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The green bottle cap:

This next story has gotten me a few looks that make it obvious the hearer doesn’t believe a dam word of it. However, if you’ll bring your happy self by the shop, I’ll shake your hand, look you dead in the eye over the tops of my glasses, and swear on my honor I actually saw this happen…….

I was going fishing with some new friends of mine. Old Joe Kelly and his son who was my age (about 22 years old). Old Joe was in his 80s. Interesting old man. He was a mason by trade and had built his entire home with hand cut sandstone, and it was rumored that he had played with Johnny Cash back in the day. I remember remarking about how the face of his walls were perfectly flat, and all the joints to the stones, though odd and random in shape, were exactly 1/2″ wide just as you would expect between red bricks. I asked how in the world he found flags so perfectly fit together (I grew up in a rock house myself and the walls varied in thickness by as much as 2″ and the joints were anywhere from nothing to 1.5″ so this looked like magic). He explained that he cut each stone to fit (which impressed the hell out of me). He later showed me how to cut stone with ancient tools, but that’s another story.

Well, one day, we all decided to go fishing on Lake Wilson just outside of Fayetteville Arkansas. Old Joe popped the lid on his tackle box and I couldn’t help taking a look to see what the old man had in there. I saw the usual stuff: hooks, bobbers, a stringer, couple of jigs, a crank bait or two, a handfull of steel knockout slugs and a beanflip…….

Seeing what I considered a child’s toy, I asked the obvious question “Mr. Kelley, why do you have a bean flip in your tackle box?” (for those of you who might be unfamiliar, a bean flip (sometimes misnamed as a slingshot or wrist rocket) is a forked stick with bands of rubber connected to a leather pouch used to shoot rocks etc in the general direction of a pop can etc etc). He said “oh, I keep it in there for shooting snakes and sich”. I replied “you can hit a snake with that? You mean you shoot in amongst them and scare them off?”. He gave me a level look and said “I hit ’em in the head and kill ’em every time.”

Being young and knowing more about ballistics than most men alive and certainly more than I know now, I must have inadvertently given a “whatever” sort of look, because the old man called to Joe jr. and said “Hey Joe, this young feller needs a demonstration. Get that Mountain Dew bottle yonder.” Joe went and picked it up. Old Joe reached down and got the bean flip and one of the steel knockouts (which were 3/8″ in diameter and cut from 3/8″ thick material which made a small cylinder shape). He loaded up the bean flip and said “Now sonny, I’m going to bust the cap off that bottle.”

I was skeptical. Joe Jr. still had the bottle, and was a good 20 yards away so I was thinking “this is going to take a while, and he’s only got a handfull of those knockouts”. I was ready for Joe to set the bottle on the ground, and the old man to step forward to 5 feet or something, so it took me completely by surprise when the old man said “Alright Joe, go ahead!” at which point Joe heaved the bottle in the air spinning fast. My mind was instantly behind the curve and I was trying to figure out what in Gods name was about to happen when the old man came up with the bean flip. The bands tightened, the rubber snapped and the cap on that bottle burst into pieces in mid air.

I could hardly believe what I had just seen. I believe my mouth was hanging open. Joe Jr. was just smiling like a possum eating persimmons and the old man put the bean flip back in his tackle box.

For those of you that think this is complete hogwash (and I’m sure there’s a few) there is a youtube video out there of an old man doing similar things with a beanflip, and I’d encourage you to look it up before you pass judgment on what I’ve said here.

The big question is, if a man can do something like this with a stick and rubber straps, what could happen if a man like that had a rifle? I happen to know the answer to that question and I’ll relate a few of the things I’ve seen in later posts, but till the day I die, that will be one of the greatest shots I’ve ever personally seen a human being pull off, and he did it like it was nothing.

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