Nice guy gets a really bad break


“Dude, hit a deer with my car. Call me when you get this. I need to take a shower. Smell like deer.”

Got your attention?

Imagine the grip it put on my unmentionables when that little text message popped up on my cell phone Monday night. There I sat, secure in the inner bowels of the McCann Complex with my TiVo remote in hand, when this ominous text from our art director, Shaun Lambert, shook my world. At first, I felt fear for his safety, as well as for the well-being of his wife, Ruslana. Then, when I got to the “Smell like deer” comment, I giggled. I was practically in hysterics when I called Shaun.

“Hello,” said a soft-spoken Lambert.

“You hit Bambi?”

“Oh, man, don’t even say that,” said Lambert, obviously shaken from the ordeal. “It was horrible.”

See, something like that would be horrible for anyone, but Lambert is the kind of guy you could picture sitting in a field with a big loopy grin on his face and a butterfly perched on each shoulder. He grew up in northern Alaska, and is an Inuit Eskimo who values everything that walks, crawls, slithers or swims. For him, hitting a deer was absolutely devastating, and the damage to his car was nothing to sneeze at, either.

The deer had run smack into the driver’s side window, smashing it instantly, and had then broke through the windshield. Both Shaun and Ruslana were showered with glass, and suffered minor cuts. And Shaun said later that the car was not running right at all when he left the scene. Oh, and that deer smell Lambert had alluded to earlier? That was because he got out of his mangled car and pulled the deer to the side of the road while he was waiting for police to come.

Where some would find compassion in their hearts, I found opportunity.

“Did this deer do something to you, Shaun? Is that why you ran it over?”

“No, no, no,” he said. “It just kind of jumped into the side of my car.”

“Did it leave a suicide note?”

“No,” said Shaun. “It was horrible.”

Actually, I knew it was horrible. I hate when people kill bugs in front of me because I don’t see what the bug ever did to deserve that kind of fate, and I’m not a hunter — though I’m guessing my problem with hunting revolves more around the fact that I don’t like being dirty and I have no interest in shooting an animal rather than any philosophical problems I have with the activity.

In short, I don’t like anything dying. Well, except for pedophiles and murderers. I’d actually like to see us line them all up in town square and ...

But I digress.

Though I felt for Shaun, as well as the doomed deer, I am, by most accounts, a jerk. Therefore, I had to pick on him when I knew he was down. The next morning, as Lambert walked in to the office, I sprang.

“How are you doing, buddy?”

“That was the weirdest thing,” said Lambert. “That deer just came out of nowhere. I swear it just dropped from the sky.”

“You killed Blitzen? Now, Santa’s sleigh is just going to roam around in circles.”

I have to say, Lambert’s sense of humor was not as high as I had hoped. He just lowered and shook his head, walked back to his desk and started working with the insurance company on getting his car repaired.

Yeah, this was no fun at all. I had all these sarcastic comments built up inside me, and nowhere to let fly with them. I glanced at Bob Bertram, but he was actually dressed pretty masculine that day. Jaime Ellis ... the new girl? Nah, she was working pretty hard. I didn’t want to screw that up at all. I silently prayed that Harry Steele or Monte Wisbrock would walk through the doors, but, alas, neither of them would drop by that fateful day.

Then my Palm Pilot dinged. I turned it on to see what the alert was and was reminded that it was Susan Lyons’ birthday.

Bin-go.

No, she wouldn’t be turning 50 again this year. I wouldn’t be that lucky. But still, I knew there were buttons to be pushed with that one, especially after she completely destroyed me on my own birthday last week.

Thoughts raced through my mind as I raised from my desk to make my way into her office to begin the bloodbath. Susan, after all, is my friend as well as my publisher. She could certainly take a joke. And Shaun is just too deer to pick on. I mean, “dear.”