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THE KILLING OF MICKEY MOOSE



In 1964, I was working for the North Star Brough School District in Fairbanks, Alaska. It had been a long day for me and I was very tired.

Earlier that morning, I had received a phone call and was told that a friend of mine was killed in Vietnam. It was hard for me to believe that just three years previous, he and I had been scraping the shingles off roofs in sunny Jacksonville, Florida.

After changing my work clothes, I decided to drive into town and have a drink at the Gold Rush and Silver Dollar Saloons on Second Avenue. After purchasing a few shaving items at the Co Op Drug Store, I walked into the saloon and sat down at the bar. I was rather surprised that the place was quite packed considering the earlier hour.

I sat there for more than an hour not speaking to anyone. The more I drank, the more emotional I became. Still, I kept my feelings to myself. If anyone had spoken to me, I think I would have broken into tears.

"Excuse me," said the half drunk bearded man as he bumped into my shoulder, spilling my drink all over the counter.

"It's okay. Don't worry about it," I replied.

The drunk sat down on the stool beside of me. The bartender winked at me, wiped up the drink with a towel and then made me another screwdriver.

"It was the funniest thing I've ever seen - a damn piece of art - a work of art. Do you bastards here me. A damn work of art," said the drunk as he almost fell off his stool.

For 10 or 15 minutes, in his loud irritating voice he told everyone in the bar how he had bagged a large bull moose earlier that morning. Several people slapped him on the back and congratulated him. Several guys bought him a beer or two.

"Let me tell you the best part," he said as he stood up waving from side to side.

"Killing Mickey Moose was a damn work of art," he continued.

"How is killing a moose a work of art?" asked the bartender.

"Listen to this shit. I waited for more than 30 minutes for this large bull to come out into the clearing so I could get a clear shot. All at once, this cow came waltzing out of the brush. The bull came running over to her and acted as though he wanted to mount her. I just waited to see what they were going to do. As soon as he mounted her, I BLEW HIS WHOLE DAMN BOTTOM JAW OFF! That was my best kill ever," he yelled.

Then he started laughing as loud as he could. The entire bar fell totally silent. I turned sideways on my bar stool and slowly look from face to face to see their expressions. Every mouth had dropped open and every face had a look of total disbelief. I looked up at the drunken hunter and remember seeing this ungodly smirk on his face.

When the police finally arrived, no one in the bar was able to remember exactly how the gentleman fell off his bar stool or how he injured his head and face. Even to this day I myself cannot remember exactly what happened to me that night. Everything just seemed to go blank.

Though I stayed in the bar for several hours after that incident, I do not remember speaking to anyone. I do remember being patted on the back several times and I know that I did not have to buy a drink for the remainder of the evening.

I know that violence in our society is uncalled for under any circumstances, but as I now look back on my life and some of the things I did wrong along the way, that night would not be one of my regrets



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