It was in the paper
It Was In the Paper...
by Clifford N. Bohnson
I have written before about some of my adventures when we were living in New Hampshire. I'd like to tell you now about the one adventure which made the newspapers.
There were four of us who hung out together: a boy from the next farm (whose name I cannot recall); Eleanor, and Didi. Didi was the youngest of the four of us she was probably twelve or thirteen at the time. At nearly fifteen, I was the oldest.
I had been born and raised in New York City, where we lived in a variety of apartments and, finally, in a small house in Queens. Whatever possessed my father to sell that house and move to New Hampshire is a mystery. At any rate, he bought an old farmhouse sitting on some twenty acres evenly divided between fallow fields and forest.
An avid reader of tales of fantasy, I began to think of the old farm as my domain. I would stroll through our woods, my .22-calibre rifle in the crook of my arm the perfect little Lord of the manor. One day I discovered a little hidden glen in the woods which I decided would make a wonderful spot for a little secret hut. All it needed was to be cleaned up it had apparently been used as a trash dump by the previous owners.
One Saturday morning not long after, Didi came over, and I suggested we go look at my future hide-away. I grabbed my rifle and we set off on the old dirt track that led across the fields to the woods. As we neared the spot, Didi ran on ahead. When I approached the glen, I saw that Didi had already gotten there. She stood on the opposite side, at the highest point overlooking the site and she had a bottle that she had found in her hand, and was getting ready to throw it down into my future secret spot!
I was furious that she would even think of further desecrating my secret nay, sacred spot. Without even thinking, I raised my rifle and shot the bottle out of her hand. After her initial shock, Didi gawped at me. That was awesome! Do it again!
Well, flattery will get you everywhere; she picked up another bottle and held it out at arm's length. Aiming carefully this time, I once again shot the bottle out of her hand.
Can you do it from even further back?
Secure in the knowledge that I was a really good shot, I moved further back. Another bottle another successful shot.
I moved even further away. Didi held another bottle up at arm's length. I took aim and fired once more. Didi screamed and collapsed! I rushed over to where she was writhing on the ground. There was blood on her side, and more blood at her mouth.
Didi! I screamed at her. She was whimpering incoherently, her eyes wide in terror. I didn't know a lot about bullet wounds, but I did know that bleeding from the mouth often was indicative of serious internal injury. Didi I'm sorry! I'll be right back I have to get help! Hang on... I raced back to the house, yelling for help.
My father ran out to the car and drove off across the fields and into the woods, where he picked Didi up and drove her, in a panic, to the ER.
Meanwhile, I went to my room and threw myself on the bed. I prayed as never before. As I prayed, I re-lived the scene. What had gone wrong? How could my shot be so far off the mark as to hit her in the side? My God! I had killed her! How could I go on living with that knowledge?
I concluded that I couldn't. I went to my dresser and took out my hunting knife, determined to end such a miserable life as mine had become.
Before I could carry out my plan, my sister came into the room to comfort me and realized what I was trying to do. She took the knife away, and called my mother, who called the doctor. The doctor concluded that I was in shock, and sedated me.
As it turned out, Didi was treated and released. It seems that my shot had, in fact, struck the bottle but slightly off center, and tiny fragments of the glass had splattered into Didi's side and face. They had only gone skin-deep. Fortunately, none had gone into her eyes, which would have been really bad.
I recovered only slowly from the shock, and only got back to school after a week. Didi hadn't missed a day!
The headline on the front-page story in the newspaper read, William Tell Act Wounds Little Girl! And the personal letter from the Governor informed me that I was forbidden to carry or use a gun in the State of New Hampshire until I attained the age of twenty-one. But I had already lost all interest in guns.