If this were fiction maybe I would have the red sequin dress under my arm. Maybe the dress would be what attracted the deer. Maybe the deer would knock me down and make me wear it. But no. The dress was waiting in the car.
And the brick came to hand. People have bricks in their yards, right?
I turned loose with my right hand long enough to pick up the brick and bonk the deer on the nose with it. The deer seemed startled, in a tentative way. The brick didn't feel good in my hand, but I hit him harder with it—not hard hard, but hard enough that he pulled back, somewhat.
He looked at me, noncommittally. I was, tired of this! I needed space! I wanted my pants! I wanted to get rid of the brick, get rid of the deer. I threw the brick at him. That did it, he sprang away.
"Jon!" I yelled. "Come up here! The strangest thing!"
I saw that my right hand was bleeding. I ran to the Bettses' swimming pool and stuck it in.
Jon witnessed the deer, standing a few yards away looking enigmatic, and he also saw my wounds. You could write him at the Columbia Journalism Review, where he is an editor. Jon also recalls that I was flushed and breathing hard, which I suppose is true enough, but I feel he puts too much emphasis on it.
I went to the Swans' house and Marianne Swan bandaged the cuts, and I drove to the city holding my hand above my heart—all the way, for two hours, so it wouldn't bleed anymore (Marianne's idea). I got the dress to Jessie in time.
The Bettses said the deer must have been the same one they'd seen lurking around in their yard the previous weekend. Their bulldog, Max, an amiable and forthright animal, had run him off twice. (Once when the Bettses were at my house I carelessly shoved an armload of waste-paper in the fireplace, the fire blazed out into the living room, and Max jumped up and attacked the fire. It backed down.) The Bettses had been told that the deer was probably one of several that another family in the area had been feeding all summer long. So he'd lost his fear of people.
My friend Jim Seay, a deer hunter, put in that it was rutting season. At that time of year hunters sometimes clack two old racks of antlers together, and male deer come running, looking to butt heads. "Your deer was horny," Jim said. "I never heard of one hooking up with a person like that, though." I thought he might sound more envious, somehow. He sounded...sympathetic.