There's a reason you never saw a single living pig around Snow Job.
Shane handed it to me and I pulled at every part that looked like it could move. The clip dropped out, bounced harmlessly off my leg and fell from the helicopter. He took my gun away, reloaded it and handed it back.
"Here. Don't do anything except aim and pull that trigger there."
The helicopter dropped in low over a group of panicked hogs. They were tinier than I expected, no tusks or bristling fur. The enemy was disguising itself as adorable. Shane nodded to me that I was allowed to shoot them now. I raised the gun, closed my eyes for safety and squeezed the trigger. The gun kicked and I felt its hot breath in my face.
Regret hit me immediately. I realized at once that I had made a horrible mistake. I had wasted my entire life nurturing other skill sets when I could have been doing this the whole time. It was awesome.
I opened my eyes and looked for corpses. "How many did I kill?"
"Zero. But you really gave the horizon something to think about." Shane raised his rifle and shot down four of the hogs with as many bullets. I poked my gun out of the chopper again and shot everything: trees, clouds, the sun. I was really good at this. I could feel the baser, more instinctual side of me start to take over. That dormant piece of my heart left over from the Stone Age that longed to hunt and kill something, anything, with a semiautomatic carbine from a helicopter.
Since time immemorial.
After about five minutes, my shoulder hurt so I just watched Shane knock over pigs. He switched firing hands to prove he could and started only hitting the hogs that were more than a hundred yards away. He had apparently become so numb to the thrill of shooting stuff that he needed to handicap himself. But my bloodlust was fresh and it could not be quelled. Full of adrenaline, I needed to keep killing, or at the very least, I needed Shane to keep killing on my behalf. He asked me to point out which pigs I wanted him to shoot, hoping I'd give him a challenge.
"The pink ones with a medium build, preferably female," I said, scouring the fields for one that met that description.
Shane paused and turned to face me. "What?"
"I don't know, it just feels right. I think they might be my serial type."
Shane sighed loud enough that I could hear it over the blades. "You're ... That's not what this is about. You're ruining it."
"Hey, when do we get to see the bodies up close? I'd like to replace some of their eyes with mirror shards if that's OK."
"Also, how are you at sewing?"
"No, it's not OK." He dropped the barrel of his gun and signaled for the pilot to head home without taking his eyes off me.
Dammit. We had been getting along so well too. Somehow in my excitement I had taken the fun out of spraying bullets at families of pigs and made it shameful instead. Shane just stared at the floor of the cockpit, shaking his head and refused to speak to me the whole way home. That's the thing about best friends, they can spend hours with each not saying a word and it won't be weird.
I let Shane have some time to himself and watched the long shadows over the desert. As my heartbeat slowed, I tried to identify what it was about the great outdoors that meant so much to guys like us. It went deeper than just the fresh air or being one with the backcountry, but I couldn't isolate it. From the corner of my eye I noticed Shane quietly raise his rifle, put a bead on a coyote in the distance and drop it with one shot under the sunset.
It was the beauty we were after. All we wanted was to witness those ephemeral moments built by Mother Nature at her best, moments no one else would ever see before they were gone forever. And maybe, assuming we were within range, the opportunity to shoot them in the head.
"I'm going to write the best thank you card you've ever seen!"
You can follow Soren's detailed exploration into the pros and cons of pocket knives on Twitter.
For more of Soren's attempts to blend in with society, check out My Ill-Fated Attempt to Save a 'Suicide Girl' and Oh Canada: Exploring America's Majestic, Pointless Neighbor.
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