by Lucas Gardner
As you’ve already figured out, my dear foe, you are being hunted for sport by yours truly. I do hope you don’t take it personally. The simple truth is that I am a very rich man, and there is very little on this Earth that still thrills me. That is why you’ve been kidnapped, flown here to my private island, and set free in my unforgiving jungle. I could think of no greater rush than to hunt a fellow man—the most formidable of all foes. Indeed, I am trying my hand at the Most Dangerous Game. I even have a spot cleared on my big game wall, right in between my prized deerhorns and my prized tiger head, for your human skull to go after I’ve hunted you down like a beast.
Unfortunately for me, as you’ve already figured out: you are absolutely, 100% kicking my ass out here. This has been an absolute nightmare.
I’m going to be honest: when I got the idea to try my hand at “the most dangerous game,” I thought that it would take, at the very most, an hour and a half to hunt you down like an animal. I chose you, a complete stranger, at random to be my prey. I don’t know if you’re an experienced survivalist or if you fought in Vietnam or what, but not only have you eluded me for weeks, you are beating the shit out of me on my own expensive island.
You seem to have booby trapped my entire forest. I can not take a single step on this goddamn island without getting caught in some sort of elaborate net trap that you’ve set for me. There’s no greater humiliation than in that moment right after you’ve gotten caught in a net trap on your own private island, and you’re just swinging there in this net and you’re thinking, “I should have been the one who built an elaborate net trap.”
Every fifth step I take—boom!—I’ve fallen into another one of your cleverly concealed holes in the ground. I also noticed that you’ve started filling your holes with bees’ nests? What the fuck? The regular holes were more than enough to stop me. Please, I am allergic to bees. This is fucked up. And furthermore, I don’t appreciate you digging up my expensive island like this. This is private property, regardless of the fact that I’m trying to murder you on it.
I also notice that you seem to have taught yourself how to make bear traps out of wood, vines and snakes’ teeth. I have stepped in exactly 114 of them. They hurt real bad and they ruined my expensive pants. I also stepped on several of your crude landmine-type devices. The ones where, when I step on them, they blow a bunch of live spiders up into my pant legs. What the fuck? It just sucks because this was supposed to be a vacation for me. I work so hard and I just wanted a nice weekend where I hunt a man.
I realize now that just because I’m rich and crazy doesn’t mean I’m automatically good at hunting a human being in the jungle. I think I got too ambitious—I’ve never even hunted a regular animal before. Nary a squirrel nor a bird. I tried to hunt that famous lion Cecil that that rich dentist killed and everyone was mad about, and it bit my penis and balls off. Also, that dentist kicked my ass. I should have known this wasn’t for me.
As I stand here now, narrowly dodging the slew of handcrafted arrows that you keep slinging at me from the darkened wilderness, I say this: I am defeated, and I’m sorry I tried to hunt you as if you were an animal. I beg of you to please un-booby trap my island. Please, please, please remove all the traps. Keep in mind I come from extraordinary wealth, so if it’s money you want, then I can oblige—I might be able to get you an internship at my dad’s company, which could potentially turn into a well-paying full-time gig.
In the meantime, I will keep trying to endure your onslaught. Once again, I’m sorry I tried to hunt you for sport. May we both burn in hell.
Lucas Gardner’s work has appeared in The New Yorker‘s Shouts and Murmurs, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. His novel Quietly from Afar: A Dark-Comedy Cartoon-Western is now available.