Bing and Burke
“How you gonna hit a squirrel runnin’ in the tree tops with that .22?” asked Bing. “Especially with all these leaves on? It’ll be the unluckiest squirrel ever if it runs into one of your bullets.”
Burke argued back, “What’d you bring that twelve gauge for?” “How many squirrels are we gonna see after you fire the first barrel? One blast and every squirrel in a hundred acres will hide for an hour. If you were any kind of a shot you wouldn’t need to spray the whole tree with shot.”
“Runnin’ or sittin’, makes no difference to me. This old double barrel will tumble ‘em.” boasted Bing.
“Keep your voice down,” scolded Burke. He scanned tree tops for flashes of grey or black. “At least you could’ve brought a ruck sack to carry my squirrels.” he whispered loudly.
“I won’t be carryin your squirrels ’cause they’re too shifty to hit with a .22 until the leaves come down.”
“You wanna bet?” challenged Burke.
“Ya. I’ll bet I get the first squirrel and the loser cleans all the squirrels.”
“Bet’s on.” whispered Burke.
The hunting buddies walked in silence searching the ground for evidence of bushy tails. Under the biggest oak on the ridge they found what they were looking for – split acorns, proof that squirrels had been feeding there. Burke sat down at the base a nearby tree. Bing sat on a log around the other side of the same tree. Fifteen minutes later acorns cuttings began falling around them. There was a squirrel up there cutting nut shells and dropping them to the ground. The leaves were too thick to see it but they knew eventually it’d move into an opening.
Finally Burke saw flashes of grey high up on tree trunk. He had his .22 up in a heartbeat. Three quick shots sprayed bark chips behind the squirrel but it leapt onto a limb and scrambled out above Bing. It was directly over his head forty feet up, flashing through the leaves. Bing pointed the12 gauge straight up, swung the muzzle in front of the squirrel and touched off the shot. He was leaning back so far, the recoil knocked him backward off the log. His head thumped on a rock on the ground.
The squirrel was dead but clung to the branch by reflex. Its claws released just when Burke came around the tree and saw Bing lying deathly still on his back. The squirrel pinballed down through the branches and fell right on Bing’s face just like it had aimed for it. It lay there spread eagle with its head convulsing by reflex. Blood streamed down Bing’s cheek.
To Burke it looked like the squirrel was chewing off Bing’s nose. He unloaded his .22, laid it down then ran over to Bing. The squirrel was still convulsing. Burke thought about grabbing it by the tail but feared it would attack his hand. So he grabbed Bing’s shotgun off his chest, broke it open and drew back his leg to punt the squirrel off Bing’s face.
Bing’s eyes opened. “Burke! Don’t Do it!” he screamed.
Burke stopped his boot mid swing. Bing sat up and the squirrel flopped into his lap and twitched its last.
“So your nose is OK then?” asked Burke sheepishly. I thought that squirrel was rippin’ it off the way it was jerkin’ about. I was going to kick it off your face.”
“I thought you were hoofin me in the head out of jealousy.”
“Jealousy? Why would I be jealous of you?” demanded Burke.
“I thought you were bummed about losing the bet.”
“I wasn’t kicking your head, you big nut! No wonder you’re such a squirrel magnet.”
“That’s the way it looked when I started coming to. I can understand why you’d be jealous of my shooting.” said Bing.
“Jealous of you? You just got pinned to the mat by a squirrel.”
“Ya but you missed three shots at it.” He looked down and shook his head. “Shameful, shameful, shameful.” Bing handed Burke the squirrel. “Can you gut it now to let it cool out? It’s kinda warm today.”
Burke grabbed the squirrel by the tail and said to its upside down face. “You shudda chewed his nose off.”