Note to Self

Don’t get nervous. You are here to complete your one objective; beat your older brother. On your walk into the tall dark woods, you will notice that your guide, Timmy, is a short and stout man who is deeply chewing his tobacco. You hope he is smart. Your hope of killing your first turkey relies on him. As you approach the blind you make no sounds, don’t do anything that Timmy doesn’t do. Crawl on the cold wet ground like he does. Enter the dark blind. Patience. Expect yourself to sit there for a long time. You will swallow, not allowing yourself to cough. Don’t talk, just wait. A turkey will approach the blind. Hope it is a male. When the turkey is forty feet away, and looking right at you, don’t move a muscle. Don’t drop the gun. Don’t even blink. You hope the turkey doesn’t move away. You will feel your sweat dripping down your back. Don’t wipe it. Timmy will tell you to turn the safety off. You will move your small thumb forward, pushing the safety button. Enjoy the way it clicks like the clicking of your computer closing, the one you will get in a month for school. Timmy then will tap you on the shoulder; you will not expect it so you will flinch. He will ignore your flinch and tell you that now is the time to shoot. You will aim for the neck, just where it meets the body, exactly as you learned in the Hunter’s Safety Class. You will pull the trigger. It is tight. You will check and make sure that the safety is off. It is. You will whisper to Timmy that the gun is jammed; he will curse silently under his breath like your dad will curse when he forgets the Mets tickets at the game you will go to on Monday. You should’ve used the twenty eight-gauge Berretta instead of this cheap twenty-gauge Caesar Guerini. But you will realize that it is too late to switch guns now. Timmy will open the gun and close it again. Once he is finished he will hand you the gun, still warm from your hands. You will push the gun against your left shoulder and raise your head, but you will make sure that it stays down on the smooth wood stock. Your eyes will raise and see that somehow the turkey is still standing in the place you last saw it, un-aware that it is his last day with his family. You will once again aim for the neck, and you will put your short left pointer finger on the hot metal trigger. You pull. This time it is smooth; you will feel the gun sneeze and release the bullet. Do not move, watch the turkey fall and flop around, like the dog you are going to get when she wants to play. You and Timmy will both spontaneously jump up and walk out of the hot blind. You will see the dead turkey, blood oozing from the head. Timmy will reach up with his right hand and you will slap it with your tired left hand, a high-five.

Nick Fleisher, Age 13, Grade 7, Packer Collegiate Institute, Gold Key

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