Big Game

by Michel Bessy

BIG GAME ROBERT and RENE or rather BOB and NENE at the local bar lived in their respective trailer,on a plot of land they had inherited from one of their buddies who had died of cirrhosis.On the one hectare plot they had painstakingly cleared of the brush,there were a few olive trees left and a kitchen fitted with a barbecue and a freezer .There was also a small provencal cottage with a home made still that was the object of their full attention. T Thanks to it,our two companions managed to make a pernod of sorts apt to tenderize you and make you confess anything straight away! They called it the cooking pot and it did help them to keep the wolf from the door as they served the whole area with the ILLEGAL STUFF. Of course, BOB and NENE were the first served,and when they were not distilling or getting drunk which boiled down to the same thing,they went hunting. When the hunting season was over,they poached!...If you don t have a right,turn left,NENE insisted. It was early September and the freezer was as empty as JOB s pockets.Anyway,they were not ready to die of starvation ,so BOB made up his mind.........NENE,would you mind getting me the big cable to make snares? We ll go for wild boar! No sooner said than done and they set out to lay the snares not too far off to collect catches quickly but beyond the little mounds of stones overrun with brambles lining the property in order to prevent a dunderhead from picking up the scent and ratting on them . For,with the big cable ,they were not going after rabbits but after young wild boars.A stew would be a real treat..............................The following days,while BOB was busy distilling fennel and thyme,NENE dashed across the brush to read the meters.At the dawn of the third day,a young boar was caught in the trap and the freezer was humming again.The garlic mayonnaise was thickening and it was decided to prolong the hunting season a bit more even if each new day offered the game keeper increased opportunity to nab them . Of course,they could always shut him up with caskfuls of pernod ................On the fourth day,the tables were turned.NENE would be frolicking in the aniseed fumes while BOB would report on the catches ......but when BOB came back he was overexcited.He had bulging eyes and was shaking all over........Fucking hell,NENE..Pass me the moonshine...I need a big one .....NENE wasn t used to seeing his buddy in such a trance and he complied immediately.BOB downed four or five drinks,stopped shaking any more and was gradually back to normal .............Fucking hell motherfucker...He blurted out..........What s goin on? You put me in a blue funk..NENE replied.And,taking after his friend,he put down two or three glasses of the hard stuff!................Listen,buster,we re up to the neck in the shit.Pick up the fucking demijohn and come with me......Fucking hell motherfucker.....and when they arrived on the scene,NENE started shaking all over ,swearing like a trooper and clamouring for the demijohn The poor guy was lying on the ground like a disjointed puppet.He had a purple red bloated face.The cable was tightened deep round his neck.His eyes were rolled upwards and it was no use bending forward to feel his pulse.Obviously,he was more wasted than the contents of a royal canin dog food can! Next to him,an upturned wicker basket overflowed with lactarius sangifluus aka pinins or saffron milk caps. A few specimens were oozing a telltale reddish liquid...........We can t leave it like that NENE hazarded .Yes,BOB replied.If somebody finds him,we ll top the list of suspects.............OK ,one more drink and back home with the game.with the garnish,NENE joked ,pointing his finger at the magic mushrooms protruding out of the little basket.......It was no laughing matter but the witty comment put their mind at rest and they set off at once.................It wasn t more complicated than a big boar and that s the way they dealt with it.It occupied the room left in the freezer...........It didn t solve the problem but they had more time to think it over...........................................They were both eating their leg of roast boar in the summer kitchen under the wisteria of the arbour..............Better make it snappy....NENE said.....Yep...BOB answered.We could distil them piecemeal,NENE suggested while serving two pernods as muddy as VERDUN trenches!.......But it will take an inordinate amount of time,BOB commented.Since we ll have to do some carving,we might as well cook it with the stew at the bocce volo club.....It will soon be polished off as we re expecting two hundred people to attend,BOB insisted..........Is it the same taste,the same texture?,NENE inquired.Don t you worry,BOB replied......This year they will be treated to a 60% proof pernod instead of the 55% usual stuff.We ll add a bit of methanol!...Believe me,after these pre lunch drinks,nobody will know if they re eating wild boar,giraffe or a mushroom eater!.............And what beats everything,is that the day after,they won t remember a thing though they ll keep on blabbing about how great that stew was,the best ever!.......Holy shit,and what about the skull,teeth and bones?....NENE remarked.why not crunching it up and feed it to the boars?...BOB wiped his greasy lips with the cuff of his apron sleeve........Nope..It doesn t solve anything.Let s keep it simple!....We ve got to bury him....BOB said grudgingly....OK NENE answered,a bit vexed.....But where?....Under a trailer BOB suggested between two mouthful of food. .......We ll dislodge a trailer,dig a hole,pour the stuff into it,put the trailer back in its place and the trick is done.Who would look for it in such a place?......And which trailer?NENE asked........Fair and square...BOB said.We ll have a boozing match.The first one under the table hits the jackpot and carries the day! NENE lost!...The next day around 12,they dislodged the trailer with their hands,making strenuous efforts interspersed with choice words as a result of a cracking hangover. Digging,dumping the frozen meat,filling in the hole,putting the trailer back in place,all that took them about five hours.Five hours sweating aniseed profusely.Five hours inverted distilling.But like NENE took pleasure in repeating it....There s nothing like physical exercise to shake off the after effects of a pernod binge. . They burned the wicker basket in the barbecue where pieces of wild boar were grilling.The milk caps cut into strips,sprinkled with salt,pepper,garlic and thyme were simmering in olive oil.......For a funeral oration,they proposed a toast......To this poor devil,BOB said.....To this poor devil,dumb enough to get caught in a snare,NENE added.....Anyway,i liked him a lot and his mushrooms were a real treat,BOB said with tears in his eyes........To the comrades grave diggers who ve done a good job....NENE cut in...Amen, BOB concluded before clinking glasses........ The next day around 11am,a pudgy,ruddy cheeked fellow banged on the gate,awakening NENE from his slumbers .His hangover was gone instantly when the man introduced himself and produced a police card......Lieutenant MARTINEZ,the pot bellied man stuttered with a strong southern accent......Can I help you? ..NENE inquired..........I m investigating a missing mushroom picker!.....I ve got to scour the whole area for questioning.....Quite a few miles to burn up!.....Would you mind letting me in?..I really need to sit down.....The cop said dripping with sweat......Come on in Inspector......LIEUTENANT.......Sorry LIEUTENANT....tAKE a seat under the arbour..........You alone here ?..The policeman inquired.....My friend lives in the other trailer,over there......Could you please go get him?....I ve got to talk to him,too.....No problem,make yourself at home,inspector......LIEUTENANT!.....Sorry,LIEUTENANT..........Sticking his mug out of the half opened door,NENE called out to BOB.....Come on,dude,get up...we have a guest.......For pity s sake BOB roared... It s a cop,NENE whispered. What?...OK, I m coming,BOB said and his voice was suddenly clear,as by magic.........Take care....It isn t inspector CANARDO,NENE specified......It s Lieutenant MARTINEZ................................................I ll do the talking,it s my job.As the two buddies were approaching the summer kitchen,they saw the cop inspecting the area closely ,particularly near NENE s trailer.....Morning,lieutenant,NENE said...........Good... the high ranking officer,replied......A few moments ago,your friend still called me INSPECTOR.....Let it go.....He doesn t know a thing about it!.....Anybody can see how smart you are,Lieutenant......Would you like some coffee,?....BOB suggested......Something a bit stronger,preferably...The pot bellied man replied.NENE bring us the pernod bottle,courtesy of the Spanish cousin ..And to what do we owe the honour of your visit,Lieutenant?....I m investigating a missing guy.His wife claims she hasn t seen him again since he went mushroom picking in the vicinity......Incidentally,are you aware that some species grow around here?......Only a few milk caps and not that good! You can believe me!.......I was half expecting that......But let s come to the point .These last few days,have you noticed anything unusual that could have a bearing on my case ?.....To tell you the truth,no,we havent.......NENE came back with the bottle of pernod.He poured one out,strong enough to topple Boris YELSIN off his pedestal! .....we ll have one too Lieutenant,he said.....Don t feel obligated to,the officer retorted.......Holy shit,yesterday,I had a very large,heavy family lunch.....You know what I mean?..I need the hair of the dog that bit me!...Sure,Lieutenant,BOB commented..Just what I was about to say ..So,none of you saw or heard something unusual,recently...The cop insisted,draining his glass in no time.....No,absolutely nothing....Want a refill,NENE added? ...I wouldn t say no,the officer answered....Folks,your pernod is real good...Coming from Spain?...No kidding?.......I have relatives over there,never tasted something like that! ..To be frank with you,it s a cousin s very special recipe...She adds a few herbs BOB specified. Pass on my congratulations,the cop said and he emptied his glass in one swallow.....That s all very well but now I have a ghost in my lap.Should you remember anything even a minor detail,give me a ring.Here s my card ........We ll do it,BOB concluded........................................................The cop was out of earshot when NENE said....Shit,we ve come up against a champion boozer................That s why I m on my guard,BOB replied.....This guy can take it like a fish and I can t say I liked the way he poked his snout about.......Don t tell me we re going to move this moron to another location.It s not exactly an orthodox way of doing things,NENE remarked.......You re right,it could make matters worse!....So,give us a pernod,BOB concluded....NENE complied with two pernods strong enough to cause the great BUKOVSKI to enrol at the ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS..!The next day,on the stroke of 12,Lieutenant MARTINEZ was banging on the gate.As the day before,they settled Under the arbour just to make everybody feel comfortable.NENE filled the glasses with the usual stuff,probably more corrosive than the chemical weapons used by the Americans in Vietnam!...Gradually it looked more like suze than pernod!.. The lieutenant fired away first....So you guys haven t a clue!....Nope,it s as calm as the surface of a tourist s glass of pernod!Isn t it NENE?....BOB said....Yeah,that s the way it is,General,NENE added.With only a small stone to trouble it!The high ranking officer rejoined......What are you hinting at? BOB inquired.....I mean that there s always a dog training unit following me wherever I go! with a bull terrier...The whole shebang .....Still nothing to declare?.....They cast a bleak,incredulous glance at the cop.They now had their back to the wall and looked desperate.......It s not our fault,chief,we found the poor guy caught in a snare laid by a poacher.He was as dead as a doornail and we reckoned it wouldn t be fair not to provide him with a burial place,at the mercy of these fucking wild boars always scavenging for food!...So, you buried him under the trailer,over there,the lieutenant added,pointing to the trailer!..You must have sweated gallons of pernod!..It s tough soil around here.Now,let it go and stop worrying and give us a great pernod your cousin has the secret.She s as smart as they come.....Why the heck don t you arrest us?,BOB asked while NENE was serving three pernods strong enough to raise anybody from the dead....Because the culprits have confessed everything and are already behind bars...The supercop replied...The two buddies were out for the count!.The lieutenant added that a woman had cracked up and squealed on her lover who had strangled her husband.Then he had the bright idea to dump him where you found him.But inspector CANARDO was there to get you out of trouble,you lucky bastards...Fancy 20 years in the cooler,a big freezer without any pernod in it?..No sunshine,no cicadas...a rather bad script,don t you think so?....My gosh,we re really indebted to you,Inspector,NENE said...Lieutenant,BOB corrected!....And the trailer? How did you guess?..Well,the pot bellied man began...Nothing can grow under the wheel of a trailer,so if you notice grass crushed under a wheel,it s proof that your gipsy trailer was moved.....For god sake,that s amazing,General,NENE said while serving three refills that could put you under for two hours! .....Thanks,the clever dick mumbled,but,mind you,you re not yet out of the wood!Concealment of a dead body,that could get you two years imprisonment....Now guys,laying snares that s not the way an honest hunter behaves!Anyway,everything could work out fine in the end...The Lieutenant concluded while staring fixedly at the little cottage at the end of the plot of land..............

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