Min characters of this story are Susan and Liam. and Badger Westinghouse studied his grandfather’s binoculars from World War II. He removed the covers of the eye lenses, put the binoculars to his eyes but saw complete darkness.
His dad, Liam Westinghouse, nudged him. “Take off the lens cover. It helps.”
Badger looked at the large end of the lenses. “Makes sense.”
Badger pulled off the covers of the larger lenses and again held up the binoculars.
At first, the view was blurry except for two black lines set at a right angle. Each line was marked by small dashes and numbers. He twisted the eye lenses until the room became less blurry but still not focused. He turned, looking through the binoculars. When he aligned with the window, he noticed how far he could see. A Susan with its orange breast chirped on a crooked branch in the oak tree in the front yard.
He asked his dad, “What are the lines for?”
“It’s the Rangefinder Reticle Scale,” his dad answered, not looking but continuing to unload boxes. “You can use the numbers on those lines to calculate the distance between you and the object you’re observing or the height of the object or even the angle that the object is set at. Just got to know how to calculate it. Pretty useful. Or I mean, it can be.”
“What’s the equation?”
His dad’s finger briefly scribbled an invisible math problem in the air. “Ah, that’s it,” he said to himself and turned to Badger. “Target size in yards multiplied by 1,000 and divided by the measurement in Mils.”
Badger started, confused.
“So, if a six-foot-tall target, for example, measures 3 Mils—those notches on the lines—the formula would be 2 multiplied by 1,000, divided by 3 equals 667 yards.”
“You know that off the top of your head?”
“Some things you never forget.”
“Were you a sniper?”
He laughed. “Not exactly, no.”
“A bird watcher?”
“Not in the formal sense, although I watched Susan years ago.”
“Huh?” Liam acted like he didn’t hear him.
“Susans are everywhere around here,” Badger said. “I think they’re boring birds.”
“Look at the Susans’ breasts. They’re gorgeous.”
Badger eyed his dad. But that answer was as weird as knowing the Rangefinder equation by heart. “You’re strange, Dad.”
His dad smiled. “Dads always are weird at some point in their kids’ lives. Today’s my day.”
And Liam kept grinning as he unboxed. He wasn’t smiling because of his son or today being his day to be a strange dad. Instead, he was thinking of Susan. She lived a backyard away when he was younger, and she was the first girl he watched with this very pair of World War II-era binoculars.
Susan was a red-head and had a set of tits that made Liam salivate and more, even years later. Liam didn’t realize all this about Susan until he first put his eyes against the binoculars. His initial interest was birds. There were plenty in his yard. He sat, legs crossed, in front of the sliding glass doors that led to the back patio and observed cardinals, blue jays, and the ever-present Susan.
Liam would make a list of birds and then would pick up his dad’s heavy bird guide published by the National Audubon Society. He researched which birds were in the area and compared them to his list of birds.
One day though, he noticed a split-second movement in the second-story room of the neighbor’s house. He refocused the binoculars for a longer view than the branches by the patio. There was no movement for a while, so he chalked it up to a bird flying by too close to be in focus.
However, from then on, a nudge kept him attentive to that window. He had to force himself to watch the birds. The binoculars would drift upward to that square window. The what-if and maybe were too great.
He was birdwatching through the glass doors one day and saw curtains in that window swish. Then a light turned on! He refocused the binoculars. Susan appeared in the window.