Note: This scene starts on Chapter 19: Part 36, and is one of three parts! This is part 2/3.
Gentry eyed him for a moment, then looked away and nodded slowly. As Carly pulled away, Gentry fixated his eyes fixated on the hunter’s mouth, watching it move to fit each word. Trying hard to remember what that bird was called. Attempting to recall all those times his father had told him about the birds, swearing how important it was to know what you were dealing with; which type. He only vaguely remembered the feel of that leather-gloved hand guiding him to the trigger, and a clear voice telling him when to fire. What Gentry couldn’t remember was if he’d liked it, because nothing was clear about Alabama except the cold dead-weight of the rifle in his hands, and a lump building in his throat.
“But I won’t be here much longer, Gentry. I want you to know.”
What was that bird? He couldn’t remember, it was all very blurry… but it was there, somewhere between the rising pitch of the choir and the bullet’s hollow pang. He just needed to find it.
The pintail is an alternative to the standard mallard duck call. This mallard whistle works in most situations, but every duck hunter should be bilingual. That’s how you tell ducks what they want to hear, and draw them in. Always carry a pidgeon and pintail with you, and make sure to identify the duck before calling it
Whistling’s also great way to get kids into the action, because it is hard to mess up...
“They’re sending me away.”
Gentry looked up startledly, as if he’d nodded off to sleep a few minutes ago. But he was awake, more awake then he’d felt in some time.
“That’s a mandarin duck.”
“What that guy’s holding. Its long claws let it nest in trees.”
Carly eyed him for a good long, long moment. And when Gentry added, “It rarely breeds with the wood duck, even though they come from the same species” he responded by irritably turning back to the TV. Without looking away, he reached over and tossed Gentry the remote, which Gentry caught without trying.
“How’s nationals looking?”
“You still getting in enough practice?”
“Good. Just make sure you act like a team, even if Zach’s in it. The audience can mess with your head, but everyone loves a close-knit team. The closer you look, the more intimidated the other side gets.”
Carly abruptly fell silent, realizing that talking was fruitless. There was nothing he could say that Gentry didn’t already know, or hadn’t already heard. Nothing. The hunter had stopped talking as well, and silently held the bird’s wings together for a moment longer before releasing them from his hands. The duck flapped wildly, camera swerving to capture how its wings glinted against the sun. It looked downright surreal, the way it caught the clouds with its passioned strokes— Carly watched it soar up until the shot rang out which sent it plummeting from cloud nine, back down to Earth. Immediately the camera flashed to it. After taking it in for a good five minutes, Carly decided that a dead pile of feathers wasn’t as gruesome as he thought it would be. It was actually very boring.