Rusty Mitchum

Rusty Mitchum

As you recall from last week’s excitin’ episode, my cousin Coy, Little Rusty, Wee Whoa and myself, oh yeah, and Bones, the dog, were about to embark on a dangerous mission.

Little Rusty had found a rather large red wasp nest in a bush not far from his house. With determination, and brain power, we had figured out a way to get that nest.

We had procured a large air conditioner box, and modified it into an army tank. Although it still looked like an air conditioner box, we knew it was anything but.

The night before the dawn attack, we practiced as to what we would do. We had cut three gun ports into the side of the box … uh … I mean tank, and we sat side by side, cross-legged Indian style, inside with our BB guns stickin’ out the holes … uh … I mean gun ports.

Wee Whoa and his dog Bones, sat back behind us and would be reloading our guns for us. Well, Wee Whoa would reload our guns. Bones didn’t do much of nothin’, but lick himself.

Anywho, we finally went home to get a good night’s rest, but rest wouldn’t come. The anticipation of battle was on our minds, as was the uncertainty of whether or not we’d make it through the ordeal alive. Pretty heavy stuff for a kid 11 or 12 years of age.

Morning came early the next morning. Uh … well, you know what I mean. We all met up at Coy’s to move our tank. Coy had gotten up earlier and had a surprise for us. He had sort of camouflaged our tank.

“What’s that on the box .. .uh ... I mean tank?” I asked.

“I painted it to look like a bush,” he replied.

“That’s a bush?”

“Well, sort of. It was the best I could do with these eyebrow pencils I stole from Joyce.” Joyce was Coy’s older sister, and she didn’t like us very much. I don’t know why.

“Look here,” said Coy. “I marked out all the words on the box so the wasp couldn’t tell it was a box.”

“Good idea,” I said.

“I didn’t know wasp could read,” said Wee Whoa.

“Would you shut up,” said Little Rusty to his brother. “I swear. You don’t know nothin’.”

With a kid holding each corner of the giant box, and a dog underfoot, we made our way to the battlefield.

The sun was just peekin’ over the horizon, as we lifted the corner of the box to climb under. We each took one last look at the mornin’ and had different thoughts passin’ through our minds.

One was wonderin’ if he’d ever see another mornin’ such as this. Another wondered whether or not he’d ever get to taste another meal from his mom’s kitchen. Another wondered what it would have been like to kiss a girl. Another wondered if he’d ever see another Saturday mornin’ cartoon. And the last wondered if he had time to lick his rear. Stupid dog.

We were still a good ways off from the wasp nest, which was the plan. We would crawl on our knees pushin’ the box along as we went until we got close enough to start shootin’.

“Man, it’s hot in here,” Little Rusty said, as we scooted along toward the enemy.

“It’s dark, too,” said Wee Whoa.

“Hush,” I said. “It’s gonna get hotter, and maybe darker.”

“Hold it,” said Coy, as we crawled along. “I think this is close enough.”

I looked through my gun port, and there, not 15 feet in front of me, was the nest. “Man, would you look at that thing? It looks bigger in the daylight.”

“Wow,” said Coy and Little Rusty simultaneously.

“Let me see,” said Wee Whoa.

“Get back,” his brother said. “And keep quiet.”

“Well,” I said, as I took a deep breath. “Y’all ready?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” said Coy.

“I reckon,” said Little Rusty.

Slowly, we poked the barrels of our BB guns through the gun ports, and took aim.

“Remember,” I said. “Get the ones on the edges first. Try not to hit the nest. We don’t want to make them mad.”

“You don’t think pickin’ off their brothers will make them mad?” asked Coy sarcastically.

“You know what I mean,” I replied. “Oooo, I’ve got a shot.”

“Which one?” asked Coy.

“That one on the top edge. See ‘im?”

“Yeah, he looks like he may be the scout. Take ‘im out.”

I looked down the barrel of my Daisy and took aim. I slowly squeezed the trigger. “Whack,” the gun said. The wasp disappeared.

“Good shot!” Coy whispered loudly. “My turn.”

“Whack!” his gun said and another wasp bit the dust.

“I’m next,” said Little Rusty. “Whack!”

“Got ‘im!”

For the next few minutes we took turns poppin’ the red devils. Finally, we took a break.

“Man,” I’m dyin’ in here,” said Little Rusty.

“Me too,” I said.

“It’s gettin’ hard to breath,” said Coy.

As if on cue, Wee Whoa’s dog Bones, decided to let a … let’s say, an indiscretion.

“Whoa!” Coy said. “Who cut the cheese?”

“He who smelt it, dealt it,” I said.

“It was Bones,” said Little Rusty. “Smells like dead dog chow.”

“Get him out of here,” Coy said.

I had pulled my gun back in and stuck my nose in the gun port to get some air.

“Look,” said Coy. “The wasp.”

I took a deep breath and pulled my nose out of the hole and stuck my eye up to it. The wasps were buzzin’ like crazy.

“Uh oh,” I said. “They must have heard us.”

Little Rusty was in the corner gaggin’. “I’m gonna, … gag … kill … gag … that dog.”

“Be quiet,” I said. “The wasp…. ‘’’

That was all I got out, when a string of the devils started flying in formation toward us. “Look out!” I cried. I put my hand over the gun port, just to be rewarded with what felt like a blow torch against my hand.

“Aaaaggggghhhhhhhh!” I screamed and jerked my hand back.

Through the dim light, I could make out three streams of wasp pouring into the box through the gun ports. Inside, we started bouncin’ off the four walls and the ceilin’. The buzzin’ was deafenin’. We were too busy swattin’ at the wasp to consider turnin’ the box over and escapin’.

Finally, someone stood up, raisin’ the box with their head. Everyone else saw the light pour in from the bottom and dove for it. When someone’s head would emerge, someone else would pull it back in, in an attempt to get out first.

Bones was the first to escape, followed my Wee Whoa. By the time the rest of us made it out, a second squadron of wasp was ready to make its attack. They hit us just as we emerged from the tank.

I already had so many stings on my face that I was only able to see through two little slits that were formerly my eye holes. Coy and Little Rusty’s eyes just about looked the same. It was like the three blind mice runnin’ for their life.

Coy ran into the side of Little Rusty’s house, bounced off and crashed into some shrubs. Little Rusty did a pretty good impression of a pinball machine by bouncin’ off of several trees until he finally piled up in a heap.

I don’t know what happened to Wee Whoa and Bones. Fortunately, I did not hit anything as I ran a zigzag course through the field by Little Rusty’s house.I made it all the way to my house, and crashed through the door and onto the floor of the kitchen.

My mom was fixin’ breakfast, and looked down at me. My face looked a lot like a marshmallow with cellulite. My ears which had taken several hits were swelled up and had lopped over. My lips looked like two hot links. And my right hand looked like a volleyball with five little nubs stickin’ out.

Now-a-days, a mom would probably call 911, an ambulance, or the Poison Control Center. My mom didn’t.

“And who are you?” she asked.

“It’s me, Wusty,” I cried, tryin’ to talk through my humongous lips.

“Wusty who?”

“It’s me Mom, your thun,”

“My son? On no, my son is a handsome little boy.”

“Weally Mom, it’s me. Honest.”

“What happened?

“Wed wasp,” I said.

“Red wasp,” she repeated. “I see. Didn’t I tell you to leave wasp alone.”

“It wudn’t my fault,” I said.

“I’m sure it wasn’t,” she replied, as she eyed the BB gun in my left hand.

“Pwease put some bakin’ powder on me,” I said.

“You mean baking soda. Baking powder is what you use to make things rise, and it looks to me like you’ve already risen.”

Anywho, believe it or not, we all survived. That next fall when the wasps were all gone, we got the nest. We took turns keepin’ it in our rooms, until one of our mothers threw it out, which was a shame. Man, it was the biggest wasp nest I ever saw.

Rusty Mitchum lives in New Harmony, Texas, where he writes a regular column for The Lindale News and Times. He says the only reason he writes is to keep the voices away.