Charlie met Isaac at the door. “Guess what?” he asked. “Mom won a dartboard in the library raffle!”
That was a surprise. “I didn’t know she entered the raffle.”
“She didn’t.” Charlie grinned. “Isn’t that mysterious? The librarian at the information desk showed her the ticket and her name and phone number was on it, but it wasn’t her handwriting.”
Isaac followed Charlie into the kitchen. Marianne was adding bay leaves to the stew. Isaac breathed deeply and sighed happily. Stew was one of the best parts of the weather getting colder. He could probably eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never get tired of it. Probably. He hugged Marianne and kissed her cheek. “I hear you won a mysterious raffle.”
Marianne laughed. “I did. I guess someone wanted to donate to the library but didn’t want the dartboard, so they decided to send it my way if they won. Welcome home.”
Isaac glanced around the kitchen, but didn’t see anything that might be a dartboard. “So, where is it?”
“I hung it up out in the garage. Charlie’s been practicing.”
Charlie nodded. “I can hit the bullseye every time. Except when Mom’s looking.”
Marianne smiled. “It’s funny how that works. I think you probably just get nervous when you have an audience.”
“That’s not it.” Charlie scowled. “I’m throwing them exactly the same way, and when you’re not looking, I always get a bullseye. Always!”
“Maybe Mom used up all her luck for the day winning the raffle,” Isaac said. “I think I have a little luck left. Maybe I can come and watch.”
“Okay.” Charlie led the way out to the garage. The dartboard was hung on the back wall. Charlie had marked a spot on the garage floor with tape. He picked up a dart and stood behind the line. “Watch this.”
He aimed carefully and threw the dart. It hit the outer edge of the dartboard. Charlie and Isaac both frowned.
“Let’s try this,” Isaac said. I’ll step outside the door, but leave it open a little bit. Throw a couple of darts and we’ll see what happens.”
“You believe me?” Charlie looked up at Isaac. “I don’t think Mom believed me, not really.”
“Of course I believe you,” Isaac said. “I’ll go wait outside the door.”
Isaac stepped back into the kitchen and left the door slightly open. He waited a moment. Thwak! Thwak! Thwak!
“I did it! Come back and see,” Charlie’s voice called through the open door.
Three darts shared the bullseye on the dartboard. “That’s impressive,” Isaac said.
“I stood behind the line and everything.” Charlie retrieved the darts and stood behind the line. He aimed and threw a dart. It hit the outside edge of the dartboard again.
“Here, let me try,” Isaac said.
Charlie nodded and Isaac come over to stand behind the tape line. Charlie handed him a dart. Isaac threw it and it hit the outside edge. He tried it again with the same result.
“Okay.” Isaac retrieved the darts. “Now you go outside the door and I’ll try again.”
After Charlie left, Isaac stood behind the line and threw the darts. Thwak! Thwak! Thwak! Three perfect bullseyes.
Charlie came back in. “Did it work?” He looked at the dartboard. “Oh. So it’s not me, after all? It’s just a weird dartboard?”
“I think so,” Isaac said.
“Well that’s no fun. There’s no way to know how good you really are with a dartboard like that. What should we do with it?” Charlie asked. “If we give it away to someone else, they’ll have the same problem.”
“Good thinking,” Isaac said. “We could give it to Great-Aunt Bethyl. She likes mysterious things. But we’d have to ask your mom first. She’s the one who won it in the raffle.”
Charlie nodded. “We need to go in and help with dinner anyway.”
And so they went in and helped with dinner. Once they were all sitting down eating lovely warm stew, Charlie asked Marianne about giving the dartboard to Great-Aunt Bethyl. “I think she’d like it,” he said seriously.
“What a lovely idea,” Marianne said. “You are growing up to be such a thoughtful young man!” And she hugged him and promised to send it off as soon as the post office opened up in the morning.
And when Charlie was all tucked in bed with his teeth brushed, prayers said, and bedtime stories read, he smiled sleepily at Isaac. “Thanks for believing me today, Dad.