Every morning and every night I drive a ten mile stretch of gravel road on the way to and from work. A couple months back, during the first big snow melt, water ran over stretches of the road, washing gullies through it. The county crew came along and filled them in and packed it the best they could.
Then it rained. And rained. And rained some more. I’m pretty sure all of you in the northern plains noticed. The spots on the road that had been backfilled turned to mush, especially a fifty yard stretch along a slough we fondly refer to as Olsen Lake. The ruts there are so deep my Jeep drags bottom if I don’t straddle them right. Plus a nice set of washboards on either side from unwary drivers slamming on the brakes when they see the pit of doom opening before them
In other words, my road is like every other dirt road in the county, with one possible exception: In the ditch across from Olsen Lake, beside the pit through which no one could drive more than fifteen miles an hour without coming out the other side upside down and missing an axle, there is a dead antelope.
I have yet to determine the cause of death. No one has stepped forward to confess to running it down. And honestly, who would? If you hit an antelope while moving at a speed slower than my six year old can run, would you tell anyone? Unless you were texting your BFF the latest awesome Weiner joke at the time, the thing would have had to lie in wait and fling itself under the tires at the last possible second to pull it off.
I can absolutely imagine an antelope doing just that. They are the sheep of the wild kingdom, a dangerous combination of stupidity and suicidal tendencies.
Have you ever really looked at an antelope? They’re sort of freakish, awkward, like an artist’s first attempt at clay sculpture gone horribly wrong. A round, lumpy body stuck on toothpick legs. A neck that doesn’t quite meet meld with the shoulders. And those weird, bulgy eyes.
They have a disturbing habit of staring into space. Standing. Alone. Motionless. For hours. Like they’re in some sort of trance. Or communing with beings from another realm. I can see antelope as inhabitants of an alien planet. Make that former inhabits. I can also imagine they were exiled here for being too stupid to live on Selenium Six.
Alien Lieutenant: “Sir, we have to do something about those funny looking deer-like creatures. This is the fifth shuttle they’ve wiped out this week, throwing themselves under the hydroboosters.”
Alien Supreme Ruler: “Round them up and find some primitive planet to dump them on. And tell my son no more fooling around with genetic modification until he’s in grade school.”
Which at least explains why antelope stare into space. They’re looking for a ride home.