When Warren first saw the blue jay, he only pondered the glory of good marksmanship, never considered killing it. But when the bee-bees didn’t reach, Warren inched closer.
He still relives that shot—slow motion, stealthy as a criminal. Receiver hard in his fingers, a slight kick. The jay thumping to the ground, flapping in the dirt, turning in circles. Wing distending, body pulling slow as silly putty.
Warren never told, just buried the bird then stomped the earth flat. Often, he wonders if he’s damned for hovering over the quarry, praying his misdeed stay hidden rather than asking for forgiveness.