Jim Doran and Hildie Block

Muse Ut Vos Postulo Suus

Jim Doran

Inspiration piece:

Hunting Irony
Hildie Block

“Roy owned the only drive-thru funeral business in Maine.”

She looked at this line and frowned. “This is stupid,” she said. “This is stupid. This is stupid,” she said and started to cry.

She opened a new document and wrote “Business Owner Dies at 58.” That’s better she thought. She touched the phone, her sister’s number on her mind – but retracted. “I said I would do this. NOW DO IT,” she scolded herself so harshly that the cat leapt off the nearby chair.

“If only everyone else reacted like that.” Her children didn’t listen to her like that. Her husband ignored her “Honeydo” lists on the fridge. The only sanity they granted her was in this room, her writing room, alone to do her freelance work. It brought in the money for the good stuff, the better meats, the organic veggies, the vacations at the beach. So they gave her space.

She hit the space bar. Then, the return key. Her bitten nails clacked on the keys, not hard enough to strike a letter.


She opened a new doc.

Dear Dad,

What the hell were you thinking


“DO IT!” she yelled out loud. Something broke downstairs.

“Damn it,” she muttered and went to see what it was.

A day passed. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, brush teeth. She’d put the kids to bed, she’d done the wifely duty of watching TV while her husband held the remote and channel surfed until she was sure her brain fell out of her head, rolled on the floor and under the couch. There, under the couch, the cat batted it around.

Now, she was alone and retrieved her brain from under the couch (the cat purred at her) and attempted to reinsert it by banging her forehead on the computer keyboard.

And then, like a squirrel who has just changed its mind about something, she dashed downstairs.

When she returned she had the Obituaries from the day’s papers.

“I’ll read these,” she said determinedly. “I’ll get ideas.” And she did. She read them. Loving parent, brother, grandfather. Passed away quietly at home. Services. Long illness.

Not one of them said “Shit where he lived.” Not one of them said “irony.” Not one of them said, “in a twist of fate that everyone could see coming.”

She opened her internet browser and looked for the news story hoping to get a grip on the words. The words that wouldn’t say what she was thinking “YOU STUPID BASTARD,” but would say, um . . .okay, that was the problem.

She found the article. She read it, twice. The tears welled up with the anger and frustration. In the article the accidental shooting was blamed on his dark clothing and his white mittens. White mittens? Seemed out of character. This bit of information made her head spin. Why would he have had white mittens? Seemed so unmasculine. Orange hunting jacket sure, but not this night. This night, a navy pea coat and white mittens.

She started again.

“Business Owner Dies TRAGICALLY at 58”

She changed TRAGICALLY to IRONICALLY and then changed it back. Hmm. “Hunting Accident,” but that implied that her father was hunting. Which he wasn’t, he was getting wood from the wood pile. That was the assumption.

She stared at poster on her wall that had a baby on it, the baby was playing with a revolver. The line beneath the black and white photo said, “One Child A Day, Everyday.” This was her life. She was the staff writer for the National Coalition to Ban Handguns. And she wrote for other folks too, because truth be told, the Coalition didn’t need her that much. Most of the writing happened at the other lobbying firm, Handgun Control International.

Roy Green, owner of the Sportsman Gun and Ammo, died suddenly Saturday in his backyard, the apparent victim of a stray deer hunter’s bullet.

That sounded too much like a news article.

She wished she had her father’s resume. Who was she kidding. He didn’t have a resume. He’d owned this shop for over 30 years. That’s who he was. Roy, who owned Sportsman. The gun shop up on the highway in a building that used to be a bank. Still had the drive through windows but they were bricked up after some incident in the early 80s.

Roy Green. Dead at 58. Survived by family who didn’t speak to him. Mostly.

No. Survived by daughters, and sons-in-law, grandchildren and an uncle. Services to be held at Grace Lutheran. In lieu of flowers . . .

Donations To What? The NRA? Handgun control? Boy Scouts?

To the Roy Green Memorial fund for gun safety. Yes. That was the answer. That was something she could call her sister with – a message, a job to do. A new way of making sense out of it all. An intersection of belief. “Here” – Here is the where we can meet Dad. This is our common ground.

Because no matter how you sliced it, Roy Green was the merchant of his own death. Owner of the only drive thru funeral business in Maine. But Holly could change all that.