Word Count 496
The A Team
By Jane Malin
One September several decades ago, Joe, a family friend purchased a brand new rifle in preparation for the upcoming deer season. At the time, I owned a husband, Bill, who was Joe’s conspiratorial good friend. They were inseparable. They hunted together. They were volunteer firemen together. They played with big toys together, such as the bulldozer that wiped my English garden off my backyard hillside one afternoon. However, I digress. That’s an entirely different story.
Bill and Joe were energized by the crisp, fall air. They had plotted their trip to the local sand pit. They would need their binoculars, paper targets, some apples, and a couple boxes of shells. (Those are bullets to you and me.) They even called a couple of Joe’s brothers to join them. It was shaping up to be quite the outing.
Their professional attire of jeans, safety boots, and flannel shirts was belied by the little-boy grins on their faces. They loaded the back end of Joe’s pickup and squeezed themselves into the seats. As an afterthought, Bill looked back at me and extended an invitation to join them. My curiosity got the better of me. Oh, this had great entertainment potential. I waved them on and agreed to meet up shortly.
As I pulled into the sand lot, there they were – the “A Team” in all their glory. Joe was splayed over the front of his truck, expertly aiming the rifle through the scope. The others had their eagle eyes trained on the target ahead. Bill was even using the binoculars. They all stood like sculptures, completely motionless. I picked up on a little tension. It didn’t seem to be going well.
Bill was sure that the truck would help Joe maintain steadiness and ensure accuracy. He called for a shot.
Bill snarled, “Anybody see THAT one?”
“Nope. The bullets must be burying themselves in the sand. Try it again,” said one of Joe’s brothers.
“Well, you’d at least see the sand spray. There’s just nothing at all.” Joe twisted on the elevation turret ever so slightly.
I walked over by the truck to pick up one of the shell casings. As I stood up, I saw a couple of unique decorations on the hood of the truck.
“Bill?” I hissed. “Pssst… Bill!”
“Just a minute!” Bill snapped in his go-away-woman mode.
One of Joe’s brothers suggested that they try the seated position instead of using the truck. Joe was willing to give it a try. Now I got a little concerned. God knows what scars that approach might inflict.
I walked over to Joe and firmly grasped his arm. Inasmuch as Joe wasn’t my husband, he was more open to my input. I simply pointed to the hood of his truck which now sported 3 new bullet holes.
Joe’s eyes widened like meat platters.
“I recommend we tie the deer tag to the antenna.”