a first date with someone who's cool
The Squirrel Hunt
His name is Tommy. And he just asked me for a date. Tommy is tall and handsome and way above me on school social ladder. He's the most popular guy in the twelfth grade and captain of the football team. I was so young and naive.
Do I kiss him on the first date? What if he wants more? What do I do? I don't even know what we are doing or where we are going. I am so excited. He's just so cool that I didn't ask him any questions. All I could do is mutter a faint OK. He's picking me up Sat morning as 8:00am. Huh? Too early for a movie, not even close to a dinner. What do people do at 8:00 am on a Sat morning?
He's here! Quickly I let him in and push him out the door simultaneously before Dad can "interview" him. As we get into his no-muffler wreck of a car, I noticed he's dressed in army fatigues and has a shotgun on the back seat. Oh, no. He's going to take me out in the woods, have his way with me, and then shoot me.
Shifting uneasily n my seat, I asked him, "Where are we going?"
Tommy answers, "You'll see. It's a surprise."
My worry increases. I start to sweat. But I tell myself he can't kill me. All my girlfriends know I'm with him.
We drive into the hills that surround our town. "Watch for a left turn onto a dirt road." He commands. "We should be close."
Although I have serious misgivings, I spot the turnoff and point it out to him.
Tommy turns in, drives another 500 feet and parks. "OK, we're here."
Here? Where's here?
He tells me, "Come on. Get out. Grab your coat, it's chilly."
What coat? He never said anything about a coat.
He reaches into the backseat and retrieves the shotgun. I have absolutely no idea what's coming.
I hear other cars. A jeep and four-wheel runner join us. Four guys spill out of the vehicles, all carrying guns. A gorgeous black and white dog leaps out of the jeep, quivering.
Tommy looks at me, "Surprise! We're going squirrel hunting. Then after we get a few, we'll build a fire and eat them. You don't know what's good until you've eaten freshly killed squirrel."
I look at him in shock. Is he kidding? I'm a major pacifist. I could never shoot any animal, much less eat it. Oh My Gosh! ! I want him to like me but this is too much.
Tommy tries to hand me the shotgun but I pull away. "Tommy, I've never shot a gun. Why don't you go first?"
"OK." He says.
He and the others start at the closest end of the woods and start walking, me trailing behind. How am I going to get out of this but not lose the guy? I didn't know but I went with it.
About a half hour into the hunt, I start sneezing and coughing. My allergies are acting up (another reason not to go into the woods). Tommy looks back at me and says, "SHHHHHHHH".
I try to stop but during a particularly rough bout of coughing, my pants zipper splits. I swear the pants weren't too small when I put them on this morning. They made my behind look good. I reach down and try to hold my pants together without Tommy seeing.
I drag along and it happened. The dog who had been moving back and forth in front of us gives a sharp bark. Tommy raised his gun and POW! As I peered ahead through my fingers, a tiny furry body drops out of a tree.
Grinning, Tommy runs up to the dead squirrel and holds it up for the others to see. "What a trophy! Three more and we've got a meal."
Gag! But I'm cool, remember?
Tommy hands me the squirrel as if he's bestowing a diamond ring. "Here," He says. "You can hold it.
He shows me the proper way to hold it, apparently by the tail with the body swinging. OK. I can do this. As I reach for the squirrel, I let go of my pants. They, promptly, slid to the ground. On top of that, I must have been holding that darn squirrel wrong. It's tail detached from its body and it, too, slipped to the ground. I, quickly, reach down, grab the tail and the body, and jam the tail in somewhere. I didn't look.
Thank goodness, Tommy had turned back around and didn't see any of this.
But I lost it.
"I can't do this!" I screamed. "I'm never going to shoot an animal and I won't eat squirrel meat and I don't care what you think!"
Tommy and the others looked at me. Then they started laughing so hard, one boy toppled over. I stood there, sniffling. What a first date! Tommy will never ever ask me out again.
I was wrong. Tommy had a great sense of humor and more empathy than I thought. We dated during the remaining high school. We both went to college and, eventually, went our separate ways. But every time we met after that, all one of us had to mention squirrel and laughter would erupt. We both told this story many many times.
This adventure turned into a good funny memory but for me at the time, it was mortifying.
Here's my advice:
Never wear pants too small
Never hold a squirrel by its tail.
Ask where you're going on a first date, it might have to be adjusted.
Word Count 944