The day was clear, the sky was bright…

Picture a boy’s paradise: A huge yard with a massive tree and no supervision, a barn with a loft, furniture, a stereo, a fridge, a fire pit, a trampoline and all manner of projectiles to hit, hurl, launch, and kick. The house was large and continually filled with members of the mutants doing what they do best. This was 160th, Shangri-La, our base of operations for several years, and the home of (at one time or another) dem bones, hemos, robnotrob and Shannon Stewart.

Now picture dem bones handing lawnjarts to thefez and lawnjart on a summery day and saying “Look what I found cleaning out my grandma’s garage.” They were beautiful weapons/toys from a bygone age when people were free to endanger themselves and their children at their own risk.

With grins splitting their faces almost in two, thefez and lawnjart stride out into the big, beautiful yard and hurl the new/old missiles (two per strider) toward the tree.

They walk all the way out to the tree to retrieve what is sure to be the activity for the better part of the afternoon. Once out there, dem bones, near the barn and some 50 yards away, calls out “Bet you bastards can’t hit me!” lawnjart looks at thefez and shouts back “no way !”
“Come on! you won’t hit me, I’ll move!”
With another look at thefez, lawnjart just shrugs and lets loose with his two… landing nowhere near bones. thefez follows suit with the same result.

Walking back to where the jarts are sticking up in the yard, dem bones says “I got a great idea!” Using the toe of his shoe to scratch an X in the parched yard, bones steps back and explains, “One person stands on the X and the other two go out there. Whoever gets closest gets to stay out there and throw again… the loser trades places with the target!”

fucking brilliant!

This game had all the appeal of bottle rocket wars or stickfighting, but was actually a bit safer as lawnjarts at this distance are quite difficult to wield with deadly accuracy, and can be easily avoided by stepping either left or right.

Bones! You are a friggin genius!”

And so the afternoon passed away while dem bones, thefez, and lawnjart threw lawnjarts at one another under the summer sun and loving every minute of it. At some point, robnotrob, hemos and Neb decided to add a little bit more danger by launching salvos of bottlerockets at the poor bastard standing on the X. A greater game was never invented.

As the afternoon progressed, lawnjart was displaying a small amount of skill, enough so that it had been several rounds since he was made to stand on the X. With dem bones on the spot, thefez’s missiles planted firmly in the earth a safe distance away, lawnjart let his first shot of the round fly. The shot went wild as his throwing arm was suffering from fatigue, and landed some distance away from bones.

“You are gonna have to do a lot better than that!” shouted dem bones from the X.

With grim determination, lawnjart heaved the second jart toward bones and it flew true as the black arrow that sought Smaug’s soft spot. So convincing was this murderous trajectory, that a look of panic washed dem bones’s face as he made a terrible decision. The arc of impending doom was actually high, and would have sailed an uncomfortable distance above his shaven skull, but in panic, bones turned and ran away in a straight line instead of moving left or right to safety. In a geometric miracle, the speed that bones ran brought him to the exact point of the jart’s descent.

Time stretched to an agonizingly slow pace for lawnjart as bones staggered to a stop and his hands flew up to his head at the point of impact. Anatomy flowed through lawnjart’s mind as he envisioned the fat steel tip embedded first in the ropy muscle of the neck, or maybe punching through the skull and into the soft, brilliant brain tissue of his friend. Time elongated his cry of NOOOOOOOO as he began to run, as if under an ocean of molasses, toward his stricken comrade.

White-faced and wide-eyed, dem bones looked into Neb’s face while he slowly pulled his hands away from his head and asked “How bad is it?” With hands removed, the miraculous point of entry was revealed.
Clean, dead-solid perfect through dem bones’s right earlobe.
The ear was pierced.
Bones suffered more collateral damage from the fin of the jart as it had drawn a large scratch across his shoulder.

The entire troupe went in the house after bones had removed the jart from his ear. Inside, bones cleaned his ear with whiskey while lawnjart stood in front of him searching for words to express his sorrow and relief…

“I created the game, I made the rules, there is no way I can be angry with you over this… none.”

“So I guess I won?”

That Thanksgiving at clampe’s house, each at the table was required to say what he/she was most thankful for that year. When lawnjart’s turn came, he stood…
“Even though I have met the most incredible woman this year, who is responsible for a great amount of my happiness, she is not what I am most thankful for.
I am most thankful that I did not murder my good friend dem bones.”

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