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archive:stories:deer
                                 THE DEER
                                 Copyright 1992, Andrew P. Varga.
            Before I start this story, I gotta tell ya a few
        things.  People remember the strangest things.
            When I first read this over, it hit me pretty hard
        that it doesn't really show Dad in the best light so I
        feel I ought to explain.  Dad's gone now, which is the
        only reason I'm telling this at all.  Dad was a proud man,
        and a veteran of World War II.  This was before I was
        born.  I think it was a loud war.  What I'm getting at is
        that Dad came back nearly deaf and refused to have it
        checked, much less get a hearing aid.  The result being
        that my brothers and I grew up in a house where there was
        a lot of love, and a fair amount of yelling.  So ...
            It was just starting to get dark one Autumn evening.
        I was eleven, maybe twelve.  Dad had this blue Oldsmobile,
        a big one.  Something like three tons of steel that could
        do a hundred and thirty miles an hour.
            Or so my older brother, Bud, told me.  In secret of
        course.  Bud woulda known, he'd had his driver's license
        for a whole month.
            We were going north on Highway 127 from Addison to Hi
        Point.  That's the truck stop where Bud used to work
        nights after school.
            Well, I see down the road a ways this shape and I can
        just make out that its a deer.  As we get closer, I'm sure
        of it.  It's just standing there in the middle of the
        highway.
            We're racing toward it and yet it doesn't move.  And
        we're getting closer every second.
            I can see its eyes glow, reflections from the
        headlights.  Dad's not slowing down at all and the deer's
        not moving and I'm getting scared.
            So I real quick undo my seatbelt and hunker down in
        the seat to where I can't even see over the dash.  But I
        know we're getting closer and closer every moment - and
        Dad's still not slowing down!
            Just as I peek up to see what's gonna happen, I hear a
        KA-THUNK! and see a blur off toward Dad's side of the car.
            I straighten way up and look behind to see where it
        went but I can't tell.  So I turn back around, refasten my
        seatbelt, and just sort of think for a minute or two.
            Finally I turn to Dad.
            "Dad, we just hit a deer," I tell him.
            "What, son?"  Dad's always been kinda hard of hearing.
            "We just hit a deer!"
            "WHAT!  We hit a deer?!!  OHMYGOD!!!!"
            All four 16-inch whitewalls screamed in protest as Dad
        slammed on the brakes.  The car slid to a tire-smoking
        stop, facing the way we came.
            "We  hit a deer?!!"  Dad repeated, looking around.
        "Where is it?"
            "Its gone now.  Three miles back, maybe four."
            "Are you sure?"
            I could tell he was trying to decide if he should
        believe me.
            "Yeah, I'm sure."
            "Are you okay?"
            "Yeah, I'm okay."
            Until now, some twenty-odd years later, neither of us
        has ever said a word about it.  As a matter of fact, the
        only time it was even remotely mentioned was the next
        morning.
            We were sitting at the kitchen table, Dad and I, and
        Mom had just come in from her daily walk to the mailbox
        out by the road.
            "What happened to your car?" she asked.
            Dad and I looked up from our breakfasts with surprised
        innocence on our faces.
            "The side mirror is missing."  Mom announced.
            "I didn't see anything, Honey," Dad told her.  He
        turned and winked at me.
            I looked at Mom and just sort of shrugged my
        shoulders.



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