The Ohio Lodge, 2012
Mixed media drawing collage
10 3/8" x 7 1/4"

He stayed upwind of the doe, and exhaled slowly, without sound. He’d have like to have gotten closer.  From this distance, eighty, ninety yards or so, the wind might play hell with  the flight of the arrow.He wanted a clean kill; he didn’t want the doe to suffer unnecessarily. One through the ribcage would end it quickly. All vital organs right there–heart, liver, lungs (any one of them would do-) would put meat in the refrigerator for a winter or so.

She went 130 or so, a lot of meat, clean and clean.

He’d gotten laid off two years ago. Most of the tool and die making in Youngstown was gone, along with the machines the tools were made for. It was really all he knew.  He was handy, but so was every other working man in Youngstown. They used to joke that they’d become a town full of “Schneiders,” referring to the handyman in some sitcom he didn’t remember anymore. It used to be a funny thought.  Now?  Not so much.

Jaedowicz handed him his last check and couldn’t look him in the eye. He just off-handedly said, “It isn’t right, bro. I’m sorry man.”

He just nodded and thanked his boss, all the while steeping toward the garage. They were friends and neither of them knew what to say, and then realized there was nothing to say. It’s just the way it was.

For months, he hung around the Home Depot and hired out for day labor and fix-it jobs. He made just enough to stay respectably broke, able to pay for his beer and the occasional  quarter-ounce of chronic.

He aimed the bow and let the arrow fly in one fluid motion. It struck the doe just below the haunch, in the belly, the 4-sided razor point slicing through viscera and organs. It wouldn’t be long. The doe ran like hell for about 50 yards and then,all of the sudden, just appeared to sit down.

As he walked up he realized she was staring right at him, her eyes large and liquid, unblinking pools of black just boring into him from the snow. It shook him for a second. It was unnerving watching the doe’s side gout black blood while she serenely regarded him. For a second he wanted to speak, and then shook his head.

She kept staring. He turned his back and fished in his pocket for a cigarette. He lit it and felt the doe’s eyes on his back.

His bottom lip started to tremble.