The Story of the Man that Went Out Shooting
I’ll give you a nickel for each hare you
shoot, my father said one day out on the lawn. The rabbits were nibbling his
flowers and chewing his lettuce, peas, and parsnips and he was angry, so angry
I saw his cheek wet with rage.
So we got out BB guns, Roger and I, and each shot four rabbits but the rabbits
were only weakened, seems we broke skin a bit and nicked their hearts and lungs
only and they ran around the lawn, fresh peas spilling out of their mouths,
like drunken pests. And they grew weak and fell but before we could get to
them and break their necks for father, they sprung up and ran at father, gnawed
at his ankles with their brittle little teeth and we were so unhappy for our
nickels lay in piles on the old wrought-iron table, next to father’s
gin and tonic and his ankles were bleeding and the hares escaped and later
we saw them dancing out near the piles of cow manure and old mares and it was
dusk and the fireflies just came out and father growled goodbye.
You don’t hunt anymore and I know it’s my fault, said Peter when
I told him the story. But the hares were symbols, can’t you see? It doesn’t
matter how many I shot or didn’t shoot or the herd of reindeer left standing.
It’s like the story of the lame goat and the man. The man knows the goat
is lame so he doesn’t bother shooting, the goat runs amok, then lies
down and bleats and finally the man shoots it out of boredom. All adventure
has left the room.
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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 34 | Fall 2011