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Slingshot

I cut my teeth writing on Hubpages back in 2009. I've written 17 novels, numerous songs, and short stories since. I love to write love.

Buckeye Tree

slingshot

The perfect Y

Ohio...in a small town neighborhood surrounded by fields, woods, and a winding creek, ten-year-old Jimmy Carver stood under the Buckeye tree with a wide grin on his face. He had just spotted the perfect Y branch to make a slingshot. It was about 15 feet up and eight feet out. Jimmy put his folding hand saw in his back pocket and started climbing. He daydreamed on the way up the tree about shooting a giant just like David in the Bible. It took some doing to get to the right spot but he finally was sitting on the limb where the perfect Y was. He scooted along the branch, snagged, and felt a rip in his corduroy bib overalls. He leaned to his left, felt his butt, and sure enough, felt a rip he could put his hand through.

He thought aloud, "Dang it...momma's gonna be mad." He looked and about four feet out was the Y he wanted. He pulled the saw from his back pocket, opened it up, and sawed the limb off. He smiled as the limb wooshed to the ground. He started scooting back toward the trunk when he heard a voice, "Hi Jimmy. What ya doin' up there?" Jimmy looked through the thick leaves and saw his best friend, 11-year-old Teela Wilson with her freckled nose crinkled and arms crossed. Jimmy hugged the trunk and shimmed down a bit as he answered, "What ya doin' down there?" Teela giggled and said, "I'm watching Jimmy Carver climb down a tree showing his undies."Jimmy looked down at her, put his hand over the rip in his overalls, grimaced, and grumbled, "You don't have to look!"

Teela smiled and said, "You can't climb down that tree with one hand." She rolled her eyes and said, "I'll turn away." Teela turned away from the tree and Jimmy finished climbing down. Jimmy quickly went to the limb, bent over, and began sawing on the branch. Teela turned around and said, "Jimmy...your underwear is showing again." Jimmy immediately dropped the saw and covered his butt with both hands as he turned, blushed, and said, "Dang it. I told you not to look."He dropped the straps on his bib overalls, pulled off his red t-shirt, put the straps back on his shoulders, and tied the shirt, bottom hem to a sleeve around his waist. He grinned and said, "There. You happy?" Teela smiled and said, "It's just undies, Jimmy. Why are you cuttin' on the limb?" Jimmy returned to his sawing and answered, "I found the perfect Y for a slingshot." He looked back at her and asked, "Why are your pants rolled up and shoes flopped over your shoulder?" He hesitated and added, "That hat is too big for your head."

The slingshot.

slingshot

The hunt.

Teela looked down at her bare feet and wiggled her toes. She turned her big brown eyes up to the brim of her Dad's Pittsburg Steelers ball cap and said, "I been at the creek. I got two crawdads to fight on a flat rock. One pulled the other's claw off and they rolled back in the water." Jimmy sawed the last part, chuckled, and said, "They musta been females." Teela scrunched her nose and snapped, "Oh how would you know?" Jimmy grinned at her and said, "When we wrestle, you pull my arms, ears, nose and would pull my hair if I didn't have a burr haircut." Teela smiled and said, "Then I guess it was the female that won cause she pulled his claw off."Jimmy said, "Yeah...yeah," as he held up the perfect Y for a slingshot.

Jimmy and Teela walked across the street from the wooded area to his house where he had a little workshop space in the garage. Teela sat on a wooden crate and watched Jimmy tie on the rubber straps and make a pouch from a piece of an old leather belt. Teela asked, "What are you gonna shoot with it?" Jimmy shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know. Probably birds and frogs. Might even shoot some fish in the creek." Teela asked, "Can I shoot it too?" Jimmy said, "Sure but I get the first shots." They spent a half-hour looking for round stones in Jimmy's and Teela's driveways. With four pockets full of stones, they headed for the creek. Jimmy shot a concrete culvert and the rock pinged away as they said in unison, "Cool!" Jimmy shot at a frog and missed.

He handed the slingshot to Teela. She aimed at a swarm of minnows in the water, fired, and just caused a splash. No minnows floated to the top as Jimmy laughed and said, "I think you missed 'em but you sure scared 'em." Teela smiled as she handed the slingshot back to Jimmy. They walked down the creek and came to a meadow. Jimmy saw a gray bird pecking at the ground. He quickly took aim and fired the slingshot. The bird flew up and then fluttered back to the ground. Jimmy shouted, "I got it!" He and Teela ran up to the bird and it was moving but couldn't fly. Its right wing was broken. Jimmy looked surprised and said, "It ain't dead." Teela bowed her head, looked up at him, and said, "Daddy says we have to finish killing or start healing. He nursed a chipmunk that I ran over with my bike when I was six years old."

The dove.

slingshot

The tree again.

Jimmy asked, "Did the chipmunk live." Teela answered, "No but Daddy tried." Jimmy looked at the bird, saw it struggling, and said, "Well I don't want to kill it. Think your Dad can fix it?" Teela answered, "I don't know. We can get him to look at it." Teela gently picked up the bird and they made their way to Teela's house. Jimmy ran home to get an old birdcage that his Grandma had given his parents for a yard sale. He ran two blocks back to Teela's house. When he got to her yard, he felt his back pocket, and the slingshot was gone. He'd dropped it.

On Teela's back porch, they cleaned the cage, put water in a jar lid, and placed the wounded bird in the cage. Teela's mom gave them some cornmeal for the bird. She told them that the bird was a Turtle Dove. Jimmy and Teela sat on the patio and watched closely but the dove didn't eat or drink. When Teela's Dad came home from work, he checked the dove over and thought he could help it. He mixed a little plaster and packed it in a small piece of cloth mesh. He set the broken wing straight and held the cast until it quickly dried. Jimmy went to Teela's house every day that summer for three weeks to check on the dove. It drank its water and ate its food.

It was a Saturday morning when Teela's dad removed the cast. Jimmy and Teela walked to the middle of the backyard with him and he sat the dove on the ground. There was still an inch-long stripe of white plaster residue on the dove's wing. The dove walked around a little and then flew high to a treetop. Jimmy and Teela smiled as Teela's Dad looked at Jimmy and Teela as he said, "I think we all have a new little friend." Teela wiped away two small tears and said, "Thanks, Daddy." Jimmy was fighting tears as his voice was a little shaky as he said, "Thanks, Mr. Wilson."

Jimmy never found his lost slingshot. He figured some neighborhood kid must have picked it up and kept it. It was the next spring and Jimmy was up in the same Buckeye tree he'd cut the branch from. Jimmy heard her voice, "You gonna make another slingshot?" Jimmy looked down through the budding leaves and said, "No Teela." She looked up to him, crinkled her nose, and asked, "Then why are you up there?" Jimmy smiled and said, "Come up here and I'll show you."

Teela climbed up the tree and sat on a large branch opposite Jimmy. He pointed through a clear spot in the leaves at a nearby Maple tree. Teela leaned over, looked down his arm, saw a dove making a nest, and softly said, "Wow. That looks just like the dove you shot last summer. Jimmy smiled and said, "It is that dove. She was just here on a limb with a piece of straw in her mouth. I saw little white flakes of plaster still on her wing. She cooed when she saw me. She wasn't afraid at all." Teela smiled wide and said, "Probly cause you're not up here cuttin' off a branch for to make a perfect slingshot.

© 2022 Tom Cornett

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