The Game Warden

"Hey, Travis, look who's here." Robbie piped up from the bush he was hunting from.

I glanced up absentmindedly from my task of reloading to look at the dark car creeping our direction. "Shit."

"My sentiments exactly, my friend." Robbie replied as he watched the game warden floor the motor. The car let out an angry roar before plowing over a log. Robbie sighed and stood up. "Well, if there was anything out there, it's gone now." he stated. Picking his way over to a log, he plopped down and pulled out a pack of cigarettes.

I slipped out from my own cover to join him. "Damn him. Hunting use to be fun until the game warden decided to start coming around here. Arrogant ass. You know, you know he fined Bobby a few days ago."

"Oh? What for?"

"Poaching."

"Poaching?"

"Yeah, they were picking up some buddies in that field up there to go hunting. Warden saw their gear and followed them. Said that they were spotting." Robbie explained as he ground his cigarettes into the tree. "Bobbie tried to explain. Warden would not listen."

I nodded solemnly. "Yeah they tried to pin Matt's wife for the same thing."

"Joyce? She has never held a gun in her life."

"Yeah, she was coming home from camp with the kids. She drove about a mile down the road before she saw this dark car tailgating her. She called Matt crying, saying that a man in a dark car was following her. Damn warden followed her the whole fifty miles home. Almost gave her a heart attack. Matt asked him why he did it. He told him he thought she was quail hunting. With three kids in the back in the middle of the night. Stalking grown men with guns is one thing, but a women with three kids in the back is quite another."

"All because that boy got shot in the hunting accident last year. It was a damn shame, but the boy healed up fine. If you ask me, the warden should just go back to wherever the hell. . ." I paused when I saw the look of weary annoyance plastered on Robbie's face. Turning, I looked up into the shiny sunglasses of the warden and swore.

"I assume you have a license?" He asked, his stare falling on the empty lanyards attached to our jackets, a hungry smile across his lips.

I smiled in return and put my hand in my pocket to pull out the laminated square I had shoved hastily in my pockets this morning. "Yes sir, we do. Wouldn't hunt without it. After all, that's against the law."

The warden's smile melted off his face. He took the license from my hand and examined it. "You do know this is private property right. I could take you in right now for trespassing." He sneered.

I continued to smile. "It's my property sir. Sure you know that already from the name on the license."

The warden's lips thinned for a moment and I thought he was going to leave, but suddenly he smiled. He smiled a smile fit to curd milk. "Well, boys, looks like everything is in order, except. . ."

We both waited for him to finish, but he just smiled at me. Finally, Robbie asked, "Except?"

"Except you're required by law to keep your license visible at all times. Sorry going to have to fine you."

"What? I never heard of that law." Robbie cried.

Warden just ignored him as he wrote out the little slips. Handing them to us, he said. "Have a nice day." before walking away.

Robbie looked at the fine. "Three hundred bucks! Can you believe that?"

I wasn't listening. I was watching the warden walk away. I wondered how many people he had screwed like this. Three hundred could feed a family for over a month and money was tight around here. "Hey, Robbie, did they ever figure out who shot that boy in that hunting accident?"

"Um, no. No way to track him down." Robbie said giving me a confused look.

. "If I remember right boy wasn't wearing orange." Looking at the hunters green back of the warden I smiled. "That's just asking for something to happen, don't you think?"

Robbie's gaze followed mine and he smiled. "Yeah guess it does doesn't it."

I nodded as I lifted my gun onto my shoulder, wrapping my fingers around the trigger. "Yeah, it does."