Life's a Bitch
Chapter 1

Copyright┬ę 2007 by cmsix

Time Travel Sex Story: Chapter 1 - In his later years Chuck liked to act like a survivalist, sort of. What he wouldn't give to be able to actually be one.

Caution: This Time Travel Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Consensual   Science Fiction   Time Travel  


Or is it? Or do we just make our own lives a bitch? I did, and it wasn't really a bitch, it just wasn't all I'd hoped for. Thinking of that, why wasn't it? I didn't really have to do anything I didn't want to.

I'm not rich, and in the normal way people understand the phrase, I'm not even comfortable. But in my view I am. I just don't have much money, and I don't even mind that lack. I have enough for most of what I want to buy, or most of what I want anyway.

My parents were well off by the standards of their community, a small East Texas town. My father had a retail department store, and then some. It was by far the biggest business in town and he was one of the big fish in an admittedly small pond.

Life pulled a dirty trick, or some dirty tricks on him at the last though. He let his business get too big for him to handle alone and it became unprofitable. It was large enough, and a regular payout from the large land sale after his father's death was substantial and so the business took a long time to decline.

In other words, things didn't go to shit at once; the money just ran out slowly, not leaving his kids much. It didn't leave them with nothing, but what they got and kept getting wasn't enough to support them in the style they'd become accustomed to.

A weird malfunction of my mother's reproductive system had also wreaked havoc on the family, but in a subtle way. It fucked up our birth order. If you don't believe that birth order has anything to do with the way children grow up and develop, maybe you should only skim over the next few paragraphs. For the rest of you:

My sister was born and a year later a tuber nearly killed my mother, and in the early nineteen forties the damage it did was not to be righted by the doctors of the time. After mother was past the danger of dying, she was informed that she wouldn't be able to have more children.

Time flew since they were no doubt having fun, but eight years later they considered my beginnings a miracle. I have no way of knowing what caused her to think it, but my mother always told me that she carried me for eleven months. I never doubted her, because there was no way to prove it one way or the other, and she had recovered from putative sterility on her own.

Lo and behold she'd made a first class recovery when she did, and popped out a brother for me less than two years later and then another, less than two years after that. I don't know if the repairs broke down after that or if my parents quit fucking or what, but that was it.

So we now effectively have a daughter that is the only child, but with three brothers. We have two firstborn, since my miracle birth was nine years after my sister's and the pregnancy was completely unexpected.

By the time my next brother came along he was toast. He wasn't a miracle, and with the one after him he became an effective middle child. Only my youngest brother escaped for a semi-normal life.

Babies were old hat by the time he got here and wonder of wonders he was essentially healthy. My first brother and I were asthmatics from birth and at the time it was a fairly rare malady, no doubt because the medical progress to keep asthmatics from dying young was recent.

All in all a normal family life was out of the question. I don't know what it did to me, I just know how I seem to have turned out, and at this late date all I can say about it I'll limit to my personal situation.

I'm old, relatively healthy, unemployed by choice and not what most would call particularly honest. If my honesty is merely situational it has a strange way demonstrating that, since I find it nearly impossible to lie for economic gain. Earlier in life I found it nearly impossible to lie for pussy too, and I still think of that as my most distressing failure.

Enough with making you listen to my introspection. With the demise of my father's empire and of my marriage, I ended up with an acre of land, given to me by an uncle who had thousands and who didn't really like me. After his death I figured that he gave me the acre out of guilt from knowing what his will actually said and what he had assured my father it did.

I must say that he pulled one hell of a stunt that he realized he wouldn't have to suffer the fallout from. Even though he felt he'd been stabbed in the back, my father eventually found it funny because my uncle had also done his best legally to cut his wife out of the will too.

There I go drifting back in to fond reminiscence.

I'm still here on my little acre, right on the edge of more than twelve thousand others that are devoted to raising yellow pines for lumber. I have a nice little house, frame construction of the finest, and small. I did say it was little didn't I?

It does have electricity and butane and it uses damned little of either. Did I mention that I managed my father's lumberyard before it became insolvent? My little house, not even as large as a doublewide, used more lumber in its construction than a six-bedroom giant.

The outer stud walls use two by eights and are on eight-inch centers. The rafters and ceiling joist are two by twelve on the same eight-inch centers and no plywood sheeting need apply.

There's two by six center match between me and the cold cruel world, with three hundred pound per square fireproof shingles to turn the weather, and number one seventeen, my favorite pattern, pine siding to dress things up. If you don't understand about the construction details, tough shit.

I also have damned few windows and a hell of a lot of insulation. Two by twelve ceiling joist and two by eight stud walls leave a lot of room for insulation. Since I'm a forest products kind of guy, the insulation is the blown in wood fiber type that has been treated to be fire resistant.

The few windows I did allow were all triple pane glazed and there are double-pane glazed storm windows over them, and both my doors, front and back, were bought made into the latest energy efficient door units. The ones with refrigerator type magnetic weather striping that seals itself to the metal skinned door when it closes.

I watched every second of the construction, and the main carpenter, who'd worked for daddy for years, griped the whole time about using silicone gel for caulking and about using it everywhere there was a crack.

With the doors and windows closed, I can't feel a bit of breeze from outside unless the tornado is within a mile of me.

I know it was a little extreme, and I can't remember what got me off into such weirdness, but the first complaint from the carpenter - who shall remain nameless to protect his innocence - about the plans I'd drawn and the specifications I'd written caused me to raise my hackles and it was my way or my way after that. He couldn't even quit.

I could go on and on about rosin coated screw nails and water source heat pumps but I won't. I think I had the most indestructible frame construction structure ever built for a residence and I won't be gainsayed.

At the moment it was all for naught, since I was camping out. More like I was playing survivalist really. I didn't work so I had time on my hands and there was only so much time I could spend admiring my house, since it was already built.

Many times when I went camping I rode my horse and led my pack mule but tonight I was on a solo mission. I had my pack stuffed with essentials and frankly, I'd had hell under the weight all day. I made a note to self in my mind to do more foot powered camping and less horse and mule camping.

What I usually did on my three or four day ankle express expeditions was play beast of burden for a mile or so into the timber, set up a modest camp and then try to wear out my Buckmaster or my Glock, killing everything that wasn't moving.

When I allowed myself the luxury of my horse and mule, I also blistered the pinecones with my Marlin 336c in 35 Remington, my Colt Diamondback in 38 Special or my Thompson Center Contender in 7mm TCU. But I'd been too lazy to reload any ammunition lately, so I was off on foot with my 22 Long Rifle and my Glock. Mostly I'd be giving the Buckmaster a workout because, lets face it, 22 rounds are dirt cheap, more bang for the buck and all that.

Even on twelve thousand acres I had limited locations available for a proper camp, especially when packing my own freight. This was yellow pine timber after all, and pine campfires aren't worth shit, unless you're dying from the cold. I had to hike somewhere that had a few hardwoods around so there'd be enough squaw wood to make a showing at the fire.

I made my destination and set that heavy pack down. I'd used this spot plenty of times before and a few things that make a comfortable camp were already done. I had a circle of stones to build my fire in and last year I'd left a grate for cooking, and of course I had a nice spot roughly leveled to pitch my tent.

Deciding to get set up before sitting down, I pitched said tent. It was sort of like an army two man job; a pup tent most would call it. Next was blowing up my airbed. I know, I know, that really isn't giving myself a chance to enjoy the full benefits of camping, such as waking up sore from sleeping on the hard ground.

I'll have you know that I tried one of each type of airbed in any Wal-Mart within a hundred miles of home. This one fit perfectly in my pup tent and when inflated it fit snugly against all the tent's inner walls. Not only was it comfortable, it kept me from having to carry extra blankets to sleep on.

Yes, Virginia, it's true. I know you've all heard that when you're sleeping on the ground you should put more blankets below you than over you, to keep the cold cold ground from freezing your ass during the night. Well all the ugly rumors are true, but if you use an airbed you don't have to bother about such. Besides, I didn't like waking up with sore spots.

I gathered some squaw wood and started a fire then, but not for warmth. Autumn in East Texas is not cold weather time, in fact it was barely cool enough to keep me from working up a sweat hiking out. I wanted the fire to warm supper.

After it was down to good coals, I put my grate across the strategically placed rocks, put my camping saucepan on the grate and poured in a can of Ranch Style Beans and a can of Wolf Brand Chili. As it was warming I put my small skillet beside it and scrambled three eggs.

It's a pain in the ass to carry eggs while hiking. You have to buy a special hard plastic egg crate or you'll end up with a mess in your pack. I had one of the crates though, and I guess I packed eggs just for my masochistic pleasure. After all, there's always the chance you'll stumble and fall and break the eggs anyway.

Alas, no bread with my supper. If I'd been riding, I'd have brought my Dutch oven and a few of those biscuits tubes from the dairy case, you know - the ones you hit against something and they pop open - but I wasn't riding so I hadn't brought the biscuit makings. It wasn't the actual biscuits that killed the deal; a Dutch oven is heavy, and I was walking, remember?

The sun was heading down by the time I'd eaten and cleaned up, so I unrolled my sleeping bag and got out of my clothes. Don't worry, I wasn't about to ruin my high dollar double size arctic sleeping bag. If you eat beans practically every day, like I do, they don't make you fart much at all, and I'm not silly enough to sleep without wearing my boxer briefs, just in case.

The arctic bag was overkill and I usually went to sleep with the top off to the side, pulling it over me in the night if I got cold. The Internet had informed me that mid fifties was the coldest I could possibly expect and that high fifties or low sixties were more likely. Chances were that I'd never even notice.

When I woke for a second, probably after midnight, and pulled the bag's top over me I didn't even think about it. It did occur to me that it sure seemed like it was colder than I'd been led to believe it would be. It didn't really disturb my sleep though.

My watch told me it was five fifteen AM when I finally woke to get up. I didn't do it right away though, the sun wouldn't be up for an hour or more and dammit, no matter what the Internet thought, it was cold.

It had seemed silly when I packed my Carhardts, a Pendelton shirt, and brought along a down jacket, but they were light, mostly, and I had. As I lay in my sleeping bag, I was glad I had and was also dreading having to get out and to my pack to find them after I dressed. I knew they were down at the bottom in the probably won't need this trip part of my pack, with my wool socks.

When the sun was up, I dressed for my trip to my pack and then got up and out. What the fuck, it was snowing and my first footprint showed me that there were already about two inches on the ground. I grabbed my pack, carried it in the tent and then sat down.

This was impossible. In this part of Texas it snowed in February, about two or three inches usually, every third or forth year. It did not snow in late October, any inches, ever. How could the Internet have been so wrong? Had nuclear winter come up overnight, without the bombs? But there was snow out there and it was cold and I had to deal with the facts on the ground.

My pack had to be unpacked, completely, to get at my warmer clothes. After only a few seconds consideration I striped back down to my briefs and put on my Browning knit long-underwear and worked my way out.

I didn't just put on my warmest clothes, I put on all my clothes, even changing to my insulated boots, they were half a size larger, so I could wear my cotton and wool socks at the same time. The only thing I didn't put on was my two-piece rain suit.

Back outside, I looked around and forgot completely about the snow. These were not the same woods I'd gone to bed in.

"How could you tell?" you might ask, "Trees are trees."

Trees might be trees to you, but these were not the trees that I had gone to bed among, one time professional lumberman that I was I could tell the difference. I'd camped in a scattering of maybe twenty to twenty-five oaks and probably five or six hickories. None of them more than twenty-four inches in diameter. From where I stood now I could easily see at least a hundred oaks and probably fifty hickories. They were so numerous that I could barely see any of the ubiquitous southern yellow pines that made up the majority of the timber in East Texas.

That was only the first clue. These oaks and hickories were all at least three feet in diameter and some even larger. The squaw wood I'd had to scrounge for last night was now apparent everywhere, not even covered by the, impossible to be falling snow, yet.

And the pines. Even from this distance, the pines I could see were giants, some of them looked to be probably five feet in diameter. There hadn't been any pines like that in Texas, anywhere, for a hundred years.

Something was dreadfully wrong and I didn't even feel a deep burning pain in my side. The only preparation for something like this that I'd ever had in my life was the old TV series "The Twilight Zone."

What do you do when you wake up and face a situation that is completely impossible? I didn't need to shit and I didn't want to go blind. I built my fire again to cook breakfast.

I wasn't worried about my beans or chili but I did fear for my eggs. I guess it hadn't been cold enough long enough to freeze them, but that wouldn't last. I scrambled six this morning and mixed them into the can of beans and the can of chili I warmed up, cursing bitterly now over the lack of biscuits.

After I'd eaten and cleaned up I packed my things, having already decided to cut this excursion short. My survivalist fantasy was shot to shit since it had become too damned near real for my taste. I packed up all my things, even taking the grate, the round point shovel and the yard broom that were here when I arrived. Backyard wanderer that I'd become, I had the same sort of permanent equipment scattered around at five or six little campsites. I took these back with me this time though, just in case. I didn't know what was happening, but I was worried.

I was going back home and I intended to give the Internet a piece of my mind for this travesty of weather forecasting, but all during the packing I wondered if my home would be where I'd left it.

It wasn't. My home wasn't there, my small barn wasn't there, the fence that kept my horse and mule penned up wasn't there and neither were my horse and mule. My garage with my 1976 Chevy half-ton four-wheel drive pickup was absent and so was the workshop and the little shed that I built specifically as a smithy so I could shoe my own horse and mule. Of course I'd only done it three times myself, but still, it was mine.

My DirectTV/DirectPC satellite dish wasn't there, and neither was my five hundred gallon butane tank nor my deep, tube, water well. Nothing was there, except more of the impossibly huge trees, all of them pine in this particular area.

Even though the woods around were changed, I knew I was at the right place. There'd been a small cave type opening in a nearby hillside and it was still there. Too damned bad it wasn't big enough to stay in.

I was worried now. Of course I would set off for the nearest little town, but with nothing at all, except for the hole in the hill, looking familiar - what was the chance the town would be there?

It wasn't really a town anyway. Just a crossroads gas station and store that didn't even sell gas anymore, and was only open sporadically to sell the few grocery items it kept now.

My first destination was my uncle's house, the uncle that didn't care much for me. Of course he was long dead, but the house his wife had nagged him into building when he was old enough to know better, Sunning Hill she'd named it, it was still there. Or it had been two days ago.

Probably a mile and a half later I saw that while the hill was still there, though not like it had looked the last time I'd seen it, Sunning Hill - the house - was not around. I walked to the top of it and the T&P Lake that had been behind it wasn't there either.

The T&P Lake had been made by damming a good stream that was still there. It had been made as a Mill Pond for the big sawmill my grandfather and his brother had built in the late eighteen hundreds. The lake was gone.

Luckily for me, when I'd taken up camping as a job I'd learned how to really use a compass. It was a Boy Scout model, in fact, and I knew how to find where the small town was. It was a damned good thing too, because along with everything else that wasn't here, Farm Road 248 wasn't here either.

I knew the town was about three miles from Sunning Hill, "as the crow flies" like they always say. I wasn't riding on crows but I knew I could go basically straight over the countryside. Especially with the lake absent. The railroad tracks were also absent, but they'd run pretty much straight to the town and railroads usually took the path of least resistance when they could.

As I'd expected the little town was nowhere to be seen. My next trick was eight miles nearly due north, my original hometown. I didn't really expect it to be there either, but it had been older than this tiny town and maybe that made a difference.

At any rate, I was walked out for the day. I found a few hardwoods, gathered some wood and built a fire. When I discovered that my eggs hadn't frozen after all, I declined chili tonight and had a can of beans and scrambled the rest of my eggs, mixing them together.

After I'd eaten I put up my tent, pumped up my airbed and got in. I brought everything into the tent except for the yard broom, the shovel and the grate. I even brought my axe and hatchet in, but I was so tired by that time that I may not have had a good reason to.

Breakfast was chili the next morning. I didn't even put it in my saucepan to heat it up. I opened the can, and after the fire was down to coals, I set the can near it. It was warm when I spooned it out and I didn't have to bother with cleaning anything up.

By now I was tired of lugging the shovel, rake and fire grate with me, but I wasn't about to leave them anywhere. If I never found anything like a town or other people they would come in handy. The weight wasn't really a problem either, since my pack's contents had been diminishing by a couple of cans of chili and beans a day, and the eggs were all inside me now. They'd probably be back outside me in a few hours.

If I didn't find my way out of this to somewhere, I'd be out of chili and beans in two more days and I'd have nothing left to eat except a few granola bars.

Packing things up, I headed north; while I walked I tried to think of what I'd eat when the chili and beans were gone. Meat looked like it would be easy to come by. I'd seen plenty of deer and a lot more squirrels. I hadn't even had to look for them. They seemed to be almost everywhere and they weren't as shy of me as they should have been. They weren't coming up and begging for treats or anything, but if I didn't try to get close they didn't panic.

As far as killing them for food was concerned it wouldn't be a problem. I'd been headed out to burn gunpowder in the first place. I had three bricks of 22 Long Rifle cartridges, fifteen hundred rounds, and a few in the rifle. For the Glock I'd brought six boxes of fifty and twenty in the weapon.

Of course a Glock was not an ideal weapon to take whitetail deer, but the Buckmaster was. I know that modern he-man hunters want to blast them with 7mm Remington Magnums and such, but a head shot with a 22 Long Rifle will down a whitetail almost every time. It isn't a legal weapon for them anywhere that I know of, but right about now I'd welcome being arrested by a Texas Fish and Wildlife officer.

I had a Redfield 4x12 variable big bore rifle type scope on my Buckmaster, and taking a whitetail with a head shot from a hundred yards or closer wasn't going to be a problem, especially with the numbers of them I'd been seeing.

I wasn't worried about meat, but I was nearly completely ignorant about anything else I might be able to find that was edible. I knew poke salad when I saw it, and I even knew to parboil it first to keep from poisoning myself. Trouble was, I didn't like it, and I've eaten many good cooks' rendition. I could eat it if I had to though, but there wouldn't even be any for months. You'd think a fantasy survivalist like myself would have studied the edible plants available in his area, but there you go, or here I was.

Thankfully it didn't look like I was going to have trouble finding the "Wild Hickory Nuts" that Euell Gibbons raved about, and I even knew how to crush up acorns and leech the bitter out of them, but still. Where in hell was I going to find a chicken fried steak if I couldn't locate a town. I wouldn't miss Big Macs or Taco Bell Burritos but I was going to miss real food.

The bare truth was, though I hate to admit it, I don't even like venison that much. There, I've said it. It's a bother to keep the wild taste out and it is usually tough as boot leather if you don't pamper it while cooking. I didn't think that roasting it over an open fire on a stick was going to do it all that much good, and I knew it would be rough out of a skillet or a saucepan, since I had practically nothing to season it with. My salt supply was under half a pound and pepper was one small can.

And so I grumbled and groused my way toward the site of my hometown. I was sure I'd found it when I came to Black Bayou, or its floodplain rather. I could see the bayou but I didn't see any point in trying to cross it.

The bridge on Highway 43 wasn't there, probably because Highway 43 wasn't there. I could get across the Bayou if I had to, but why bother? It was apparent that there was no sign of life anywhere in sight, except for wildlife. At least I recalled fishing as a way to get food when I saw the bayou. I could remember seeing people fishing in it pretty much all my life.

That made me remember I didn't have any fishing tackle because I didn't like to fish. I don't think I had one fish hook, and I knew I didn't have any line. Well, I'd left several bean and chili cans where they lay behind me, it wouldn't be impossible to make a hook from the metal with my hatchet. Cutting a fishing pole wouldn't require over twenty seconds. I'd think up something for the line.

I just turned around before I even got my feet muddy and headed back in my tracks. The snow had been falling on and off since I first woke yesterday morning and found it. My tracks were apparent and I could be sure to find the places I'd camped and easily retrieve my cans. About an hour later I gave the trip up as a bad job for today.

I'd come probably seven miles from where I stopped last night and I was tired. Walking seven miles on a flat surface like a road is one thing, but moving seven miles through the woods is something else. I'd been happy to know that my tracks in the snow would lead me right back the way I'd come, but they wouldn't.

By the time I'd made a mile in my reversed course I could already tell that snow was filling my tracks, and even if I kept on until dark I wouldn't make it back. I'd just have to hope I could find the place again. One thing was plain to me now. I was getting to live my fantasy of survival; it wasn't an idle dream anymore. Funny, I wasn't enjoying it as much as I'd thought I would.

One can of chili tonight and one more for later. There were still three cans of beans left. If I cut back I could go five more days before I had to get some food on my own. I wasn't really worried though.

The next morning I had beans for breakfast and saw that the snow had stopped. It must have done it not long after I went to bed. I warmed up a can of beans, ate them, packed up - packing the empty cans and their lids this time - and set off.

The end of the snowing had come in time to leave me enough of my tracks to find my earlier camp. I picked up the cans and lids and kept on trucking. By trying to pick up the pace a little I was back to my home site, or former home site, or maybe even future home site with all cans accounted for by sundown. The only cans I was missing now were the ones I'd left at the site I was using when the shit hit the fan, and I could find them easily tomorrow, tracks or no tracks.

Settling in for the night after my last can of chili, I wondered what in the hell could possibly have happened until I fell asleep. Sometime during the night I had a dream, it was the first one I could remember since the snow and it was only four numerals, black on a white background. It was nothing like my normal dreams, since I wasn't even in it. It was just a white background with 1309 on it in black numerals.

The next morning I knew that I was where I'd always been, area wise, and that the year was 1309. Of course I could be wrong but I didn't think I was. Something, or someone, had moved me and a very few of my possessions back in time.

That was clearly impossible but so was my situation. The evidence all supported the thought. This was still East Texas but there was no one here. There might be a few Caddo Indians, but if my memory was right there couldn't be but a few, maybe straying this far west to hunt or something.

If it was 1309 I was in for a long lonesome life, if it was long that is. I was already nearing sixty and it was plain that I wouldn't be finding any medical help if something went wrong. Oh well, that was something I needn't worry about, since there was not one fucking thing I could do about it.

I got up, dressed, and warmed a can of beans. I didn't bother taking down my tent but I did put my pack on. I'd used the shovel to dig a shallow hole for my saved cans and then wrestled a big iron ore rock over it as cover. It would piss me off if some little animal ran off with them to lick the insides clean. All I carried in my hands was the Buckmaster.

I found my first campsite with no trouble and my empty cans were undisturbed. Of course I'd washed them out before discarding them, so there wouldn't have been any attraction. That's probably what I should have done with those back at my old home site instead of fucking with a hole and a big rock.

With the cans in my possession I started back, but decided to check on one of my other usual camping places. I was delighted when I found it. The rake, shovel, and the two-pound sledge I'd left there were still present, though the tree they'd been leaned against wasn't. There was a hell of a lot bigger tree about ten feet away though.

With hope in my heart I headed for the place I usually cut my firewood for the small wood heater that had been in my home. The bunch of small hardwoods probably weren't there but I'd left a few things there too.

No matter about that, the double bit axe, splitting maul, ten pound sledge and four wedges I kept there in a four foot long box made of two by twelves were still there, looking exactly like they had when I'd seen them last August. It was just too damned bad that I hadn't left my chain saw with them. I could distinctly remember thinking about doing just that.

I had two more small tool caches but I didn't head for them. Getting this damned box back was going to be a bitch. At least I'd put a stout rope handle in each end when I made it. It was trouble enough carrying it up on my back by the handle and trying to carry the Buckmaster in the other. With several rest stops it took nearly four hours to get home and I'd had to leave the shovels and rakes where the box had been.

When I got back to my home site, I moved the rock, retrieved the empty cans, replaced the rock and walked to the nearby stream, my water supply now, and washed out the cans. After they were dry I put them in the box with everything else that would fit and put three heavy, if a lot smaller than the other one, rocks on it.

Supper that night was my last can of Wolf Brand Chili. I had five granola bars for tomorrow and I was going to have to kill something or starve.

Mostly out of food or not, the next morning I headed back for the other tools that I hoped were still there. They were, not only the ones I'd left at the box's site, but the other's too. I was especially happy to find the ballpean hammer and thousand yard roll of small nylon cord that I'd forgotten about leaving. I knew about the mattock and the ditch bank blade but I was happy to have them too.

I was back, with everything, three hours before sunset. I'd limited myself to three granola bars during the day. I had two for tomorrow and that was it, except for the vitamin pills and Bayer aspirin in my first aid kit.

I wasn't going to start any hunting trip this late in the day, but I did dig out my laundry bag and go for some of Euell's best. The squirrels had done a number on them but I still found about ten pounds or so pretty easily. Of course with ten pounds of nuts there isn't so much nutmeat. They were enough to keep my stomach from singing though, but Euell had praised them way too highly to my way of thinking.

Still, I was beginning to think that I might be able to survive after all. Meat wasn't a problem and hickory nuts weren't the only kind around here. There were walnuts and even pecans, even if they were only wild pecans and nothing like the hybrids you probably think of when and if you think of pecans.

I thought I also remembered that corn was native to North America but I was pretty hazy on those details. I knew there must be other edible plants besides poke salad, but I didn't know which ones were which, what they looked like or where, specifically, in North America they were. I'd probably have a long time to find out.

The next morning, with everything put away that I was going to put away and after eating my last two granola bars, I went hunting. It was anticlimactic actually. I walked about three hundred yards from my camp, sat on a big rock that an even bigger tree was growing against and waited.

Within an hour I saw a buck strolling through, nibbling on the occasional acorn and snacking on a tuft of grass here and there and every now and then he'd see a bush he thought looked tasty and stop to browse a few leaves.

Maybe a hundred and fifty yard in his wake three does were doing generally the same and there were three fawns trailing them. The fawns were not small, they were from this past spring but the pickings had been good to them. They were nearly plump and they looked tasty.

I raised the Buckmaster and looked through the Redfield, not at the buck, but at the biggest doe. I let her have it, right in the head, while she was nibbling on one of the tufts of grass the buck had bypassed.

The rest of them were alarmed at once, but they didn't spot me. All the same they raised the flag they're named for in a couple of seconds and made their escape. I didn't intend to kill more than one anyway.

They'd all run off, except for the one I'd shot of course, and I was still sitting still to make sure she was dead and wouldn't jump up after she gathered her senses like I'd seen several head shot deer do when they're hit with a 22 and the shot isn't as good as the hunter thought.

Her fawn came back not two minutes later, looking for her. What the hell, I didn't need that much meat right now but it couldn't hurt anything. I took the fawn too and congratulated myself because I figured its meat would be more tender.

I had to tie my only length of nylon rope around a neck at each end and then pulled the center up to my waist and drag them back home. I cursed much of the way, but got over it.

Without enough rope, I had to hang and gut them one at a time. I started to just throw away the hearts, livers and kidneys but I had a sheet of visqueen folded up in my pack, about eight by ten, and so I kept the organs that were possibly edible.

After they were both field dressed, I started in skinning the doe. I missed my pickup awfully during this trying time. Here to fore, on the occasions I'd skinned deer, I'd peeled enough of the neck for a good flap and tied a smooth rock in it. After removing the feet and tracing along the legs and down the underbody and removing the tail, I'd chain the front legs to a tree and attach the rope that was tying the rock into the neck skin to my pickup's winch line and then peel the whole hide off without any sweat.

I was back to the old fashioned way now, pulling, and pulling, and pulling, and then pulling some more. My hands and arms were sore by the time the deer were naked, and I still had to cut them up.

Cutting up a carcass with only a hatchet and a good sharp knife or two isn't all the fun you might think. I settled for quartering the doe and cutting the fawn into easily cookable sizes. I wished a lot for my big cast iron kettle that I could have made a fine stew in, but it was two forked sticks and one long one and a roasting we shall go for me. At least I'd found a hickory deadfall that had some limbs small enough to cut and break up for the fire and its smoke did give the fawn a pretty good flavor.

The custom made welded smoker, made from a hundred and fifty gallon butane tank, that had been sitting right beside my garage would have done much better but if wishes could bring me things I'd wish for my horse and my mule; not necessarily in that order.

I knew I couldn't sleep tonight, because if I did my meat would be gone tomorrow, no doubt. I dragged up firewood until it got dark and kept two fires going all night to keep the scavengers away. The only part of the deer or fawn that I didn't hang on a handy branch was the leg quarter I'd roasted. I still killed two coyotes, a wolf, a weasel and a badger during the night.

I'm sure I would have dropped off to sleep if I hadn't made a pot of coffee out of my ever so precious but short supply. Since this deal went down I had resisted the temptation, but I needed it tonight. I hated to think what I was going to do when I needed some after it ran out. I only had part of a one-pound can.

After the sun came back I had a minor brainstorm, thankfully it didn't do any damage. The almost cave that I'd used to make sure of my location could serve as a storage place for my meat at night if I could block up the front. It shouldn't be too hard.

I'd always thought of it as a cave because the entrance wasn't nearly as big as the rest of it, but that wasn't saying much. The entrance was roughly thirty inches in diameter and crudely almost round. It made the world's shortest tunnel, all two feet of it, back to a small room that was about four feet wide by three feet deep and a surprising five feet high, more or less. The gist of it was that I only had to cover about a three-foot entrance.

My first step was cleaning it out with one of my two yard brooms. Door material was next. The big rock would have been perfect but it wasn't quite large enough and would fall over. I hoped I could find one that was large enough later, but for now I went to where the pines were encroaching on the hardwoods and found two pines that were about ten inches in diameter. Even with the double bit axe they were a job to get down. I tried not to think of the Stihl 880 chainsaw that was in my garage.

The pines were too damned heavy to drag up whole, so I started at the big ends and cut them into four-foot sections. An hour later I had four pieces and carried them to the cave. I fucked with them until I had them stacked on top of each other and they did close the cave completely. I spent the rest of the day, except for the time I spent dining on Bambi, finding large rocks to pile up against the cave's "door." Tomorrow I'd try to figure out something better.

I had made one wonderful discovery while looking for big rocks. I found a really odd one that was nearly buried. I went back to it, shovel in hand, after I felt my food was secured. The thing that made it seem so odd was its fairly smooth and rounded surface.

After it was completely unearthed, it was nearly two feet long and about half that wide. Most of it had been buried. Holding my compass near it showed that it was some type of iron or steel and I decided it must be a meteorite, and a nice smooth one at that, numerous regmaglypts would have made it less useful.

In my opinion I now had a perfectly serviceable anvil. Getting it back to camp was not very easy but I was still happy to have it. A couple of weeks ago I wouldn't have been impressed with a fairly smooth rock. I piled it on the stack holding my meat locker's door closed.

I built a fire again and warmed the last of Bambi's right rear quarter. It was still good, but I'd learned from my roasting. Deer never had much fat on them but Bambi had been better than an adult. Before I roasted any more of him I was going to try trimming off some fat. I would need it when I tried cooking the heart, liver and kidneys. Bacon grease was not available.

With diligent work the next morning I was able to cut about half a pound of fat off Bambi's other rear quarter. I set the haunch to roasting and saved the fat in my saucepan. I'd started breakfast a little late so I was forced to cut off slices as they cooked to keep away that hollow feeling.

I hadn't stayed up last night to shoot the thieves but I could see they knew where the spoils were even if they couldn't get to them. There were tracks all around my cave's new entrance and there had been more than a little digging going on. Nothing had made any real progress though and I piled more rocks around during the day.

I decided that a brace and bit was one of the things I most wished I had. With one I could have bored holes in smaller pines and driven split off hardwood spikes through them and into the bigger door logs and made one solid door. No matter what I got up to, I kept thinking of things I'd had at home that would have made it much easier. It grated when I realized how far away I was, technology wise, from where I had been. And that was just for the simple hand tools. I swear I'd kill for a five and a half point handsaw.

Even though I was well on my way to getting set up for survival it seemed I was pretty much losing interest in going on. What was the point? All that I could see ahead was patching up a subsistence living and most of that a pain in the ass. Camping and playing at survivalist had been fun when my life didn't depend on it, and even though I didn't like being around people that much, I could go and find someone to talk to whenever I wanted to.

Being stuck here, wherever or whenever it was just didn't do it for me. I mean you can only take so much of giant pine trees before they get to be old hat. Maybe I was feeling sorry for myself but fuck it, I thought I had a right to. I decided to try to just hang on for one more day and see if I felt better tomorrow.

I didn't, but I warmed up some meat and ate. I decided to give frying some liver a try and it was about what I'd expected. I got it cooked and then didn't like the taste. I choked it down though and since I was at it I cooked up the rest. Since the fire was still hot I cut up and fried the kidneys too and then the hearts. None of it tasted very good but it was edible and I thought it might have something in it that I needed and wasn't getting from the meat.

I remembered my vitamin pills then, fished out the first aid kit and took one. I figured it was grasping at straws but I had to try something. The trouble was I just didn't feel like doing a damned thing. I had actually considered shooting myself in the head with my Glock yesterday.

I knew thinking about all the things back at my real home, whenever it was, was getting me down, but I couldn't seem to stop. It was almost like it was gnawing at me. I broke down and made a pot of coffee and made myself forget about what things would be like when it was gone.

Finally, I'd had it. I was fucked here and I was tired of it and I didn't want to play anymore. I sat on the short log outside my tent, pulled the Glock and put it to my temple. When I pulled the trigger nothing happened.

I was almost sure I had one up the spout, and I jacked the slide to check and sure enough a cartridge ejected and I could see another one slide home. I picked up the one that had come out and looked at it. The primer wasn't dented. Great, somehow I'd fucked up my Glock. I pointed it half assed at a big oak, pulled the trigger again and it bellowed.

I couldn't figure that out but it was working now and I put it to my temple and pulled the trigger again.

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