A guy drinking a beer sat down next to us. “What’s up, I’m Vic.” He stuck his hand out, and I shook it. “I’m Steven, and this is Ashley & Christina.”
“Hi,” they each said to him uninterested, and hugging me tighter. “Ashley whispered in my ear, “I like Pooh better! This guy is an ass!”
“What’s up girls,” he nodded, then turned to Eze and said, “I hear you’re supposed to be a crack shot, like State Champion, or something? Is that true? Hell, anyone can shoot paper, the real question is can you shoot a deer? I guess you wouldn’t want to come to my deer lease this Fall and find out, would you?”
We all sensed that he was drunk and challenging Eze. Three more of his buddies came over and stood next to him. Tuck strolled over with a new girl in his arm and sat near Eze. I was sure this was going to end up in a fight.
Vic was big. He looked like a football player. He was at least 6’4, and probably weighed over 250 pounds! He had a mean look on his face when he talked at Eze.
Eze casually leaned forward with his elbows on his knees and spit into the fire. He slowly looked up and into Vic’s eyes, “Where do you rent deer? I don’t think they do that where I come from.”
I could see Vic slightly confused by the question, along with the rest of us. “Who said anything about renting deer?” he sneered.
“Well, isn’t leasing and renting kinda the same thing, and I’m pretty sure that deer are…well, deer?” Eze said calmly with a smile.
“No you dumb ass, I said deer lease. I didn’t say lease deer! I have twenty acres outside of Navasota, that I lease for deer season.” he said, obviously getting frustrated with Eze’s disinterest in his challenge.
“How can you hunt deer on twenty acres? That’s a little on the small side, even for around here, isn’t it?” Eze said with a fake confused look directed at Vic.
“What the hell? From a deer stand, of course” Vic said with a raised voice.
“I think that I’m starting to get confused, what does a stand have to do with hunting deer? Isn’t that what you hang the deer on after you kill it?” It was obvious that Eze was getting in Vic’s head and egging him on.
Vic rolled his eyes and he was spitting his words out now, “A deer stand! It’s a box that you sit in to hunt. I have six of them around three feeders. I have a .300 Winchester Magnum with a Leupold 4x12x50mm scope, and I blast them all to hell from 50 yards out. That’s how you hunt!”
Eze acted like he was being taught something new and wanted to be clear on it. “So, this deer stand that you speak of, it’s actually a box that you sit in, and you have deer feeders set-up by these deer stands? Okay, I got it now. So, you’re baiting the deer in! Where I’m from, that’s illegal, because it’s not hunting, it’s just killing! It would be like fishing in your bathtub, you wouldn’t really consider that fishing, now would you? Besides, the deer around here are on the small side, I’m sure that a .22 would do the job just fine.”
Everyone was laughing at Vic now because Eze had disarmed him and made him look foolish.
“Oh yeah, well Mr. Crack-Shot, if you’re so good with a gun tell us how you hunt then!” He demanded.
“Well now,” he slowly leaned back and one of the girls sat behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist, “I get myself two tortillas and some peanut butter…”
Everyone was confused now, especially Vic. He was like a punch-drunk boxer being lured in for the knock-out. We were all hooked into the story now.
Eze casually looked around to make sure that he had everyone’s attention, and gestured with his hands as he explained “I put one tortilla in my hand flat, like this, and smear peanut butter on it. Then fold it in half, and fold it in half again, so that it looks like a piece of pie. Then I wrap it in foil, and do the same thing with the other tortilla.”
He stood up and continued acting out what he was saying “Once I have both tortillas wrapped in foil, I put one in each hand and…” he reached behind his back with both hands and put them in his back pockets and said, “I put one in each pocket!”
He sat down in the girls arms again, and continued, “I prefer a .44 Magnum Lever Action Carbine for my rifle. I carry the same caliber in my six-gun on my side. I keep two skinning knives on my gun belt and keep my Bowie in the small of my back. I head out to a mountain top and get a small fire going for my morning coffee about an hour before the sun comes up, read from the Good Book, and say a few prayers over the life that I will take that day. I pray that it will be a good hunt, and that I will respect the kill. I pray for the life of the animal and that it will feed life into me.”
Eze was getting serious when he started talking about praying over a deer, instead of bragging about blasting one like Vic. Everyone began to realize what a fool Vic was, even Vic.
Eze paused, letting the prayer thing sink in and continued “I sit on the edge of the mountain, without moving. I scan with my eyes, instead of my head. I watch sometimes for hours looking over several square miles of terrain. I know their habits and where they typically go at certain times of day. Once I spot a herd, I calculate my stalk, and how long it will take me to get there, so that I can be waiting on them. I ease out of my position and work my way to them undetected. It may take me two hours to cover a hundred yards. When I can see into their eyes, I take aim and with one shot, it’s all over. I say a short prayer of gratitude for the life that I have taken, and for the life that it will give me, and then I quarter it and pack it out. Sometimes, it might take two or three trips. It just depends on how far I am from my truck.”
He looked directly into Vic’s eyes and said, “That, Amigo, is how I hunt!” Eze had completely disarmed Vic and made him look like a fool in front of his buddies and all of the girls were laughing at him.
Tuck stood up, and grabbed a small log to throw on the fire and said “Didn’t see that one coming did you Amigo?”
Vic was furious and looking for someone to hit! Eze stood up and said, “Hey Amigo, take it easy, there are ladies here. Have another beer,” as he handed Vic a can of beer.
“Fuck you! Fuck you both! I’m not your Amigo, or your friend, asshole!”
In a flash, Eze slammed the unopened can of beer across Vic’s temple. It exploded onto Vic’s head as he spun violently around. His eyes were rolled back and he was completely unconscious before he hit the ground!
Tuck hit the closest one of Vic’s friends with the log and dropped him. I jumped up and put my hand up and said “Are you sure you want to do that?”
Eze and Tuck were staring at the last two, when Eze looked down at Vic and said, “Trust me, you would rather be my Amigo!” He looked at the two still standing and said “Get your boys and go! Don’t come back, or that’s where you’ll end up, on your back!”
Tuck jumped in, “Hey everybody, enough of all of this foolishness, let’s get even more drunk!” The two buddies picked up Vic and their other friend and left.
I was still shaking when I walked up to Eze, “Did you know them? What was that all about?”
“Most guys are tough until they get hit. The pain changes their mind. When I get hit, it just pisses me off! We have so many lovely ladies here tonight, that I didn’t want to get pissed off!”
Christina walked up and put her arm around me and said, “Hey Eze, you never said what the peanut butter and tortillas were for.”
He smiled and looked at her and Ashley, and said while he pulled one hand out of each back pocket, “Lunch, and dinner!”
Ashley just smiled and said, “Oh, that’s good!”
We stayed up the rest of the night, by the fire. Eze and Tuck kept everyone entertained with their stories. The tents continued popping up everywhere. People were asleep in the back of trucks, on hay bales, and pretty much anywhere they felt like it.
I don’t think there was a lot of sleep going on in the tents, at least not until the sun started to come up. Christina was lying in my lap sleeping, and Ashley was leaning on my shoulder half asleep. She would reach over and give me a kiss and a hug when she was changing positions.
This was great, but I had to go into work soon. I didn’t want any of this to end. This was like the high school prom that I never went too. Everybody at the party had a great time, especially me. The only problem was with Vic and his friends, and that didn’t last long.
Eze had some coffee brewing on the fire. “You want a cup, Pooh?”
“Sure I said, I just don’t want to move.”
“There’s a blanket poncho on the front seat in my truck. I’ll get it so that you can lay it over the girls, they’ll be fine.” He said sipping the scalding hot coffee in his cup.
He came back and I laid Ashley down on the hay with Christina, and placed the blanket poncho over them. They were so beautiful.
Eze handed me a cup of coffee, “Have a cup.”
“Thanks, I need it. I don’t remember the last time that I saw the sunrise. It’s quiet and peaceful at this time of day, especially with a fire.”
Eze squatted by the fire, sipping on his coffee, “Do you really want to go? I don’t mind having you along, as long as you pull your own weight. We need to do a few things to the truck and gear before we go, so get back here as quick as you can if you’re serious.”
“I really want to do this, but I will have to work today’s shift. I am sure that I can get them to cover for me after that. I’m ready to get away from here and see what the West looks like. I don’t think that I have ever taken a day off in five years.”
“It’s settled then, go do what you need to do, I’ll look after the girls.”