I Shot a Frog I Shot a Bird
I shot a frog
It had been squatting apparently waiting for something perhaps the end of the world I thought from its obstinate stillness on a rock at the edge of a tiny pond I'd say no more than a yard edge to edge
The frog was small too not one of those big bulls that lurk in the reeds by a lake who can scare you so solemn they are so sure of themselves their fat selves with their down-turned mouths and great oinks
I shot the frog the very small frog with a Winchester .22 caliber rifle because there was nothing else to shoot there right then or nothing but an inanimate target and how boring that had become meaningless thwacks into wood once or twice splinters and the thing was half blasted apart so so what?
Then there was the frog and my rifle lifted itself as though by itself aimed as though by itself fired as though by itself and the frog
the frog vanished not even a splash or sprinkle of blood not even a cloud of blur the way computers do it these days for films just gone disappeared vanished kaput
frog no frog
I wasn't pleased this was not as I'd planned it
I'd shot the frog because I wanted to shoot the rifle again someone had loaned me to amuse myself with
I'd already felt the subtle painless jolt in my shoulder each time it went off that very benign but definite crack in more than your ear
you sense it in the drum of your chest in the tangle even of your groin nothing like pain nothing really like pain but a definite crack a definite
I shot a bird
This was another year though the same rifle the same person letting me use it
He was sick in bed nothing serious a slight fever he just couldn't go out I remember there was nothing to do so we took the rifle out of the closet and a bunch of those inconsequential appearing bullets hardly half an inch long and shot out the window first at a paper target I stuck on a tree but that was boring
then he had a model plane he'd made as a kid hanging from his ceiling of his bedroom and I suggested what about that and he said why not he was over that kid stuff
so I hung the plane some war plane a Messerschmitt maybe from a branch in the tree and we were going to take turns but on my first shot my bullet blew it apart nothing was left but a string swaying nothing to shoot but the string and who shoots at string?
Then a sparrow I think or a lark I can't bring it back quite so long ago was it I only picture some common sparrow or lark flittering down to the branch next to the one the plane had hung from
and my rifle still in my arms as they will as I've mentioned they will lifted itself aimed itself for I had such incompetent aim my hands would tremble the sight-thing on the rifle's far-end would swing back and forth and almost always I'd miss except with that frog
And now this bird
Foolish thing to have stopped there right then foolish thing to land there and stay there how long half an instant on that branch and the gun went off as they will and the jolt jolted my shoulder and the bird fell
It didn't vanish though as had the frog it didn't take itself out of the world it just had no head any longer it lay on the ground whole but headless
Do you believe me? There was no head on that bird only a body headless therefore frightening therefore repulsive
Broken clump in the dirt wings tucked into its body as though it still lived flightless and broken in the dirt almost the same color as dirt
Or so I remember I'm not making it up I swear everything else here is true so why would I make up a bird?
Haven't I proved I aimed a gun shot a gun had fun with a gun?
Had fun with a gun with a gun?