A good body cleanse might help the hunting, but a good brain cleanse is what The Dumb Bunch needs.
A while back, five members of The Dumb Bunch were bowhunting for moose and caribou in Gert's Gas and Grub café and gas station. Gert's is a great place to bowhunt.
For the price of a cheeseburger and fries, a bowhunter can travel to Alaska, Africa, or anywhere he wants to and hunt anything he wants to. We were just about to head to Saskatchewan to shoot some giant whitetail bucks when The Old Man walked in.
"How's it goin'?" The Ferret asked as The Old Man sat down at our table.
"Don't talk to me about goin'," The Old Man said. "I ain't goin'. My wife, Bird Woman, can threaten me all she wants. This is one time I'm going to stand up to her no matter what."
"Where ain't you goin', Old Man?" The Ferret asked.
"Yesterday was my 65th birthday," The Old Man answered. "I'm now officially an old fogy. When Bird Woman asked me last week what I wanted for my birthday, I told her I wanted one of those new treestands with the big padded seat, because at my age I deserve a little comfort when I'm bowhunting. So yesterday morning she wishes me a Happy Birthday and then she tells me she got me something every 65-year-old man really needs. This is what she got me instead of that new treestand."
Then The Old Man handed The Ferret a brochure from one of those fancy health spas where you pay a lot of money to have them starve and torture you for a week. Inside the brochure was a gift certificate for a week's stay at the spa.
"That's a tough break, Old Man," The Ferret said. "According to this brochure they're going to feed you stuff that doesn't even remotely qualify as real food, and they're going to cleanse all the cheeseburgers and fries you've ate here at Gert's out of your system with something they call a 'Total Body System Cleanse.' I really don't like the sound of that."
"Neither do I," The Old Man said. "That's why I told Bird Woman I wasn't goin'. I told her I was too old to have my system cleaned out, and even if I survived that I'd croak from starvation if I ate nothing but bean sprout salads for a week. I don't do salads. If I was supposed to eat rabbit food, I'd have big hairy ears and big feet."
"You do have big hairy ears and big feet, Old Man," Owlface said. "If I were in your place, I'd tell Bird Woman I was going to that spa. Then I would cash-in the gift certificate and use the money for a weeklong, out-of-state bowhunting trip. All you'd have to do is act like you got your system cleansed and then eat a few salads when you got back and she'd never know the difference."
"I already considered that," The Old Man said. "If I thought I could get away with it I'd do it, but it won't work. I know Bird Woman's going to call me every night to see how things are going. If she somehow found out I wasn't where I was supposed to be she'd be a whole lot harder on my system than anything they can do to me at that spa."
"Well, I guess we won't be seeing you around all next week," Bear Breath said. "Cheer up, Old Man. It won't be all bad. It looks like in this brochure they got a lot of good lookin' young gals at that spa who are going to be taking care of you."
"I'm 65 years old," The Old Man said. "The only time I want a young gal taking care of me is when she's bringing me a tray at a restaurant with my steak and baked potato on it. And there'd better not be any salad with it when she brings it."
"You do know, Old Man, that bow season opens in eight more days?" Owlface said. "How are you going to get all your scouting done and hang your treestand if you're stuck at that yuppie spa all next week?"
"I was sort of hoping one of you guys would feel sorry enough for me and offer to help me out with that stuff while I'm gone," The Old Man said. "You're all married, so you all know it could have been any one of you stuck in the same predicament I'm in now. You know I'd help any of you if this shoe was on the other foot, so which one of you guys is going to hang my stand for me?"
"I'd be glad to do it for you, Old Man," Knucklehead said. "The only problem is if you don't see any deer where I put your treestand, I don't want you to get mad at me."
"Thanks a lot, Knucklehead," The Old Man said. "I'll probably be too weak to get mad at anybody by the time I get out of there so you won't have anything to worry about. Just put my treestand in a spot that's easy to get to. I probably won't have the energy to walk very far."
A week later we were back at Gert's hunting elk in Idaho when Ace Morgan walked in.
"Ace gets a Pope and Young buck every year, but he won't tell anybody how he does it," Bear Breath said. "He always hunts alone, and he never tells anybody where he hunts. I'd sure like to go over there and talk to him about bowhunting, but I doubt he'd tell me any of his secrets."
Ace Morgan is a legend around our neck of the woods. He lives in a small house on the outskirts of town, and has a reputation for being a loner. He'll nod his head and speak back if you say hi to him, but that's as much conversation as anyone ever gets out of him.
Every year about the second or third week of bow season Ace checks in a big buck here at Gert's Gas and Grub. When Gert's husband, Slinger, asks Ace where he got the buck, all Ace ever tells him is he got it on a farm not far from where he lives. Slinger says every buck that Ace has ever checked in has been killed with a perfect shot. So naturally every bowhunter in town would give anything to hunt with Ace.
"You'd just be wasting Ace's time and yours if you try to talk to him, Bear Breath," Animal said. "Even if Ace did tell you his bowhunting secrets you'd still have to hit a whopper buck with your bow, and we all know that ain't going to happen."
A few minutes later The Old Man came in and sat down at our table. Right away the guys started making jokes about how he looked a lot cleaner. I couldn't figure out why The Old Man was taking all that verbal abuse with a big smile on his face.
Then, to everyone's amazement, Ace Morgan walked over and sat down next to The Old Man.
"Now remember what I told you while we were taking our mud baths at the spa last week, Jim," Ace said. "I know you're going to have a great season now that you've realized two of the secrets to my success are not eating meat and having my system totally cleansed at the s
pa every year before deer season opens.
"We need to go put up that new treestand you just bought, and I know the perfect tree for you to put it in. I don't know why you're sitting here wasting your time talking to these guys. Obviously none of them are anywhere near as smart as you or they would have been there at the spa with us last week getting their systems ready for deer season.
"I guess they'd rather sit here at Gert's and go on fantasy hunts than shoot a real P&Y buck. It's not hard to understand why they're known as The Dumb Bunch."