High on the Plains: Deer rape, things in jars and other tiny failures (I’m using my John Huston voice.)


Chad Christensen, Columnist

Sometimes things get tough. And sometimes things get really tough and then weird. And then after that, you start to wonder if, just maybe, someone put something in your drink.

Yesterday, I had a religious moment with a deer in my backyard. He was a lengthy bastard. He looked like Steve Buscemi but on a bad day. He wore a leather jacket and funny t-shirt with a duck on it (which strangely enough looked like Al Gore trying to putt-putt golf. What it meant, I have no idea). He also had several colorful bead necklaces draped around his neck and antlers. He was clearly a deer who has seen the world. When I looked into his eyes they seem to say “Yes, Chad. I have seen things. Listen to me gibber on about nothing and claim it as something.”

When he had wandered into my backyard I waved him over. It seemed like the right thing to do… the neighborly thing to do. When he got closer, I offered him a beer and without any hesitation, he took it.

“Coors,” I said. “It’s all I got.”

He nodded. “That works.”

“Tell me, deer. My writing workshop students want to know about deer rape. Not man-on-deer but deer-on-deer. I told them it was completely inappropriate, but they’re persistent. They’ll have my head if I don’t bring them something.”

He sat there thinking and he didn’t look surprised by my question.

“Well,” I said. “Is there such a thing?”


“Why?” I asked.

“Well…” he said, pausing to take a drink. “We’re deer.”

I pondered that answer for a moment. It was a good answer.

“What’s that?” he said, pointing at the jar next to me.

Before he arrived, I had been putting things into jars. It’s an obsessive hobby of mine which I usually perform in private. It all started with putting flowers and dolls into jars. Eventually the mold would take over and consume the doll. It was a cool idea. But then it got a bit out of control. I started putting dead animals in jars with other random things like coat hangers, screws, false teeth. The last one I did only had dog sh*t and batteries in it. I can’t imagine what the neighbors must have been thinking when they saw me in the yard with the jar. To be honest, I think I’m hitting an artistic slump.

“I’m not sure if the world is ready for it,” I told him.

“Ready for what?” he asked.

“Things in Jars.” I picked it up and shook it in front of him.

“The idea is pretty simple. By taking something, anything really, and putting it into a clear pickle jar, it suddenly becomes something more. Something better. It goes through a kind of transformation and becomes something that can be closely observed and appreciated.”

“Sounds like a load of crap,” he said.


The deer left. And there was a moment of sadness that drifted over the hill.

(Follow Chad M. Christensen on Facebook.)