They gathered to drink and toast their own. Bryan passed shots of brown liquid to the hunters in the bar and then raised his glass to some feat or other. Jason killed ten wolves in one day. Shot! Farouq had mastered the art of the nighttime hunt. Shot! The Flanagan brothers hunted from the trees. Bryan downed two shots for the Flanagans. Hot gas and bile bubbled up in his throat, but he choked it all down. He wasnt done. There was Jonathan and Odin and Koz and the bar grew weary of Bryan, but tolerated him as long as the liquor flowed. All you had to endure was a backslap and a blowhard laugh. Maybe some noxious breath in your face. Nothing too serious though. When he came to Sheila, Bryan screamed: And here is the greatest hunter
no, huntress of all. The beautiful, lovely, and illustrious, Sheila! Oh, Sheila. Brave Sheila. Got more balls than any wolfing man in here. Sheila, we salute you. A shout rose from the patrons. She laughed and downed a shot. Bryan insisted on another. He climbed atop a pool table as a waitress handed him another tiny glass. How does Sheila catch so many wolves? With her booby traps! There was collective groaning and the downing of more shots. Sheila pursed her lips in a sort of smile, but didnt drink her liquor. Go ahead, a man next to Sheila said. Itll make this jackass tolerable. Bryan called for another round and he held his liquid high in the air and continued: The king of the hunt has yet to be crowned, but Sheila, we can all agree is the undisputed queen. For the king we say: Heavy is the head that wears the crown. For the queen, I say: Heavy is the ass that wears the thong. Chuckles and groans and the clinking of glasses. Sheila glared at Bryan. He had the face of a wolf and also the unbroken smile of one. A man whispered into her ear: Baby, dont mind him, hes drunk as shit. Hunters beckoned Bryan down from his perch atop the pool table. He raised his arms high, shuffled about the table and called for another round. Were all having a good time, he said. Dont ruin my fun. Bartender, keep the shots flowing until I say stop. Im good for it. I sell as many dead wolves every day as I did today Im the king, right up there with sexy-ass Sheila. Shots for every wolfer in the place. The muted cheer of the patrons sounded to Bryan like the roars of thousands. To step down from the table now would be to disappoint his fans, so Bryan continued. Most people dont know this but the truth is, out there in that forest Sheila has a secret weapon: Her hunting partner, Herc. Herc Hunt. Wolfers beckoned Bryan to step down as they yanked at the ends of his jeans. He continued: Not many of us can snare traps with our bloody pads. Oh, to be on the rag and have the power to bleed on demand! In honor of Sheila, a bit of poetry is in order: Girl, I aint trying to baby ya/I just want to slip my hard dick past your wet labia. Sheila, he called, while wolfers pulled at his limbs and his clothes. Sheila, baby, dont be mad at me. Fuck, Im twisted. Take another shot to the head. Its on me. Go ahead, take it to the head. I heard you know how to take it to the head. What? Of the wolves, I mean she knows how to take it to the head
of the wolves. Oh, Sheila, let me love you till the morning comes. Go Sheila. Its your birthday. Go, Sheila
When Sheila woke the next morning, she had no desire to go to the forest looking for wolves to kill. If she didnt make her living by the gun she would have lain in bed all day with the covers pulled tight. Here she was safe and free from the searching eyes of others. She took comfort that day in imagining each wolf she killed with the smiling face of Bryan and that got her through several weeks. And when she saw him in town shopping with his wife and two boys and he pulled her aside to apologize (Im not like that. Not usually. Im the opposite of that. Most of the time.), her anger bubbled back up like bile in her throat and imagining the dead wolves as Bryan no longer worked. The only thing that sustained her was hoping shed come across him in the forest. Perhaps at dawn before the sun was fully up. Shed watch him from afar and hed look in her direction, but still never truly see her as he searched for wolves, thinking of them as the only real threat.
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