Jan 7, 2010


The first thing they shot was aluminum cans. Mr. Stample said they should learn to shoot and they didn't even think to ask him why that was. He gave them each a gun and an old box of old pop cans. Hez had the bolt action, a .22 that shot shorts, and Levi had the revolver, all blued metal, a .22 too, and it was like they were cowboys, except cooler. Stample took them to the berm that was the back of the pond he had and they shot the pop cans there. He filled one up with water, 80 percent like a person, and showed them how when you shot a can like that it exploded. They already knew how to aim and he had his little safety talk, and then he let them shoot.

They got pretty good. Levi said what would happen if they shot right through the embankment and the pond poured out all of the sudden, gush! Hez said that would be awesome. Hez set up some cans on the side of the berm and shot them so they'd jump in the air when he hit them. Shot the lower lip edge of the can and they flipped up. Levi laughed and said that was so cool.

The second thing they shot was rats. They might of been mice, neither of them really knew. Mr. Stample had a hen house that was infested and he hooked his tractor to it, moved it a few feet to the side towards the house, and all of them, gray little guys with whiskers, went running around in a panic. Hez and Levi shot them as fast as they could, shooting them as they ran. Levi was a lot faster, since he had the handgun, and he got more. After a while Hez switched to a shovel, then he got more too. The ones he killed were crushed or cut. The mice didn't explode when you shot them, not like the can did when Stample filled it up with water. Maybe mice aren't mostly water like we are. Levi said they should do this for like a business. Make money shooting mice. Hez said he'd have to have a revolver too, since you had be close up and quick. It was a good idea though and they thought it'd be cool to do this for a business. Mr. Stample moved the hen house a few more times and when they were done they counted the corpses and there were 42. He gave them $20 to split and they shoveled up the mice and put them all in the burn barrel he had. That night they felt like soldiers coming home from a wild war. They smelled of must and feathers and dried-but-moldy feces.

After that there was only the cans again. All of them already had holes. It was Dr. Pepper cans, and Mrs. Stample's Diet Mountain Dew and the holes all had sharp edges, especially on the back where the bullets punched though. Day after they killed the mice they went out again and shot again, but it wasn't the same. They shot a lot though, and it got so the cans were shot all through, not cans so much any more but shredded strings of aluminum.

Levi said he wished there was more mice to kill. Hez said yeah. Hez said you know I thought there'd be more blood. Levi said do you remember that one, did you see that one I shot when it was almost getting away? The gun barrels got hot after a while and Levi burnt his hand holding it as he changed the bullets in the revolver. He said a word he wasn't to supposed to say. Hez got mad then too and said another word and said this shit was boring. It was. It was the most boring day of winter break. There was nothing to do.