The following story is that of a friend of mine from the days of his youth, when he was in his mid 20’s some time during the 1970’s.
Our trailer park was nicer than most. Most of us at least had cars in order to get to our jobs, and it sat right near a forest, giving everyone lovely scenery for most of the year. In fact, I can only think of one drawback to the whole area. The septic field, which was drained right into our nice beautiful forest. Needless to say, we had the forest to ourselves, save the host of indigenous and domesticated animals who didn’t mind the pungent aroma. This gave us a degree of privacy that we greatly appreciated, and we did pretty much as we pleased, passing the time on weekends with the occasional drink and other activities that could be done at a trailer park on the edge of a shit-filled forest. Among these activities was target practice.
I really have no idea where the bow and arrows came from. I assume one of my friends/neighbors brought it by, but that didn’t matter much, as soon a group of four or five of us set up hay bales onto which we attached archery targets. The bales were stacked two deep, the row closest to us being two high, and the row behind that three high, making a ledge from which to hang the targets, and a platform in front of it. This became a major time consumer on afternoons and weekends, and the group of us would go out and plunk away at the targets for a while. Sometimes we were intoxicated, others sober, but it didn’t really matter as no one would be marching out in a septic drainage field in the middle of a forest, and since we fired toward the bales, we didn’t hurt each other. However, the happy drunken hours spent shooting would be nothing but an erasable memory had the cat not wandered into our lives one weekend.
This cat was not a real fancy feline. In fact, it looked just as scruffy as any other stray out there. The difference between this cat and others was its unfortunate rendezvous with drunken men and projectile weapons. One afternoon, while inebriated, we were firing away like always at our hay bales when between shots, this stray cat jumped up onto the platform in front of the target. Being the humanitarians we were, one of us scared it away. A couple minutes later, again between shots, the cat jumped up onto the platform, and again it was scared away. It didn’t seem as though there would be any more problems, as the cat was lurking around the target but staying off of it. Just as my next door neighbor was releasing his arrow however, the cat LEPT up on the platform. The arrow caught it in mid leap, pinning it just above the hay ledge. It began meowing and moving its legs in hopes of escape, and our whole group began cursing about how we had mortally wounded a cat in our drunkenness.
It was obvious to us that the cat wasn’t going to live, and we wanted to put the poor creature out of its misery. Since we had a car handy, it was decided that the cat should be run over and put out of its misery. Mine was the nearest car, I hopped in, the cat was placed behind the rear tire, and I promptly backed over it. Problem was, in our intoxicated state, we weren’t sure if the cat were actually dead. So, I rolled over it forward, and then backward again. I did this twice more before we were assured the cat were dead. The unlucky stray was then buried in the woods.
I think the moral of the story is quite clear. When mixing youth, alcohol, archery, and local wildlife, only tragedy can result. Also, this story makes the phrase “welll… we’d been drinking” a viable excuse for dumb behavior.