Toddlers at the OK Corral

The tots were shot with amphetamines and sent out to play. “Speed” made it all  happen: playtime for toddlers. The whole city was a reenactment of the old west. Parents taught children to be part of the action. Loving parents made costumes and helped kith-and-kin choose exciting roles to play based on western history. “Return to the good ol’ days,” was the government motto along with, “Teach ’em while they’re young.”

Every Saturday toddlers (ages two through five) lined up at the OK Corral. The boys wore cute, cuddly cowboy suits – the girls wore long, modest dresses like pioneer women. Some girls worked at the Swinging Door Saloon. A few “rough” girls totted six guns. All the boys had guns half as big as they were tall. It was an inspiring sight watching the tots bearing guns or rifles (dragging them on the ground as they tried to walk).

At high noon the action started. It was an enactment of an old cowboy movie. Two groups of toddlers faced off  like rival gangs. Usually no one was killed. Toddlers are notoriously bad shots. For the most part, the guns were too heavy to lift; but each tiny tot tried. It was miraculous that any shots were fired at all, but even impossible feats occur when people have faith. That special kind of faith that Jeremy Finkel had when he was pushed into the arena at the OK Corral. Jeremy was small for a four year old. He shuffled into the street dragging his gun behind him. The opposing gangs were milling about, trying to start the gunfight but having a hard time lifting the guns. Jeremy was timid, but he had a fierce alter ego that wanted to be free. The other tots hardly noticed Jeremy as they were too busy with their guns. Jeremy’s alter ego decided to teach everyone a lesson and show them who was boss. He was smart … he hefted the barrel of his gun onto a boulder. He sat on the ground and took aim. He couldn’t pull the trigger so he wedged a stick inside the finger grip. The more he worked the stick, the more it pushed on the trigger. Suddenly his gun fired. Jeremy was knocked over, but the stick was wedged against the trigger and the gun was an automatic with an extra large cartridge filled with bullets (parents often fudged on authentic details because modern weapons were more fun).

When the smoke cleared, little bodies were scattered on the ground. Jeremy stood in the center of the street. He proved he was boss, but it no longer mattered. He felt a growing sense of remorse. He sighed, “so much killing.” Jeremy turned and walked toward the setting sun. He could no longer hold back the tears.

Rabbit Pink



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