Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Complicated Man

Heyman got his nickname because he addresses everyone he knows as "Hey Man". "Heyman, whatrya doin Man? Dude, whatryou doin dude? Heyman, what's up?"
Heyman's got a quad, two trucks, three boats, and gadgets, lots of duck hunting gadgets. One of them looks like a big Y that spins around with a duck on each arm, whirring their wings and seeming to hang on for dear life like a kid on a merry-go-round gone haywire. Pattyo asked him how you get it started without getting your head knocked off and he wasn't quite sure. He's got mojo mallards, wonderducks and even a half dozen "winduks".
The thing about our flapping circus is that he's always dissing old man Phil's spread. It's true that Phil's stubborn and set in his ways. He has been hunting this pond since before our Daddy's even knew our Mommy's. And it is true that we'd probably kill a few more ducks every year if he'd just make everyone's life easier and just move it up his path twenty yards. But if he wants to have two thousand decoys out on his pond and plastic ducks with fountains that shoot water out their butts, I say more power to him. But lately Heyman has taken the attitude that if you can't beat him, join him. The last month of the season our pond looked more like Barnum & Bailey than something out of a Duck Commander video. But I give him his props. He works hard to get his ducks. He takes it seriously.
When the birds don't come right over, he wants to move the decoys. When they flare, he's already making plans to take a back hoe out here over the summer and sink em another six inches. When they cut us short, he wants to sink the blinds and move them 30 yards to the southeast. Or he just disses my white dog. His is black and she's named "Red". See! Complicated. It's like, if he can totally confuse the hell out of you, he's won.

A pair of widgeon circle the open water in front of us and I give them a "where are you" call as they angle away from us.
"They're flaring on the widgeon call dude" he says.
When they circle back he goes, "Dude, here they come."
"Alright I see them", I whisper.
"Dude, get ready!"
"I'm ready dude." I say a little louder.
"Dude do you see em?" he shouts.
"Yeah, I do!" I shout back, irritated he didn't hear me the first few times.
Heyman goes, "SHHHHHHH".
We shoot at the same duck and it falls but his mate gets away.
"Dude, you had to shoot at the duck on my side didn't you?"
"It was on your side until they flew straight over. I took the one in front because the one in back was closer to you."
"Dude, this side is my side and that side is yours."
I can't see which way he's pointing and I don't pay attention because it will probably change the next time. I'm watching the dogs retrieve when a pair of teal buzz us from the North.
"AWW Duude! You're supposed to be looking that way dude!"
I had been looking that way but I got distracted. In all the excited electricity caused by the complicated man, I forgot what distracted me. Humm, could've been my coffee. Or maybe I was making sure I had shells in my gun. On second thought, there are a bunch of ladybugs in the blind this year.
"I was watching that way!" I defend myself, knowing that getting buzzed is just part of the game. That's where we differ in philosophy and attitude. I can let it go and vow to be ready the next time. Heyman holds onto it like a canker sore. For the next half-hour he'll be bitching, recounting our birds and adding or subtracting "those three we shoulda had", until he wears it out. One time I even caught him telling himself to shut up. That made me feel better. I'm not the only one.
The problem with the complicated man is that he's always keeping score. It's like he thinks when we get back to the clubhouse, someone is going to take a picture of us and pin a blue ribbon on it somewhere on the shack's "wall of fame". There are a few photo galleries but no official record books. All of the pictures are of guys out hunting or fishing and enjoying themselves while doing it. What Heyman fails to realize is that there is no official record book besides the one that he keeps in his head.
Sometimes he can't even count. Like the time we spent an extra two hours in a ferocious December storm to fill out our limits. Until he found two teal "Oh Dude, chuckle, chuckle," he had stuffed up under the cover and we could finally head home.
A big flock of sprig start working the blind. I let the complicated man do the calling. I don't want his criticism of my calling to scare them off. They circle overhead and he's like, "should we take these?" I pull up on them and decide that they're a little far out. Even though everyone on the club does it, no one wants to be the "skyscraper". Heyman yells at me.
"Why didn't you take those? DUUUUUUUUDe those were right there. You aimed at em, what are you waiting for?"
I'm watching the north intently and a smaller flight starts to work our way. There's a single bull that's just in range. "Heyman, check these out!"
I pull up slowly and he's like, "Nelson NO!" But I'm determined and I've been hunting with him long enough to know when to tune him out. "Boom" goes the shotgun and the pintail folds up and begins the long fall into the pond. "Splash" and the dogs are on it.
"huhuhuhuh" he chuckles, "I guess it wasn't too high."

Like I told you, he's a complicated man. But one things for sure, there's never a dull moment.

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