High on the Plains: Death of an aspen tree


Chad Christensen, Columnist

I had a strange experience with an elusive piece of fried chicken several years ago. Actually, it may have been 10 years ago. Not sure. But it was indeed STRANGE.

A friend and I were boating ourselves to death on the Missouri River up by Wynot, Neb. It was during the week, as was our usual. Fishing and drinking. Drinking and fishing. Mainly drinking. Escaping from the brutal responsibilities unjustly shoved upon us by an ancient tyrannical system built by our ancestors with the help of the ANUNAKI aliens. ZANG! Truly evil bastards.

But like I said—we were merely fishing. Just a little necessary bloodletting to get right with God. We were only doing what NEEDED to be done.

I have a cabin there, which is a good place to hide. The bank is high enough to keep river onlookers from peeking in. And there is a solid row of prickly bushes that keep wandering degenerates from showing up. It has only failed me once. I was jumped by a drunk man on a horse. I was in mid-conversation by the fire when this horse suddenly appeared, snorting violently. The man on the back of the horse was slouched back and he could barely hold his head up. He was drunk. And he called us both c***suckers.

It was obvious that the horse was in charge. And, apparently, it was immune to the prickly bushes. Or maybe the horse just didn’t care, and he only wanted to get home as quickly as possible so that he could unload this verbally abusive honky. It was hard to tell.

I never saw that horse again, and I always wondered what became of it. Horses are often under-appreciated. A beast of burden, you know. Always at the mercy of the ape on top. After the horse left that night, I never felt the same.

That evening, my friend and I picked up some fried chicken from the bar. It was eight pieces. Four for each of us. There was some confusion later on in the truck and one of the pieces was missing.

We got back to town around 3 a.m. and I accused him of eating it. Of course, he denied it. He got aggressive and we wrestled. The fight spilled out onto the front yard and we accidentally fell on a small aspen tree and snapped it in half. It was dead so I tried to hit him with it. He just rolled around and moaned.

When we came back in the house, the piece of chicken was on the kitchen floor. It was completely untouched. Even the dog hadn’t noticed it. My friend picked it up and ate it. Horses are amazing creatures.