“Run!  Don’t make me come out there!”

My brother’s words, screamed from the back porch where he stood patiently impatient, with his .22 rifle cradled against his chin, eye lined up with the sight.  I was cowering, shaking, scared out of my mind, hidden from behind one of the many trees in the side yard. 

“1. 2. 3. 4. 5.  Don’t make me come out there!  You better run! 6. 7. 8. 9.”

And I would take off running, not wanting to anger him.  Because he wasn’t mad at me.  He wasn’t shooting at me out of anger or anything bad; this was just a game.  Like Monopoly, only designed to improve his aim and I’m sure it definitely improved my performance on the track field. 

*Snap*  I could hear the shot, and sometimes hear where it landed, a tree, dead leaves, the metal chair by the big french mulberry tree.  Only once did he ever hit me.  Left inner thigh.  Missed the bone, thankfully.  Dropped me like I’d “been shot”.  Kenny ran as fast as he could, knelt over me to see where the blood was coming from, told me to quit crying, carried me to a shady spot by the pink grapefruit tree, and dug the bullet out with a pocket knife.  We washed my leg with the water hose, tore up an old white sheet, painted the wound with Mercurochrome and wrapped it up tight.  I went and put on long pants and, when I was asked why I was limping, I said I’d fallen out of a tree. 

Although we never discussed it, I knew Kenny was sorry he’d shot me.  There was no sense in getting him in trouble for that.  I still have a white scar, though it is a lot smaller.  It was the summer I turned 14 and also the last time we ever played Run!


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