Hunger Game

by gabe wollenburg

I am not sure what good a pink bow is.  You might as well put a whistle and a bell on it, for all the good that pink will do you out in the marsh.  But whatever.I’m not bitter.  I’m not.  I just can’t stand it, that’s all.I’ve been out hunting this marsh for the last 15 years.  If you’d have asked me six months ago, I’d have told you I’ve seen everything the marsh has to show. I’ve seen Will-o’-the-Wisps.  I’ve seen fireflies cast glowing orbs the size of billiard balls.  I’ve tracked Sasquatch, just for fun.  I stayed my shot one chilly Sunday morning when an albino buck with thirteen gorgeous points walked out in front of my blind and stared me down.

And then, this year.  Ugh.

Everything is shitty now.  The marsh is so overloaded with “hunters”,  that there’s not much meat left to catch or trap, let alone hunt.  I blame that movie. The one about the fire.  Or the Olympics.  Or the fire girl at the Olympics.  I dunno.  I didn’t see it.

All I know is this: Suddenly all of these *girls* started showing up at the marsh.  At first, it was exciting to see young ladies taking up an interest in hunting.  At first I was flattered to be approached by little ones asking for hunting advice.   But slowly the marsh here — my sacred marsh, which has provided my family and me with sustenance for seven generations, turned into a shopping mall.

Barbie doll brats show up coifed in the latest and greatest track-suit-cum-hunting-garb lugging plastic gear with names like “ReBelle” and “Pink Fever.”  They fling a few plastic arrows into the marsh, wonder why its so hard to catch their dinner, give up and text their moms for a ride home.

I hope it ends soon.  There’s plenty to go around here– don’t get me wrong, the marsh will provide.  But I don’t know how to relate to a marsh full of people any more than these people know how to relate to me.  And I’m happy to live on stews of Cattail slime and snail shells, but I miss spending time with my friend. I miss the old marsh.  The one who wasn’t crawling with vapid children playing adventure girl.

This is my home, you idiots.  This is my life. I harvest my meals here, or I go without food.  This isn’t some kind of hunger game.  This is reality.

There’s no cornucopia at the center of my marsh except the one I fill with my own harvest.  You don’t win, you survive the day, and you play again tomorrow or you die.

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