Bird Hunting Blues

Story Contributed by Luis Beltran

A clique of pre-teen Bilbao cousins, armed with a powerful de bomba [pump] air rifle, had gone bird hunting one summer afternoon around Happy Valley. Cousins Bulilit, Marty, Geb and Dinny eagerly set out on the hunt.  Sauntering hither and yon, they covered fair ground but hadn’t sighted a single bird.  It had been a brutally hot afternoon, the canopy of coconut trees provided little relief.  As a consoling thought, cousin Bulilit conjectured that their prey had all sought refuge from the torridity.

On the verge of calling the hunt off, they spotted a goat grazing in the distance and headed towards it.  Coming to within yards of the animal, Marty and Bulilit took turns firing at it!  ‘Poof,’ a bitty, dusty explosion erupted inches away as one lad got the first shot off.  Then another shot rang out, then another, and another… none, thankfully, hitting its mark.  At least not yet!

Unbeknown to Dinny and Geb, the trigger-happy duo had contrived to miss the target.  Shot after shot they’d miss though with ever narrowing margins.

The spectacle had Geb conclude that his two younger cousins were just plain lousy shots.  Unable to swallow yet another miss, he let known his disdain at their poor marksmanship as he grabbed the rifle from Marty and furiously pumped it to capacity.

“If you can’t hit a goat from this range, there’s no way in hell you’re gonna hit a bird… let me show you how it’s done” he bellowed. 

The cousins stood agape as Geb took aim, fired, and dropped the goat!  Before the lunacy of Geb’s impulsively pernicious act could sink in, they were startled by a loud, angry scream.  A local man had witnessed the wanton slaughter of his livestock! 

Caught red-handed and guilty as hell, the quartet made a run for it!   The incensed, binangon (machete)-wielding goat owner gave chase!

“Oh boy, we’re in deep du du now,” Bulilit thought.

Catching up to them, the man grabbed a hold of Geb wrathfully demanding an explanation. Seeing as none could be offered and they had no way of making amends on the spot, the man ordered them to proceed to the goat owner’s home—he apparently was just the caretaker—avow to the vile deed and have the owner decide on restitution.

Being the accused goat-slayer, Geb was made to carry the now very-dead-very-heavy animal as they made their way towards the direction of… home?

The man took them to Geb’s house!  The goat belonged to Geb’s father, Don Francisco “Paking” Bilbao.   The caretaker didn’t know who Geb was so he was visibly embarrassed, Geb visibly relieved!   Geb’s relief was short-lived however as Don Francisco, livid, gave him a ringing castigation that carried clear across the barangay!

As the uproar subsided and tensions eased, Don Francisco beheld the lifeless goat.  After an uneasy interlude, he called for the goat to be lechoned—gutted, stuffed with lemongrass, then slow-roasted over live coals.

The delectable feast of lechon-na-kambing that evening, well-enhanced the impromptu festivity as everyone light-heartedly needled Geb on his superior marksmanship.

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3 Responses to “Bird Hunting Blues”

  1. To the Bilbao clan (except for some scorpions they are not included),

    Let me add a little bit more to this story even though its to my own expense. The story about my 3 cousins being lousy shots is true. Bulilit holds the rifle like a sledgehammer, while Marty (RIP dude) strokes the barrel like he was enjoying doing it privately. To our horror, Dinny shoots with both of her eyes open, and we were so noisy, so nobody could hit anything. Your’s truly admits to be a fairly decent shot with the mentoring of Warly (Dad’s buddy) and hundreds of bullets after, I already knew the sight is set at 6 o’clock. My other 3 cousins thought it was time to steal some beer and get tipsy. I also managed to escape at the creek but my good cousins ratted on me. So of course the caretaker knew me and took the very dead goat to my dad and told him what happen. To make matters worse it was my sister Hope’s goat who they called Khomeni (Iran’s Ruler before). The U.S gov’t. should give me a medal for that and next time call your goat Bin Laden, I will shoot him too. Well instead of a medal I got a smack on my butt from Don Paking. I also got grounded but when the festivities got underway with the lechon goat my dad after a couple of Johnny shots let me out. He ask me how far was the goat when I hit him. I said around about a 100 yards (Hey at least I saw a smile of pride from him). Actually it was around 50 yards but still a good shot and everybody feasted on the goat and got drunk. Actually, I can’t remember if I was able to eat any of the goat because I felt sorry for him, but my baby sister was enjoying a big dinner not knowing she was eating her pet.

    The Marksman
    Sniper Geb
    Geb (the sniper)

  2. It’s funny what 30 years does to one’s memory. It seems that each of the hunters has a slightly different recollection of this event (especially in terms of estimated distance).

    My two comrades in arms forgot the funniest part of the story. When our sniper cousin shot the BABY goat, it jumped around maybe five times and fell dead of shock. I say shock because the poor thing was hit on the hind leg, hardly a fatal shot. While we were admiring our kill, we heared a shout and saw a man with a binangon [large knife] coming our way yelling “nga-a gin tiro nyo kanding ko!” [Why did you guys shoot my goat!]

    Then comes the most hilarious part of this story when, without a word, each of us grabs a leg of the goat and we make a run for it. I don’t know if I should call that act brave or idiotic, but I think I’ll settle for the latter because how were four children carrying a goat suppose to get away from an adult. Anyway, we ran with the goat as far as an irrigation ditch where we all decide we had had enough excitement for the day and abandoned our trophy.

    We were all still bragging about our adventure when we got to Tito Paking’s house where, lo and behold, the man who chased us was already there. This is the part where the three of us washed our hands of the evil deed and slunk away letting Geb get all the punishment.

    I remember this like it were yesterday. I also remember my mom asking me countless times why I don’t play with my female cousins. Well, this adventure is reason enough and there were many, many others.

  3. I have not had this good a laugh in ages…LOL is thrown around very casually these days…in this case I really had bursts of laughter reading through this well related big game adventure.
    I love you guys!!!

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