I’d just hung the deer by its neck on the swingset for skinning and butchering when..... "Oh Hum-BERTO! Puh-LEAZE!”
I looked over and it was our new neighbor Freddie, wailing from his patio door, his face a mask of horror and disgust. "Humberto! How COULD YOU? Why that’s AWFUL!”
Freddie moved here recently from San Francisco. People didn’t skin deer in their backyards there. Freddie used to open his back door, prance to the fence, and discuss the screen and stage with fellow wine sniffers. Now he opens his back door and finds an assassinated deer dangling with its tongue hanging out, and some guy in blood-spattered camo slashing at it with a skinning knife, between swigs from a sixteen-ounce Brewskie encased in crumpled bag.
I looked over after a hearty swig. "How could?” I belched. "How could I? It’s easy, Fred.” I wiped my bloody finger on my pants, held it aloft and curled it. "You do this,” then made trigger-pulling motions. "See Fred? See you easy? Bet even you could do it Freddie my boy. You’re good with your fingers aren’t ya? Aren’t...?”
"Oh! You... you...YOU!” —SLAM!
Good riddance. Then the door opens again and my wife, Shirley, storms out. "Haven’t I told you to do that SOMEPLACE ELSE? My GOODNESS! Can’t you... OH WHY BOTHER!” —SLAM!
Shirley’s always having coffee with Freddie. They get along famously. He’s a designer of some kind, designs Mardi Gras floats in fact. Always happens that way: straight women and gay men get along. Straight men and gay women.... well--I've never seen much of it.
But I was in no mood for sociological reflection. I was still giddy from the ego-buzz of a successful hunt.
Five hours later--sure enough-- there's Freddie's distinctive knock. I opened and he dangled a bottle of wine from hand. Freddie looked primed to rip into the braised backstrap of the deer he denounced me for assassinating. Shirley had--naturally--invited him over for dinner.
"Monica!” Freddie called to my daughter upstairs. "Dinner’s served. Hurry before it gets cold.” Monica was home from LSU for the holidays. They get along well. Freddie helped pick her prom dress, did her hair, suggested a restaurant—the whole bit.
"Like your meat warm, do ya Freddie?” I said while pouring a hefty glass from his Chateau- something- or-other.
"Sure,” he twinkled. "Doesn’t everyone?”
"Of course we do!” I said while raising the wineglass.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.