About the last thing I remember, we were standing around that dead elk in Canada, you and me and One Eye and the triplets. You were laying out the meal at the south end of dinner, and I was leaving a message for those brain-dead coyotes on a pine tree. Then there was this loud whomping noise out of the sky that knocked me over, and when I got up and saw what was coming down I started to run.
Big mistake. Whatever it was, it
roared and spun around and flashed in the sun, bobbing up and down
and cutting sideways in a way that wasn't natural, even for an
antelope. It swooped down at me, and something slammed into my
shoulder. From there on, things get pretty fuzzed
I went, like, totally limp, and the
big-metal-insect-or-whatever thing came down out of the sky, and I
was being lifted, lifted, up into the air. The next thing I knew I
was in a strange den, metal all around, strange scritchy surfaces,
bright lights, voices that were high and squeaky but not really
I could feel things being stuck into me.
In places I don't want to mention. And it gets
You know those hairless animal tales?
The stories Grandpa used to tell over and over about the wolf who
tried to keep nature in balance by bringing down an old, decrepit
hairless female on two legs; and how he was sleeping it off when a
screechy little one with a loose red skin came after him? And how
he was found later, cut open, but not eaten? It always gave me the
shivers when Grandpa got to that part.
used to tell me to lighten up, not to swallow those old folk tales.
But here's the thing, Mom. Grandpa was right! I guess my friends
and I - well, you know how it is, you think you know everything
when you're one; we just lived too deep in the woods, you might
say. Now I've seen the hairless ones. They only come out in the
daytime, that's part of the trick. And they hide in these whizzing
metal things; and they wear lots of skins, which I would, too, if I
was hairless. But they're real. It explains a lot of things. I
mean, think about the cattle we've mutilated. If an animal that
stupid can exist and survive, anything's possible,
Anyway, there I was in this metal room
with the hairless ones. Totally grogged. This is for real. It was
hard to see, the lights were so bright. Strange smells - stinky,
really. They gave me some kind of drug thing, I'm sure. I'm
embarrassed to say my tongue was hanging out - I was too weak to
pull it back. Then I passed out again.
some nut case. You know that, Mom. For three years I've kept my
nose clean, followed the alpha wolf, helped bring down the elk and
kept my tail between my legs until the grownups had eaten. I didn't
howl when it wasn't appropriate, and I never hung around with dogs
or any other weirdos.
When I came to, I was in a
new forest. The surrounding country was really fine, quite similar
to where I grew up, except that in this new place we were in a
cage, six of us, including a couple of friends of mine from Alberta
- you remember Wet Nose? (He still does that sicko licking thing.)
Nobody said anything about the gizmos out of the sky, or the
hairless ones, not at first. I mean, we were in a cage, and you
don't want anyone thinking you're crazy. Who would believe? But the
weird stuff just kept happening.
every now and then a carcass would appear - an elk, usually,
sometimes a deer, a rotty old bison once. Like it just fell out of
the sky, dead? I had the feeling that someone was watching us. Call
me paranoid, but I wasn't the only one.
morning I saw Wet Nose licking (of course) this red spot, this
puncture, inside his leg. Hey, I had one, too! And for a while we
pretended we didn't notice these things around our necks, but we
all had them. You couldn't get them off, either, and you could be
mistaken for a dog wearing them. So finally, we came clean with
each other. And it turned out we'd all been through the same
Then we saw them again - the hairless
ones. They opened the doors to the cage. Of course, we didn't go
out - but after awhile the carcasses weren't showing up very often,
so we sniffed around a little bit. Once we were out, we started
exploring. Every now and then, in the distance, we'd see the weird
metal ships skimming along the ground, stopping, disgorging
hairless ones. We kept our distance. We tried to live normal lives,
but they were watching us. You must think I'm
And that's why I'm writing. I really
think, Mom, you ought to come down, and bring the triplets. Now you
must really think I'm crazy. But here's the deal. There's room
here. We're talking lots. I haven't seen a second pack since I
landed, not another son of a bitch for
Besides, it's nice country. Creeks,
mountains, trees that nobody else has marked except a few mangy
coyotes. There's a down side, sure. Every now and then the hairless
ones show up and grab one of the gang.
getting a little old. Same old stories - pricked and handled and
carried off - but so far, they've always brought us
Here's the best reason to come on down:
Elk. There are lots of them. Breakfast, lunch and dinner walking
around with an "Eat me!" sign. Some of these elk are almost as
stupid as cows, like they'd never seen a predator before. It's so
easy, we haven't even had to look twice at these other hairy, humpy
animals walking around - but I'm thinking, dumb and
Plus, Mom, I've been thinking about
heading off to check out some other places around here on my own,
and, you know, it'd be nice to have some help. I'm not asking you
to wash me, or do the hunting, but a little company would be nice.
I mean, Wet Nose is an okay alpha, but he's really getting on my
Geoff O'Gara usually writes serious stuff
in Lander, Wyoming.