Author: Ruhsen Dogan Nar

“Here it comes, get ready!” shouted Mehmet from atop a heap of dirt dumped two nights ago. Ali’s high-pitched, adolescent voice echoed from the roof of a three-story building at the entrance of a shantytown adjacent to Izmir’s skyscrapers: “I’m ready, bring it on.”
Ali, unusually tall for his age, carefully placed a sturdy stone into his slingshot and began to swing it. The slingshot, tracing circles in the air, accelerated with each turn, whistling through the air. Mehmet, waiting below with an iron rod in hand, could hardly contain his excitement.
“Are you sure you can hit it? This isn’t like hitting birds. We don’t want to mess this up.”
“I can hit it right between the eyes. Trust me and stop distracting me!”
Masked and anxious, Ali and Mehmet awaited with bated breath. The drone dispatched by the private electric company, a four-bladed device, approached them. Oblivious to what awaited, the drone buzzed contentedly into the neighborhood until a stone from Ali’s slingshot struck its camera and cracked its body. Staggering like a boat, the drone struggled to regain balance.
“It’s not down, hit it again,” said Mehmet; but Ali was already swinging his slingshot with another stone. The low-intelligence drone, unaware it was under attack, descended slightly, aiming to read the first meter. The second stone hit the target precisely, shattering the machine’s body and disrupting its brain. The drone plummeted to the ground.
Mehmet, shrieking with joy, quickly ran to the fallen drone and smashed its blades with his iron rod. Ali descended from the roof and said to his friend:
“Didn’t I tell you I could hit it right between the eyes? You got all worked up for nothing.”
“Well done, you really are a master at this. Let me kiss your hand, brother. I underestimated you…”
“Don’t mess around, Mehmet! Before the cops show up, let’s take this thing to Uncle and sell it.”
Disappearing into the neighborhood with the drone in an old flour sack, they lost their trail.

At Uncle’s scrap shop, the two close friends sipped strong tea with satisfaction. They watched as Uncle dismantled the drone. Like a butcher dismembering a carcass, he was swift. Despite being in his sixties, his hands never trembled.
Amidst the noise, Uncle shouted: “Good job, boys. It’s about time. Every week there’s a price hike. Fifty years of price hikes and not a day of relief, damn it…”
Uncle carefully weighed the parts he extracted from the drone and handed them their money. Not a penny short, not a penny over. Known for his skilled hands and fairness, Uncle added, “It’s become a trend to shoot down meter-reading drones… But be careful, boys, you never know what these damned companies will do next.”
Ali and Mehmet split the money equally. One was Arab, the other Turkish, but both were poor. As they say, hunger knows no religion, poverty has no homeland. Mehmet placed his share in his left pocket, the one without holes:
“If we take down a meter reader like this every month, we’ll be set.”
Ali, as usual, tucked his money into his sock.
“We’ll at least cover our expenses. We’ve been out of the game for too long.”
Unfortunately, the two friends never got another chance to hunt a drone. The electric company sent the meter reader with a police drone to the shantytown the following month. The boys had to settle for a few rubber bullets and plenty of tear gas. Naturally, the company didn’t forget to include the cost of the police drone in the bills.