could be that deer are having a big laugh on us. We’re standing there thinking we’re invisible, and some buck is saying to a couple of does: ‘Look at those idiots standing over there; they think we can’t see them.’”
“Huh,” Stinky said, “I never thought about it.”
“Yeah. Who said deer couldn’t see colors?” This from down the bar.
Said Pinball: “You know who: The Department of Natural Resources.” People were paying attention. Pinball was known to have The Sight. You could hand him a piece of metal off just about any machine known to man, and he could tell you what was wrong with it. He was pretty well known for it. Maybe he knew something about this, too.
He said: “What would happen if we shot all the deer?” He went on: “You know what—no more hunting licenses, no more revenue for the DNR, so they make us wear something deer can see as good as we can.” He went on to point out that the DNR isn’t to be trusted; conflict of interest, in his opinion.
Someone piped up with: “Yeah, but we do shoot a lot of deer, don’t we?”
“Sure,” said Pinball, “but that could be for another reason. Maybe deer think they can outrun everything else in their world, they can outrun us, too.” He went on to add: “Maybe they’re standing there, the buck says to the does: ‘Let’s run fast as the wind by those idiots in their painted orange hides, pretend we don’t see them.’”
The Widow Fistula, who had come in to get Coffee to her house to help put on storm windows, heard that and said: “Just like a guy, if you ask me.” Then she grabbed Coffee, and left.
Pinball said to the bar in general: “Hope Coffee doesn’t think he can outrun The Widow.” All the guys laughed, kind of like little boys whistling past the graveyard. The bachelor Yurho brothers had so far outrun women, and they didn’t laugh. Bachelordom was a serious philosophy. Let up for just one minute, next thing you knew, excitement was drinking beer once a year and watching meat through a window.
Pinball said, “There’s another myth out there.”
Someone said to go ahead, spill it, then.
Pinball said, “You know all that D-Con mouse poison we buy every fall and spring?”
Someone said, yeah, sure, why?
“You know how you put out a new package, and next time you walk by, it’s all gone?”
Yeah, sure, why?
“Didn’t you ever stop to think how that much poison can be eaten, and you never see any dead mice?”
Yeah, sure, why?
Pinball said, “Well, think about it. If you were one of those liberal tree-huggin’ environmental types thinking you should shut a whole forest down because you just saw a butterfly, wouldn’t you start a poison business?”
So, yeah, sure, why?
“That’s so you could sell the unsuspecting public what they think is poison, only it’s high protein mice feed.”
But, someone said…. And Pinball interrupted, said, “Sure, you have to put poison in one package out of a hundred, so no one suspects what’s really going on.”
At Smut’s picture window bar slash locker, answers are plentiful.