Babe jerked at the empty magazine, bending it into scrap metal as he ripped it loose. I had my knife high, but I was backing up.
"C'mon, Babe, let's git," I yelled.
The boar tore out another tight scream as he lunged at us, missing, and then abruptly, as though he'd done his duty, turned and stumbled back down the hill, his screams turning into labored gasps and groans. Babe and I were both high as kites as we crazily chased after the boar, with my upraised knife and Babe with his empty gun held like a baseball bat.
Babe beat me to where he lay in a little ravine choked with ferns and wild iris. His back and side looked like a pegboard. I counted 12 tiny bullet holes including the graze over the nose that had set him off in the first place.
Babe stood there like the fairest of princes. "It's done, old boar," he said. "I'm sorry it was you."
We gutted him and cut off his keg-sized head because he was too heavy to move otherwise. We found only one little scrap of lead that had slipped between his ribs and slashed his lungs. All the other slugs had only bitten his hide like sand fleas.
The two of us towed the great carcass down the hill. Babe was chattering excitedly, and I was smiling at the wondrous depths of my ignorance as we shaped our way down the slopes toward home, leaving a trail of crushed lupine and poppies and young grass.