By James L. Davis
I was awakened in the middle of the night.
“Stay down. They might be watching.”
“What’s wrong?” I asked, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.
“They’re trying to kill me.”
I’m not used to being awakened in the middle of the night, except by my wife’s dog, who will on occasion yawn to tell me she wants to go outside. Not that she needs to go outside, she just wants to go out in the middle of the night to have a look around.
“Who are ‘They?’”
“I don’t know,” my late-night intruder responded. “But there’s thousands of them, all dressed in orange.”
I reached out and turned on the nightstand light and my wife mumbled incoherently and threw the blankets over her head. I wished she hadn’t because I wasn’t quite prepared to deal with what was in our bedroom. There was a deer standing at the end of our bed, looking rather distressed.
“You’re a deer,” I said, stating the obvious.
“I’m a Buck,” my intruder informed me.
“Well, why are you in my bedroom?” I asked.
“Because they’re trying to kill me!” The deer went to my wife’s drawing table and sat down on her studio chair, shaking his head. “I don’t know who they are. I don’t know what I’ve done. But they’re out to kill me.”
I tried again to rub the sleep from my eyes. “Well, you’re a deer.”
“The dog said you were quick.”
“You talk to the dog?”
“Sometimes she comes out at night, and we chat.”
“That explains a lot. What I meant was you are a deer, and it is Deer Season.”
“Meaning?” The deer began to twirl around on my wife’s studio chair.
“Meaning that the people in orange are hunters and they’re trying to kill you for a reason.”
“What reason? I don’t even know who they are.”
“Well, either to eat you or to cut your head off and put it on their wall.”
The buck stopped spinning. “You’re kidding, right?
“Afraid not,” I said.
“Are you a hunter?” The deer was leaning forward in the chair, either ready to take flight down the hallway or dance a jig on our bed, I wasn’t sure which.
“Nope,” I said. “I don’t care for the taste of deer meat.”
“So now you’re saying I taste bad.”
“I didn’t say you tasted bad. I didn’t realize deer were so hostile.”
“Hostile!” The deer raised his voice, making my wife mumble and bury herself deeper within the covers. “Let me tell you about hostile. I’m getting ready for the rut, feeling pretty good about myself, wanting to strut around a little, and then suddenly BAM! People I don’t even know are shooting at me. Wouldn’t you be hostile?”
“Suppose so. But could you keep it down, you’ll wake my wife and the kids.”
“I’m a Buck.” The deer jumped off my wife’s studio chair and pranced to my side of the bed “They won’t understand me.”
“I do,” I said.
“Yes. But you’re not normal.”
“I’ve been told. What do you want from me anyway?”
“Sorry, all my neighbors are hunters, and I don’t want them storming through the house looking for you. You can take my orange hat and vest if you want, maybe they’ll think you’re a hunter yourself.”
“Fat chance. I’ve got a rack to die for.”
“Interesting choice of words,” I said. “Why’d you come to me in the first place?”
“Your dog said you might be able to help.”
“I’ve got to do something about that dog.”
The deer was pacing now, and I could see he was becoming agitated again. “You’re not going to remember any of this when you wake up, are you?”
“I sincerely hope not,” I said.
The buck turned and bounded out of my room, down the hall and out the door and I was able to get back to sleep.
The next morning, I was quite convinced that I either needed to cut back on my caffeine intake or go immediately into therapy. But then I noticed that my safety hat and vest were missing. There were deer droppings on my welcome mat, and to top it off, what I always thought was a yawn from my wife’s dog now seemed suspiciously like a laugh.