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Dodging bullies and stealing slingshots

Remember back in the day when you were young, and a small town (such as Detroit Lakes) felt like a huge city, and it was OK to get into trouble, and have adventures?

I remember back when I was 9 years old, and my parents finally let me cross the street by myself, it made me feel free (or at least somewhat).

I remember the first time I got into trouble (or at least real trouble). I was 10 years old and I was going into fifth grade, and it was summertime.

My summer that year pretty much consisted of biking around with my friend Dallas, or sneaking back into the woods behind Pamida and building forts in the woods -- where we would spend days at a time.

Anyway, we had one fort in particular where we would spend our time. It was in an old drainage ditch and we had it stacked to the brim with candy and pop, as well as an old couch that barely fit under all the sticks and logs piled on top to make a roof.

The woods were only a block away from Dallas' neighborhood, and we were constantly trying to hide from the neighborhood bully (we called him Big Cam), which was part of the reason we built it, and also why we spent so much time there.

Big Cam was always looking for people to pick on, and one day he followed me and Dallas to our fort in the woods.

Dallas and I were outside trying to fix our roof when "crack." I looked up and Dallas' face was bleeding.

"Crack," "crack" -- there were rocks flying at us out of the woods. It was Big Cam launching them at us, so we took off running for Pamida. When we came back, our eyes lit up. Our fort lay there in a pile of destruction, and Big Cam was sitting there laughing, holding a pile of rocks. We instantly took off back towards Pamida.

When we got inside, Dallas was really upset. He told me we needed to get back at Big Cam, so we pooled our money (it was around $10) and we bought a tub of paintballs. Still to this day I'm not sure why the cashier sold paintballs to 10 year olds. Then we realized we needed something to shoot them with.

We looked through the aisles and found the slingshots hanging off the wall in back. Dallas took a slingshot out of the package and stuck it in his pocket, than he walked out.

I then came to the conclusion that I would take one, too. I repeated the same process as him, but a worker turned into the aisle right when I was stuffing it in my pocket, and I was busted.

The way I look at it now, it must have been quite a shocker to walk in as a 10-year-old was stuffing a slingshot in his pocket, but she did, and after checking the cameras, Dallas was busted too.

They brought us into the back room, where they questioned us and called our parents. Fortunately, I guess we were too young to prosecute, so besides getting yelled at by my parents, I got off with nothing except for my first-ever grounding.

It was the last adventure at our fort in the woods.

Jonah Bowe is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.