The Adventure of Igdryll the Drunken Gnome (Part 10)

          “I still had the sparkplug in my hand,” Roger said.
          “What?” Dave asked.
          Roger was driving down the highway towards the entrance to the construction site. They just got the truck out of the shop after having the rotor and the windows fixed. It still smelled like burnt leather in the cab.
          “The other day, before the track broke, when the dozer just quit running. When I turned the motor over, I still had the plug in my hand.”
          The truck rumbled down the two-lane blacktop. Dave reached down and pushed the cigarette lighter in while he reached for a Marlboro pack in his shirt pocket.
          “Ya mind?” Dave asked.
          “Nah. Truck still smells like shit anyway.”
          The lighter popped out and Dave held it to his cigarette. He inhaled deeply. He returned the lighter with a metallic chucking sound.
          “Well,” Roger said, “I had a VW Bug once. It ran on three cylinders with a plug out. Just a fluke. Engine was still hot on the dozer, it just turned over is all.”
          “This ain’t no VW. It just isn’t possible. On a motor that size?”
          “Okay. Are you tryin’ to say it was goblins or somethin’? Maybe the freakin’ Easter bunny slapped the motor around a bit to get it runnin’?”
          “Shut up. I’m just sayin’ it don’t make any sense, is all. That dozer ran for the rest of the afternoon just fine.” Roger stared ahead at the road for a moment. “Anyway. You talk to, Mike?”
          “Yeah. He’ll meet us there with another dozer in ’bout an hour or so.”
          Dave took a drag from his cigarette and exhaled sideways out of the window. He flicked the butt out, sparks shattered behind them on the pavement. Roger slowed and turned into the dirt road that led to the work site. The truck fishtailed a bit in the wet clay. Rounding a curve, Roger slowed.
          “Look at that,” Dave said. In the clearing near the excavation spot, a gathering of deer stood. “There must be fifty of ’em. Maybe more.”
          A large buck, its head crowned with a snarl of antlers, looked up at them. It snorted, its breath a cloud of fog in the cool morning air. The rest of the herd looked up and turned towards the truck.
          “What are they doing?” Roger asked.
          “Never seen such a thing. Huh, I think they’re comin’ this way.”
          The buck walked towards the truck, the herd following. The buck snorted and let out a loud bleat. It echoed through the damp air. The herd charged.
          “Uh, Roger…”
          Roger ground the truck into reverse and smashed the gas pedal. The tires spun, throwing mud, but found solid ground. It slowly moved backwards. Roger rocked the wheel back and forth and managed to get the truck sideways on the narrow clay road. The buck lowered its head and smashed into the passenger door, shattering the side window.
          “You all right?” Roger shouted.
          “Yeah, yeah. Fine. Get us out of here, god dammit!”
          The buck twisted its antlers loose and reared up to ram again. The smaller bucks and does surrounded the truck, butting and kicking the truck. Roger got the truck facing back out towards the highway and he stomped on the gas just as the large buck managed to send half of his rack through the right front quarter panel. Air hissed from a punctured tire. The truck lurched forward and they sped off back down the driveway. Dave turned around to look. The herd was watching as they drove off. Roger nursed the truck onto the blacktop and pulled over onto the shoulder. Neither of them spoke for several minutes.
          “Gimme a cigarette, Dave.”

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