“There’s one,” I whispered.
Mardis had already put the maximum of eight pumps on the Benjamin, and it was ready. He lowered the muzzle as he squinted to see in the cover.
Just as Mardis said, “I see him,” Hayes and I saw the BB drop from the barrel on the ground. Hayes snatched it up.
“The BB came out.”
Mardis already had the squirrel in his sights and said, “Drop it in the barrel. I don’t want to lose him in the cover.”
Hayes moved the BB toward the mouth of the barrel with his thumb and forefinger.
“Tell me when it’s in,” Mardis said with one eye closed, sights on the squirrel.
“Okay,” Hayes said as he dropped the BB.
The air rifle cracked the instant after the word, but Hayes’s forefinger was still there.
Blood spurted everywhere as he shrieked and shook his hand.
“You shot a hole by damn finger, idiot. I said I’d tell you when I had loaded it.”
“But you said, ‘Okay,’” Mardis replied.