November 21, 2006
Originally published January 20, 2005
My story isn't as good as this one but it still taught me a valuable lesson when I was a boy. My friends and I used to run through the woods with BB guns and we'd shoot anything that resembled a reasonable target, including each other on occasion.
But Milton had a REAL .22 rifle. It was an old, rusty piece of crap that he probably found in a junk-pile somewhere. The trigger guard was broken off and I think the barrel was bent, too, because nobody could ever hit shit with it. But it made a louder noise than a BB gun and we were happy with the sound effects.
We went down to Hayner's Creek one morning to shoot fiddler crabs. They make good targets and I've not seen anything else they're good for except as bait for sheephead fish (although a raw oyster in a piece of nylon stocking works a LOT better). We shot until we were tired and thirsty, then decided to take a break.
Most of us carried canteens when we went out into the "wilderness" like that. We found a pine log to sit on and were passing around the canteens (Michael had KOOL-AID in HIS, that Mama's boy!) while we discussed further plans.
Milton was just bouncing his rifle butt on the ground. Thump. Thump. Thump. Then, all of a sudden... KA-POW! The gun went off. Milton was wearing a baseball cap at the time, and that hat ended up in the branches of a tree nearby with a neat hole right through the brim. He scared the shit out of himself and everyone else, too. That bullet missed hitting him in the chin by less than 1/2".
He never brought that gun back into the woods again. And I developed an increased appreciation for NOT being careless with a firearm.
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