- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
The hunters, dressed in real camouflage outfits and honest-to-God hip boots, climbed out of their barrels laughing and drinking from a thermos. As the dog pulled more ducks to them, they nonchalantly hung the birds like laundry on straps rigged between the blinds. Eventually, as the tide began its turn, the hunters withdrew, altogether pleased with themselves, their purloined ducks and their dog—and suddenly it occurred to us: those slick invaders were completely dry!
The channel was changed forever. I was changed. Within an hour, I managed to down two elegant little buffleheads. I went into the water after my birds, swimming to their side of the channel through their floating shell casings, almost to their footprints. When I got back, Dan and I whispered together rather than talked. Maybe those heavy hitters would return and find us, pathetically naked, trying to retrieve. We cussed them every way we knew—but we had to admit we liked their dog.
About two years later, with quail stuffed into every pocket of our jackets after a successful morning out with our Lab, Dan and I rejoiced by collapsing on our backs in the high, wild oat hay, and complimenting the black dog, who recognized our rough praise with small quick tail slaps. Across the still meadow a great blue heron was methodically stabbing gophers. Above us, two red-tailed hawks cut compass arcs in the cobalt air. We decided we were all hunters.
After a long spell of serious sky study, I glimpsed three tiny delta shapes, dropping fast.
"Did you see those?"
"Going in over the hill."
"What's over there for them?"
"I dunno. Only the prison."
The only thing over there was San Quentin Prison. Even from where we were, we could feel the malignancy of the place.