337 - Dove


 "Today's the day you become a man, boy," your father tells you. He hands you a .410 shotgun and points at a nearby tree. "There's a dove in the branches of that oak, a couple levels above the initial branches. It's been waking your mother up early in the morning, roosting on the windowsill.

You look down at the gun, which weighs heavy in your still-growing hands. Your father has schooled you thoroughly in its mechanics, it's usage and care, and now apparently comes the time to learn it's implementation. Though you fully understand the implications of what is happening, you still feel the need to ask the question.

"What do you want me to do, dad?" you ask, your lower lip trembling.

"I want you to shoot that bird, son."

"The bird didn't do nothing to me."

"That's what makes it important son. Any boy can decide to take a life that threatens him. It takes a grown up to decide what to do with one that doesn't."

You make your choice.