Frank Sudak cursed at his dog Prince. Prince was a sixty-five pound dog of uncertain ancestry. Folks looking at him guessed Chow and Husky and maybe a bit of Lab.
Frank had picked him up because he saw a bit of Blue Heeler in him. Frank was 72 and chasing those beeves around his forty acres was getting to be a pain. Maybe Prince did have a bit of Heeler in him but there were so many other breeds mixed in that he never was much of a cattle dog.
Frank loved his dog but he could be a pain. A deer could not pass a quarter-mile upwind of the house without Prince giving him a piece of his mind. But this time it was different. Prince was mad. Really, really mad.
Frank aimed a good-natured cuff at Prince, a blow which he easily avoided. Prince kept at his barking.
That is when Frank realized that Prince wasn’t barking at a window that was on the upwind side of the house. Prince had not smelled something that lit him up. He heard it.
Frank cracked the curtain and looked out the window.
“Son-of-a-BITCH!” Frank cursed. There was just enough moonlight to see a pickup truck in his pasture and people running around. Then he saw an arm raised up level and heard the “Pop” of a handgun. Then “Pop, pop, pop, pop...” as the mama cow ran off.
Then the figures ran toward the milling, frantic herd because the cow he had (presmably) shot didn’t fall and started shooting at the milling mass.
The truck was on the far side of the pasture. They had driven up the two-track and cut their way in. Frank hoped they had gotten a hell of a jolt from the fence. Frank had been called a cheap, old, bastard more than once but there were some things he did not economize on. His fence energizer was one of them.
Frank figured they were three hundred yards out. He pulled off his sherpa lined jacket and folded it into quarters and laid it across the hood of his 1978 F-150.
The Japanese Arisaka rifle was ludicrously long. His grandpa purchased it at the hardware store when there were barrels full of WWII weapons priced slightly higher than the price of tomato stakes. Grandpappy picked one with a decent bore.
His daddy passed it on to his brother John because John LOVED firearms. John glass bedded the action and added a Timney trigger (which completely destroyed the collectors value of the weapon) and added a rear peep-sight. He also handloaded up a couple hundred rounds of ammo with modern, 120 grain softpoints.
Frank inherited the weapon when John died of cancer. He kept it behind the kitchen door in case a pack of wild dogs decided to harry his herd of cows.
It seemed like an eternity before Frank could find the front sight and get it lined up on one of the men in the field.
The results were a foregone conclusion. One combatant was using a steady-rest and could take a red-squirrel out of the top of a seventy-foot tall Black Walnut with an open-sighted .22.
The other side played video games and believed that holding a plastic framed, semi-auto pistol sideways while firing imbued the rounds with target-seeking capabilities.
Frank was in no hurry to go down-range to assess the damages. He called his buddy, Old Willy. Willy was in his mid-80s.
“What the hell are you shooting at over there?” Willy asked. Even through the tough times the cell phone towers received priorities on power.
“I had a ‘spot of bother’ over here” Frank said. “I could use a hand in an hour or so.”
“’Spot of bother’?” Willy asked.
“You will see when you get here” Frank said.
They used the front-end loader to help hoist the two, obese twenty-something year old men into the cab of the truck.
Willy was not squeamish about dead bodies. He had worked in the morgue of a large hospital in his youth.
Willy drove the truck a couple of miles to the nearest major intersection. He parked it on the shoulder fifty feet from the intersection. He rolled up the windows and locked the doors. Taking a can of spray-paint, Willy wrote the word “THEIVES” on the side of the truck that faced traffic that came from Lansing.
Frank picked him up in the F-150 and both men went home.
In the morning, Frank found one of his animals dead and two mortally wounded. It was with a heavy heart that he “put them down”. The indiscriminate shooting of the bad-guys had also shattered his picture window. Once again, he called Willy. Using the front-end loader on the tractor, they gutted the animals and then hung them from the closest trees large enough to hold their weight. The high for the day would be in the mid-sixties and lows were in the forties.
That is when Frank called the Mayor. “I got some meat for you. What can you gimme for it?”
If [when] things go bad this will be a big problem for those with livestock. My great-uncle told me about how he had two cows stolen from out of his barn back in the late 1930s. I heard a lot of family stories about having chickens, fruit and vegetables taken at night during that time. Enough that it really hurt. And that was when most people were honest. It is going to be bad.---kenReplyDelete
Shoot, shovel & shut-up... words to live by.ReplyDelete
That one old man with one gun... And the bluing worn off...ReplyDelete
Cattle (and horse, less often) rustling is still and has been a problem in my area. Past Sheriffs had been tough on crime but the current and immediate predecessor are political monkeys more concerned with being liked than upholding the law. Folks will take more and more into their own hands. Vigilantism on the increase as government makes itself irrelevant.ReplyDelete