Brake For Moose

(An Odyssey Journal)

The stems of the blueberry bushes snapped as the giant bull moose carelessly cropped berries, leaves and all, chewing with sweeping, circular strokes of his jaws. The berries were abundant, though tiny and tart, and still a bit pink on the undersides. The moose heaved massive, mooing sighs of relief. He hadn’t eaten in a day and a half. His bones still hurt where the thing had hit him. He’d lain a long time by the side of the road, mooing wails of pain, before he found the strength to drag himself up. He still didn’t know quite how he’d done it–but he thought it had something to do with the smell of those wonderful berries.

The bushes would probably die when the moose had his fill. It wasn’t very fair. The birds and the deer and the other moose wouldn’t get the chance to eat their share. The farm wife in whose yard they grew wouldn’t get the chance to make pie. Her children would cry. And that’s saying nothing for the bushes themselves. Not that the moose particularly cared.

The hunter crouched in the bush with his blunderbuss, his eye to the sights, his finger on the trigger. He’d never seen a moose this huge, with antlers wider than he was tall. It looked a little mangled, unsteady on its legs, like maybe somebody else had already shot it. Not that that made any difference to the hunter. It was his kill now. Just wait till his buddies saw him driving home with that monster tied to the front of his car! He hoped his car could handle it. He pulled the trigger, sending a slug straight into its shoulder. The moose made an angry noise, raised its head, then went back to eating. The hunter cracked open his gun to reload.

The moose would most certainly die, once the hunter got off another shot or two. It would keel over into the blueberry bushes barely twenty feet from the spectacular crash it had miraculously survived. It wasn’t very fair. The poor moose had a wife and kids who’d never see him again. He was also King of the Forest. Once he was gone, there would be no one to decide disputes between forgetful squirrels over whose nut cache was whose. Not that the hunter particularly cared.

The little blue Ford Pinto lay crumpled in the middle of the road, the shape of a really big moose indented in the roof and hood. Hank and Janie Briggs were smooshed inside, just finally beginning to die from all the internal bleeding they’d suffered a day and a half ago. Hank and Janie were on their honeymoon in Maine, Vacationland. They lived in Massachussets, but couldn’t afford a vacation somewhere nice like Fiji. That was okay with Hank and Janie. They loved each other so much it didn’t matter where they went, just so long as they were together.

God laughed out loud. He poked a passing angel in the arm and pointed down. “See that?” he asked. “Those idiots! They didn’t read the sign!” They’d probably be dead before the moose. It wasn’t very fair. Not that God particularly cared.

Brake for Moose, said the sign sticking out of the dying blueberry bushes next to the road. It Could Save Your Life.

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