Here’s some short fiction.
by Jack Cameron
The cow wouldn’t die. Glenn and I are target shooting and a ricochet hit it. It’s head turns. It seems to groan a little and then it falls down. Just as we get over to the damn thing, it gets up. We both figure it would be best if we put it out of it’s misery. I aim the shotgun. There’s a reason no one hunts cows. They’re too stupid. There aren’t many animals you can point a gun at and they just stare at you. It barely seems fair. I remind myself it’s for the best.
Buckshot all over the cows face. No blood. Not a drop of blood. “Holy shit, man.” Glenn has a gift for profanity. The cow keeps staring at us as if it wonders what we are going to do next. Glenn walks over to the side of the cow and finds the bullet he hit her with. It is just slightly imbedded in her skin. Glenn pulls it out. “Jesus fucking Christ.”
I don’t know what to say. I know that the farmer who owns this place is gone. If he wasn’t, he would have come out when we first started shooting. We came out here to fire off Glenn’s gun collection at a bunch of old television sets. We loaded up the guns (three pistols, two rifles, and a shotgun), bought some old broken TVs from a couple of thrift stores, and a case of beer. This is our way of letting off steam. We aren’t the sort that plays raquet ball. Glenn drops his rifle that he’d hit the cow with and pulls out his pistol. “Fuck you, cow!”
Glenn fires again and again. The cow doesn’t even flinch. I begin to wonder why it had fallen down in the first place. It’s then that it occurs to me that maybe the cow didn’t fallen at all. Maybe it just sat down.
Glenn loses it. He’s emptied his pistol. I’d shot it at almost point blank range with a shot gun. He’d hit it with his rifle. Now he is hitting it with his fists. I just stare at the animal. It just stares at me. I can understand where Glenn was coming from. When you shoot an animal, it usually dies. If it doesn’t die, it at least has the courtesy to bleed. This makes no sense. Glenn is not the kind of person that believes in things like unkillable cows.
Neither do I really. It’s just that I’ve seen enough strange things in my life that I don’t go nuts and unload my pistol when I can’t figure something out. People say that I’m smarter than Glenn, but they’re wrong. I’m just a different kind of smart. Let me tell you, if your car breaks down, you want Glenn with you and not me. However, when your cow won’t die, I wouldn’t recommend bringing Glenn to help.
It occurs to me that maybe this isn’t a problem. We’d walked over to put the cow down after we thought we had wounded it. It’s clear that the cow isn’t wounded. Let’s go back to shooting TVs.
But it doesn’t work that way. Glenn has stopped hitting the cow and is now just staring at it. He begins to cry. He puts his pistol back in the holster and picks up his rifle. He starts walking away.
“Hey, Glenn…” I don’t get a chance to say anything else before Glenn is screaming at the top of his lungs. He drops the rifle again and runs at the cow, who has started to eat some grass. Glenn hits it like a wall. The cow doesn’t move and after he falls, neither does Glenn. I watch him lay there and I begin to wonder if he’s seriously hurt. I can invision trying to explain this one to the emergency room doctor: “Well, you see he had been trying to kill this cow that he shot…” Somehow I just don’t think that would work.
I walk over and see Glenn is still conscious and he’s started crying again. I’m not sure how to deal with this. I’ve been through a divorce, my dad dying, five or six car accidents, getting stabbed in a bar in New Orleans, and accidentally shooting my best friend Jerry in the arm with a flare gun, but nothing has prepared me to deal with Glenn having a mental breakdown next to an immortal cow.
“You ok, Glenn?” Stupid question, but it’s the only thing I can think to ask.
“What the fuck, man. Do we need a goddamn bazooka?”
“Hey, what if we just go home?”
“We don’t need to kill the cow. That’s not even why we were here in the first place.”
“You think we should just leave it here?”
He seems to be coming around.
“Yes. I think we should just leave it here. A cow in a field. Sounds good to me. Besides, even if you manage to kill it, it won’t fit in my Dodge Neon.”
Glenn finally laughs. He gets up and stares at the cow. Glenn looks at me. “Why won’t it die? Why? We shot it. I hit it. I tried to charge it. Maybe we should hit it with your car.”
We walk away from the cow and gather up the ammunition and the rest of the guns. It’s dark by the time we’re ready to go. We both look at the cow. We can see the cow look at us.
“Can we hit it?”
“No, Glenn. If I hit that thing with my car, it’d probably fucking explode and I don’t think ‘cow collision’ is covered by my insurance.”