"Have you seen my coveralls?”

The War Department called from the kitchen. “What coveralls?”

“The insulated ones. I’ve been looking this garage over for them.”

“How am I supposed to know? Oh, wait, the last time I saw them was when we moved. They were with mine.”

“I haven’t found yours, either.”

“Why do you need them?”

“Gilstrap and I are going hog hunting.”

My writing buddy John Gilstrap was in the state for a conference and book tour, so of course we needed to go shoot something.

“Has he ever hunted?”

“You just pick up a rifle and go outside and look around for a hog. At that moment you’re a hunter.” I drifted off and then remember she’d asked me a question of some kind. I finally answered. “All he really needs are mud boots.”

“I get it. You’re angling for a trip to the sporting goods store.”

“Great idea!” I leaned into the house. “Gilstrap! We’re going to the store.”

He came running into the garage. “Can we buy ammo too?”

“Of course.”

We charged out to the truck.

The first stop was our giant super outdoors store. It was three days before deer season and the shelves sagged with hunting gear.

He stopped just inside the door and he and spread his arms as if he’d just discovered the cosmos. “This place is enormous.” He grabbed a basket. “I need this and this and this.”

“Whoa, hoss. You’re flying, remember?”

He put a box of ammo back and looked as if I’d taken his last dollar. “It’s so cheap here, though.”

“That’s why we live in Texas and not just outside of the D.C. beltway.”

There was an endcap display full of survival lights. I dropped one into the basket. We went a whole five feet, and I figured the purchase of a new skinning knife wouldn’t push the budget too bad.

Rounding the corner, we were met with acres of ammo in various calibers. Just to be mean, I picked up several boxes. Feeding off the store’s energy field, we charged down an aisle and screeched to a stop. “I need a new strap for that rifle you’re using.”

“What’s wrong with the old one.”

“There isn’t an old one.”

A video caught our attention and we watched for a moment. “Ohhhhh. I need that crawdad washer.”

He frowned at the advertisement. “Why?”

“To wash crawdads.” One went into the basket at the same time another display caught my eye. “That’s a good price on hats.”

It joined everything else.

We paused at a rack of coveralls. While Gilstrap tried them on, I wandered off to look at shirts. He finally appeared with his hands empty. “None of them fit.”

“No problem. We’ll stop at another store on the way home.”

He jumped up and down, clapping in glee.

For the next hour we perused pellet guns, shooting glasses, ear plugs, thermal underwear, socks (why not buy a few pair?) I added two shirts and we were off again to another section.

Scent killer. I sprayed some on Gilstrap, but couldn’t tell any difference.

New camo backpack because last year on the deer lease a mouse chewed a hole in one of the outside pockets and I left a trail of zip ties across the ground like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs.

“I need zip ties.”

He dropped a handful of packages and two brightly colored boxes into the accumulation in our shopping car.

We were in a feeding frenzy. He picked up an item. “You need this.”

“Whatever it is, you’re right!”

We rounded another corner to find head mounted flashlights on display. I grabbed two. “You need one of these and there shouldn’t be a problem with you taking it on the flight.”

“As long as it doesn’t have a laser.”

I was out of control. “I need one of those red dots.”

He pointed at everything we’d selected. He had shirts, a new belt, a jacket, and a dozen other items. “This won’t all go in my bag.”

“Let’s get you a new one!”

People dove out of the way as we pounded down the aisle. I swear I saw him reach up and scrape an entire display of beef jerky into our cart that was rapidly reaching maximum load.

We finally made it outside and unloaded our purchases into the truck. The War Department met us when we pulled up at the house and peered inside. She sighed. “It’s that time of year again, huh?”

I lowered my head. “Yes.”

“I knew y’all were gone too long for just boots.”

His eyes widened. “I didn’t get boots!”

I kissed the War Department on the forehead. “We’re heading to the other sporting goods store!”

As the truck peeled out of the driveway, she went back inside and canceled my credit card before we got to the mega-store, but that was all right. I always carry cash.

Reavis Z. Wortham is an award-winning outdoor writer with family ties to Lamar County. He is the author of “Hawke’s Target.”

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