The words over at Three Word Wednesday are cradle, perfect and snare.
My father hears my commotions coming from the garage, but lets me fumble to my own devices.
It's only when I emerge, an armload of stuff clutched to my chest, does he find his full interest. He’s sitting on the porch, sipping iced tea and smoking a pipe.
“Say there boy, what’s with all the stuff?”
“I’d rather not talk about it.”
That’s when he sees the shiner, a raccoon-ringed black eye. My eye. He whistles a cat-call, puts on his half-readers to get a better look.
“Whoa, boy, who gave you that?”
He puts his fingers to his lips like he’s contemplating the moment, but I know better. He’s stifling a guffaw.
“I told you I don’t want to talk about it.”
I dump the stuff in the yard, a saw, hammer, length of wire, an old bicycle tube, a box of screws, some two-by-four scraps.
“You know, if you told me what you were making, I could possibly be of some assistance.”
“It’s a booby trap,” I say. “For Emma.”
Father slides off his readers, goes all serious.
“Son, you’ll not want a box trap and don’t even consider something dangerous, like punji sticks. What you need is a good snare. Trust me, it’s how I met your mother.”
And we set off to the garage to build some.
“The trick is to catch them, but without harm,” he says, rigging an elaborate loop of braided wire. “In your mother’s dresser you’re find her hair ribbons, the silk ones. Go fetch a couple.”
When we’re finished, he puts his calloused hands on my shoulders and offers up words of advice. Tension requirements to trip up a 12-year-old girl. Where best to put the devices. What to use for bait.
“What to say when you’ve got her, well, I’m afraid that is up to you.”
I set the snares and cradle myself within a honeysuckle bush, thick with sweet blossoms and the buzzing of bees. Waiting for Emma Tellford, daring her in to walk my way.
I’m curled into a ball, sleeping off the worst heat of the day, when a little bell tied to one of the snares begins to the ring. I tear from my hiding place and skid to a stop, dust rising around my sneakers.
There, hanging defiant and upside-down in the humid air is Emma Tellford. The snare has her by a tanned ankle. She’s got her arms crossed at her chest. Her sandy pigtails whip and bob with the movements of her body.
Her floral sundress has slipped, exposing her white panties, her smooth, tanned stomach.
But it’s not the panties where I find focus. It’s her navel. Not really an innie. Not quite an outie. It’s perfect in its uneven attractiveness.
And I’m smitten.
“Hi,” I say.
“Hi yourself,” she says with a slowly spreading smile, which replaces a stern hump of furrowed brow.
“I know where there’s a pond full of tadpoles,” I say, knowingly. “Wanna see?”
“Yes, please,” she says, and with a swing of her arms, begins to dance in midair.
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