We recently published Ben Niespodziany’s trickster “Moose Hunt.” Here, we ask him two questions about his story:
1) The transformation in this story is so effective, how the fur trapper becomes bit by bit the thing he is tracking down. But he never completely does, does he?
He does and he doesn’t. From an outside perspective, it would appear that the fur trapper has all of the moose, but the piece speaks a great deal on satisfaction and not knowing what you have while you have it. When I first started submitting, for example, I wanted to have a published story. Now that it’s happened, I want a published book of stories. Whenever (if ever) that happens, I know I’ll want a second book of stories. When will I rest easy? When will the hunter have enough of the moose before he is able to focus on something else? Once he smiles like a moose and begins to walk on all fours? Once he deceives another hunter and is killed out in the woods?
2) The story is mostly about the fur trapper and the moose, but at the end, we are introduced to a larger world, to the town. They are afraid of guns. Is this because of the fur trapper, do you think?
I’m a big fan of zooming out at the end of my stories. Honing in with a character / situation for 90% of the fable and then stepping out for a new perspective. The town is terrified of guns because, yes, a man dressed as a moose has been shooting bullets in the nearby woods. But this viewpoint / fear is also a tiny nod to the world that engulfs us. Every day it’s a high school or a dance club or a shopping mall or a movie theater that is overtaken by a madman with a weapon. The collective town in this story speaks on behalf of many scared Americans without guns (including myself). While there are plenty of us, there are also the gun fanatics with safes full of rifles and pistols. So it’s worth noting that another potential ending that I considered (call it the Director’s Cut) was that no one interacted with the fur trapper who was transforming into a moose because they were all busy cleaning their guns, wiping drool from their mouths, and eyeing the size of the tasty moose so very out in the open.