Monday, October 28 2019
I'd taken some precautions against hangover last night, such as drinking a bunch of water before climbing into bed. But there was no way I was not going to have a terrible hangover today. I'd arranged to work from home so I could babysit the dogs, so I could get up pretty much whenever I wanted to. The first thing I did was take a shower to wash away as much of the hangover and masturbation as I could so I could begin the day with something of a fresh start. I then did some half-hearted work in bed on my my work-issued laptop while the dogs snuggled close.
Eventually I took the dogs on a walk down the Farm Road, where they quickly headed off on their own adventure, allowing me to return home and go on with my workday. I found I was most comfortable down in the upstairs of the greenhouse, where it was still so cold that I had to run the electric panel heater. The biggest advantage of the greenhouse is that the cats aren't in the habit of following me there, so I can avoid the annoyances that come when they're climbing all over me and my keyboard.
This is not a great time of year for the dogs to be running around unchaperoned in the forest. It's not proper deer season yet, but, judging from the vehicles parked along Dug Hill Road as it passes through lands belonging to Catskill State Park, it is some kind of hunting season. So after the dogs have been out for awhile, I start worrying about them, particularly when (as was the case today) some idiot is basting away monotonously at the makeshift gun range the local hillbillies have established at the bus turnaround.
Early this afternoon, my raging hangover was making work mostly impossible, so I decided to set out with my camera and see if I could find the dogs. Since the dogs never come when anyone calls for them, I was going to have to luck into finding them. My walk took me up the Chamomile Headwaters Trail and then off-trail to the Stick Trail. As I was descending the steep escarpment above the Stick Trail, I happened to hear some crazy dog noises right through my headphones (which were playing the audio from an atheism-related YouTube channel). It sounded like the noises Ramona might make if she has treed a bear who is unable to climb very high into a tree. The dog sounded terrifyingly frantic. If I hadn't heard it all before, I might've thought the dog was making these sounds was seriously injured. Complicating this was the constant pow! pow! pow! by that idiot at the bus turnaround. Both the berzerk dog and the shooter were down the hill and might not've been very far from each other. It almost sounded like there might've been a connection between the shots and the barking. Was a treed bear freaking out at the gunfire, causing the dog to react? I didn't want to venture into a live gun range, so I called out Ramona's name several times. The gun fire quickly stopped and I thought I heard the closing of a tailgate (gun nuts usually drive pickup trucks). Usually if a dog has been barking like a rabid animal and goes silent, one usually doesn't have to wait long for the barking to start up again. So I sat waiting on the edge of the escarpment below the Gullies Trail near where I thought the last barking I'd heard had come from. But the forest remained strangely quiet. So I wandered back and forth along the contour calling out Ramona's name (since she's the smarter of the two dogs) hoping that if there was some problem I needed to help her with, she would let me know. Eventually, though, it was clear that the dogs had either moved on, been killed, or vanished into a different universe. So I walked back home.
One of the worst things about a hangover is the unpleasant dysphoric mental state that often accompanies it. Not only am I filled with a not-fully-rational feeling of regret, but everything about the world seems more menacing. Thus it was easy for me to fear the worst: the dogs had been unlucky enough to tree a bear near the bus turnaround just as some redneck had grown tired of shooting at bottles. With three live targets in the gun range, he could get his kill on and make his penis feel just a tiny bit bigger in his trousers.
Such horrible thoughts made it impossible to do any work, so I set out once again for the forest, walking back to the edge of the escarpment I'd just been to. This time, I walked all along it looking for black or white shapes in the distance. If a bear and/or one or more of the dogs had been killed by either a bear or a redneck, it was possible the corpse(s) would stand out against the fall colors. After looking down the slope for some distance along the Gullies Trail, I gave up and returned home.
I was losing my mind with worry, so all I could do was continue the search. I climbed into the Subaru and drove down to the bus turnaround and parked. Nobody else was there, and it seemed likely that while my car was there nobody would pick it as their hillbilly gun range. The gun range is just across the Chamomile (which is almost always running this far down the mountain). There's a fallen tree designed to keep vehicles from getting into the wilderness, and, judging from all the spent casings, it is at this tree that much of the shooting takes place. With the autumnal loss of vegetation, it was now easier to see the extent of the gun range. There were targets not just at the long-suffering tree a couple hundred feet away (where someone had actually dragged a large flatscreen television for use as a target), but also in clusters much further away.
Since my immediate concern was what had happened to the dogs, the things I was looking for was blood and corpses. The last shooter at the bus turnaround had left within a minute or two after I'd started calling for Ramona, so it was unlikely there had been time to load up and haul away the bodies had there been a killing spree, particularly if it had involved a bear.
For a moment I stood there horrified to see a corpse hidden behind a tree with a white-and-tawny pattern that suggested Neville the Dog. But it was not Neville, it was a doe deer, one that had been dead long enough to bloat but not yet to stink. Evidently the poor thing had wandered into the gun range when a bloodthirsty shooter showed up, and he'd shot it dead just because he could (the deer had a visible throat injury). Then, not knowing what to do with a female deer shot well out of season, the shooter had hidden it behind a tree. This is precisely the sort of bus turnaround shooter that has me worried about the dogs. Given the wanton destruction and failure to clean up after themselves, such self-centered Trumpian sociopathy is the rule and not the exception at this makeshift gun range.
I made not one but two trips in the Subaru to the bus-turnaround gun range. When I returned the second time, I made a systematic search of all of the forest within direct line-of-site range of the gun range, eventually satisfying myself that there were no fresh corpses other than that deer. This gave me the serenity to return to the house and actually start doing some work.
At just before 4:00pm, Ramona came in through the pet door, and it was as if I'd won the lottery. I'd been preparing myself for what I'd have to do if she didn't come home tonight, and this had taken me to a much darker place than had the initial m ental preparations I'd made for the possibility that. say, Oscar had been lost to the forest. There would've actually been as much of an upside as a downside to Oscar's loss, but it was actually kind of hard to imagine life going on had both Neville and Ramona were to exit my life. I showered Ramona with love and gave her extra non-vegan cat kibble, which she likes much more than her usual vegan dog food.
Within about five minutes, Neville had also returned home. zBoth were very hungry, but seemed like they'd had any recent interactions with a bear. It's possible the dogs I'd heard had been someone else's dogs.
Later this evening, after taking a much-needed bath, I heard what sounded like a berzerk dog barking in the nearby forest, and. assuming it was Ramona, I grabbed a leash and set out. But there was nothing crazy happening in the forest, and it turned out that Ramona and Neville had never even left the bed. I decided that the dog I'd been hearing must be one of Crazy Dave's.
The dead doe deer killed pointlessly at the bus turnaround. It's more shameful trash from a demographic that doesn't care about anything except their tiny penises.
A large burl on a tree in the forest a little north of the bus turnaround.
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