hoarse advice


July 6, 2012


Once you get past the smell, it really isn’t too bad.  Just make sure you go to the bathroom before you settle in for the night.  Once the sun drops and the temperature follows, you won’t want to exit the carcass until daybreak. While the exterior of your horse will provide excellent protection from near zero temperatures and biting winds, the interior will be nothing but moist. A freshly converted animal will be wet with the workings of life. And once you get this wetness on you it will make that cold night air feel even colder. Fingers will numb. Faces will burn. Skin can actually freeze. This, my son, is why you must always save your final trip to the bathroom until the last possible moment.

After you do enter your makeshift dwelling, there are a few more things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, sleep with your head inside the ribcage, feet towards the tail. At night, the smell of a fresh kill may attract other animals. It’s rare, as they will most certainly be nesting for the night, but it’s possible you may run into some scavengers looking for a meal. And if they’re out that late they will surely be desperate. And aggressive. And ruthless. The plains are a rough place in winter.

The reason you’ll want to sleep with your head inside the ribs is so that in the event of an attack your head will be protected. These hunters will pounce. They will paw. They will nip, and rip, and tear at the flesh of your host. Skin will give way, but bone will protect you. The strength of those ribs will give you enough time to draw your weapon and deal with your assailants. Your legs, of course, you will sacrifice. Your feet, they will most likely be mauled. But you’ll have your wits, and your face, and your eyes.

Lastly, dear boy, remember that the decision to kill your steed is not one you should take lightly. It is the act of a desperate man, and should be thought of as such. Before you come to this decision, you should have exhausted every other possible recourse. You should never – not ever – leave yourself vulnerable to the fading of a prairie day. The mere thought of my writing this letter has me nervous that you’ll actually need the knowledge it contains one day. Sacrificing your animal so that you may live is an incredibly selfish act, one that becomes stained with disrespect and dishonor if it is preceded by a lack of thought, or poor planning, or flawed decision making. These are the terms of your agreement with your horse, one that you should never forget.

Regretfully, I know the cost, this burden of survival. I have lived a day where my only option, my last and final option, was to lay down my friend so that I could spare myself his fate. I am not proud of this. I am not proud of becoming more beastly than he could ever be. In that moment it was he who treated me with more humanity than I could possibly reciprocate.

We are a selfish breed, my son. Never forget that. Carry it with you as you roam the trails, attempting to wash away our inevitable sin as we lay our transgressions upon the world.


Have fun at Boy Scout camp,

Your Father


Sorry, comments are closed.