Wednesday, May 06, 2009


At first, we didn't understand. No one understood.

And I don't mean that in a pretentious way. You see, I had never heard of one before. Not a single person in the neighborhood had heard of... well....

One night, about a year ago, Don was late. Very late. He never missed dinner and the children were worried -- so was I! It was after 9pm when we heard him pull into the drive, chuckling like a joker! I thought he was drunk and went to meet him outside before the kids could see. He shooed me back in to prepare a bed of "old snot rags and what not" in a corner of the basement. I was confused but did as told. I had just finished making it and come upstairs when he walked in the front door holding a length of twine fashioned into a leash. On the other end of the leash was what he called a "miniature velour deer."

Now, Don was a beatnik when we started dating. This was something else.

The deer was beautiful. It didn't make sounds and was kind of retarded; it only responded to clicks and whistles. And it was soft. So soft! The kids absolutely loved it. Although, they were kids, and they lost interest in it after a couple months. Don, on the otherhand, God... he would sit in his chair and stroke it for hours, chuckling like the night be brought it home.

It didn't seem to age any and it certainly didn't grow -- it was a miniature deer! But, Don didn't seem to age either. Ten years went by and he didn't have a single grey hair to show even though things had long been sour at the office and our marriage wasn't... well, it wasn't getting better. I had plenty of grey though -- wrinkles too! Anyhow, when I came home and found Don in his chair, his mouth hanging open... boy, he looked so old. Older than when I'd left the house that morning. Much, much older.

There was no trace of the deer. There was not a single velour hair in the entire house. I imagine someone saw Don walking the deer and fell in love with it. Perhaps the theif didn't expect anyone to be home but was armed with an aging ray just in case. I doubt poor Don was much of a match. If that is what happened, I kind of wish I'd seen it.

Sometimes, in the basement, by the pile of snot rags that was once the miniature velour deer's bed (I never cleaned it up!), well, I swear I can hear that queer chuckling.

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