Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Showdown at El Rancho

William, Alex and Max are in and out. The doors have bells hanging from the knobs, and frequently, they can be heard ringing and banging. The boys' voices move from the side yard, above the pasture, to the front porch, and then I hear them out by the chicken coop. They are in and out, and on the move.

Sometimes Max is plaintive; trying to keep up. William is out of sight. Alex and Max are in pursuit, and armed. Plastic pistols, lime green and lemon yellow, cool, damp and fully loaded, are carried in their steady hands, as they cross the yard, and slip through the house. In the shade of the pine tree, Alex pulls the loading mechanism, peers down the drainage pipe, and lets loose a full blast.

"He could be any where," Alex warns.
Max absorbs the magnitude of their situation, and in hushed caution he agrees, "Ya, any where." He lets a squirt hit the window; point blank.

A chilling cry, clucking and squawking, breaks the late morning calm and heat. Then Sunshine crows, and the boys run in the direction of the outburst. They arrive just as the last feathers are falling to the dirt. Gracie is trying to regain her composure, Sunshine is strutting and eyeing the boys with his cocky glare. Alex surveys the situation and surmises, confidently, "Sunshine's been loving Gracie."

Sunshine, full of vigor and bravado, steps up to the boys. William is cool, and with a stealthy hand he executes a ripping stream that hits the rooster in his right drumstick. The hens nod their heads, gratefully. Peace is restored. Sunshine is admonished for breaking rank, and the boys retreat to the kitchen to regroup and reload.

Back in the house, where Grandma is preparing Grandpa's breakfast, and the cats are preparing for their first naps of the day, the boys praise the quality and handling of their weapons. The water pistols load easily, the pumps are solidly built and perform well.

"And it squirts good. Real good."
"And mine is awesome," adds Max.
"Jola gives really cool presents at Henry and Alexander's birthdays."
"Let's take these in the pool, when it's finished."
"OH, Yeah!" William relishes the thought.

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