Bob Stroud, my father-in-law (Mark Twain-style storyteller and wildlife guru) and I went hunting in my secret forest. The reason they’re secret is that everyone would want to go there if you told them where they are, and besides, they wouldn’t want to mortgage their house to pay the forest fee. We gathered the necessary tools: a BB gun, a single-shot .22 rifle, some ammunition, a forked stick, a very sharp axe, a rock the size of a baseball, and a burlap sack. We were going to get the side dishes for a special dinner.
As expected, there was an eight foot rattlesnake guarding the trail about 25 feet ahead of us. His body was about as thick as a politician’s wallet and the foot-long rattles sounded like a set of castanets. She bared her six inch fangs and jumped up preparing to attack. Bob threw the baseball rock. One ball, that’s all. The snake dropped into the sack.
A little further into the forest we come to the hollow tree that is home to many squirrels. Bob cut a hole in the trunk with the ax and stuck the forked stick into the hole and twisted it. The fork got caught in a squirrel’s fur and Bob pulled it out, snapping its head off and throwing it into the sack. He repeated this technique until the bag got heavy. It is worth mentioning that Bob learned to do this from his father, as witnesses attest.
Going further into the forest, we hear the music of Bumble Bee: the Flight of. The background music for the hunt was just another unique aspect of the secret forest. I’ve never seen Isaac Stern in a monkey before. Bob used the BB gun to shoot the bumblebees out of the air. Since the bees are so small, a BB is the only ammo that allows the bee to remain intact. Most people would think this was an amazing shot, but I had seen him do this many times, so as far as I was concerned it was just everyday hunting. The bees entered the sack.
Next was another simple hunting trick that Bob used sometimes. Nearby was a sweetgum tree about 30 meters high. It was covered in balls of sweet gum. As he knows, if he’s ever seen one, the stem that holds the ball to the tree is about a tenth of an inch in diameter. Bob picked up the .22 and shot the stem of a ball from the top of the tree. As he did, he whistled and a rabbit coming up the hill looked up. The falling gumball lodged in his throat and the rabbit choked to death. There was enough room for the rabbit in the sack.
So now we had the ingredients for an excellent country dinner. First we skinned the snake. The squirrel brains were then extracted. Brains are a delicacy that is fought over at the table. After cleaning the rabbit, the special concoction was prepared, taking care to mix in the bumblebees at the last moment. The snake is said to taste like chicken, but in reality it is more like pheasant under glass. I think it’s the bumblebee seasoning. All that was left was to pop the wine corks two at a time with the decapitated snakehead stopper.
Bob, who now tells stories to the saints, inspired me to write about our hunt. My role was simply to watch Bob’s exploits and carry the sack, as I have no hunting skills. These events were stored in my total memory, photographic memory with zoom and stop action options. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at tagging brain files and I lost the full recovery file. It is not to worry. Back at the house, I wrote notes in no time. However, someone did steal the notes, as often happens in my amazing real life experiences, but I can assure you that what I have written is the unadulterated truth sworn to before a notary public, who certified every word, shook my hand and sealed it. I’ll show you my hand if you want proof.
Christopher Garbacz lives on a lake in Madison County, where a huge, mythical fish from Poland plies the waters (see On A Lake In Madison, 02/7/20, Northside Sun, which chronicles Bob’s fishing exploits).