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A fictional story of two 11 year olds and the consequences of finding a cherry bomb.
By Joseph Parish
Gerry was what I commonly referred to as an all “Thumbs Tom Boy”. She would hang around with us guys and acted real tough except she couldn’t catch a baseball for dang, she couldn’t climb the old oak tree in the park, she just wasn’t one of us.
We were both eleven years old and school was a bore for both of us. Gerry sat in the third seat from the teacher whilst I was positioned in the rear of the room. Occasionally, we would watchfully pass tiny slips of paper to each other display words like “see you after school” or “let’s go fishing”. Every now and then, the teacher would intercept and seize the message and proceed to read it aloud in front of the class. Both our faces would turn bright beet red.
One day as school had just let out for the day, Gerry and I set off walking the length of Wounded Hand Road when we both eyed a small, round, red cherry bomb lying beside the roadway. We turned to face each other and then shot a glance towards the cherry bomb. Within a few moments, we were both laughing and running to fetch our newfound prize.
We each took turns holding on to it and slowly running it through our chubby fingers as if we were hoping it would convey some magical power to us.
We had just about reached our homes when Gerry suddenly stopped and decided that the bravest thing we could do with our treasure was to light it and fling it across farmer Mikes field. Knowing better, I cautioned her that it might not be the best of ideas but she repudiated me and refused to listen.
She told me, “Run home and get some matches from the kitchen”.
“Make it quick” she growled, “don’t linger.”
At first, I hesitated but then Gerry insisted so I raced home as rapidly as my little feet would take me. I shoved open the kitchen screen door and slid to a position nearly in front of the gas stove. On the wall was the match holder that mom would use to hold all her stove matches. I grabbed a handful from the tin box and off I was again. I ran as quickly as I could and upon arrival where Gerry was I was completely out of breath. When I arrived, Gerry was still in the same spot as before rolling the cherry bomb back and forth in her pallid little hand.
She asked, “Did you get the matches?” I nodded and then slowly said “yes”.
She took one of the matches and proceeded to strike it on a rock. Nothing happened. She tried again – Nothing happened again. On her third try, the match flashed with a large orange flame. When it settled down Gerry slowly moved the lighted match to the end of the cherry bomb.
It finally took hold and she shouted, “lets run and hide”.
I ran as fast as I could and finally swung around a tree holding my hands over my ears. With hands still on my ears, I turned to look at Gerry. She was not there. I looked around the tree and was shocked that Gerry had frozen in her tracks. In her hand was the live cherry bomb.
I shouted to her “Run Gerry, drop it and run”
However, she paid no attention to what I was saying. “Run Gerry”
It was a little too late now. The ambulance left Wounded Hand with Gerry in tow. I never forgot Gerry as she may have been a girl but she was the bravest at Wounded Hand Road.
Copyright .2008 Joseph Parish
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