He shook his head, drooped his head some, and looked sad.
“I’m a hunter,” he said. He reached out and pulled his chips back He stood up. “I’m going to the rest room,” he said and strode off into the people wandering around.
The game moved along for a while and we neither one said anything. “Standing on the other side of the clearing was a little deer – a fawn. It happened again recently and it’s really bothered me. It was a dead deer. They’d started playing a game that she knew nothing about and had accidently won a 25-1 bet. Worked in different government jobs while I was working. And, it isn’t even deer season up there. Worked in Michigan and then moved to Florida for a while and worked for a county down there. Had those big sad, yet curious eyes. When I did the one I was watching sort of skittered off to the side of the clearing and stood there sort of poised to run.”
Never one to dodge a conversation, I answered “Sure is. She’d had $2 out and won $50 and was letting everyone know she’d won.
“Wisconsin. Well, actually we live outside a small town on a country road. How about you?”
“You know, I was just thinking about that,” he said. When I retired we moved out to Reno untill the wife decided it’d be nice to be closer to family so we moved back to mid Michigan.”
“I walked over there and looked down. It was very nice. I could see that someone had shot it twice. I could seem over his shoulder that the yound couple had moved over there and she was really excited. It effectively stopped all action at our table. “That’s like ‘murder’,” he said as he began to get agitated. And, they didn’t take the meat or nothing. I lost a few hands and won a few and he did the same. “Isn’t it? Why would somebody do something like that?” He got red in the face and he stood up at his end of the table.
There were two other players (a man and a woman that were apparently together) at the table and they were chattering away not paying much attention to what was going on. He had a jumble of red chips in front of him that he’d stack and restack as he considered what he was to do next.
“Lots of wildlife up there?” I asked.
“It is. We enjoy the balcony area that contains the five cent video poker machines and we’re usually in that area for quite a while each day of our stay. Couldn’t have been more than a couple weeks old. But, to just go out and shoot a deer for the fun of it I don’t understand. Small town. Probably the little one’s mother. I came down here for some pretty weather and we get this.” I sort of gestured at the entrance.
He was almost bouncing on his feet and looked really angry. I was out in the woods about a week or so ago, just wandering around and I came upon this clearing.”
There was a squeal from the next table over. He sat there at the other end of the blackjack table. “During the seasons I get enough meat that we don’t buy very much. Sometimes I wonder downstairs and play blackjack down on the main floor.
His good eye just sort of looked off into space. “I’ve lived in Wisconsin all my life. Just shot it for the fun of shooting something.”
The dealer and I looked at each other for a second before we continued with the game.
“I hear that muskie fishing is a tough thing to do right,” I commented.
I was visiting at The Fitz in Tunica, Mississippi. He swivelled around so he could see. He looked up at me.
“Where you from?” he asked.
“What do you do in Michigan?” he asked.
The drinks person brought us me a beer and him a glass of something. Man could make a pretty good living doing nothing else but taking people to the right spots and showing them how to do it.”
“Michigan. Central part of the state. Once in the neck and once down in the body. “Weather out there is frightful, isn’t it?” he asked.
He shook his head slowly and watched the blackjack hand develop. Pretty remote. “I’ve been retired for quite a few years. “I stood just as still as I could so he didn’t get scared and bolt off ’cause I liked just standing there looking at him.”
He turned his head and looked at me with his good eye. Went to school there. Sort of a craggy overweight windblown look about him. “It’s really too bad about some people.”
When he looked up at me, I could see that one of his eyes wasn’t working properly and he had to turn his head a little sideways when he looked at me and then turn his head again to see his cards when he was dealt a new hand.
“This happened once or twice over the years. It was in front of me and behind the fellow at the other end. Just stood there and looked at me.”
“You’ve moved around quite a bit,” he said. Had the kids and raised them there. We’ve been doing it for a long time and we don’t have a lot of competition. We’d eat at the buffet at the casino / hotel which is on the balcony / mezzanine/ I particularly like the fried bologna that they serve. I couldn’t tell for sure whether someone had spilled a drink or if something unusual had happened in the game. Met my wife there. Thinning hair almost looked wispy but it was still black. He picked his up and sipped on it. We grow baking potatoes and sell then to restaurants around the state and then in the off season the wife and I take people out muskie fishing.”
We’d sat there about 1/2 an hour without saying anything when the old fellow at the other end looked at me. Now there’s that little young thing without any way to eat or learn stuff. “You know,” he said. It was a $5 table. “He had those little spots that the young ones do before they’ve spent much time out of their mothers and still looked like it was kind of wiggly on his spindly legs. I live way up north near one of the lakes. “Talking about hunting reminds me of an incident from a while back.”
I was playing on a Thursday when I noticed the older fellow. Had a rough, denin shirt on. The wife and I had a room located on the 8th floor of the hotel that was attached. I noticed that behind this baby, there was a pile of something on the ground and I finally walked forward to see what it was. I thought about putting a tether on him and taking him home with me but I knew that wasn’t right.”
He shook his head as if a little disgusted.
After a minute or two we turned back to our game.
“Nothing much anymore,” I responded. After a few minutes they decided to move on to another game and cheerfully picked up there chips and departed.. Probably’ll die there.”
He took a sip of his drink. He smiled a little like he enjoyed the drink.
He looked down as the dealer paid him for a winning hand and then looked back at me again
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