Saturday, October 2, 2010


Some animal was out of control on Vancouver Island, wreaking havoc on suburban gardens.  Shrubs had been nibbled.  Vegetables eaten.  Prize strawberries consumed. Nothing was safe from this wild predator. 

Strangely, ominous music played whenever it was about to appear.

A wildlife expert named Cooper accompanied me and closely examined some chewed up bits of vegetation - all that remained from the latest attack.  When he finished he tore off his glasses and remarked “This was no field mouse.  It wasn’t a Rototiller either.  It was an ungulate!”

Residents held a town hall meeting to see what could be done about it.  Tempers were flaring and people were yelling back and forth when an ungodly screech sounded.

People fell silent, the crowd parted, and there at the back of the room was a weathered man slowly scraping a set of deer antlers down a blackboard.  He was seated, munching on a cracker, an old, orange ball cap on his head. 

“I’ll catch this deer for ya." he said.  "But it ain’t gonna be easy.  It’s a bad deer – a rogue.  Not like going down to the petting zoo and giving his ears a scratch.  This deer – he’ll swallow your strawberries whole.  And your cedar trees.  We’ve gotta do it quick if you don’t want to miss out on the farmers market season.  You’ll have to ante up if you want to save your berries and herbs.  If you want to go cheap you’ll all be on welfare the whole winter.”

As Police Chief I had to reply.  “We’ve got a budget of two thousand dollars Mr…what did you say your name was Mister?”

“Quaint.  The name’s Quaint.   I value my neck at a lot more than two thousand bucks, Chief.  I’ll catch him for two.  But I’ll gently tranquilize and transport him up island and organically release him for ten.  Ten thousand dollars – fluffy white tail and everything, all wrapped up with a cute bow on top.”

He stood, smiled knowingly, and walked out.

We knew we had to use him.  The other proposed methods, such as issuing strongly worded letters or introducing predators into the area, would not work.  It was ludicrous to think that bringing bears and coyotes into Oak Bay would work any better than the lawyers and lobbyists already living there

So it was that I found myself loading up a truck with supplies – food, sleeping bags, tent, ribbons, wrapping.  The wildlife guy, Cooper, brought along some fancy schmancy tracking gear.  Later, we hunkered down in a sea of grass on the edge of the city.  

I was throwing out handfuls of grain to draw our prey in closer.  In mid-fling I turned and there he was.  Two feet tall at the shoulder, huge, inch-high, fuzzy antler nubs towering over his head, big brown eyes, pale spots running down his side.  A butterfly circled his head and landed on his nose. 

This was our quarry.  This was our mythic whale, our great white shark, our living metaphor for everything wrong with our consumer society, and everything right about a hundred mile diet being destroyed by marauding ungulates, all somehow written into a strange and confusing analogy. 

It was…Bambi.

I lurched upright and walked slowly back towards my comrades. “We’re going to need a bigger bow,” I said numbly.

Cooper and Quaint sprang into action.  Cooper gently but firmly tied a tracking device around the animal’s neck.  Quaint took quick aim and shot several hundred photos of the beast.  Some of them missed, but some were good enough for a stock photo agency. 

That night, after telling several amusing scar stories, we went home.  We all have kids so there’s no way we’re touching Bambi or his ilk.  We’d be killed instantly.  Are you kidding me? 

Tough beans about your gardens, people.  Maybe put up a fence or something.

The End.

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