I’m so fucking tempted to start my tale with “It was a day like any other...”, but it wasn’t, it was a day of awesomeness...then total shit.
Today was Friday. At the start of the week I had just bought a new rifle that I saved up for friggen months for. According to the missus it was just a fraction over $1000, with ammo. The reality written on the various receipts now tucked away in my safety deposit box in the city – where various other receipts reside away from the prying eyes and apocalyptic judgements of the Minister for War and Recreation – was just a fraction under $2500.
She was a fucken beauty tho; the rifle. I had done a lot of shooting when I was younger. Those trips through the Alps to various ranches and life styles acres were what gave me the love for the planet I have. You hunt for fun. That’s the truth. But you don’t kill for fun; or you shouldn’t. You do everything in your power to make the demise of your prey as swift as possible. During those years I used everything from .22’s to pump action shotguns and the occasional ‘sporterised’ ex-Chinese assault rifle. I loved the early mornings stomping through remote hillsides with the smell of total freshness and crispy grass. At certain times of the year that grass was crispy from the frost, or crispy from the dry. Either way you always felt privileged to be there. You know that these areas haven’t changed a bit since before people felt inspired to write the bible or the dinosaurs were in their death throes.
I missed that. It may sound odd to you, dear reader, depending on your hobbies of course, but without hunting in my life I felt like something was missing from me.
That morning I woke ten minutes before the alarm. I had sourced a farm to shoot at via a friend of a friend – you know the story – and had scouted out the area during the week previous. I knew there were varying assortments of introduced feral animals roaming the hills unaware of their inevitable demise.
I had packed the car the night previous and after a restless night I beat the alarm clock to the punch.
That moment is the moment you WISH you spent an eternity cherishing.
...and that slight groan only they can make to acknowledge your presence by the slightest of kisses on her mostly unconscious body. Looking back you wished you had made love and told her how much the time you’d spent together meant to you. You wish you held her for five more minutes, or really, stayed and had gone with her. You wish you could’ve made her breakfast and watched her eat and all the time giving you mischievous smiles and taunts. You wish....
You just wish.
The reality of the situation is though, that if I had rubbed my morning boner in the crease of her arse wanting to get a quick one off before “running through the hills slaughtering innocent animals”, as she put it, I would’ve got a resounding, ‘Fuck off’. I was still ever so slightly still in the ‘dog house’ for blowing $1000 on a “stupid fucking gun”. If only she knew.
I kissed her on the cheek and told her I loved her and that’ll I’ll ring her when I was on my way home. An ever-so-sleepy “Okay, I love you too” is what I got back. I doubt if she even knew I had gone. It was 04:00 in the morning, after all.
Dodging dogs at that time of the morning in an effort to make your departure as quiet as possible is a near impossibility considering those little bastards are awake ‘at the drop of a hat’. I guess you get that for being able to sleep when all’s quiet, day or night. Of course their tails bang and crash and you scream at them in the quietest of 4am voices. I grabbed my keys, lunch, freshly charged video camera and left them all to it.
I had spent a couple of hours the night before skiting about the shoot ahead to my friends on Twitter. My last message was, “Nite all, see ya’s on the flip side suckers”, to which I got a scattering of “hope you forget your ammo”, “hope it rains you bastard”. I would take a monsoon to stop me. As for ammo, that’s something I’d remember before my own birthday.
While the car was warming in the cool pre-dawn air I sent my last Twitter message on my phone, “Enjoy work, mwahahah mwahahaha”. The time on Twitter would’ve registered at 04:10. They would’ve known. The journey ahead was only an hour. Dawn at this time of year was a bit after 06:00 so the sky would begin to lighten up just on my arrival with the sun wiping its bleary eyes on the horizon as I hiked into the hills.
Heading out of town I stopped at the service station to grab a pie. I knew the attendant only by my patronage and all he wanted to do after a long night of watching fuck all in the fore-court was discuss every article he had read in every magazine he flogged off the shelf and read front to back. The guilt of basically turning my back on him and waving bye after paying for the pie lasted mere moments. Within two minutes of pulling in to the service station, I was off again.
To be continued...