This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

The ice cream truck was working later than normal this year. The thermometer read 80 degrees, an unusual temperature for November in the Midwest. It was great weather for Gerry. It meant he could play outside and ride his bike far past Halloween. It was now November 21, about a month before Gerry’s favorite holiday. Christmas meant more this year to Gerry because he was in a new foster home and he finally had a family he could be with.

“Mom” what a great feeling that was, to have someone he could call that.

“Can I have money for the ice cream man?” He yelled

“Be sure to get your sister something too” she said

“Sure” Gerry would answer in his high pitched ten year old voice

Gerry’s sister was adopted too and she had learning disabilities. Jenny 7, had thick lensed glasses and would talk with a noticeable th sound with the t words. The dog was Ruby but Ruby never got a treat from Jenny but would get threeths.” Ruby, do you want a threeth?” Jenny would say.

The ice cream truck was very close now and Gerry could see pictures of ice cream sandwiches, popsicles and fudgsicles on the side of the truck. “Come on Jenny lets go, he’s going past our house”

The order came to $3 for Jenny’s ice cream and Gerry took the rest of the $5 and stuck it in his pocket. He gave Jenny the ice cream sandwich she asked for “One of these days I’m going to tell mom on you” Jenny questioned her brother. “Whath are you doing with all of thath money, anyway?”

“I’m saving it, don’t say anything” Gerry put his finger on his sister’s lips.

Back home Gerry went to his closet and put his money in a shoe he never wore, he added his money to what he already had. $52.00 was the count now. It was a good thing his mom never asked Gerry about the ice cream that he never got, she just thought the ice cream was eaten before she saw him, she asked him no question about the money either, she was full of motherly trust.

Ruby came to see Gerry. “Ruby, want to go outside?” Gerry loved his big dog and made sure she didn’t have to wait too long to go out.

Jenny always liked to watch Ruby play and would throw the ball for him. “Let’s go Ruby, outhide?’ Ruby ran in a gleeful gait.

“Why don’t you rake some leaves while you’re out there “mom shouted

“OK mom”

Gerry grabbed a rake and Jenny followed him to the backyard with Ruby in their treed, fenced-in lot. The leaves were falling like large snowflakes, coming down silently and then infrequently hitting one of them in the head. Ruby didn’t seem to notice since she was chasing the ball. And then Ruby became so distracted by something in the ground that even when Jenny picked up the ball and threw it past her head almost hitting her, she stood her ground. There was something causing the ground to move on its own. Something beneath the soil and Ruby didn’t like it one bit. She started to sniff furiously and then quickly stopped to dig in one spot rapidly. It took about 30 seconds and then Ruby would stop digging and with her snout would find what she was looking for. A mole had tunneled at least 5 feet in the yard and he had reached the end of the line. Ruby picked up the mole and threw him towards Gerry who was just feet away. Not knowing what to do Gerry yelled for his mom.

“Mom, Ruby found an animal in the ground!” Gerry yelled to a partially open screen door wall.

Mom came out to look. She looked intently and said “that’s a mole, kill it”

“How do I kill it?” Gerry shouted

“Shovel, hammer, how about a rock”

There was a 20 pound sledge hammer nearby. Gerry struggled to pick it up. The mole was still moving and making some headway of going back underground. Jenny went inside after deciding she didn’t want to see the “ugly animal”. Ruby sat nearby seemingly interested in something else, now that she did her job.

 “Hit it in the head” Gerry’s mom shouted. “It’s getting away”

Gerry reached deep inside and talked himself into being brave, he stayed calm and then swung the sledge hammer hitting the mole on its back. Surprisingly the mole kept moving

“You got to hit it in the head Gerry”

“This is one tough animal.” he thought, Gerry swung the hammer again and this time right on top of the slow moving animal’s head. It took a while but Blood started drooling from its mouth.

With a dead mole in the backyard, Ruby came over, sniffed, gave her approval and walked away.

“Now what?” Gerry asked his mom.

“You need to get rid of it, it’ll draw wild animals and stink if you don’t, put it in the garbage can”

Picking up a shovel, Gerry scooped up the furry creature and dropped it in the backyard garbage can, quickly putting the lid back on.  The dead animal was now in the trash can with the backyard waste of twigs leaves and dog poop.

It was the next day when Ruby was intently sniffing around again and sure enough there was another mole trail, with Gerry’s and Ruby’s assistance another mole had reached its fatal end.

There were at least 6 more moles Ruby found through the week and Gerry enjoyed working with his dog doing the dirty work. The killing was getting easier too. After reading about the destruction moles can do to a yard such as eating tree roots, Gerry felt justified in his killing.

Right then and there Gerry discovered he had an entrepreneur mind. Christmas was just a few weeks away now and needing much more money than he was saving, by not eating ice cream, he decided to start his own business of raking leaves and mole catching.

It was a unique business and he could distinguish between himself from other “Rakers” in the neighborhood, by offering two services at the same time. The raking could be at a cheaper price since he was now making money on mole eliminating.  He would go door to door and charge $40 to rake and another $10 per mole. The neighbors would like that, since the neighborhood was full of trees and the ground was soft, ideal conditions for moles.

Gerry went with Ruby asking if he could rake the lawn and hunt moles. With numerous people interested, Gerry had more business than he could handle. He discovered every house he that he worked at had at least 2 moles in their treed and shady backyards. 2 pm seemed to be the best time to find them. Ruby seemed to be enjoying herself until she grew tired of the work and found another dog in the neighborhood. It was about that time that Ruby lost interest and discovered he had enough money to buy his sister the bike she wanted for Christmas.    

As Gerry got older his dream of being the “Mole Man” vanished but his love for his sister continued.

His thoughts of Jenny were vivid.  Jenny was standing and waving at him and Ruby after he was done with his raking and mole hunting.

 “Come Ruby, do you want a threeth?” She would yelled 

December 06, 2022 21:06

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.