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Cramp Entry - 10-25. Did not place.
WC = 996
Every autumn, when deer hunting season approaches, my husband Doug prepares and religiously practices with his bow.
Apparently, it’s part of the prayer ritual that, when done just right, results in a dead buck with great big horns. I don’t know for sure because we do not seem to have the praying part lined out exactly just right yet.
My husband sets up his target practice course in front of some rather large round bales in our back yard. It is rather important to note that this a practice course, not just a shooting range, because one must practice shooting in all the various positions one might find oneself in when one might be hunting.
These positions can be very interesting. Sometimes, he shoots standing on the picnic table. Other times, he shoots while sitting in a lawn chair he has loaded into the bed of the pickup, and – once I even found him propped up – shooting over the top of a cooler full of beer.
He will even stand and shoot flatfooted on the ground (although, I am sure he has not shot at a deer from that position). There is some type of intricate rhyme and reason to what he does. It must be conducted in absolute order. Three shots from this position, walk to the target, pull out the arrows, and do another three shots from the next position.
His last and final position for shooting however, is sitting inside his shop, on his three legged, wobbly hunting stool.
We have many three legged things around our place. The most recent addition to the “three legged things” is an affectionate orange tabby named Roy.
Roy appeared about seven weeks ago. On the day Roy arrived, my husband called me and told me he had found a cat in a tree behind the house, and the poor kitty had a broken hind leg. He got the kitty down, fed him, gave him some water, and waited for me to get home.
The kitty’s leg had been broken for several days before he turned up at our house. He was not in very good shape. I called around and found a vet that would see us and work out a treatment plan. Unfortunately, the very expensive treatment plan involved the removal of the leg.
The vet said poor Roy’s leg had been fractured in a direct blow of some type, like a sharp kick from horse or a cow. Now that I know Roy a little better, I can easily picture what might have happened. He probably corkscrewed himself around one of our horse’s legs. One of our horses got a belly full of it and kicked him.
Sometimes I feel like doing the same thing. Roy is always getting in my way, twirling himself around my legs and tripping me. The only safe place to be around Roy is sitting down. If you sit down, Roy will jump up in your lap and sit for hours, purring away.
We spent the next six weeks caring for Roy. He took oral medicine twice a day. Most of the day, he stayed contained in a crate in the shop, resting and healing. Every evening, I would take care of Roy while my husband was shooting. When I finished with his crate, Roy and I would cuddle, and together, watch my husband run through the entire obstacle course.
From time to time, my husband would break his rock solid concentration and share with us his philosophy on the precision bow tuning and hours of practice required before the hunt. When you do this exactly right, it will culminate in a final, well- orchestrated shot. Roy and I would listen intently to the philosophy and nod our heads in heartfelt appreciation.
Last night, a big storm was moving in, so I let an almost completely healed Roy out of his crate while I cleaned it. I was in a hurry to do that and feed him before the storm arrived, so I didn't get to watch the ritual, or get in any cuddle time. I wasn't quite finished with my chores before I decided to run back into the house to shut the windows. Doug spent the last few minutes before the storm arrived finishing his shooting routine.
I had just shut the first window when the back door flew open. My husband stood there, cradling his bow. He had a wild and crazy look in his eyes. He stuttered and sputtered, and his face turned various shades of purple and green. Every once and a while this little girl squeak, followed by a moan, would slip past his lips. I thought he must be having a heart attack.
He duck walked to the kitchen counter in obvious pain, and carefully, almost reverently put his bow on the kitchen bar.
“Look at it.”
I looked. I couldn’t see a problem.
“Look at it!”
I saw one of the string things wasn’t on the roller thing. There were some odd cinnamon hairs on the bowstring. Okay, something was wrong but I still wasn’t getting it.
I managed to calm him down and he, in between great gulping breaths, told me that while he was perched precariously on his three-legged stool, AND as he was releasing his arrow, Roy jumped in his lap. Roy’s tail and the bowstring wrapped in mid-air.
Roy used his three remaining legs to launch off my husband’s chest. Cat hair flew everywhere. Somehow, the bowstring got derailed. The months of precision tuning were wasted.
“But honey, how is Roy, our twelve hundred dollar, three legged cat?”
“The last time I saw that cat…”
The door slammed behind him.
It took two storm soaked hours to find Roy and four expletive laden hours to fix the bow. It's going to take a lot longer for my husband forgive our three legged cat.
Note: No cats were harmed during the creation of this story.