The Eighth Page

Phillipian Satire: Trustees Answer “What Is the Rarest Game You Have Ever Harpooned While On the Yacht of An International Investor?”

“I’m just an alumni trustee, so I’m only rich enough to hunt on continental land.”

— Nigel Placard ’82, CEO.

“I only go yachting with American investors.”

— Abigail Jonas ’80, Investment Banker.

“I remember that day like a dream upon waking. I remember the gulls circling o’er head, the Pacific sun beating down on the shimmering sea as our yacht dropped anchor, the bated breath we held while rowing in towards the sparkling crystal beach, the deep, surging thrill of setting foot on sand where no foot had set before — all this we did for our prey. O forsooth, our prey! Alas for me, alas for the gods above! How far we had travelled, by rail and sea, to this uncharted isle, in this uncharted ocean, away from the prying gaze of justice, for a taste of the freedoms which man’s morality cannot provide. How far into the uncharted depths of our soul — Mother Hera, forgive me. Mother, forgive me. For neither pheasant, nor quail, nor duck, nor whale did I give chase that day. No, the common beasts no longer gave me joy to kill. Only one animal, the most dangerous one of all, could stimulate my senses. In such an obsession did I travel across the world. Beside me, my adolescent son — his first hunt, this was to be. Eliza said he was too young — always the cautious one, she was, I can still picture her eyes, though I’ve long forgotten their color — but I insisted. He needed to learn, he needed to see: in this world, you’re either the hunter or the hunted. On the beach, the necessary preparations were made. The dogs were excited, the machetes sharpened, the pistols primed. After a midday supper, the trumpets sounded. The customary ten minutes were given to the prey. Soon, the bloodhounds were released, sensing the fear in the air. And after five hours of tracking through the tropical brush, we finally caught up to the game, tangled in the knotweed. It whimpered, on the verge of death, yet that sweet release would not be bestowed just yet. I gave that privilege to my first born son. I handed him the bowie knife, and softly whispered, ‘Finish it.’ His hands trembled. I saw fear in his eyes, weakness in his character. He could not bring himself to do it. Such a son, I thought, in the red bloodlust of the chase — O Lord, I ask you again, I beg you, forgive me — such a son could not be fit to carry the Prosperment name. And thus, the hunt began once again. I waited ten minutes.”

— Theodore Prosperment III ’53, Trustee Emeriti.