Rick, Steve and Boomer slowly approached their number one duck pond in Rick’s brand new, insanely expensive SUV. “Loaded” didn’t do the rig justice, but may have better described Rick’s condition when he bought the thing. The seven-year note and Rick’s construction supervisor paycheck made as much sense as a chainsaw at a Greenpeace rally.
Pulling decoys from the back of the SUV, Steve commented how inviting some open water would be to ducks flying above the iced-over pond. Oh well, he thought, I’ll just set them out on the ice. It’ll take all morning to open up enough water with the auger.
Seconds later, as Steve sorted decoys at the pond’s edge, Rick lit the 40-second fuse to a surplus stick of dynamite from a recent job and hurled it well onto the ice. Steve spied the flying bomb, and madly dashed for cover, cursing Rick with every step.
As Steve retreated, Rick’s trained Labrador retriever Boomer shot out of the SUV like a bullet, eager to fetch the smoking stick thrown by his owner.
As Boomer neared his sizzling target, Rick went into panic mode, waving his arms and yelling frantically. The Lab mistook this for encouragement, grabbed the stick and headed back at a hard gallop.
Steve, opting to live for at least one more duck season, trained his 12-gauge on Boomer and blasted away. His first shot flew high, momentarily slowing the confused dog while his second nearly hit, causing the Lab to light the afterburner.
Scared witless, Boomer reached safety under the still-running SUV, dropping the dynamite as Rick and Steve fled for their lives. A sure sign God loves all creatures, particularly unfortunate Labs owned by morons, Boomer’s backside miraculously grazed the truck’s exhaust pipe. With a shocked yelp, Boomer flew out from under the SUV even faster than he’d flown in.
Rick and Steve, now some fifty yards from the three tons of doomed American steel, reached the cover of a large boulder just as the dynamite did its work. With a deafening blast, a blinding flash colored the grey dawn red and a stunning shockwave rocked the pair. Rick’s $46,000 SUV ceased to exist as they knew it.
Rick slowly stood to examine the scene, shook his head, and produced a phone to dial his insurance company while Steve sat tight, hugged his shotgun and cursed Rick like no man had been cursed before.
Within fifteen minutes, a sheriff’s deputy and game warden were both on the scene, copiously scribbling notes between attempts to remain serious and stifling uncontrollable laughter.
The insurance company eventually denied Rick’s claim on the $46,000 SUV, refusing to pay on property destroyed by the illegal use of explosives. The state added insult to injury, revoking Rick’s hunting license.
Four uneventful duck seasons have passed and Rick is eligible to reapply for hunting privileges in three years, just one shy of his last scheduled SUV payment. He now spends his winters bowling.
Steve found a more intelligent hunting buddy with a paid-for ’88 Suburban the following season. They duck hunt whenever possible.
Boomer now enjoys the good life. He’s grown accustomed to spending duck season indoors, won’t approach anything resembling an SUV, and refuses to fetch a damned thing.
Tripp Holmgrain is an avid outdoorsman who refuses to hunt with the short-fused. Email him at email@example.com.