The Boss had a day off work today, so he came with me in the car to take the minxes on the 15 minute drive to school. Halfway there, he spotted 3 big deer tearing across a huge wide open field.
“Look kids!” he gasped, “Huge big deer!”
I slowed the car to a halt. We oohed and aahed at their grace and effortless beauty. The front deer slowed up and all 3 came to a halt and looked at us. Then they started running again, with a new sense of urgency, in a direction that took them on a collision course with us. I released the handbrake and drove slowly on.
As our paths coincided, I slowed the car to a halt again. The first deer was approaching the fence. I barely had time to excitedly call, “Watch this kids: watch it jump, wheeeeee!” before it sprung nimbly over, clearing the fence and the verge in one leap before bounding off into the woods. The second deer jumped up, up, up, but a little too high rather than forwards. It clipped the fence, barely cleared the verge, and came to a leggy *splat* in the middle of the road. As it struggled to its feet and ran back to the fence, the deer’s third companion threw out its anchors and refused the fence.
As the minxes gasped and laughed and smiled, I went into 1st gear and crawled forward, past the wild-eyed deer.
That was my first mistake.
As my wheels drew level, it shot in front of the car…
Thump. BUMP. Crunch.
“Shit!” I threw it into reverse and eased back. Second mistake.
Crumple. Bang. Bump, bump, bump.
Oh holy God, as if once wasn’t enough, I’ve run over it *again*! Just to make sure.
I put my head in my hands as Maxi Minx wailed and Mini burst into tears. Mummy’s run over Rudolph. Oh hell…
I didn’t know what to do. I braced myself for the worst sight and went to get out the car. The deer suddenly resurrected and shot off into the woodland, with one lame leg. I looked wordlessly at The Boss, glanced at the queue of traffic in my rear view mirror and drove off slowly towards the school.
“It’s ok, kids, the deer’s fine. It’s not dead!” I attempted brightly. “I didn’t hurt it – look, it’s gone skipping off into the woods to meet its friend!” (to die slowly and horribly, poor thing… I added under my breath).
In the playground, a mum came up to me and asked how I was. I recognised her as the driver of the car behind and smiled wanly. “I could tell you were shaken by the way you drove the last bit to school”, she said. “Honestly, the deer was fine, it jumped off. They’re wild and a total pest, and one landed on my car roof once!” she reassured. It was so kind of her to try to make me feel less guilty. I reasoned with myself that the car hadn’t actually gone over any bumps (ie legs or hooves). The multiple thumps were the probably the animal struggling to get out through the engine block. It probably hurt its leg when it landed in the road, before it dived under the car. Probably. Perhaps.
I think we’ll be having traditional turkey for Christmas dinner this year and not venison after all. I’ve changed my mind. I’ve kind of gone off it, strangely…