There is just something about boys that leaves me flabbergasted. It has to do with the fact that when I am exposed to them (in particular my nephew and soon-to-be step son), I walk away with mixed emotions. Usually a combination of absolute amazement, utter infuriation, and girlish glee; complimented by a side order of disgust. My nephew and my pseudo-step-son (until things are made official), seem to take this to a level that surpasses the average boys. This story is no exception.
It was late spring, before school was out. My nephew had come to spend the night with Aunt Julie. The boys had been outside for two hours when Tom came home from work. His path to the door was blocked by the two trolls.
“Hey, Tom,” Logan started, “do you eat rabbits?”
“Well…I have. I wouldn’t say that I eat them regularly.”
“Dad, if we kill one, would you eat it?” Shane asked.
“How do you plan to kill one?” Both boys whipped sticks, no bigger than twigs, from behind their backs.
“Do you think that you can make these into bows and arrows?” Tom obliged and soon the boys were stalking rabbits. Hours later, the duo came inside empty handed. The young hunters were not discouraged. They trekked through the living room and to the bathroom, informing me of their new plan.
“Aunt Julie,” my nephew said, “we need you to wake us up when you get up.”
“Logan, I get up at five thirty.”
“I know. We want to get up then, too.”
“Why so early?”
“Well, we can’t catch rabbits. We are going to hunt frog instead,” Shane informed.
“Hunt frog? Is there such a thing?” I was quickly informed that there was.
The next morning, I watched in utter amazement as the boys threw back their blankets, having slept with their “weapons”, and slipped into their shoes, still wearing their pajamas. An hour later, I heard a commotion in the foyer. I looked into the room as they removed their shoes and my nephew flashed a toothy grin.
They filed into the kitchen, heading to the bathroom. As they passed me, the two held up sticks that had been speared through large frogs. My nephew held his above his head as the dead animal slid down the stick like a melting Popsicle until the carcass was only supported by his outstretched hand. Meanwhile, Shane’s frog was still alive, staked through the stomach, upside down, and wiggling.
As they turned from me and continued to the bathroom, I regained my composure.
“Stop!” I ordered. The boys stopped, shoulders rising to my shrill voice. Slowly, they turned to face me.
“What, exactly, do you boys think you are going to do with those in the bathroom?” I asked with much trepidation, not really wanting the answer.
“Clean them,” Shane said. Logan looked at Shane with admiration for his quick reaction. I swear a tear fell down his cheek.
“What do you mean clean them?” Shane’s head dropped, shaking it from side to side, disappointed. Now, Logan took the lead, determined to back his buddy.
“Aunt Julie, we have to take out the guts,” he said, pointing his frog stick at me. I watched wide eyed, waiting for the body to fly and hit me in the face.
“How do you plan to do that?”
“You cut the frog along the belly here,” he said, pointing, “Then you scoop out all the blood and guts.”
“How are you going to cut it?”
“With one of the girl’s shavers,” Shane said.
“You throw the guts in the toilet, Julie,” Shane said.
“Then you let the skins dry so you can sew them together,” Logan said. I mustered up all the adulthood I could and ushered the boys back outside to complete their work.
I continued to get ready for the day. Pulling a shirt over my head, I heard screams coming from the girls’ bedroom. I ran through the house until I reached the noise. Logan and Shane were absolutely nowhere to be found. However, they had left presents for the girls; gutted frog skins upon their bedspreads. The girls ran from the room and out of the house in a mad search for the happy, little tricksters. I took a seat and watched the girls chase down their enemies. Again, the boys managed to dupe the girls (even grown up ones) in a fashion that goes beyond disgusting, heading for torturous.