We went coyote hunting the other day–my uncle-in-law, Jamie, and his son, Jacob, and I. I would have carried the shotgun, but someone forgot the shells for it. So they carried AR-15s, and I carried the bag with the coyote calls in it. I threw the strap over my head and carried it like a bag of books–books with titles like Empire of Capital and Discipline and Punish and Tintin and the Secret of Literature.
I sat against a tree and scanned for movement, pleased that I’d brought hand-warmers. We neither saw nor heard coyotes. Jamie said that some nights it seems as though they’ve made a pact of silence, for no amount of calls will rouse them–not the alpha male call or the group call or the rabbit in distress call.
We walked back in the dark waving a flashlight because we didn’t want to get shot by inebriated deer-hunting neighbors, and I carried the bag the way I assumed Jamie would have carried it, hanging down from one shoulder. When I got home I told my colleagues I’d gone coyote hunting, pronouncing the word coyote as “kai-oat.”