Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rusty Pails #19
A Night in the Woods

by Rocky Macy

“Do you suppose they’re still out there?” Heck whispered across the scattered coals of our dying campfire. “I ain’t heard nothing in the last hour except that old screech owl.”

“They’re close by.” Shadetree Mike answered from the safety of his bedroll. “They’re probably hunkered down in the dark and waiting. I still say we should have hightailed it back to Rusty’s cabin.”

“And miss all this excitement!” I chimed in from the creek bank. “Why, doing the dishes in the sink at home ain’t nearly as much fun as scrubbing them out here.”

Shadetree Mike, never one to take an insult lying down, sat up. “We’ve done gone over that, Rusty. Heck eats off paper, and Ermine never lets me help with any of the housework. You’re the only one qualified to do dishes!”

“And if you don’t do them a little quieter,” Heck warned, “they’re gonna figure out where we’re at. You wouldn’t want that on your conscience, would you?”

I pulled the old enamel coffee pot out of the water with the idea in mind of slinging it at one or the other of my buddies. Before I could take aim, however, the woods exploded in screams and war whoops!

“We got him! We got him!”

The yelling set Baker to howling and every varmint in three counties woke up and joined the fracas! As I tried to get my bearings on where this storm was blowing in from, Shadetree Mike’s illustrious nephew, Spuds, spilled through the brambles and landed spread-eagle on Heck’s tent.

“Uncle Shadetree, we’ve done it! Me and Max have gone and bagged ourselves a snipe!”

“But there ain’t no such…”

“Shut up, Heck!” Mike warned in a panic. If word ever got back to Ermine that he had left the boys out in the woods to catch snipes so we could relax with our root beer and fishing, there would be no controlling the woman!

Just then Max tumbled out from the bushes and landed on his brother. As he opened the feed sack, we all knew what he had! The angry “snipe” sprayed us seasoned woodsmen with a good dose of country cologne, and exited, amid much confusion, back to the sanity of the wilderness!

What a picture that was the next morning! Five fools and one very angry dog sitting neck-deep in the creek! “You know,” Mike lamented, “It ain’t so bad. We’ve still got each other.”

Baker lunged for his throat and sent the Dean of Dominoes scurrying to the shore and up a sycamore – but that’s another story! And stories, like snipes, just seem to abound here in Sprung Hinge. Leastways, that’s how I see it!

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