In this day and age it may seem hard to believe but there was a time when kids didn’t spend their days glued to a screen and exercised more than their thumbs. Way back when, when nature called, we answered. The great outdoors promised and supplied hours of exploration and adventure. Memories of endlessly roaming the fields, pastures and woodlands near my home in my youth are fondly recalled. Memories of being shot at for said endless roaming, not so much so.
Back then, whether by accident or intention, crossing a property line made you open game. This is not to say being fired upon was a common occurrence. But it was regular enough that you quickly learned to discern between a warning shot and being shot at. Gawd, how fast we could run when inspired by double-aught buckshot. Serpentine, serpentine, over hill and dale clearing 4-foot-high barbed wire in single, terror-inspired bounds. Those were the good ol’ days…?
With time, and trespassing violations behind me, where and when not to go became less of a line blurred by childhood exuberance. Still, looking down on the business end of a firearm did happen on occasion. Though in most cases the knowledge of the “why” was present, and a silver-tongue coupled with a quick wit, often defused things expediently. Except that one time… Closer to the present, by roughly 12 years or so, there was a discovery that still hauntingly echoes in the halls of memory and mystery.
At the time my eclectic collection of collectibles was far vaster. Amongst the assorted items that my garage/office encompassed were an array of Camel cigarette girl mini-standees, obtained by befriending local convenience store merchants who gladly handed them over as opposed to throwing them out. These pasteboard ladies had their own section on an eye-level shelf in front of what had been the garage’s entry way — now a sealed plywood wall.
One afternoon, whilst surveying my collective domain, something seemed off. Off in the same sense that Annie Wilkes’ “little ceramic penguin in the study always faces due south.” (Misery, 1990). I knew every inch and item in that room and… there. Quickly crossing the room, to examine the frayed tear, in the Turkish Royal Cigarette girl’s bare shoulder. Mice? But mice don’t chew perfect pencil-sized holes… like the one in the midriff of the Turkish Jade Cigarette girl behind her. Stepping to the left aligned the shoulder-fray with the midriff-hole and… daylight? Comprehension horrifically dawned — something had come through the wall. Something the size of a small caliber bullet.
Estimated trajectory carried me across the room… to the peg board wall — oh joy. Removing all hanging items and pegs revealed one extra hole. Which continued through the plywood wall to, ironically, the back of the DEAD END sign hanging on the outer wall. In which there was a small, almost indiscernible, outward dent. The sign came down and a .22 caliber bullet fell out.
The “what” — a bullet through the room. The “how” — a firearm or someone who could throw really hard. The “when” — recent, a month out at the most? The “where” — made it personal in that the trajectory angle lined up perfectly with my head, when in my usual seated position, at my desk. Which limited the “who” considerably.
Potential stray bullets and random drive-by were eliminated. Since the shot was obviously fired at short range from the driveway. This left the unusual suspects.
A cheating ex-girlfriend who, for the sake of drama, might have persuaded her new beau to take the shot? The current girlfriend’s ex-beau — because killing me dramatically would win her back? A former friend, turned enemy, who might see killing me and going to jail as a sacrifice for the “greater good”? Considering forensics, it wouldn’t have been difficult to trace the shooter, but I didn’t care, choked it up to luck and threw the bullet away. So, whoever you were — you missed on every level!
For the sake of not giving someone the satisfaction of pondering the “who” the “why” remained. Why risk it? There’s nothing to gain and so much to lose, possibly your life. If you can’t talk it out, you don’t have to talk at all, and a one-way leaden conversation gives only a moment of satisfaction and solves nothing.
I welcome almost all questions, comments via through the Focus, or E-mail me at [email protected]. Hope to hear from ya until then try and stay focused! See ya.