I took Dennis’s keys from him and unlocked the door and opened it, and he went in and fell and laid his face in the carpet. I asked him if he was all right. He didn’t say anything at first and, after a while, he looked up over his shoulder. He was very drunk and had a dark swollen cut over his eye but not from the fall he’d just taken. He told me he was fine and that I should go ahead and leave. I tossed the keys into the floor beside him and opened the door and went out. It had been snowing all day and had continued to snow far into the night. There was maybe another thirty minutes until Jerry did last call. Not that the time really mattered much. On the road the headlights shown through the darkness and the falling snow. The only other tire tracks were the ones we’d made fifteen minutes earlier going in the direction we’d just left.
“She was just playing the victim,” said Alan. He was sitting in the driver’s seat of the truck.
“That don’t make a difference,” said Evan. “You don’t hit women.”
“I’m not going to say that.”
“You’re going to hit a woman?”
“I never have. I’m just saying. I’m not going to just rule it out like that. If some chick fucks up in the right way, I’m not just going to flat out say that I wouldn’t.”
“You can’t do that,” said Evan. “You can’t do that. And you know Dennis fucked up. There’s just no way around it. He deserved to get his ass kicked.”
“She did cheat on him.”
“That’s not good enough. And besides, the dude's fucked up. There’s not a question in my mind that had things been a little different, he would have stabbed Angel.
“What came first? The him being fucked up part or the her getting fucked?”
“I had a girl cheat on me once, and that was my queue to just forget it. You got to have a little self-respect. If she’s treating you like shit, then get out of there. No one needs that crap.”
“Chicken or the egg.”
“I’m not trying to justify hitting a chick because she cheated on you. I never hit a chick before, and I had them do some messed up things. I’m just saying. I like to keep things on a case by case basis.” Evan sat there not talking for a while. There was a deer in the road. It was just there out of the darkness and the haze of the snow, standing in the middle of the headlights. I’m not sure if he even stepped on the brakes. If he had time to or he just didn’t. There was a dull, heavy thud, and then it was gone. It didn’t seem as if he’d ran over it. It didn’t feel like we ran over anything. We got out and looked at it on the side of the road in the snow. It’s dark eye staring up into the dark snowing sky not moving. “Remember that huge pile of bread someone put out,” said Evan pointing across the street. There was a fenced in electrical transformer and a clearing beside it. A couple weeks ago before the snow had started to stick someone had dropped at least 200 loaves of white bread there. The deer were everywhere. They had finished off the pile quite a while ago, but they were still coming back to check on it. This young, nubin buck was no different.
“What the fuck,” said Alan.
“Must of broke its neck,” said Evan. We all stood there and stared at it not talking. Then Alan went around and opened up the back of his truck. You could tell by the way he walked that he was very drunk. He came back and picked up the deer and put it in the truck bed. “I’m keeping that,” he said. I asked him if he wasn’t suppose to register something like that.
I didn’t say anything more and Alan closed up the tailgate and we got in the truck and left.
After a while we heard something from the back of the truck. When we all looked, we could see the deer banging around into the walls. “Holy shit,” said Evan. “What are we going to do about that?” We had stopped and Alan was looking through the center console. He took out a large clasp knife and got out and went around to the back of the truck. We could see him standing with the red tail lights shining on him as he opened the tailgate. He grabbed the deer by the back of the neck and pressed it into the floor and leaned over it with the knife. He stepped away and the deer started to get back up, sidling a little on its front hunches. It sank down slowly onto its side, and then it did not move anymore. He stood there for a moment making sure. Then he closed up the back and came around the truck. I could see him lean over in the open driver’s side door and use a handful of snow to clean the knife. He got in and put the knife back in the center console. Nobody really said anything for a while. Then Alan said, “What else was I going to do? Its back was broken.”
“Yeah, man. It’s tough to do sometimes,” said Evan.
“Let’s have some shots when we get back,” said Alan.
When we got back, Alan order shots and we took them, and then Mark and Cody came over and Alan told them what had happened. They all wanted to see. A few girls came out with them and Alan opened the back of the truck up. Some of the girls said some stuff about it and turned and went inside. We stood there looking at it for a while and Alan explained what had happened and we all agreed that putting the bread there that close to the road was the damn dumbest thing anyone could have done. We went inside and Alan ordered more shots. Dennis’s girl was apparently pretty drunk and she came over and started telling Alan about how fucked up this all was. She went on about how he’d just cut the deer's throat like that, apparently not remembering that Dennis had pushed her into a wall not more than an hour ago. Alan just looked at her, expressionless. Then Evan came over and sort of pulled her away telling her not to freak out and that that was just the way he was.
“It’s disgusting. How could he do that,” said Abby.
“He was doing the deer a favor. It was hurt.”
“What if it wasn’t.”
“What was he supposed to do? Just let it break all the windows out of his truck”
“I don’t know. He could have waited.”
“And what if it would have woken up and took off with a broken leg to die of an infection?”
“I don’t know. He just acts like a serial killer or something.” I watched Evan look over his shoulder. Alan was at the pool table taking aim at the cue ball with a two by four he’d found behind the bar. “It’s like you’re saying that’s just the way he is, like, ‘Oh, it’s okay. He’s just a serial killer.’”
Evan looked at me and then he looked back at Abby to make another attempt at explaining Alan’s behavior and both of us knowing, thinking how Alan had lost his friend recently and had been very angry at him, at his friend, and that was why he’d moved back to Muskegon when he did, and probably why he didn’t seem to care very much.