Paronomasia (pa-ro-no-ma’-si-a): Using words that sound alike but that differ in meaning (punning).

My hart was running around in the back yard like he was back on his home turf. My heart went out to him, but I couldn’t let myself get too friendly. He was on the menu of the “Kills and Thrills Sportsmen’s Club’s” annual wild game banquet. Everybody had to bring wild game to eat. I was bringing my Hart’s hindquarters, once I killed him and cut him in half. At least I wasn’t as depraved as Joe Spicer, who had signed up to bring his daughter’s pet bunny Hoppy. Or, Joey Gilmer, who was bringing his son’s turtle Shelly. I didn’t think “pet” counted as “wild game.” But, even my Hart could count as a pet because he has been living in my backyard for six months. I had to build a huge fence to keep him from running away. I guess the possibility of him running away would make him wild. We live out in the country, so he’d probably be shot as a deer during deer season if he was out running loose.

Then, I started to think about what it would be like being a deer and being hunted during deer season? I would be a doe:

“I can tell it’s the opening of deer season. I live in a bucks only wildlife management area. Nevertheless, hunters can get doe permits, giving them permission shoot anterless deer. That’s me—antlerless. I knew the hunters were coming. There was a jam of pickup trucks on the road along the state land—where hunters hunted. I could also smell cigarette smoke, whiskey, coffee, and beer. To my deer nose it was like smelling death.

I started to retreat to the swamp. Most hunters were too lazy or ill-equipped to venture into the swamp. As I started to run, I remembered my fawn. She had been following me ever since she’d been born. She had lost her spots and looks like a small deer—not much bigger than a big dog. She is almost completely weaned, but still hits me up for a snack when we’re foraging for beech nuts in the woods.

As we make our way to the swamp, we cross paths with our first hunter. He’s an overweight beer-bellied man. He’s dressed in hunter orange from head to pants. His coat still has a price tag dangling from it. He is shaking. He is nervous. He puts down his Thermos cup, and puts his shiny new shotgun to his shoulder, and we run like hell. There’s no gunshot. The’s no ‘Boom!’ I looked back and saw he had forgotten to load his shotgun! With his shaking hands he almost couldn’t load his gun now. What a loser. But, he was rare—most hunters were ready to blow you away if you got anywhere near them. This was a big stroke of luck, but we continued to run anyway.

We kept going on to the swamp. We saw one of the herd’s old bucks coming toward us. He was limping and bleeding from his butt. He said, “I’m dying of thirst. I’ve got to get to the reservoir.” We took off again. I heard a loud thud and looked back. The old buck was down. A hunter had found him and was getting ready to shoot him in the head and finish him off. We ran. The swamp was nearby. We started crashing through the willows, and wading through knee deep water to the little island at the center of the swamp. I heard a shot! I looked back and I didn’t see my baby. I got back to the edge of the swamp and saw her dead body being dragged away by the overweight beer-bellied hunter—the one we had seen who had forgotten to load his gun.

I have no claws or sharp teeth. I am like a cow living in the woods. There was nothing I could do, except head back to the swamp’s center, lie down and wait for dark, when the hunters would leave woods.”

Wow, that sucked. A deer helpless to fight back. There was a time when hunting deer was a matter of survival, now it’s about having something yummy to eat with potatoes and gravy. And also, there’s the thrill of getting up while it is still dark and wandering around, or sitting, in the woods with a loaded weapon, waiting for dawn, looking for a deer to kill. I’m thinking of sending my Hart back to his native Iran where he can run free (wherever Hart run free in Iran). He probably won’t be better off, but a least he’ll be home. It’s going to cost a fortune to ship him. I was lucky to get him as a gift from my estranged wife. I have no idea where she got him for me, and I didn’t ask. Initially, I was going to whack him and invite my friends over to eat him. But, I named him Shah and started hugging him, letting him in the house every once-in-awhile, and teaching him tricks. I taught him to push a ball across the living room floor with his nose. I don’t know, maybe it’s just as well to bring him to the banquet and, after everybody’s eaten, let him impale few people with his antlers for “Just Desserts.”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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