There she lays, the Beast from the East, the Woods’ Hunger, Murder-Tusk, and a half dozen other names thought up to scare children and make housewives shudder. After seven years of failed hunts it’s the Young posse that brought the monster low.
Pulls his pad of paper out, licks the tip of his pencil, “Tell me how you did it. Why you boys? What’d you do different than the others? How’d you track her down? You sure it’s a her? You…ah”—nervous chuckle—”checked, eh?” shoots his questions off like a firing squad.
Arthur Young works the wad in his lower lip, sucks, spits. “You talk fast, slicker.”
“Ah, ha-ha, well you know how it is in the big city fast—”
“Never been to the city. Haven’t a clue how it is.”
“Right, well, tell me about the tactics employed to reconnoitered these near impenetrable woodlands.”
“Re..Recon—the fuck’re you saying?” grunts a laugh. “He speaking English? How the…Hey, slicker. How the hell do you ever get anything written in that paper of yours talkin’ that way? You want answers to what I suspect are ill-formed questions you’ll have to speak plain. Talk to me like I’m a dim-witted child, uh?”
Not far from the truth if outward presentation is to be considered and believed. “I’ll do my best.” Taps the pad of paper, “How did you find it? This monster.”
“Followed its tracks, hard to miss if you’re not blind. You see the size of this thing?” Arthur laughs and the rest of the posse cackles.
“Mmhm, mhm, well how come it took seven years? Let me rephra…Let me try again. How come no one else could track her?”
“Not that she couldn’t be found, plenty of folks tracked her. You see these spears? Savages have been hunting her for years. Countless bullets in her you can’t see, scars hidden by the fur. How come we were able to kill her?” shrugs. “That’d be Tom’s doing.” Jabs a thumb towards a man with a trio of dogs.
“Tom?” the reporter asks.
“What’d you do all the others couldn’t?”
“Not sure they couldn’t, but they didn’t. Poison and my dogs.”
“That’s right. Worked up a concoction that would kill a dozen horses, but only tired this here monster. Figured it wouldn’t kill her, so that’s where the dogs came in,” Tom says. The reporter’s eyes narrow, not following. “Posse and I spread out through the woods here taking shots at her, each bullet coated in poison. My dogs chased her away from anyone she got too close to.”
“This great hog was scared of your little pups? I find that hard to beli—”
Tom chuckles, “She didn’t see no pups.”
“How’s that now?”
“That poison wasn’t just a killer. In small doses it’ll give you visions. Lord Almighty only knows what she saw chasing her. Dragons, horrors beyond imagining, I haven’t a clue. Three hours of that chasing and shooting and she wore herself out. Heart probably exploded,” turns his palms up, shrugs.
“What’ll you do now? Cut her up and feed the camp for the next half year?”
“On this meat?” Arthur guffaws. “Didn’t you just hear what Tom said? She’s been poisoned, you want to lose your mind eating her? You go right on ahead, slicker. We’ll watch.”
“Well, no…No, thank you. I think I’ll head on back and type this up. Thank you for your time.”
“Oh sure, you bet.” Arthur says. “And if you change your mind about wanting some of this meat you just let us know. We’ll be more than happy to witness your decent into madness.” The posse hoots and hollers as the reporter returns the way he came.