When you turn ten in this town, you achieve the privilege of being a "wringer" at the annual Pigeon Shoot. Nine-year-old Palmer doesn't want to be a wringer. What is a wringer? After the townspeople have competed in the pigeon shoot, the wringers go out onto the field and find the pigeons that haven't been killed and then break or wring their necks. Imagine the peer pressure to be a "man." Palmer really struggles with this. At home he has his own pet pigeon, and he is horrified at the idea of harming these gentle birds.