The cicadas screamed out from the weeping willows on that hot early June afternoon, singing their desperate mating song that would soon disappear as spring gave way to summer. The noisy bugs were so loud that one almost forgot that he was in rural Alabama and not the fast paced streets of Atlanta.
But, Carey was in rural Alabama, and that was not exactly the place he wanted to be. He had just finished college, and didn’t care much about what he did for a living, he just didn’t want to be a grown up living in his parents’ upstairs bedroom. Yet, here he was, watching his friends move on and get jobs while he sort of drifted along. Well, at least it’s a nice place, he thought, as he drove the riding mower underneath the screaming willow tree, ducking to avoid the weeping part and a harikari attack by a cicada. He moved forward over the front lawn, rhythmically swinging the lever of the mower up and down, on and off, to avoid the rock patches that came up from under. A rock in the head would not be so great. He jumped and could feel his heart rise in his chest whenever he heard a chopping sound from a rock or chunk of wood he did not see. Who knows where that would end up on him?
Moving along on the mower, he started to gaze at the cotton field across the street. It looked barren at this time of year, brown and picked over. The cotton had already been harvested. Off in the distance, at the edge of the field he saw two deer. They stood almost motionless. They had their gaze transfixed back on him. They began their staring contest. Carey continued to gaze at the deer as he drove toward the road. He momentarily forgot what he was doing. The mower dipped down into the gulley on the edge of the road. Carey’s heart had the familiar sinking feeling, as when he drove over the rocks. But this time, the mower tossed him up a couple of inches off his seat. He was nervous for a reason. The mower hit the bottom of the gulley and came to a dead halt as Carey removed his foot from the gas pedal. His head and neck lurched forward. He seemed unharmed. He looked up to the field to see if the deer were still looking at him. They were. He could tell immediately that they had stepped forward a few feet. He felt embarrassed. The deer had embarrassed him. They had seen his wreck and were looking on like concerned drivers on the highway after a bad automobile accident. They were only deer, but Carey had an instinct to get revenge on them. He pulled the mower up to the side of the road and pointed it toward the cotton field. He hit the gas and put the mower on full throttle. He was going right for those deer. The deer still kept staring. This was the most fun that Carey had in weeks. He edged closer to the deer on his mower, giving it all it had, which wasn’t much. The deer kept on looking. He got to within about 5 feet of them when they dove out of the way quickly, then paused, looked back at him, almost with disbelief, and then darted into the woods for safety. Carey screamed “I’ll get you, you stupid deer.” He then realized, he was yelling at deer. Rural Alabama may not be the place for Carey.