“And while we’re in town we can pick up some of the stuff you wanted from the corner store—pens, a notebook, some a those sore-throat candies,” Andy said with the uncertainty of a person who has never purchased pens, notebooks, or cough drops. “I can grab some jerky, too. Hell, we can get whatever we need while we’re there.”
Timothy gave a quiet, breathy laugh and said, “Yeah, that’s great. Kill two birds with one stone, right?”
“Well, uhh… I guess we could try that,” Andy said, shifting in his seat. “I mean, I’m not real sure how to go about that. There’s gotta be some real skill involved…”
Timothy furrowed his brows and cocked his head to the right in disbelief. Did Uncle Andy not hear me laugh? he thought. Does he not know that idiom? He has to know it—how could he not know the expression ‘kill two birds with one stone?’ Doesn’t everybody know that? I thought everybody’d at least heard it before…
It was pretty clear by Timothy’s expression that he and Uncle Andy were not on the same page, but Andy was too caught up in his own thoughts to notice the confused and disapproving stare coming from his nephew.
“You’ve gotta get a real big stone, I ‘spose. That or you use some sorta mathematical equation to calculate what angle and speed you’d need to throw the rock at to make it hit one bird, bounce off its skull and hit the other…” Andy continued, simultaneously horrifying and impressing his guest—impressing him in the way that a psychopath might impress a person with normal emotions, not exactly an admiration but dredging up some weird, momentary jealousy in the normal person.
But how could Timothy not be somewhat entertained by the determination in his uncle’s face? He’d never seen Uncle Andy work this hard at anything before, never in the entire 23 years they’d known each other. Not once.
Timothy wondered, is it possible that creative problem solving could be Uncle Andy’s passion? That all these years he’s been hiding some sort of intelligence, hiding well-honed critical thinking skills out here in the middle of the cornfields? Or maybe he’s just been harboring some sort of deep-seated hatred of birds, some weirdly strong resentment with origins unknown to me?
“You know, you might be better off using a slingshot. Don’t you think?” Andy continued. “I mean, to get a rock to bounce off a bird’s skull and hit another one hard enough to kill it? That rock’s gotta be movin’ pretty fast, if you ask me. Plus the slingshot would help with, like, accuracy and that stuff.”
Timothy, his full attention back on his uncle, realized that having a passion and voicing a fantasy about killing birds were two entirely different things. He hated himself for confusing the two, even if it was only for a moment. One moment of stupidity, but it felt more like the beginning of the end to Timothy. It wasn’t just the whole stupid conversation, but the whole stupid town—it was throwing him off his mental game already. After only three days, country life was getting to him. He wasn’t a country-man like his uncle Andy, he was a city-boy with a city-education and the sense of arrogance that is virtually nonexistent in the country.
Andy was still rambling on about how to kill two birds, but he had somehow escalated to thoughts of killing entire flocks of birds with a handful of rocks.
“I don’t know, Timmy. This whole damn thing seems a little silly, if you ask me. Why don’t we just head into town and grab a couple of beers with the guys and see what they think about it? You know they’ll have somethin’ to say,” Andy concluded, already grabbing the keys to his truck and heading towards the door.
Timothy, shaking his head, laughed quietly and muttered to himself, “You can do this, Timothy. Bond with Uncle Andy while you’re researching for your next story. Kill two birds with one stone.”