I was taking a walk to sugar house hill this evening, under phosphorescent skies, and all of a sudden the light had drained out of the sky. I cut through the woods to get to the road, knowing in the back of my head that walking in the woods at dusk during hunting season- posted land or not- was a bad idea. Just as I hit the road I saw the farmer cruising up on his four-wheeler. It had no break lights or tail lights, I could just see the red glowing tip of his cigarette gliding up the road as if it were floating. I froze, trying to melt into the hillside. I liked the farmer very much but he was a compulsive talker, and I wanted to get home.
I saw him ride past, come to a stop, and back up, having obviously spotted me. "Don't shoot me!" I yelled out, half playing, half frightened. I could have easily passed for a deer in the darkness. He swung his leg over the 4-wheeler and started coming towards me. "DON'T SHOOT ME! IT'S ME! DON'T SHOOT ME" I shouted again, springing up from the ground and running towards him.
"Thought you might have been a hunta'." He said, his heavy Vermont accident sinking the end of each word. Although the farmer hunts freely on the land, no one else is permitted, and just like his father before him, he does not take kindly to trespassers. He put his cigarette out and started in on a story of stalking and running off a small handful men from the land in the last few weeks. "This one guy, I seen him here a few times, hes a Knott I think."
"A nut?" I ask him. "Like, a total nutbag? And he's wandering around our property with a gun?"
"No, a knott" The farmer spelled it out. "That's his last name. But he is a nut. He's a convicted felon, not even allowed to carry a weapon." So there is a crazy, dangerous murderer father slapper pope raper of a man wandering around the property....which means the crazy ideas that I harbor between the hours of 10pm-8am when I'm home alone were correct. I asked how he managed to go hunting without a gun.
"Nah, he can't have a rifle, but he can have a bow and arrow."
"and a muzzleloader."
"I see." It was then I resolved to never again roam around in my underwear. So much for that simple pleasure.
"How's that cat?" Asked the farmer, changing the subject.
I told him she was alright but that I had to go. I wanted to get home and lock the doors and- I'm not sure what- sit in wait with a steak knife. But when I got there, with the yellow light pooling out of the windows and the animals lying around fireplace and the VPR pledge drive on the radio, things seemed far less grim and desolate as they had on the remainder of the walk home. The crazy dangerous murder father slapper pope raper stalking through woods seemed, if not anacuous, then somehow far, far away.