It was daybreak and only two hours before I needed to be at work. I had rolled out of bed at some ungodly hour and even after coffee, falcon weighing and truck loading, hadn’t really woken up until I arrived in the field. I was standing outside of my truck at Whitewater, that strange duck haven carved in the sand and tossed by the wind. And the tyrant wind was coming. There was already a stiff breeze. I knew this place intimately. And with the same intuition that warned me another hour without food would turn my boyfriend into a glowering snapping troll, I knew I had an hour before Whitewater would turn on me, becoming unflyable. If only there was some way to appease the gods of weather, the way you could lay food at the altar of boyfriend. The raft of canvasbacks would have to be approached now or wait for some other morning, unfortunately there was a problem.
I had forgotten my vest at home. I had no license on me, no lure and no food.
If only the coffee had been stronger. If only I had done an idiot check before I left. My ex would always shout “IDIOT CHECK” before we left a hotel room or a friends or on a trip and we would scramble about looking for anything we might have left, laughing at the game of revealing personal stupidity. I still see him sometimes, a best friend now and it’s still one of my favorite games, but it wasn’t one I played that morning. My inner dunce had just sabotaged my daybreak hunt.
Or had it?
I stared at my falcon who was trying to look past his hood into the dawn. I had a license. I could prove it, later. And I had telemetry with me at least. I wouldn’t lose him. If he caught a canvasback, there would be food. If he caught nothing, I could call him down to one of my boots tied off with parachute cord, clip him up before he realized he had been called down to shoe leather for nothing but a song.
But he would catch the duck, I just knew it.
The falcon was leaning into the possibilites of the morning’s joys, straining for them to come sooner and I lost my mind. I wanted to believe. I wanted to do right by my bird. I wanted… well I wanted instant gratification. Let’s just say my french fries never make it home. I slipped a transmitter into his backback, shoved a wad of parachute cord in my pocket, strapped the receiver across my back so that I wouldn’t feel so naked and released him.
If you’re looking for a disasterous ending, I’m sorry to disappoint. He caught a drake canvasback that we both had for the day’s sweetest meal and I was rewarded for my stupidity. But isn’t that just the way gambling works?
What’s the stupidest thing you ever got away with in the field?