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Jack R Roberts

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The BB Gun
By Jack R Roberts
Monday, September 30, 2002

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Looking back to the days of my youth it is hard to find a time of year that I valued more than summer. I knew that another dreaded year of school was behind me and I looked forward to three months of freedom. Summer time would often find me twelve foot above ground relaxing in my tree house. It really wasnít much of a tree house, at least not compared to the other ones I had seen. Mine was pretty simple but I had built it myself and I was pretty darned proud of it. I had found some old lumber up in the garage, one piece of which was a three by six foot sheet of plywood. I hauled it along with some other scrap lumber up into the old chinese elm tree that stood in our backyard and I put together what was to be my home away from home for several years.

I would spend countless hours up there in my lofty getaway. It was always shady and the air was cooled as it moved through the leaves. I would often just lay back and spend all day reading comic books up there, and then sometimes I would just survey the neighborhood with a small pair of folding binoculars that I had bought. One day as I was up there looking through a comic book I came across an advertisement for Daisy BB guns. I had wanted a BB gun for a long time but Mom didnít seem to think it was a good idea, therefore the purchase kept being put off. But I had just had a birthday and I was older now and much more responsible, at least in my mind, and I didnít think that it would hurt to ask her just one more time. I climbed down from the tree house, went into the house and assured Mom that I was now old enough to take on the responsibility of having a gun, and all but begged her to let me have the Daisy, she finally gave in and said yes.

The next day she drove me to Kmart and I walked straight back to the sporting goods department. I had laid my birthday money on the counter and I walked away with what I thought was the best thing that had ever happened in my life. As we were driving back home she was informing me of all the rules that went along with my gun ownership, and making sure that I knew that they were to be followed without exception. I was not to point it at anyone, and I was to shoot at nothing but targets, and then only in the garage because there was a city ordinance that prohibited shooting a BB gun in town. I thought that the rules were fair enough and I followed them faithfully until that one day when temptation got the best of me.

I was up in the tree house on this particular afternoon and I had just finished cleaning my treasured weapon. As I was reloading the BB gun I noticed that my mom had just gone into my Aunts house to visit with my Grandmother who for some reason wasnít sitting outside today. About that same time I noticed that a robin had just landed in my Aunts back yard. I donít know what possessed me to consider what I was thinking of doing. It was just a few short years before this that I had sent a robin into eternity by knocking it out of this very tree with a flashlight battery and it took me forever to come to grips with that ordeal. But I was blinded by temptation and besides I didnít want to kill this bird, all I wanted to do was scare it and make it fly away. I looked around to make sure that my Mom was still out of sight, and with out even aiming I just pointed the gun in the general direction of the robin and pulled the trigger.

I can still see it as if it had just happened yesterday. I could actually see the BB glistening in the sunlight as it left the shade of the elm tree and as if in slow motion I could see it bearing down and striking the robin with a direct hit. I just couldnít believe that this could be happening again as the robin began thrashing about and chirping distressfully. As it was flopping around out there in the yard I noticed that it was about to come within the view of my Grandmas window, and I knew that if Grandma wasnít sitting out in the yard she was looking out of that window. I also knew that if she saw the injured bird that my BB gun would be in jeopardy. I just dropped the BB gun, jumped out of the tree house and hit the ground hard. I got up uninjured, ran over to the robin and scooped it up in my hands. I then ran to the garage wondering what in the world I was going to do with this fragile creature when I got there.

When I got to the security of the garage I opened my hands to try to see how seriously the bird was injured, but when I did by some miracle it flew up into the rafters where it continued its distressful cry. I opened the garage door so that maybe it would just fly away, but it just stood there and continued to make a lot of noise. I knew that if I didnít do something soon my Mom was going to hear the bird and catch me red handed so I decided to try to recapture it. I got up on some boxes to where I could reach it and I grabbed it by its tail, but to my surprise the bird flew over to another rafter leaving me with nothing more than a hand full of tail feathers. Now he wasnít squawking any more, he was just standing there with his mouth wide open with no sound coming out and no tail attached, and then after a few more minutes he just flew away.

I can now look back and remember how very fortunate I felt to have gotten away with shooting that beautiful bird on that summer day. I knew that I had broken a very strict rule concerning this and that I would have deserved losing my BB gun privileges if it had come to that. This incident however was not soon to be forgotten. A few weeks later I saw that same bird sitting on a fence in the back yard. I felt better knowing that at least he had survived the ordeal, but at the same time I felt bad that he still had no tail and his mouth was still wide open. The BB gun that I had waited so long for would go on to be a good companion to me. Countless rounds would be shot through it in the years to follow, but never aimed at another bird.

Jack Roberts Ė August 2002

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Reviewed by Smoke Martin 10/1/2002
I may be out of town, but the trusty keys are never far from my fingers. GREAT story even I have read it like what 50 times now.
SMOKE ( be home soon )
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 9/30/2002
it is funny how some things remain etched in our minds forever; but am glad the robin survived. you were so lucky you didn't catch hell for your shooting the bird. good write!! thanks for the review on my country music poem; it is most appreciated!! love, your friend, karen lynn. (((HUGS)))

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