Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Hunting Knife

Gleaming in the display case of the Gibson’s discount store, was the object of the lad’s desire. More than candy, more than a new BB gun, more than even a new bike, there lay the most beautiful hunting knife ever made. It was a Kabar, chrome steel blade, about 7 inches in length, a straight guard and a handle of laminated leather the color of a saddle. The sheath matched the handle and had a snap at the top, to hold the handsome beast safely until summoned.

What he could do with that knife. He knew that eventually he would have the chance to go deer hunting, and this would be the perfect instrument for eviscerating a deer. He would be the awe of the camp. He could also cut some of those bamboo canes around the hideout and lash them into walls and doors and stuff. And in case a wild animal; cougar, bear, armadillo, possum, mouse or crazed sea gull crashed in, he could defend himself and anyone in the vicinity. What an awesome tool.

It was somewhere over $12, so on his meager allowance of a dollar or so a week, it was a long-term commitment. So for weeks he did his chores, saving it all, giving a small percentage at Sunday School, and gazing lovingly at the grail behind the glass. What a hunter he would be with is Daisy Model ’94 in his hand and the Kabar at his side…

His birthday was in October, and while he netted some long forgotten gifts from well intentioned relatives and friends, none of them was the Kabar and sheath. He didn’t blame them, the knife was expensive, he knew, and besides, he wanted to have the honor of releasing the prize himself. To take delivery by his own hand with his own money was his goal.

Lucky for him, he got a total of about $15 for his birthday. The gleam in his eye could only be matched by the glint of fluorescent light off of that beautiful blade. He got his dad to drive him the .5 miles to Gibson’s with the cold cash in his hot little hand. With a singularity of purpose he bee-lined straight back to the Sporting Goods department. With what could be described only as grunts and squeaks of suppressed elation, he somehow got the clerk to understand that he wanted the Kabar in the case and hurry.

His dad drove the .5 miles back home with the boy and his knife. A happy couple. Made for each other.

When he got home, the boy went straight to the back yard to challenge every wild and dangerous animal imaginable, he stabbed the bears and cut the lions and generally frightened the elephants and killer whales. He ached to grasp the cool shiny blade and throw it to stick it into a tree, but resisted the temptation; he had broken the tip off of two knives previously that way, he could never tempt fate with this instrument.

For days he hacked tirelessly through the jungle underbrush and the desert cactus and the giant redwoods. He whittled proudly on the tough green wood of the backyard forest. The clear October air fueled the adventure of young imagination, and cemented the deep, emotional bond of boy and knife. The flash of sunlight on the flawless blade was intoxicating, the smell of the leather of the sheath was like ambrosia.

One afternoon while in his room, he and his blade were sparring with an unseen villain. The miscreant was lying across the neatly made bed, and needed finishing off. The boy menacingly raised the knife above the evildoer, and slowly dragged the point across his midsection, ridding the world of yet another bag of human scum. Unfortunately, the boy misjudged his own strength and the sharpness of the blade. The bedspread was neatly sliced along the width of the bed, about two feet in length, precisely along the lines of the green plaid pattern. Of course, he didn’t see the damage until later that evening, while sitting on the bed, putting his clean socks away in his drawer.

The panic was evidenced by the blush that started at his knees and rushed to his hair in increasingly powerful waves, forcing the moisture from the inside of his skin to the surface. He had to hide the deed, but how? Thinking quickly, he seized the pillows that his mom had chosen to make the bed a nice composition. He distributed the furry black pillow and another pillow horizontally across the center of the bed. There, no one would know. Maybe it would heal up…

His mother was placing the folded supply of shirts, socks and underwear at the traditional place at the foot of his bed, when she noticed the peculiar placement of the pillows. Thinking it odd, she decided to move them to their usual spot up at the head of the bed. That was when she saw the gaping gash and the white sheet shimmering from beneath. When she summoned her son to the crime scene, he was appalled that the wound had not healed and had been discovered. Then, to his ultimate disappointment, shame and chagrin, his mother imposed the most harsh but fair penalty that could be devised: she took away his knife for a month.

1 comment:

~paula said...

I don't think that anyone UP THERE (not UP UP THERE but here UP THERE) will ever know what a jewel was lost when they let Donna get away.

aA...You are so (using a word from back in the day) NEAT to do something like this for Donna...and I'm betting that she doesn't even know that it is out here. LuVuBoth ~paula