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Excerpt – The BB Gun Incident

Daisy BB Gun

Excerpt – The BB Gun Incident

One event from childhood above all others generates the most controversy in its retelling amongst my brothers. I tell it now to set the record straight. I shall set down in stone the truth for posterity and all to hear.

It was a warm sunny morning on our farm in Oklahoma. In the pasture behind the house, my brothers and I went down to the trash dump and shot our BB guns. The dump, as we called it, was little more than a fallen tree guarding the entrance to a small meadow that held the incombustible refuse of our American lives. There we found tin cans, glass bottles, and scraps of hot tin shining in the sun.

It was here that I proved my proficiency with my newly acquired Daisy BB gun. Three pumps of the lever-action pneumatic pump and I became a marksman extraordinaire. A force with which to be reckoned. A diminutive doc Holiday. A crack shot with nerves of steel. I hit every bottle and can that I aimed at that morning. That’s when my older brother Razi happened on the scene. Of course, being my older brother, he felt the need to impugn my skills – a mistake he soon regretted, for it led to a bet.

This particular wager involved me hitting the wallet he carried in the back pocket of his jeans. So, we moved from the dump a few yards closer to the house in front of our old trash incinerator. It was a large walk-in rusted metal cylinder with a heavy iron door on the side. It was a door that painfully groaned when opened. A long smokestack rose menacingly from its top. It reminded me of a ghost ship from a picture book I had seen, a derelict and deteriorated hull holding within it the secrets of a thousand lost voyages. The incinerator was a frequent place of refuge during games of hide-and-seek. This then was the backdrop of our little wager.

My brother walked toward the incinerator about ten paces from where I stood. He turned and gleefully rechallenged me, saying he was sure that I could not hit his wallet. Now, I always thought of my brother as a bright fellow. He was, after all, seven years my elder and well-versed in the ways of the world. I was a mere six years old and innocent in the wicked ways of the outlands beyond our little farm. However, despite my evaluation of his worldliness, I felt this particular challenge of his ill-conceived. I did not inform him of my opinion and set about to prove my skills.

I raised the gun to my shoulder after carefully licking my thumb and wetting the site in my best Daniel Boone fashion. The white wear lines outlining the square wallet in the back right pocket of his jeans made the target impossible not to see. I drew a deep breath in and then held it at the halfway point of the exhale as Razi had taught me. The target loomed large in my vision. At the end of the rifle, the bead danced across the wallet and finally settled steadily onto my target. I could not miss it.

I began the slow pull of the trigger needed to send my projectile flying toward the intended goal. First, a little bit of pressure, then a bit more. At that moment, I thought to myself. Self?, I asked. How often does a little brother get a chance to exact vengeance upon an older brother who teased said little brother mercilessly at every opportunity? No, sir, this was not a chance that came along very often. A wry smile crossed my lips, and the bead of my rifle drifted slowly down and to the right. There is hell to pay. Pow!

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