Tuesday, February 14, 2006

a most dangerous game

(Note: While it may seem similar to recent events, this story is fiction - pure, quickly written, poorly worded/structured non-sensical fiction. Any similarity to real people living or dead is purely coincidental, and hopefully hilarious... but I'm not counting on that last one).

Jack Wellington's car pulled up to the Aldrin Ranch with a cloud of dust in tow. Though he was about to complete his eighth decade on God's good Earth, the distinguished Texas attorney today felt the energy of a young graduate who'd just conquered the bar exam.

As Wellington's driver lowered the back passenger side window, the dry Texas heat rushed into the car - bringing with it familiar scents.

Quail. And gunpowder.

"Mr. Wellington," said a slender man clad in bright orange hunting gear. "I work for the Vice President. My name is Klaus von Richtover. I'll take you to the party."

"Well, thank you son. Much obliged," Wellington said as he hoisted himself out of the car. He usually didn't Texas his speech up too often, but he liked to see if he could impress people who were obviously not from the area.

"Of course," von Richtover purred. He drew the corners of his mouth back towards his ears. 'That must be German for 'smile,'' Wellington thought, allowing himself a small chuckle.

von Richtover quickly pivoted and turned toward the driver. "See that you stick around," von Richtover told the man in the black Cadillac. "Mr. Wellington is a very special guest."

The driver gave von Richtover a deliberate nod, and the car slowly pulled away. A cloud of dust seemed to form out of nothing, following the Caddy around a bend and out of sight.

"Well, let's get a move on, son," Wellington said. "Those quail aren't gonna plug themselves."

"No," von Richtover replied, his lips once again thinning in an approximation of a smile. "They most certainly will not."

Though he was easily twice the age of von Richtover, Wellington strode quickly towards the hunting grounds, forcing his new friend to break into a slow jog.

"Mr. Wellington," von Richtover said. "Perhaps we should slow down. If you're lucky, this will be a long day for you."

Wellington gave the younger man a hearty laugh. "I haven't seen Dick since the Austin fundraiser. I told him I'd deliver him Texas," he chirped. "I wanna shake his hand and give him a howdy-do."

"Oh, he's very... eager to do the same, Mr. Wellington. Very eager indeed."

The pair soon found themselves surrounded by brush. Before long, they came upon a pith-helmeted man, otherwise dressed entirely in khaki. His back was turned, and the sun glistening off his shotgun barrel forced both newcomers to squint.

"They say a 28-gauge shotgun is a 'ladies'' weapon," said Dick Delaney, Vice President of the United States of America. "But you know I've had 11 heart attacks, Jack."

He turned around, revealing a dumpy, bald, bespectacled middle-aged man. "Thank you, Klaus, that will be all for now." Klaus bowed neatly before trudging through the brush on his way back to the ranch.

"It's a beautiful weapon, isn't it, Jack?" Delaney continued. "No recoil at all. It's good for the heart. My wife can tell you, I don't really like the idea of dropping dead in the middle of a quail hunt."

"I understand, sir," Wellington said. "Let me just say that it's an honor-"

Delaney quickly interrupted him, as if Wellington hadn't spoken at all. "But I'm not opposed to a little danger out here, Jack." The vice president's upper lip curled into a sneer. "It's a shame your boat had to run aground on my island, of all places. A shame, indeed."

Wellington was now thoroughly amused. "Uh, your car service came to get me, sir."

"We're surrounded by thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean on all sides," Delaney continued. "It's just you and I, old friend - no longer shackled by the laws of Man."

"We're in Corpus Christi, sir," Wellington replied.

"During the Great War, I quickly learned of the most dangerous animal of all," Delaney said. "Do you know what it is, Jack?"

"Is it Man?"

"It's Man," Delaney continued. "Shocking, I know. But one learns much when he faces the constant threat of horrific Zeppelin attacks by the Kaiser's men. One learns that only a man possesses the cunning necessary to make a hunt truly worthwhile. And since you're trespassing on my island, Jack... I shall hunt you. For sport. But make no mistake; I expect and hope that you'll be able to turn the hunter - me - into the hunted - also me, but in the future.

"I'll give you a thirty-second head start," Delaney explained, turning away from his guest. "There's a jungle out there. I believe you'll be able to find everything you need to turn this contest to your advantage."

Wellington didn't want to offend the Vice President by cutting his joke short, but he felt it necessary to exchange formal pleasantries. "Sir, let me say what an honor it is to be here, and how honored I've been to be a loyal Mush-Delaney supporter."

"Oh, we're always glad to have you, Jack. Perhaps I'll have you for dinner tonight," Delaney replied. "Twenty-five seconds."

Wellington forced a chuckle. "Uh, Mr. Vice President, where's the rest of the hunting party?"

"Twenty seconds," Delaney replied, looking at his watch.

For the first time, Wellington felt fear shoot its way up and down his spine. "Sir, this is some sort of joke... yes?"

"Oh, good sport is no laughing matter, Jack," Delaney said. "Fifteen seconds. I would get moving if I were you."

Wellington quickly began looking for cover. "Sir, I've given you everything! Money, votes!"

"And if this day is mine, you'll be giving me a whole lot more. Precious organs, hair, lifeforce," Delaney droned, his upper lip curling once again. "Ten seconds."

Fear completely took over Wellington's brain and told his body one thing.


As the 79-year old took his first step, he was startled by something exploding out of the brush. He instinctively recoiled.

"Time to die, Jack!" Delaney whirled and fired. The smell of burnt powder stung his nose as he watched Wellington crumple to the earth. As he closed his eyes to savor the moment of victory, the vice president heard a single quail making its escape.

He smiled and slowly walked to where Wellington lay.

"This is extremely uncomfortable," Wellington said, tiny pellet marks covering his face and neck. "I think I'd like to go to the hospital."

"Ironic," Delaney said, staring into the distance. "We matched wits for what seemed like ages - two clashing titans were we. And in the end, he was brought down by his fear by one of nature's lowliest creatures - the cage-raised quail that he almost stepped on. Also, his hubris was his downfall... yes, hubris. That sounds good, too."

"Makes you think," Wellington said.

Delaney removed a large wooden horn from his hunting pouch and blew a single, majestic note into the late afternoon sky. Within seconds, von Richtover was upon them.

"Klaus," Delaney barked. "Take Mr. Wellington's body inside for preparation. We'll be taking the heart, the scalp, the eyes and oh... let's say... the pancreas. I'm in a fun mood today. Stick the rest in the black Caddy and let the driver take care of it. Tell him if he makes pemmican for the children, to save some for me this time."

"Can I go to the ER now?" asked Wellington.

As the German carried the trophy back towards the ranch, the vice president stared into the setting sun.

He sighed.

'Sometimes I get so bored,' he thought to himself.


mensch said...

I move that this be added to the b++ b++

Terrence Ryan said...


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