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Bear Teeth Close
Uprising #1
August 21, 2031, Northwest Wyoming, State Highway 296, Dead Indian Pass, about 8,400 feet above she [1] level
The Major looked curiously at the short, ashen ghetto banger in his black sneakers, black sweats, black cargo shorts, black hooded sweat-shirt and black ski cap, his ashy hands doing something that the Major had never seen in all of his Rocky Mountain years, not before he served in the Army or after he retired as a major of the storied Special Forces, a grizzled, gray, green beret.
“Well, I’ll be a goddamned monkey’s uncle! Hell, I’ve hunted and logged in these parts since Christ was a corporal and never have seen such a thing.”
The stumpy hoodrat, only about 5’8” soaking wet if he were a foot, was hand feeding a rock squirrel a Dorito chip, “cool ranch” flavor if he did not misremember the little man’s obsession with that particular flavor from the liquor store foray that precedes all serious hunting excursions into the Rocky Mountain fastness. The little critter was nibbling on the thing as old Ishmael, his boyhood friend from the long ago world before negroes from the coastal flatlands of some distant urban hell fed value-added “food” to once innocent creatures, drawled in his easy high desert way, “I told you, Wolf, this fellow’s a kindred spirit, found him hiking across U.S. Route 40 outside of Cheyenne, in those damned sneakers, with nothing but a bottle of Pepsi for supplies. That’s why I called you. None of our young people are interest in learning the old ways. This fellow here, he’s like us—just different.”
The Major snarled, “You mean because he’s a midget, or because Heavenly Father left him in the toaster for too long while he was frying up some eggs?”
As if the Almighty took offense to that statement, a gust of ruthless wind whipped up the canyon and picked that little chip monk up and whirled it around to be dashed to death thousands of feet below on the other side of that short stone wall. The little black, man let go of the corn hip which flew into eternity and with the same hand snatched the little creature out of the snow-devil that had grabbed it—for snow was gathering furiously all around—in August of all times.
“Well fuck me runnin’ Ishmael, I believe your lawn jockey played ball once upon a time. That dog ‘ill hunt!”
As the little man with cannonball shoulders cupped the rock squirrel between his ashen hands and set him down in the angle of the wall and the creature darted into a tiny crevice there, the Major addressed the object of his life-long friend’s curious benevolence, “Well, man, you up for the final hunt of two old poacher’s lives—you afraid a bears, grizzly bears?”
The little man turned and looked up at him, his ashen-tainted ebony face framed by a short white beard and pocked with two gray eyes and quipped, “I afraid of ebryting, Boss—specially pigs. So I spose a bear make no neva mine. I’m in.”
The Major extended his hand and they shook on it and he said, “Good, poaching is one thing. But I don’t litter and leavin’ your black ass out in this shit would qualify.”
He thought the hand was firm enough and continued with the interview as Ishmael looked worriedly about at the gathering blizzard, “Name?”
“Punk, Punk City Coon.”
“You shittin’ me, Coon?”
“No, Sir, I would never drop a dookie pale as your Vikin’-lookin’ ass.”
He grinned and slapped the little fucker on the left shoulder with his right hand and was pleased with how the little bastard rolled with it.
“You boxed, so you did.”
Coon just shrugged his shoulders and Ishmael drawled, “Awl, Wolf, go easy on the fella. He’s a flat-lander.”
But the Major wanted to know the quality of their hunting dog, and bored in, “Ever kill anything back there in that shithole, Baltimore is it?”
The little man nodded in the affirmative and the Major pushed, “Critters?”
“Rats, crows and a couple pitbulls once—neva clipped no seagull.”
“Why no seagulls?”
“Same reason I neva kilt no cracka, don’ need dey moanin’ ghosts hauntin’ ma black ass.”
The Major stood tall and grinned, “But you, despite your superstitions, have done in some a yer own tawny kind?”
Punk City Coon shrugged his shoulders, “All in a dayz work.”
“Well, I’ll be damned, Ish—we got us a huntin’ man after all!”
The Major then stood back and braced his legs, “Well, planning will need to occur in the truck else dis blow ‘ill knock us off the mountain. I’d say the Bear Tooth Mountains are closed behind us, and possibly ahead. Smart phones?”
The major and Ishmael both brought out there phones and looked at Punk City Coon and the Major became suspicious. He threw his phone over the precipice into the whirling wrack, as did Ishmael.
“Coon, we got us a rebuilt 1978 Diesel, with narry a computer component in it. These game wardens are busting us poachers by satellite now. So I’m about to pat your ass down.”
The small, dark man raised his hands as Ishmael, in his teddy bear bulk, drawled, “Sorry Punk, we got to be sure.”
The Major started from his ankles and narrated his finds by feel as he slid his big Norwegian-Lakota hands up the small frame, “Shank in an ankle strap—saw that a mile away… Thirty-two snub in left front pants pocket…Twenty-five auto in right front pants pocket—got a lot of friends out there, do you son… Straight razor in left side pocket… Butterfly knife in right side pocket—you paranoid fuck…Well I’ll be, sap gloves in your rap kangaroo pouch…My hell—you’ve got more friends than that grizz we gonna sick you on…and a kabar, Marine combat knife in his rear waistband… No wallet, no Identification—which is goddamned against the law…no phone—against the law…and a knot roll of money as big as his gorilla dick.”
The Major stood, pulled off the knit cab, checked in the hood for a wire, placed the hat back on the bald head, and said, “Ish, this man is being hunted as we speak, which will make of this week a capital adventure of men at once the hunter and the hunted—you brought the bacon to hang from his shoulders?” he said with a grin and they all laughed, rough laughter from old worn throats lost in the booming gusts of winter soaring up from the buffalo jumps below them and the ragged highway pass behind them, where snow stalked them like God’s own wrathful hand.
-1. not a typo
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