Wednesday, April 16, 2014

30 Days: "Jonny Forget Your Gun" by Randall McNair


By Randall McNair


Jonny loved his staple gun.

CACHUNK

He bought it at a yard sale from the old lady next door.

CACHUNK

Where a little cripple boy sold lemonade from his wheelchair.

CACHUNK

Jonny named his new gun Buckshot.

CACHUNK

Every time he added a new bass to his collection.

CACHUNK

Buckshot got another notch.

CACHUNK

It didn't take long

CACHUNK

before Jonny had almost every kind of bass in the world

CACHUNK

pinned to the wall

CACHUNK

of his barn.

CACHUNK CACHUNK

and his collection was world famous.

            People the world over would come to Rustburg and shovel a nickel from their pocket to be allowed past the giant red barn doors. Inside it was dark as tar except for a hundred pin pricks of light coming through the slats and nail holes in the ceiling.

            When the barn was full, Jonny would collect his jar spilling over with nickels, and close the big doors.

            It took a few moments, with only the soft slits of sunlight falling down like a thousand stars. Then, one by one, each observer would gasp as his or her eyes adjusted, revealing the monument of fish stapled before them.

            Filled with wonder and amazement the crowds would whistle, holler and stamp their feet.

            "Bravo! Incredible! Encore!" would ring inevitable exclamations. Their excitement drifting for miles across gold and green hills. Scarcely could Jonny bow, or open the doors before he was swept up on the shoulders of the passionate crowd.

            It didn't take long before every person on the planet, it seemed, had come and come again to see Jonny's extravaganza of bass and come away a better person for it.

            Every person on the planet that is, except Jimmy. The little boy who lived next door.

            Jimmy was too weak to leave his small little bed up in the attic room of his grandmother's farm home. Although she would have liked to very much, Jimmy's grandmother was too old and frail to carry her grandson the scanty yards from where he lay, over to Jonny's bass barn.

            So every day Jimmy watched.

            Week after month he watched Jonny carry bass into the barn, would catch glint of the sun reflecting from Jonny's staple gun, and if the wind blew just right, he might hear a distant but resolute:

            Cachunk.

            Day after day he cheered and waved at Jonny as the ecstatic masses burst from the red barn doors; but Jonny, caught up in glory, never saw the frail little ghost of a boy, smiling at him from the window.

           He never saw how day after month after year, that smile never faded, even as the little waving arm grew weaker and weaker.

             Then one day, just one, nobody knows how or why, no one came to see Jonny's barn.

            No one dropped a nickel in Jonny's jar or came to lift Jonny on their shoulders. Everything was so still: so quiet, that one could almost hear the sound of the peanuts growing in their fields.

            As he sat on his milk stool in front of his barn; as Jonny looked out over the empty horizon, he saw the farmhouse next door, where a yard sale sign had once stood years before.
He noticed a little attic window again for the first time, and in that window a smiling little face.

            Slowly he walked across the yard, then through the back porch into the old woman's home, up the stairs, and without knocking, softly turned the knob of the boys attic room. Jonny looked down and smiled at the boy he'd not seen since the year he'd brought home his first bass.     Where had each of those days gone?

            Taking Buckshot from its holster, Jonny handed it to Jimmy. Then carefully he picked up the frail, broken body and without a word carried Jimmy down the stairs, and out to his barn.

            Reaching into his own pocket Jonny picked out one of his own nickels and dropped it in the jar.

            His whole soul alive with wonder Jimmy was layed in the fresh new straw, clutching buckshot in his lap, While Jonny closed the doors.

            Pin-pricks of light poured down all around filling the barn with heavenly light.

Then,

as Jimmy's eyes adjusted to the darkness

each fish,

one by one

turned their head towards the light,

and began to sing.

5 comments:

Julie Daines said...

This is the kind of story I love because when I'm done with it, it still leaves me thinking. Thanks for sharing!

Scott said...

I'm with Julie. This one engages the mind and keeps it engaged. I also like the way it's formatted. Nice job!

Team RS said...

A appreciate your kind words. :)

Team RS said...

And by A I mean I.

Yamile said...

It stayed with me too, long after I read it the first time. Wonderful imagery. Thanks for sharing.