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Zeke Dooley and the Inedible Deer

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Published on: Nov. 1, 1997

.30-30 slugs looked like had bounced off somethin and burrowed under the hide. There was about a tobaccer poke of bird shot, which I figgurd was folks running the critter out of strawberry patches and sich over the past century. Couldn't have been nobody shot at him fer meat, white headed as he was and I begun to suspicion that packin all that weight around since mebbe World's War Two, t'was a stroke was what killed it. But tell about butcherin' it Perletta.

PERLETTA: Well, I've been a butcherin' most of my life, and I'm a better hand than Ezekial at it if he'll keep my knives whetted, but you couldn't no more cut that meat nice than you could a truck tire. 'Hit'd roll up under the blade and kink seemed like. So I tried choppin the tenderlines out with the axe and feedin that to the sausage grinder. Hit was dangersome choppin, fer the axe would bounce off that meat like hittin a gum stump and jump back at me, you know. And when I did manage to gouge off a piece, that wouldn't do neither, fer the grinder would take a chaw of it and wrassle with it a spell and then jist kindly bog down and spit it right back out.

ZEKE: Like to put a knot in my arm crankin that rubber stuff. I decided to fling some to the pups to wool and they couldn't make nothing of it neither.

PERLETTA: Now that was the saddest part to me. Them pups would git holt of opposite ends of that venison and pull and tug like it was a inner tube, and when one was to let go, it'd knock t'other down, poor little things. Half of them staggerin around addled from bein slapped silly you know. All of Ezekial's hounds taken turns worryin that venison, but they couldn't make nothing of it neither and fell to just layin there studyin it, all discouragedlike and some fell asleep on it.

ZEKE: Why Mitch, you know my hounds would eat a sawhorse if you garlicked it good, but they couldn't eat nothin that was sawbelting plumb through! There wasn't a way on earth any critter could have eat that old residenter. And a human bein' couldn't have stuck a fork in the gravy if you pressure cooked it a year. Hit'd a been like eatin roofing off a smokehouse.

MITCH: I believe you. What did you end up doing with it?

ZEKE: Well we done what I told Buford we should have did in the first place. We loaded it in the truck and took it back and give it a decent burial in the woods. I even said a few words over it, I disremember what I said.

PERLETTA: Nobody don't crave to know what you said, Ezekial.

MITCH: But why bury it, Zeke? Why not just leave it for the scavengers to clean up? That's nature's way.

ZEKE: Son, I got a way too much respect fer nature to do that. Possums needs what teeth they got and nothin else woulda stood a chaince. I bet you could dig that deer up today and aint a worm's tooth-mark on it. Be like borin' into a cylinder block.

MITCH: Well, I thank you folks for the conversation, even if you couldn't remember anything funny. I'll come down first frost and help you strip your sorghum.

ZEKE: You do that. I'll try and study up something comical stid of all this here grim stuff.

PERLETTA: And I'll set my mind to remember, case Ezekial should say somethin' droll while you're gone.

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