A Birthday Party by Dillon Mullenix
I was smoking a turkey I shot the weekend before when Cherry asked David to get the boy a piñata for his eleventh birthday party that afternoon. David and Cherry got married six months ago at the county office, and I don’t think the honeymoon ever began. They’ve been arguing ever since. David looked at Cherry, kind of whimpered, cussed under his breath, and got up, unsteadily, to locate his truck keys. I had just put more coals and woodchips in the smoker.
“You want a ride Dave?”
“Yeah…” he moaned. “I don’t want to drive for shit today, too damn drunk, man. Fucking Sherriff is headhunting my ass right now anyway since I blew that stop sign last week while he had Darrell Hannah pulled over there at 371.”
“Got your keys?”
“Git him somtin fucking nice, David. None your normal shit, alright?”
“Yes, master…” David said to Cherry. “She worse than a southern plantation owner, that fucking woman.”
“I can hear you you bastard.”
“I know it. Don’t care. Fuck you.”
Dave walked out the front door and slammed it behind him. I grabbed my coat and followed.
He was outside in the driver’s seat, smoking a cigarette.
“Dave, I thought you wanted me to drive?”
“Fuck you, get in the truck… I just didn’t want the old lady busting my fucking balls about it, ya know? She can be a real shit kicker.”
I got in the passenger side, and shut the door.
“Where we gonna get a piñata, Dave?”
David turned to me, he said, almost growling, “I’ll get her a fucking piñata arlight… you just wait and see. And it won’t cost me a fucking dirty dime.”
He pulled a bottle of Wild Turkey from under the seat, uncorked it with his teeth, spat the cork onto the floorboards, and took a real long drink. His Adam’s apple bobbed three or four times, glug, glug, glug…
“You want some?”
I took the bottle and upended it. It looked like this would be a night better spent drunk than sober. I brought a joint out of my shirt pocket and lit it quickly, drew in deep, passed the whiskey back to David, and exhaled, coughing.
“That’s some good shit.”
“Pass it, Billy.”
We passed that whiskey and joint back-and-forth until our fingers were burning and our guts were on fire.
Finished, David flung the “evidence” out the window. The bottle broke and the roach flickered in the road.
“Where we going Dave?”
“Up to Marty’s old place.”
“Ain’t he out of town?”
The sun was just dipping past noon in the cool fall sky. All the clouds had taken the day off to sit on the coast and piss off beach goers. As we climbed into the mountains the chaparral turned into forest. First the oaks and then the firs, spruce, and dogwood, and finally the tall awesome pines looming high, huge, beautiful. Those wonderful granite boulders jutting out of the old eroded hillsides. The cascades drumming their ways down to the deserts and oceans. The floors of the world. Into the ground, up into the vegetation; up into wells… the greatest plundering of all nature’s resources. We really are terrible.
Marty lived way back in the hills down twenty miles of rocky, pot hole filled, dirt road.
His property was probably the prettiest in the county though. He had a spectacular view of the river valley and mountains. And he had some of the most sprawling healthy grassy meadows this side of Grass Valley. Superb hunting around this time of year. Marty doesn’t hunt, so the deer are always there.
At the gate to Marty’s dirt road David signaled for me to open the gate and close it by whistling, gesticulating wildly with both hands, banging on the steering wheel, stomping his feet (causing a huge dust cloud to emerge from the floor mats) and wailing at the top of his lungs, “Don’t you know the fucking routine by now, Billy, we do this every fucking time we come out this way… I hate fucking waiting. Lord, I hate waiting….” And on and on.
“Okay, okay… shut the fuck up Dave, I got it,” I said, exasperated.
I opened the gate to the dirt road, waited for David to drive through the gate far enough so that I could close it, which took him three tries. He didn’t want me to have to walk too far to get back into the truck, I guess. Perhaps he was trying to be considerate. His mind works in strange rhythms.
When I got back into the truck he told me bluntly, “Now, Billy – you and I been friends a long time, you can’t tell no one about this here never, alright? – we about to get us a trophy piñata from this here land, and it ain’t gone be legal, but that ain’t gonna matter, ‘cause this land is mine and yours. You can’t really own land. Just like you can’t own air, or water, or people, but the govment never let you think that is true – they call it subversive. They created law to prove they were right. Science, and… anyway, Billy, we’re gonna kill us a deer right here on Marty’s land and no one gonna speak about it, or feel guilty, or nothin, alright?”
There was no saying No, so I didn’t, “Sure, Dave, whatever you want bro. Want to smoke another joint?”
“Hell yeah, Billy, this is why I love you. You’re a good brother.”
He didn’t say anything on the slow bouncy ride up to Marty’s lovely pastures.
Once there we waited in silence, in the truck, smoking quietly. David had his Savage .308 bolt-action hunting rifle pointed out the window, down on one of the fields about three hundred yards away.
It wasn’t half an hour before a nice buck strolled out of the woods with two does. I touched David’s arm, but he already had the rifle trained. I listened to him breathe, and then hold his breath right when the three stopped to poke at grass; click went two-pounds of trigger releasing the firing pin, and Kaboom! went the .308 cartridge.
One of the two does collapsed in a pile of legs, blood, fur. “Good girl…” David said, turning on the truck and driving down to where the deer lay still. The others had scattered into the shadows at the sound of the rifle.
“Why didn’t you shoot the buck?”
“I didn’t need no prize.”
We strung the doe up in a nearby tree, gutted and skinned it. The pieces of meat David wanted to keep he put into a red Igloo cooler strapped down in the bed of the truck. What he didn’t want he tossed into the woods.
“The coyotes and bobcats will be happy as politicians in a whorehouse, eh bubba?”
“Sure they will, Dave. They’ll be mighty happy tonight. Who doesn’t like a free meal?”
After everything was loaded into the bed of the truck, and covered with a tarp, we pulled out.
“We need some candy for piñata, Billy,” David said, when we got back to the asphalt.
At the General Store David bought eighty-six dollars worth of candy, chips, little toys and trinkets, balloons, confetti, bunting, and a baseball bat.
Behind the store we stuffed the deer carcass full of his purchases, save the baseball bat, and stitched up the body with parachute chord using a long bone needle David kept in the glove compartment of his pickup.
Dave and I set a small area out of sight of everyone.
It took almost an hour… All I can say is the kids loved it.
Kids are demented little creatures – well, the boys are. The girls are brutal as well, but often their characters have been softened by modern culture to the point that they would rather cry, scream, and faint than hit a dead deer with a baseball bat until it explodes, as the boys would. Such is the inevitable result of media driven sexism and debutante culture.
Cherry was none too impressed, however, and, had it not been for the look of excitement on her young boys face when he saw the piñata, she would have burnt it in the incinerator in the front yard and had David crucified.
Amazing, a child can soften the heart of even the most stone cold cunt.
David got off with only a minor verbal thrashing, which he took happily. In his life things could not be better. He had beaten her, in his mind, at her own game.
My turkey on the other hand was ruined by our delinquency. Such is the nature of fun such as this. We barbequed the deer meat instead, ate by moonlight, and after the kids went to sleep drank moonshine until dawn while taking turns wearing the deer skin piñata and dancing around the fire pit.
Dillon Mullenix lives in the high desert with wife and child, raising goats, writing, and watching the clouds pass each day over the mountains. He has been published in many forms, most recently by Black Heart Magazine, Blue Collar Review, Haggard & Halloo, and PenSpark.