How to take the long way home

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May 24, 2013 at 8:21 am #1040

Key Master

How to Take the Long Way Home

©2011 by Pat Wray


Binky and Duff slogged into the house in the heavy-footed manner of men who’d left their springiness back on the steep, rocky slopes where chukars reign.

“Hi boys,” called their mother from the kitchen.

“Hi Mom.”

Binky’s wife Annie slipped up behind him and kissed his cheek as he untied his boots.   “Hi, hon,” he said.

“Hi, yourself.  How’d you do?”

“Oh, fine.  Got a few birds.  How about you?”

“Your mom and I went shopping and we’ve been working on the pot roast this afternoon.  Where’s Jerome?”

Binky reached down to pull off his sock.  Annie waited for a moment and then asked again.  “Binky, where’s Jerome?”

Duff spoke up from across the room.  “He’ll be along, Annie.”

Annie fixed Duff with a look that made him swallow everything else he’d been planning to say.  Then she turned back to her husband.  “Binky Chastain.  I asked you a question.  Where is my cousin Jerome?”

Binky took a deep breath and reached out to take his wife’s hands, covering them most of the way to her elbow.

“He needed a lesson, Annie.”  His voice rumbled like a freight train.

“Needed a les…Binky, you didn’t put him in a garbage can, did you?”  Binky was never violent, but he would occasionally express his disapproval by placing deserving people upside down in trash cans.

“No, I never touched him.”

Annie was beginning to quiver, a sure sign of impending explosion, when Gracie, the men’s mother, stepped in.  “I’ve got a feeling there’s a story here, Annie.  Let’s let the boys explain themselves; we’ll figure things out quicker that way.  Why don’t you start, Duff?”

“Well, that …, er, your cousin started out bragging before we started the pickup.  Criminy!  He’s got the best shotgun, the best dog, the best boots, the best everything.  I wanted to kick him out before we left the driveway.”

“That wasn’t such a big deal,” Binky offered.

“No,” Duff agreed.  “But when we started getting into birds and the dogs went on point, Jerome went running up to the dogs so that he was the only one in position to shoot when the birds got up.”

“That wasn’t such a big deal,” Binky said again.

“No,” Duff shook his head, “but he did the same thing whenever we were on line, getting out in front of us so we couldn’t take a shot without endangering him.”

“Yeah, that was rude, but it wasn’t that big a deal.”

“Well, so far, it sounds like Jerome is just a selfish, inexperienced bird hunter,” the boys’ mother said.  “Nothing you couldn’t have straightened out with a little discussion.”

“And we did,” Duff said, “though he didn’t take it real well.  But then it turned out he hadn’t brought enough food or water.  He begged food from us for lunch and then he needed water for his dog.  Binky gave him a whole water bottle but he drank it all himself, so we had to give more water for his dog, too.”

“It wasn’t that big a deal,” Binky said once again.

“Now, wait just a minute, Binky,” Annie said.  “Jerome was obviously obnoxious and poorly prepared, but it doesn’t sound like anything he did was bad enough to upset you and …”

“He shot my dog,”

“He what!”  Annie yelled.  “He shot Kylie?  Is she …?”

“No,” Binky said.  “She’ll be OK.  She’s over at the vet’s getting a few pellets removed.  She’ll spend the night.”

“How could that happen?” Binky’s mother wanted to know.

“Jerome knocked down a bird and it started to run,” Duff explained.  “We yelled at him to watch out for the dog but he shot anyway and peppered Kylie.  He took one look at Binky running up and decided to walk back.”

“It was a good decision,” Binky rumbled.

“Yeah, things were a bit tense.” Duff said.

“So, how far out were you?”  Annie asked.

“About 20 miles,” Binky said.

“Does he still have his dog with him?”  Annie asked.

“No,” Duff said.  “The dog didn’t do anything wrong; we brought it back.”

“Maybe I should go get him,” Gracie said.

“No,” Annie said, her eyes glinting.  “I think Binky’s right.  Jerome needed a lesson.  It’s just too bad they weren’t hunting 40 miles away.”




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