First, you and your girlfriend at the time will need to decide to go visit her family’s buffalo herd out in the Black Hills on New Year’s Eve. You will need to be in college. Not very “accustomed” to livestock, angry or otherwise. And fairly naive about how fast a buffalo can run.
Next, you will need to get in your teeny little Subaru and get off on some random dirt road south of Rapid City. Carefully traverse a dried creek bed. And then ascend a grassy ridge. There you will see little brown bumps in the distance. These are the buffalo. How nice.
You will then get surrounded by the harem (buffalo women folk). They are smaller, gentler, and sort of demure in the eyes. You will say things like, “Oh gosh how beautiful, I could never hunt them.”
Then Buster will show up. Buster is a big-ass head-honcho bull buffalo. He’s like 7 feet tall in the crown where his shoulder blades meet, and his giant melon is the size of a small European mini-van. He’s fierce. Your girlfriend’s family raised him as a calf because he was separated from the herd. Buster was bottle-fed. Ridden on by children. Given a name and patted on the head. But then he got gored by another buffalo. So there’s a hole in his side where the fluids and occasional solids excrete.
Anyway, Buster will approach you. Stick out his purple tongue. And then—because on the open prairie your Subaru looks vaguely like a buffalo (at least to his dumb beast brain)—the dumb beast will swing his battering ram head in the direction of your front bumper.
Luckily, at the moment he began roaring at you, you will have already put your car into “R” and driven approximately 10 feet backwards. You won’t stop. You will reach speeds of 35 mph in reverse. Buster also will not stop. It will take you approximately 20 seconds to make the realization: “The stampeding buffalo wants to stomp me.”
Your girlfriend will yell into the phone, “The fucking buffalo is trying to fucking kill us.” Her mother will laugh. Later, when finding out we weren’t joking, her father will say straight-faced, “Well he would’ve easily flipped your vehicle.”
You will then honk your horn (because you’ve run out of ideas). This shouldn’t work, but while Buster gives you this “Oh my god you didn’t just honk at me?!” look, you put the car into “D” and fly down the rocky side of the hill. It’s like Jurassic Park in your rearview mirror with brown fur and swinging horns. Your speedometer will arc past 40 mph.
Then you will spot the dried creek bed and say to your girlfriend “Brace yourself. We’re going over the edge.” The price to replace your shocks is expensive, but it’s safer than allowing that mad crazy buffalo to stampede through your back window.
But right before take-off, your girlfriend will suddenly say the most beautiful words ever: “The fucking buffalo stopped! Good boy. Good Buster.”
You’ll look up, and all you will see is a lonely little buffalo on the horizon about 40 yards back staring at you with puppy dog eyes. It’s at that moment, that you will know why Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves carved out a heart from a buffalo and ate it.
You will then return to normal civilization. Go to some trashy Rapid City bar and drown yourself in cheap champagne watching Carson Daly on MTV, telling everyone you meet what it’s like to face down nostril-to-flaring-nostril a half-ton buffalo.
– Dunstan McGill