Re-printed from a recent letter-to-the-editor column uncovered in a mid-western newspaper.
You may be surprised to hear from me after all these years, but there’s a reason.
Mother told me that before you guys split you’d go to a Broadway show and sometimes in the middle of the third act you’d announce in a voice loud enough to be heard up in the balcony, “wake me up when this is over.”
Consider this your wake up call.
I got the idea from a possibly apocryphal story about Lawrence of Arabia when he presented a British army rifle (I think it was an Enfield) to a Sultan in some dusty compound in the Sudan. The Sultan turned the gun over to his son who was standing by his side, and said” how does it work?” The young man went to a corner of the rampart aimed it and blew the head off a herdsman some fifty yards away. “It works fine, sire” replied the young man, returning the gun to his father.
So, I’m into hunting.
You’ve hunted. You were in Africa as a young man, mother told me. And you bagged a leopard a lion and an elephant. She had the feet of the elephant lined with copper as wastepaper baskets and took them as her matrimonial due from your divorce. You were never a Hemingway, she said. You killed from the safety of the camp’s blinds, but you were a good shot. And that’s part of my inheritance.
You’re surprised? You shouldn’t be. Shooting humans is like shooting fish in a barrel. They’re not careful, they brazenly parade around as if they had no enemies. We’ve all got enemies, the very cells of our bodies are enemies, but I’m rambling.
Mother left me your rifles when she died. The 30-30 and the .303 Savage. They’re both good people guns and accurate to almost a half mile. I like to stalk to within fifty yards if I can. The problem with hunting humans is if a witness identifies you, you’re toast. I don’t underestimate the talent and resources of the police and the FBI. I can’t help but be impressed by them. So, the stalking requires intense concentration and awareness of what’s going down around you, and very careful planning.
The warm ups, like a partridge shoot, were on the east coast. They were hardly trophy shots, I wouldn’t want a single head on my wall. I wouldn’t nail a single skin out on the balcony.
It’s been said “the sniper is a coward.” No. What about all the people who hunt deer? The poor deer are just grazing, looking for mates, doing their thing and pow, they’re dead from some macho with a deer rifle and a twenty power scope. Are all deer hunters cowards? Were you a coward? Hunting people is far more competitive. Actually, I have a friend, who might remind you of the Camp Commandant in “Schindler’s List,” who’s doing the same thing: and we’re in competition for who gets the most and best kills. We have a complicated scoring system, but that’s not worth going into right now.
Let me tell you the first time I fired at a man and that sucker doubled up and fell like the brick I’d dropped on my turtle in the terrarium we had when I was a kid, I felt a rush all over my body. Like what mother said her hot flashes felt like. It was sexual. It was a great head shot. You would have been proud.
I mean, what’s the big deal? There are some six or seven billion humans on the globe, billion! So; cull the herd a bit, trim off a bit of fat. Park rangers do it all the time. So, father, you might wonder why I’m writing? Answer. I thought it might be fun to put you on the spot for once. You won’t turn this letter over to the police because while that would identify me, of course, it would also identify you and the combined publicity (try and keep that one quiet) would totally ruin your chances for elective office. So you can’t do that. Also, I’d deny ever having pulled any triggers, or having swatted anything larger than a fly. I might even claim you wrote this letter. And besides, even if the police tried to tie me into my kills, I’ve been very, very careful. You won’t burn this note, for you know I have a copy and then, if I’m caught you’d have to explain why you didn’t turn it over, and they’d probably nail you for obstruction of justice, or something. Bind? Not quite. You could opt to hire a hit man – but I suspect he’d just become another of my victims. I’m like you. I have a great talent. You can understand that.
But, since you own any number of newspapers, you’ll probably get one of your editors, using client confidentiality as a cover, to plant this as a letter to the editor in some publication not directly associated with you. Thus you make it public yet absolve yourself of an obstruction of justice charge should I get caught. Then you’ll hope they never find me, while also keeping your fingers crossed I’m a liar as well as a lunatic. Have you ever known me to lie?
When you come down to it, you and your lousy companies have probably killed more humans than I ever will and if you get elected, you certainly will. But you won’t have had the fun and thrills I’ve had. So ultimately you’ll be the loser.
Gil Colgate is a New Yorker who happily exchanges New York winters for Oaxaca where he writes poetry and verse. His book, “Reluctant Poet” is available from Amazon.com and Estancia Fraternidad to which he has donated all proceeds. His new volume, “Sly on wry” was published in October, 2007. Gil’s newest book is, “Committing Poetry.”