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What If We Did Something Amazing photo

Last week, Papa shot a chicken hawk with birdshot. It’s a $500 fine. It was attacking his last white chicken.

I see the chicken. She’s missing the flesh on the left side of her head and neck. Now, she doesn’t lay. She spends her time in front of the water pan.

I laugh. “Papa, did you shoot the hawk or the chicken?”

He jokes, “I shot the chicken.”

Later, I visit my mother next door. She heats a plate of leftover pork chops, carrots, roasted potatoes for me. I wait in the living room where we plan on watching an episode of Bates Motel.


I say, “A transformer blew!”

She says, “Someone shot a squirrel. I saw it fall from the tree.”

I look out the front door. Soft, grey feathers drift over the chain-link fence between my grandparent’s place and my mother’s.

I say, “Papa shot another hawk!”

She says, “He did?”

I say, “Yeah. I see feathers flying.”

She says, “For someone with macular degeneration, he certainly can get those hawks.”

I say, “He’s using birdshot.”

She says, “I want to see it.”

We put on shoes, walk outside, and walk towards Mema and Papa’s house.

Mom says, “Be careful. He might still be shooting.”

I say, “I will.”

Papa comes through the noisy door from the garage. He carries a blue, plastic bag, heading to where the hawk’s body lay. I follow him.

We reach the carcass. I feel confused. It’s a dead mourning dove.

I say, “Was the hawk eating the dove?”

Papa says, “I thought it was a hawk. I saw one flying.”

I ask, “You shot a dove?”

He picks it up barehanded. The head droops. I think, “Poor little thing.”

Back in her yard, I tell Mom, “It was a dove. He shot a dove.”

She says, “That was someone’s mother. Her mate will mourn her.” She says to Papa, “You shot a dove. How could you?”

Papa says, “We got a mess over there. Mema knocked over her pill case. They went all over.”

* * *

After I eat the leftovers, I visit Mema and Papa’s house. Aunt Libby and Uncle Dale sit in the living room with her. Papa has gone to bed.

I say, “I came over to help with the pills.”

Uncle Dale says, “We found all but one.”

Mema says, “I think it went under the refrigerator.”

I say, “Let me look.”

Mema says, “You can use the flashlight to look. The pill must be way in the back.”

I pull a large torch from the pantry. One side has a fluorescent bulb. The other side has a solid red light and a flashing yellow one. A beam shoots out of the end. You turn the dial for the desired light. I use the beam for distance but can’t see any pill under the refrigerator.

Uncle Dale says, “I looked over by the cans, but I couldn’t see it.”

I wave the fluorescent light over the caffeine-free Coca Colas under the curio. Not there.

Aunt Libby says to Mema, “You’ll be okay to miss one pill, won’t you?”

Uncle Dale says, “The missing pill is the final dose, so it might not make much difference.”

I hug everyone and leave.

* * *

Driving home, I wonder, “What if I ask for another pill?” I pull into the Walgreens parking lot. I walk into the store and jog down the aisles. A girl in her twenties works the pharmacy cash register.

She says, “What’s the name?”

I say, “Mema was septic. She dropped her pill case. We can’t find one of them.”

She goes to the pharmacist, a tall ginger-haired man, working feverishly at a counter. He reaches out, grabs a bottle of pills, and handles them. It happens fast.

The cashier returns with a prescription bottle. It doesn’t have a label. One pill jiggles around the bottom.

I say, “Yes, that’s it.”

She says, “You can have it.”

I say, “Thank you so much. Have a good night.”

At Mema and Papa’s house, I open the door with my key and hold out the pill bottle.

I say, “Look what I manifested for you.”

Aunt Libby says, “Alright.”

Uncle Dale holds a tight smile.

Mema says, “Thank the Lord, thank the Lord!”

I say, “They gave it to me for free when I told them what happened.”

Mema coos. “My little Wobert…”

I say, “Now all is right with the world. Did you hear about the shooting?”

Uncle Dale says, “We’re lucky that none of us can fly.”

We laugh & coo & mourn.