DEER LIONEL

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lionel, a great story teller, thoroughly entertained sports at hunting & fishing camps over many decades. Recalling these tales still brings chuckles to the undersigned author. Deer Lionel is a story that Lionel told about himself as a youth. It is as priceless as it is short.

Submitted: November 16, 2016

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Submitted: November 16, 2016

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DEER LIONEL©*

A Story as told by Lionel in later years and then as recollected & written by Blake D Prescott.

 


"Lionel!"
Not a sound.
"Lionel!" The banister shook as she held it and yelled louder. "Come down here now!"
He heard her the first time, but when she used that tone of voice, escape was the first thought. Too late. She stood below, covering the only exit from his room. Sheepishly, he descended the stairs.
"Oh, Ma, I was goin' to take care of that garbage, honest. I just got distracted."
"It's not the garbage, Lionel. Come and sit down. I need to talk to you."
This was worse than he thought. He sat, head bowed, his eyes searching carefully through his eyebrows, ready to retreat, Better not to speak. Just listen.
"Lionel, you're into your teens now, and you're going to have to take on some real responsibilities. It's been almost a year since your papa died. You've got to be the man of the house."
Oh, boy, this didn't sound good at all.
"Now, Lionel, you know how, come this time of year, your papa would go out and get us meat for the winter. Well, that's going to be your job now. I took his 30-30 out and cleaned it up for you. Here, this box has a few shells left in it. You're going to have to take your dad's place and get our deer for us."

He felt relieved for a minute. So many worse things had flashed through his mind. The broken window from his bad sling shootin' and the threats from that freckled girl who told all sorts of lies about him. Oh, yes, it could have been a lot worse. Even so, he really didn't know all that much about shootin' deer. Of course, he recollected watchin' his father wind up all that rope, usin' his elbow to make them loops so neat. He always had pretty good recollectin'. He could picture his daddy packin' his knife on his belt, and puttin' on that plaid red hat. His lucky hat, that's what it was. He recollected the time when he went huntin' with his dad.  Well, he didn't really hunt, his dad did, but he watched. He watched careful like. He could picture a lot of it. Well, he'd best get started. He'd do just like dad. Well, as best he could. He'd go out tomorrow before daybreak. Today, he'd get the rope ready and the rifle and … yes, he knew where dad's knife and sheath were. He'd put that sheath right on his belt. Still, he couldn't drive a car yet. He wasn't near old enough for that. Well, he could tie the rifle on the handlebars of his bike. And pump the tires up real good. Yep, that should do it. Then he'd be ready. But where to? Oh, that's easy. Right where he'd been stealin' apples. Of course! Ol' mister Roberts place, that's the one! That orchard was full of apples this time of year, and the deer would be there sure as shootin'. He'd seen them there.

It was cold and dark as he mounted his bike. The 30-30 looked right smart the way it was tied to them handlebars, nice and tight with no granny knots. The two loops of rope, one over each shoulder, kept slippin' a little so he cut off another piece and tied them together across his chest. Some smart he was! The balloon tires were pretty hard, even in this cold, and he had his dad's plaid hat on, for good luck.

Still dark, but not so's he couldn't make out the landmarks of the Roberts' orchard. He pulled his bike out of sight, just in case that pesky sheriff came by. He'd been in enough trouble with him lately. Seemed like the sheriff took special pleasure in makin' him squirm. It took more than a couple of minutes to untie the rifle. It was really cold and his fingers didn't work too good, but he got it off and started creepin' toward that apple rich part of the orchard. Just over the knoll it was.
It was dark, but not all dark. There was a fair slice of moon that kept flirtin' with thin clouds. That made it easy seein'. His eyes were good and sharp, not like that freckled girl with the glasses who blamed him for things when she couldn't see who really done somethin'. He got next to crawlin' now, the knoll was right in front of him, and he could feel the slightest of a breeze comin' over it. Just like his daddy said, "Stay downwind, Lionel, stay downwind."
Peekin' over that knoll, what did he see, but oh, my, the darndest sight! There he was. Two prongs on each antler. That's how good he could see. You don't shoot the does, just the bucks; and this here was a buck. He lined up that 30-30 just as slow and careful as he pleased and got his eye peerin' right down the entire roof of that barrel. But, when that gun went off, it made him wince. His eyes were closed. Oh boy, he was afraid to look. But look he did. And what did he see? There wasn't any deer standin' up anymore. It was down on the ground on its side! This deer huntin' is some easy!

His recollected dad's deer were kinda bigger, but he was sure glad this one wasn't any bigger. After he drug it all the way to the bike, he was losin' some breath, and it was promisin' daybreak anytime now. He had to do some collectin' of his thoughts. Then he figured it out. He had enough rope. He pitched that deer up so's its front hoofs were holdin' on to the handlebars, and he tied those hoofs right there, real tight. Then he snugged that 30-30 smack across the handlebars and lashed it good and tight to the hoofs and the handlebars. That made lots of knots. There were big lumps of knots everywhere holdin' everything in place. In fact, it might be a little testy gettin' a grip on them handlebars. No, he could do it. Then, he sat the deer on the bicycle seat and tied him so he was sittin' straight up and right proud lookin'.  Why that deer was better fixed than his cousin Geraldine when he was givin' her a ride back from the pond. More lumps of knots. He cut the final rope part off with his daddy's knife. He was some proud. He even had a tad of rope left over, and not a drop of blood on his good huntin' clothes. In fact, he didn't see a drop of blood anywhere.

Well, he'd best get movin' before more time passed. He hopped on that there bike just as pretty as you please, sittin' behind the buck and peerin' right over them antlers as he got both feet on the pedals. It was a slow, uphill ride back. He lived near the top of that big hill his town was named for. Sprucehill it was, and everything was downhill from there. Well, almost everything, since his house was near a hundred yards over the hill and then … straight down. Yes sir, from there down, you could take a rifle and aim right smack down the middle of that steep street and end right at the front door of Errol's Liquor Store. His legs were gettin' a bit sore now. This deer was bigger than he thought. Definitely bigger than cousin Geraldine. Just ahead, there it was! The top of the hill, only a few sore leg pumps away, then an easy downhill to his house.

Two things happened when he reached the top of that hill. His legs just about gave out and the bike started to shake. There was some real fierce shakin' to that there bike. The bike was wantin' to come apart. That's when it all come to him. It come to him just like the deer come to. The deer wasn't dead. That bullet creased its head. That's all it done. He could see that hairless stripe of a place now as the deer was shakin' his head back and forth. Oh me, oh mercy! Just as they were passin' his house, Lionel jumped off the bike and ran inside. He got up to his room and under the covers, holdin' his hands over his ears. He was scared plenty. Then he put the pillow over both ears and buried his head in the mattress.

Must of been an hour when he heard the car drive up. No need to look careful like. That blue flashin' light told itself in his window. Only one person could it be, and he sure didn't want to face him.

"Lionel!" His mother paused. "Lionel!" Another pause. "I'm sorry sheriff, I think he's out. He went out early this morning."
"Well, M'am, when he comes in, you tell him that we caught the deer that stole his bike. He was trying to rob Errol's Liquor Store."


© Copyright 2017 Blake Prescott. All rights reserved.

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