SON OF A GUN

4 Oct

 

He’d bought the weapon for self-protection, for home defense as the clerk at the gun store had advised him. Gulled by the martial terminology and the shinning chrome of the new made-in-Czechoslovakia nine millimeter weapon, he’d been an easy sell. The clerk had been more than helpful and given him all the information necessary even down to the telephone number of a local pistol range where he could become proficient in the art of piercing paper at thirty yards. The gun had felt good in his hand the weight of it falling easily into his palm, his finger curling very naturally around the trigger. The clerk had taken his VISA and pushed the necessary paperwork across the counter for him to complete. While the man made the necessary phone calls, George filled the five minute wait shooting-the-shit with a fellow gunslinger.

The clerk came back smiling – George had been background-checked, verified, profiled and approved by the federal government. It was worth the trouble. After all, as the attendant had pointed out, you couldn’t just sell a weapon to anybody, even if they did live in the land of the free.

Not licensed to kill, George did feel a little bit gangster as he walked out to his car. The knowledge of the responsibility he carried in the plastic bag gave his step a substantial spring, the cold-steel bolstering his confidence and gun-oiling his ego.

His purchase was premeditated; it wasn’t something he’d done lightly. George had spent hours poring over the computer checking out websites and balancing the pros and cons, had joined the N.R.A. and was staunchly in favor of the second amendment by the time his lifetime membership arrived in the post. He’d the jargon down, the litany of the pro-gun advocate; how the police where always five minutes late, that it wasn’t guns that killed people, it was people that killed people. If guns were to blame for the innumerable shooting deaths in the United States then similarly pencils were responsible for every spelling mistake. That a gun was just a tool, just like a hammer or a cooking pot, it served a purpose, it was there if necessary – better to have than not. Convinced he was doing the right thing he was legally armed and dangerous. One man under god, equipped and deadly, fulfilling his constitutional obligation and prepared to fire in the direction of tyranny and civil unrest – a one man militia, a force to be reckoned with, a flag waving, gun toting, card carrying, tea partying patriot.

George had taken the clerk’s advice, called the gun club and signed up for the requisite causes. Having parked the car he walked up to a building that some enthusiastic architect had taken great pains to design as a military bunker. With a low roof line and black reflective glass and a lot of stainless steel he felt as though he were entering a top secret military establishment rather than a public shooting range. Once again his details were taken. Gun ownership, he was discovering, was all about paper work and he was enrolled in a training class with six other individuals, some of whom had clearly dressed for the occasion there being an all pervasive look of camouflage and military surplus. Taking the old adage of dressing to impress, some of his contemporaries had overstepped the mark with rubber knee protectors, knife proof vests and black fingerless leather gloves. It looked more like a meeting of old contemptibles rather than a group of like-minded armed-to-the-teeth citizens. This season’s color of choice was clearly olive-drab.

Listed as group Eagle-Talon they were assembled in a class room. Sitting anxiously waiting for the instructor George felt the thrill of pending battle as adrenalin coursed through his veins. He’d told his son a thousand times that you could achieve anything if you set your mind to it and George  was determined to put the hardware pressing into the small of his back through its paces. Born into the wrong time period but with but with a duelist’s heart he would master the gun on his side.

The quick and the dead, gun fight at the OK corral, storming Normandy beaches; all George wanted was a chance to prove himself.

The door swung open and a man with a crew cut and a thousand mile stare took his place at the front of the class. He cleared his voice and pushed up his sleeves, revealing deaths-head tattoos and crossed daggers. This veteran had clearly seen the edge of eternity and was about to impart some of his war- won-wisdom to the assembled.

Gun school had gone well and after three weeks of two hours on a Thursday afternoon George felt he was more than capable of handling the pistol. Stripping and assembling had become second nature and he could recite muzzle velocities and speak with authority regarding the differences between hollow- points and steel jacketed munitions. They’d graduated with perfectly grouped pistol shots and a state accredited concealed carry permit. Leaving the building he knew life would never be the same, now he was self-reliant, now no matter what life threw at him he would be ready.  Proud of his achievement the pistol had been placed in his bed side drawer, next to the massage oil his wife enjoyed, just in case there ever came a time when the police arrived five minutes too late.

*

Feeling a nudge in his side George returned to consciousness. He’d dreamt he was running on a tree lined beach, the sound of waves crashing on pristine white sand, whilst being chased by topless beauties wearing skateboard helmets

“George, did you hear that?” His wife was sat up in bed, her heavy breathing betraying her anxiety. “George,” she gasped pinching his skin and making him wince,” there’s somebody outside in the back yard, the security lights are on.”

 As if doused in ice water George sprang into action. Dressed in his birthday suit and slippers he opened the drawer and removed the gun. He pulled back the action, made sure the weapon was loaded, and stealthily made his way into the kitchen. Insuring he remained in the shadows, as the Vietnam vet had taught him, he cautiously slid open the back door. Cold white light bathed the yard, shadows danced around miniature date palms and made-in-Mexico ceramics. George could see a figure attempting to slither down the back wall. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end and he felt his palms sweat as he gripped his pistol.

*

“Whatever you do remain calm,” the instructor had said, “the element of surprise is everything. Just pointing a gun in the general direction of a person will scare the shit out of them. You don’t have to fire the weapon to intimidate but remember this; if you do pull the trigger it will change your life forever. Good or bad, justified or not, you will be held responsible for your actions. In a life or death situation it’s you or him. Is it better to ask for forgiveness and be alive rather than lying in a pool of your own blood? That will be something that only you can determine. Remember when it comes down to it the choice is yours. It’s up to you, nobody can decide for you.”

*

The would-be burglar was now down off the wall and making his way slowly to the side of the house. The safety was already off and in one swift movement George had adopted the firing stance and was cradling the weapon in both hands, a text book image of the position he’d been taught. The weapon had come up and George’s eye was focused down the barrel, the foresight nestled in the center of the intruder’s chest. It was a righteous shot, nobody would think the worst of him. It was do or die – his family against the rabble.

Pulling the trigger was easy, the pulse of the weapon in his hand electric, the recoil absorbed and counteracted by his flexed arms. The blinding flash illuminated the yard. Time slowed down everything went into slow motion. The bullet caught the intruder in mid-stride and George watched as the force of the bullet swung the killer around and pushed him to the ground. The report of the weapon bounced around the garden, the thunder crashing off the cinder brick walls. Taking one step forward as he’d been instructed, he fired again.

#Rule number two – Double Tap.  The terrorist lay on the ground.

Energized and alert his senses at full elevation George flicked on the safety and made his way cautiously to where the enemy combatant lay prostrated. George felt cool calm and collected, the shooting was justified, nobody would doubt him, he’d done the right thing. The psychopathic kiddy-fiddler on the ground was moaning in pain, there was a bubbling, hissing sound coming from an obvious chest wound, bright, pink, blood bubbled and frothed. At such close range, the bullet had ripped open the chest cavity and turned the murderer’s organs to goo. The hollow point round as expected had mushroomed and caused the maximum physical damage without harming any innocent bystanders.

*

The instructor had been very specific, “Use hollow points in your weapons. Maximum stopping power with maximum consideration for innocent bystanders. You don’t want your rounds to travel down-range, through brick walls and into your neighbor’s living rooms.”

*

The serial killer lay face down. Reaching out George put his hand on his victims shoulder, turned the body over, and looked straight into the eyes of his son! George froze unable to comprehend what he had done.

“Dad, dad…what?” whispered the boy.

George was shaking now, the pistol in his hand falling and clattering to the ground, realizing that the person who’d slipped over his back wall had been his son, Tommy. What had he done? Where had the boy been, what the hell had been doing – a romantic rendezvous perhaps, an illicit meet up with some of his friends?

A shadow expanded across the garden and he turned to see his wife standing in the kitchen doorway. “George what’s wrong? What’s going on? His son gurgled.

*

In the distance George could hear the sound of sirens. Uniformed officers were racing to the scene to investigate the shooting probably reported by an anxious neighbor.

“Right on time,” thought George. “Right on bloody time!”

 

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One Response to “SON OF A GUN”

  1. Steve Green October 6, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    It must fill a person with supreme confidence when carrying a loaded gun, the big problem is that it makes them inclined to using it too, most often under the wrong circumstances.

    earthy, powerful, and darkly witty writing.

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