First Buck

First Buck

Eddie saw the deer first, as they brushed teeth at the pump in the frosty first light. Peter was studying the barren talus slope behind the cabin, memorizing phrases for his journal: fractured gneiss, craggy as ice cubes, climbing to a staccato of stunted junipers at the crest, etched against a pale sky. He planned to be a writer.

“Hey, kid!” Eddie whispered.

Peter wished Eddie wouldn’t call him that. Okay, he looked the naive Easterner, new-blue Levis, blond hair thick enough to need an extra-large Stetson. Still. The doctor told him to postpone his junior year and go to the high desert to heal his lungs. Dad, although skeptical he would be the next Teddy Roosevelt, phoned a college roommate who found him this ranch job.

He and Eddie were trying to get the last of the Lazy T’s cattle off the mountain before deer season opened in two days, lest frustrated city slickers take some meat home the easy way. And here, at the start of their third uneasy day together, was a six-point buck, on the far side of the meadow.

Read the whole story in Caravel Journal