This morning I killed a deer.
I didn't mean to. It was one of those things that just happen, I guess.
It was 6:30 a.m., and I was on my way to work, about a block away. I was slowed to about thirty miles per hour when a small deer leaped from the roadside into the front end of my car. I was stunned, because it happened so quickly, I was unable to apply the brakes until after that sickening hard thump.
The impact threw the little doe across the median and into the opposite lanes. She lay there for a few seconds, silent, unmoving. I got out of the car and headed over to her. She saw me coming and tried to rise, but both rear legs were broken, she tried to pulled herself across the road with her front legs, but could only manage a few inches.
She lay there and watched me, never making a sound. Her mouth was open and she was gasping for breath, tongue out. I could smell her from twenty feet away. I tried to console her with my voice.
I'm so sorry, little deer. It was an accident, you know. Why didn't you give me some warning? I never wanted to be responsible for your suffering. Heaven knows that your species is in trouble around here.
A guy pulled his pickup over, looked at the deer and my face, then without saying a word, directed traffic around me and the doe. I called the police. The doe watched me through those long- lashed dark eyes while her breathing became labored, but she still was silent. My throat was dry and I was hurting. Goddammit, I did two tours in Nam, saw more death and blood than anyone ever should, but this accident had me sick and guilt ridden. I struggled to hold back the tears. I wondered, were the other deer in her herd out of sight but watching this drama?
The officer called animal control. It took ten minutes for them to get there.
“It's not your fault,” he told me. “That's the third one this week, in this area. They're rutting and moving into the industrial areas because the canyons are so dry. They have access to water and green vegetation up here.”
Scant comfort. The Animal Control people got there. The officer in charge took a look at the deer then went back to the truck. He brought back a syringe filled with a pink liquid and knelt over the doe.
It was over. The little doe laid its head down, then relaxed.
“You can go, sir”. He handed me his card. I thanked him and drove to work, empty inside, cursing the luck of it all.
Causes Ed Coonce Supports
Progressive and all things creative. I support CREDO, The Full Moon Poets, St Jude's Children's Hospital, The Democratic Party, and ArtWalk Leucadia