When we last saw Your Humble Narrator, he had just brought his vehicle’s resale value down by about two-thirds as the result of hilly terrain, a temporarily mobile home, high velocity and his own slow wit.
Also a guardrail. Also that.
But I was all right, and after checking under the now-bent hood, determined things looked alright, so I determined to drive on. I had a wedding in South Texas to get to, after all, and just hours to cover all the miles.
Now, deer do not, typically, mate for life, but rutting season is often the end of their lives, due to supersonic lead and 80 mph aluminum.
Mostly because of the latter, I assume, deer and deer portions lined both sides of I-10 like quarter-mile markers, and I began to wonder if we restrict hunting licenses too much.
Pretty soon I heard a strange rattle coming from the front of my car, so I pulled off of the road into some grass and went out to check.
My car was fine; the misshapen hood hadn’t shut all the way the last time I’d looked at it, was all.
As I turned to get back in the car, I caught a whiff of something wretched and my tummy burped breakfast into my throat.
I looked beside my car and found there in the grass a deer staring at me — or it would have been if its brain could still perceive and it had eyes still to stare.
The deer’s head boiled with maggots, though the day was cold, and the air was dry but swam with flies. Its mouth was open and tongue lolled out and I felt I understood it say something, as if the miracles of Balaam’s donkey and Lazarus were combined.
But I was more creeped out, and before the smell soaked into my clothes, I fled to the wedding.
Now, I made it to the ranch about right on time, and got in my seat with plenty of opportunity to drink in the view in this green field overlooking a lake.
During part of the ceremony, the mic cut out, and speakers had to repeat themselves to be intelligible. It was distracting, a stumbling. It took away, you know, upset the plan.
Then it was time for vows, and there was a song performed by the bride’s cousin, and it went off without a hitch. Or rather, did go off with a hitchin’.
The most beautiful thing happened during the song, as the bride in flowing white dress and groom in neat black suit prayed and took communion, of all things, some butterflies arrived and fluttered by around them and sat on the bread loaves and joined their communion.
It was a nice nuptial occasional, all things considered.
Soon after the reception, I left and drove hours more again with no adventure this time.
As I drifted off to sleep that early morning, the day reviewed itself for me, and the wedding especially. Very pleasant and pristine. The communion and song made the wedding perfect despite whatever else; the wedding justified the rest of the day.
But the image that stood out in my mind’s eye was the rotting deer and its lolling tongue. And at night, at last, I understood what it was saying.
“Yes, but this also. All things good, until ‘finally’.”
I had a fly land in my cologne one time, and die. It didn’t smell too bad. I couldn’t smell it at all, in fact. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it, either.