Deer, November 26, 2011

The Town Hall

New York, NY


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Deer

Listen (MP3)

(PIANO)

GK: I went up to northern Wisconsin deer hunting last week, which I like a lot. It's a chance to be alone out in a deer shack in the woods. If you told people you wanted to be alone in the woods for a couple of days, they'd think you were weird. They'd say, do you think you ought to see a therapist? But you can say, I'm going deer hunting, and it's okay. A half million men go deer hunting in Minnesota every fall and most of those men just sit in a shack or in their car and read a book. And that's what I was doing last week. I was in my little cabin in the pines reading "A Farewell to Arms" and then I heard hooves tiptoeing across the porch (DEER FOOTSTEPS), but I was engrossed so I didn't notice her until she was about three inches away from me.

(DEER BREATHING, A BEAT, PAGE TURNS)

DM: Hi.

GK: Oh my gosh.

DM: What's the matter? You never talked to a deer before?

GK: No. Never.

DM: You never saw our lips moving? Through your telescopes as you aimed your rifle at our heads? You didn't see us praying before you blew our brains out?

GK: You know, I don't really hunt. I have a rifle but it's only a prop. I don't care for venison.

DM: Oh. Well excuse me. So you never got your deer?

GK: No.

DM: You came out here to read books?

GK: Yes.

DM: Hemingway. He hunted, right?

GK: How do you know about Hemingway?

DM: The Internet. So---- go ahead and shoot me.

GK: What?

DM: Look—I drew an X over my heart. I'll just step back a few feet and you can blow me away. Go ahead. Just do it quick.

GK: What is wrong with you?

DM: Nothing. I lost my fiancée. He was hit by a semi.

GK: I'm sorry.

DM: He may have run in front of it on purpose. I don't know.
He had Lyme disease and we went into counseling and worked through our issues and I wanted to mate ----- and then he threw himself in front of the truck. I've got nothing to live for. Nothing.

GK: That's not true.

DM: Why would he do that to me? Why? Oh, Jeffrey...

GK: Don't give up. It will get better.

DM: How do you know that?

GK: I just do. There's someone out there for you.

DM: Who? I'm sick of all these bucks out here with the big antlers. "Look at me, I'm a 12-point buck! Mate with me, mate with me, Ooo ooo ooooo." Just shoot me, please. Have mercy.

GK: You want to sit down?

DM: On my butt? No. It'd look weird. Deer don't sit.

GK: Just for a minute. Please.

(DM GRUNTS, SITS IN LEAVES)

DM: There. So what about you?

GK: What about me?

DM: You're sad. I can tell. I can smell it.

GK: It's a long story.

DM: If you're not going to shoot me, I've got plenty of time.

GK: I don't want to depress you.

DM: Too late. I'm already there.

GK: Okay, well.

(LEANING IN ON LEAVES)

DM: Yes?

GK: I wrote a novel. Called "Beauty" ---- a novel of lost love, existential longing, a road trip, a big city, two cats, and a young girl with an incurable disease.

DM: Uh huh....

GK: And I thought it was pretty good and then I put it away for a few months. And last week I read it and it's worthless. Waste of time. Pretentious. Self-indulgent. I worked hard on it and at the time I thought I was creating an American classic and now I see it is utter futility. A year and a half, gone. Nothing to show for it.

DM: Join the club. You want to find out about futility, try being a deer sometime.

GK: So maybe you're the one who should shoot me.

DM: My hoof is too big to fit into the trigger.

GK: You can do it with your teeth.

DM: I'm not going to shoot you. Okay? I'm just not.

GK: Well. (SIGH) Here we are then.

DM: Yep. Here we are. (A BEAT, GEESE FLY OVERHEAD) You want me to have a look at your book?

GK: No.

DM: Maybe it's not that bad.

GK: It is.

DM: There could be a market for it. Skunks, maybe.

GK: I'm not interested in that.

DM: Why not?

GK: That's not who I am. Skunks aren't my scene.

DM: Oh I get it. You're probably thinking, Oh, she's a deer, what does she know?

GK: You know, I'm not.

DM: Honest?

GK: No. I mean, yes. Honest. I'm not thinking that.

DM: You know something? I feel better sitting out here talking to you.

GK: Funny, I feel better, too.

DM: Probably be just my luck to walk away and I'll get fifty feet and someone will blow my head off.

GK: Don't think that way.

DM: You'd think that way if there were a hunting season on older white men.

GK: Maybe there is and I don't know it yet. Mortality is out there, kid. There's a lot of it going around these days. You've got to savor the moment. Be grateful for every day. Every hour. This one and the one before and the next one, God willing.

DM: Do you mind if I put my hoof on your shoulder?

GK: Yes.

DM: I don't have ticks. Honest. I checked.

GK: You promise?

DM: Honest.

GK: Fleas?

DM: Nope.

GK: Okay. In that case..

(SINGING)

GK: You are my sunshine

DM: My only sunshine

GK: You make me happy

DM: When skies are gray

GK: You'll never know deer, how much I love you.

DM: Please don't take my sunshine away.

GK:
The other night deer as I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms.
When I awoke, deer, I was mistaken.
You had gone and bought the farm.

GK & DM:
You are my sunshine my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know deer how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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