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Don Yarber Don Yarber
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She had a friend.

Sometimes my mind just digs up this stuff.


       This would be the third huge set of antlers he would collect today.  The deer had caused considerable damage to the car that hit it, but the head and antlers of the animal had escaped damage.  
       He would be proud to add it to his collection.
       Marty Malone had the greatest collection of trophy deer in his county.  No one but he knew that they were taken from dead animals that he had picked up from the parkway as part of his job.  He was assigned the two hundred mile stretch between Clarksville and Paducah.  Part of being employed by the Federal Highway Department had its benefits.  All Marty did was drive the interstate along with his friend, Jack.  The two of them would receive dispatches telling them where they should look for obstructions on Interstate 24.  
       Going by mile markers, they would find the mutilated corpses of deer, dogs, sometimes cattle.  If they ran across a particularly nice trophy deer, bobcat, or even bear, Marty would have Jack help him load it in a special box behind the cab of the big truck and they would drop it off at Marty’s trailer before returning the truck to the yard in Clarksville.
       At night, Marty would spend hours with the animals bodies.  He had studied taxidermy through a correspondence course, and was proud of his ability to stuff a deer cape and mount it to look so real that if one didn’t know they would think the animal was still alive.  He had more than fifty deer heads, both bucks and does, even a couple of fawns.  His community network page showed him holding his 30-06, or his bow, dressed in camouflage and bright orange, next to the trophies.  In the discuss column, he had elaborate stories telling about his hunting exploits, how he had tracked big bucks for days, minutely and carefully studying their rubs, scrapes and trails.  Timing them using trail cameras and then waiting to bag them.  
       No one, not even Jack knew the truth.  Jack, who was computer illiterate, didn’t have a clue as to what Marty was doing with the deer he helped bring to the shabby trailer and big workshop on Marty’s five acres just outside of Clarksville.
       Marty was surprised and pleased when he got a personal message one day on his social network page.  “I am very interested in your collection.  Would you consider meeting me for lunch?”  The name on the message was Michelle Cain.  He immediately messaged her back, saying that he had received her message and wondered if she would send him a picture of herself.  He had to work that day, and all day long he was anxious to get back to his trailer and check his social network page to see if she would send him a picture of herself.  
       The first thing he did when he got home was to click on the page that would open his social network account.  There was a little number “1” under the message column.  He clicked on it and the page opened.  
       “I sent a picture to your email address.  Hope to see you for lunch soon, Michelle.”
       He closed the page and opened his email.  There was a message from her.  He opened the message and there was a picture of Michelle.  She was absolutely beautiful.  She wore a two piece bikini bathing suit, yellow with big black polka-dots.  His mind remembered an old song he had heard many years before when he was just a child.  “It was an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, yellow polka dot bikini”.
       Wow!  Talk about a living doll!  Michelle was all he had ever thought a good looking woman should look like. He emailed her right back and said that he would love to meet her for lunch, but wondered where she lived.  “If you live near Clarksville, Tennessee, I can meet you for lunch almost anytime, but would prefer Saturday or Sunday, as I have weekends off.”
       He had hardly pushed the “send” button when his “inbox” showed a new message.  It was from her.
       “I live in Nashville.  I can drive to Clarksville this Saturday.  How about if we meet at the Cracker Barrel?”
       “What time?” He sent her.
       “You pick,” She sent back.
       “Two p.m.”
       “OK, see you then.”
       He didn’t hear from her again until Saturday morning after he had eaten a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast and opened his email while having his second cup of coffee.  He was almost afraid to open his email, afraid that he would find a message from her saying that she couldn’t make lunch.  But instead he found a note in his inbox that said:
       “See you at two”
       His heart skipped a few beats and he was anxious and nervous the whole morning.  He cleaned his house trailer from top to bottom, made sure all of the dishes were washed, the kitchen floor was mopped and all of his rugs vacuumed and furniture dusted.  He took special care to dust off the antlers of all of his trophy bucks, re-arranged a few for a special effect, and hung pictures of him around the room, rifle in hand in some, bow in hand in others.  He was sure to make an impression on her with his display.
       At precisely 1:00 p.m. he showered, shaved and brushed his teeth.  He combed his long hair meticulously, trimmed his mustache and beard, and donned his cleanest camo outfit.  Then he got in his four wheel drive Ford F150 pickup and drove to the Cracker Barrel.
       She was waiting in her car, a sleek Infinity convertible, and when he arrived, she got out of her car and walked to meet him.  He saw her coming. His heart jumped to his throat.  She was more beautiful in life than in her pictures.  She wore a blue mini-skirt that revealed long, shapely legs, a light blue blouse with a dark blue sweater, as it was November and a little chilly out.  Her high heels clicked rhythmically on the asphalt as they walked together across the parking lot.  
       They sat next to the fire in the quaint restaurant.  He loved the Cracker Barrel.  They had such great country meals.  He really wanted to impress Michelle, so he told her to order whatever she wanted to eat.  She ordered a salad.
       He was slightly disappointed at her choice of meals, but thought that she might be just watching her figure.  No need for that, he thought.  I’ll watch it for her!
       They chatted during the meal, Michelle constantly complimenting him on how nice he looked in his camos.  
       “You look just like the pictures you have posted,” she said.  “I love those trophy deer pictures.  I must see them some day.”
       “How about today?” he said, hurriedly.  “I can take you to see them this afternoon.  I don’t live very far.”
       “I’d love to,” she said sweetly.  “You can show me the trophies and then we can get to know each other better.”
       His heart skipped a half a dozen beats.  It’s a wonder he didn’t die.  He felt the erratic pulse race through his chest.  His mind started to picture the series of events he was sure would happen.  He would impress her further with the actual trophies and then they would talk.  He would make her a drink and sit next to her.  After a while he would put his arm around her and draw her near, kiss her with the fervor that he had saved for all these years.  Then he would help her stand up and gently lead her to the front of the trailer and his bedroom, the bed with fresh sheets, clean covers and pillow cases.  He had planned this out earlier, and now his plans were falling in line perfectly.
       They finished their meals and left, he said that he would drive slow so she could follow in her car.  She didn’t have any trouble keeping up and less than twenty minutes later they pulled into the driveway of his trailer home.  The trailer was on a small hill, trees hid the front of it from the road.  It was private and perfect for him.
       His plans went exactly as he had envisioned them while daydreaming during his meal.  
       The showing of his trophies, the talk on the couch, the mixed drinks they had.  The kiss.  He led her to his bedroom with anticipation arising through his body.
       “You first,” she told him, when he started to take off her blouse.
       He eagerly removed the camo shirt, the tee shirt, and then sat on the edge of the bed and removed his hunting boots and then trousers.  With a flourish, he removed his under shorts and fell on his back on the bed, holding his hands up to her.
       That’s when she shot him.
       Later, she took all of the equipment that she had brought with her and returned it to her car. It was dark when she left his place.
       A lot of people visited the website the next day.  There was a picture of a human male head and chest and arms, mounted like a deer, placed on a walnut paneled wall.  
       Next to the grisly visage was a woman wearing camos, holding a rifle.  She wore a ski mask over her face, the rifle in her left hand, her right hand holding the ear of Marty Malone.
       Propped at her feet was a sign.
       “PETA revenge.”
       Most of the people who visited the site thought it was a joke.
       Tennessee State Police didn’t think so.

       The End

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