It Wasn’t all it was Cracked up to Be

In the bridge beams, a new generation of swallows tended to their nests, as he knelt down on the jut of a rock and dunked his head into the murk of the creek, half wondering if he’d see the rusted remains of his BB gun lying on the bottom. He bought the gun with his paper route money, on the one year anniversary of a life-changing event, and right now I can’t tell you anything more about the nature of this event, other than to say that you will soon be following him into a forest, where he will spend the night beside a fire, at which point I’ll address the matter thoroughly. For the time being, however, we need to linger beneath the bridge, where he’s in the process of remembering the time he went hunting for snakes on a snakeless afternoon…“It’s just my luck,” he grumbled to himself as a bird zigzagged over the surface of the creek. On any other day this bird would have inspired a sense of awe and wonder, but the gun in his hand had grown hot with power, so he made his way over to where his surrogate target had vanished beneath the bridge, and there above his head were the nests of a thriving swallow colony. He exhaled slowly and squeezed the trigger, as per his dad’s marksmanship tutorial, but shooting and killing something wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and he winced in horror at the sight of the chicks prodding their mother’s corpse for more of the insects she gathered but could no longer regurgitate.


11 thoughts on “It Wasn’t all it was Cracked up to Be

  1. Right out of one of his songs, our old pal, M.K. Thanks. Duke P.S. I think the word snakelessness is something new for me. Never thought about it, never heard it and it is a good one. I wonder if anyone has ever used it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darkness amidst the beauty of nature, seeing freedom take flight and longing for wings to be just as free, but knowing it’s out of reach. I can feel the darkness creeping in around the edges! x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “You will be following him” – love that intimacy. A bit like Ron Serling in the Twilight Zone. Darkness is something we all share despite our urge to turn away. A well constructed piece indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a sin to kill a cardinal. In my youth I killed three. The state bird of Virginia – severe fines for such an act. The faded feathers decorated nothing important. Remorse? Even then I somehow knew the Universe was absurd. A trillion years will pass and the molecules of red that flashed like a flare between the leaves of dogwood will be strewn across the cosmos like spilled BBs upon a basement floor.

    Liked by 1 person

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