Into The Night
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standard 6x9; 186 pages
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From the Foothills of North Carolina to the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, to Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley; comes a love story/murder/mystery from America’s next great storyteller - Darryl A. Perkins. Centered around re-introduction of Wolves into Yellowstone National Park, Darryl weaves an intriguing tale of triumph, tragedy, and an enduring everlasting love. Although purely fictional and sprinkled with Darryl’s unique wit; Winston SalemInto The Night nevertheless touches on one of the most controversial conservation/restoration efforts this country has ever experienced – returning Canis lupus to one of its former haunts.
"Hurry up before she shows up," I said to Caroline.
She handed me her ever-present lollipop, licked her lips and said, "Patience Boo. If she comes she comes."
She licked her lips again as she bent over to adjust the climbing spikes and I couldn't help but smile.
"If you don't quit licking those lips and smiling, you might not ever make it up the tree," I said as I gave her a playful slap on the rump.
"And if you don't quit playing, you might have a decision to make right here and now, my Boo," Caroline replied.
She then faced me with her hands on her hips and smiled.
"What's it gonna be, a pissant baby goshawk or me?" Caroline said.
"You know me baby," I replied. "I choose brown sugar over a goshawk any day of the week."
I walked over and put my arms around her and kissed her lightly on those luscious lips. I then pulled her close and whispered in her ear, "But it's up the tree today darling."
She pushed me away and pretended to pout. I laughed and winked at her and as always, she licked her lips and winked back.
Watching her lick her lips and smile as she got ready to climb the tree caused me to reminisce about the day we first met.
She had this way of licking her lips and smiling that has mesmerized me since the first day we met during our fresWinston-SalemState University in North Carolina in 1972.
So here we were thirty years and two children later at a goshawk nest in Great Barrington Massachusetts. Caroline was all smiles as I warned her to be alert. This female was notorious for her aggressive defense of the nest. But where was she?
As soon as we were within 100 feet of the nest tree the tiercel (male) started kaking and doing flybys. That was his M.O. Make a lot of noise and do an occasional shallow flyby, but nothing serious. On the other hand, the hen was downright dangerous. Normally you couldn't get within a half mile of the nest before this little piss ant of a goshawk was trying to knock your head off. To be such a little bird, this female was famous for her attacks and had sent many an unwary hiker to the emergency room, but now she was absent.
Not that she advertised her presence mind you. Besides being little and nasty, she was silent. The tiercel would distract you with flybys and kaking, and the next thing you knew you were being blindsided by 30 ounces of enraged fury. In my opinion, getting cold cocked was a small price to pay for the chance at flying one of the Pissant's babies.
To a bird, they were all extremely large, heavy-footed aggressive goshawks that were more than a match for any denizen of the boreal forest, arid desert, or fruited plain. But for whatever reason, old P.A. was missing. Or so we thought.
It was 1972 – the beginning of my freshman year at Winston Salem State University in North Carolina. I was sitting in the cafeteria with my new roommates – Zack Graham from High Point; James "Teeter" Gray from Trenton; and Vince "Pimp" Snodgrass from Jacksonville when in walked a group of four freshmen girls. We had seen them together during orientation so we knew they were freshmen too.
"Ugh! All fine," my friend Teeter said.
"Dang!" Pimp added. "I can't decide which one I want."
We all fell out laughing at that declaration. Vincent Eugene Snodgrass Jr. was a skinny, bifocal-wearing, pimply-faced nerd who also was a self proclaimed-lover, or as he phrased it, a "pimp." His favorite saying was, "The only reason I ain't hooked up with one of these honeys right now is I can't decide which one I want."
"The boy ain't got no sense," I said. "But give him credit, he's got confidence."
And truth be known, everyone referred to him as "Pimp" not because of his prowess with the ladies, or not even because he had the word "Pimp" enclosed in double quotes and stenciled on the back of the blue jean jacket he always wore. We called him Pimp because someone had referred to him as a "walking pimple" our first day on campus.
"Well, I'll take that little light-skinned one," Zack said. "You know I love red bones."
"They don't want us," Teeter said. "We ain't got no money. We ain't got no car. We ain't got no crib to take them to even if we could pull them right now. We're freshmen. What those girls are looking for is upper classmen with money, cars, and a crib!"
Pimp got up from the table, adjusted the collar on his jean jacket, took the toothpick out of his mouth and placed it behind his ear, and without ever taking his eyes off the girls said, "Relax young'uns, and watch the pimp of all pimps work."