It's the beginning of August in North Carolina. My northern blood has yet to get fully acquainted with the sweltering, humid heat of the south. It is reaching 102 degrees and it's only 11am. I'm 25 feet above the ground, peering over my new throne atop one of our front-yard trees. Our deer target, a sad looking thing with more holes in it than swiss cheese, stands 35 yards away in a path we meticulously mow. We have no idea who owns the land but since our landlord gave us the go-ahead, we made our own little 3D range right in our front yard. This redneck inventiveness has its perks, as I had never, before today, used a climber tree stand in order to practice archery. Also, watching deer from the surrounding woods come to check out the target is highly entertaining. I always imagine that when the confused deer walk up, they get excited because they assume that it's their buddy Shecky. After a few moments of deer communication that goes nowhere, it is clear that they're wondering why he's giving them the cold shoulder. It's like Bambi Soap Operas play out in our front yard. However, the best part of our target set up is that our neighbors each have become increasingly more afraid of us, as wielding weapons with sharp, pointy ends on one's front yard tends to do.
We're 98% sure that our neighbors deal drugs so any and all of our requests have been swiftly followed. I'm the least anti-drug person in the world, and if they were nice drug-dealing neighbors, we wouldn't have a problem. But when they were using our front lawn as a parking lot for their illegal activities, action had to be taken. While DU is more prone to making bodily threats, I'm more cunning about it. If an unfamiliar car came and parked on our lawn, I would fetch my bow. After the brief 5 minute visit, a pot-loving individual would emerge from the drug lord's cave. I chose this time to made loud comments like "That was a quick deal" or "I wonder how long a jail term sentence is for possession these days?" and waving after releasing my perfectly placed arrow. My most fond memory happened months later when a particularly quick deal occurred. It was early afternoon when Avery and I were in the front yard. I was attempting to get Avery to understand that the dead trainers were not her chew toys but an object to continually fetch. She was more focused on smelling every stem of grass until she saw a figure emerging from next door. She immediately took notice. Of course, in the loudest voice possible, I said, "You smell drugs, girl? Do ya? With all of your training, you'll make a great K9 dog." The man in question looked in terror at my 3 month old puppy and fled. It's no surprise that our neighbors' daily visitors have ceased coming around and it seems that the whole operation has recently moved out. But I digress.
I'm a sweaty ball of huntress and I hate DU for making me climb this stupid tree. But, I've made it up and now that my body is done shaking, it's time to shoot. After 5 arrows cleanly went through the still standing deer, I look down for some help. I'm greeted with the sight of my unfortunate future if I deem this relationship worthy of a long term commitment. DU and E4 are sitting in fold-out lawn chairs, drinking PBR and quoting Chuck Norris jokes. A red cooler is situated between them, lest one of them runs out and is forced to actually stand up in order to get more beer. Focused completely on their phones, I feel like I'm watching humanity digress into a lower life form before my eyes.
"Hey guys... can I get some help?"
"Chuck Norris can do a handstand without using his hands" says DU, barely restraining his laughter.
"When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the earth down" replies E4 after spitting out half of his PBR.
DU laughs hard and slowly gets out, "Chuck Norris played Russian Roulette with a loaded gun", he pauses dramatically before finishing, "and won."
"GUYS... can someone go get my arrows, please?"
"Hunny, if you were Chuck Norris, the arrows would come to you." yells DU.
"DOES IT LOOK LIKE I CAN PERFORM A ROUNDHOUSE KICK FROM UP HERE? GO GET MY DAMN ARROWS!"
My request is met with muted giggles. Fantastic. Perfectly mature. Then I hear:
"Baby.... why did the chicken cross the road?"
"I'm not answering that."
E4 answers for me, "To run away from Chuck Norris' roundhouse kicks!!"
Once again, the two grown men squeal like 14 year old teenie boppers at a Rascal Flatts concert. They each fall from their chairs, clutching their chests as gales of laughter billow from their mouths, beers still up-right, not a drop spilled.
I immediately wish that I still had one arrow with which to threaten the pair but unfortunately, they are all still lodged into a very unfortunate Shecky .
I take this perfect opportunity to gently remind DU that our relationship as of that moment is teetering on ending, "[DU'S FULL NAME] IF YOU APPRECIATE BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP AND DON'T WANT END UP WITH A STUPID DEER-LOVING GIRL WHO DOESN'T KNOW WHAT A BROADHEAD IS AND GETS MAD WHEN YOU WANT TO GO DUCK HUNTING, YOU WILL GO GET MY ARROWS BEFORE I MOVE BACK TO NEW YORK!!!!!!!"
E4, who at the time did not know me as well as he does now and saw my outburst as a real threat, gets up to retrieve my arrows.
For a second, I believe that I have won. I got a little over-confident so I mutter,
"Chuck Norris is stupid."
Looking grief-stricken, both men look up at me with the same disbelief that children display after finding out that babies don't come from storks. DU stands up and with the dedication of a true manly man replies,
" Woman.... I will have you know that Chuck Norris is a god amongst mere mortals. He graduated from college in ONE HOUR. The man eats DANGER for breakfast and once won a stare down via a walkie talkie. He can break water in half and yet you have the gall to utter that Chuck Norris is STUPID? I will not have this kind of talk in my home. Go back to New York, you stupid Yankee- if you can't appreciate roundhouse kicks, amazing mustaches and perfectly brimmed cowboy hats, then you don't belong in the south."
After the closing of his little monologue, he storms into the garage and I hear the distinct sound of the fridge opening and the slight fizz of a beer being unleashed.
E4 returns my arrows but refuses to look at me, as if I have deeply offended him.
As fate would have it, at that moment a car rolls onto our lawn. A frat boy wearing loafers, pink plaid pants and a white polo strolls out of his BMW. He saunters down the slight hill and into the pot palace.
I quickly realize that God has divinely intervened in order to salvage my good standing with Chuck Norris. I had time to clear my name of any wrong-doing so I had to act quickly. I realize that frat boy's appallingly expensive car is right near the tree I'm sitting in. The leaves behind me are lush and are the perfect natural camouflage in order to conceal my sneaky form. E4 walks away, obviously going to console DU for his lack of competency in choosing a girlfriend.
The moment E4 disappears, frat boy reappears. Turning the entire experience into an actual hunt, I wait the appropriate amount of time until my target is in perfect position. I then shot my bow at the target. The target makes a loud THWAK and the frat boy jumps. He looks around for the source of the attack but can't find one. I then bellow, as loud as possible,
"CHUCK NORRIS PROTECTS THIS HOUSE WITH ROUNDHOUSE KICKS. PARK ON OUR LAWN TO BUY DRUGS ONE MORE TIME AND YOU'LL EXPERIENCE WHAT HAPPENED TO EVERY OTHER EXTINCT SPECIES ON EARTH."
Again, not able to find the source of the voice, frat boy throws his car open and almost hits a tree on his way out of our cul-de-sack.
I do a celebratory dance and skillfully climb down the tree.
At the base, DU is waiting with a cold PBR. As a peace offering, he hands it to me and says that I did Chuck Norris proud. And maybe... just maybe I'll make it in the south after all.