I ❤ My Gun

©2017Hal Padgett

—This never happened—

 

Back in simpler times, I and a handful of acquaintances would often pack our rifles into a gas-guzzling Oldsmobile family wagon and drive into the remote fringes of suburbia. Once there we would get really drunk—except for Orville.

 

Orville didn’t drink a drop and would fire our guns for us. He was our designated shooter. He took extraordinary pride and care in making sure the high-velocity rounds exited the muzzle on a downward trajectory, instead of over the tree tops toward the houses that were—in terms of maximum effective range of a factory-loaded 180-grain full metal jacketed Winchester .30-30 center fire cartridge—uncomfortably close.

 

This arrangement worked delightfully, until one day, when a drunken John Birch-er named Bodie—who’d switched from Old Crow to grain alcohol—called Orville a “big pussy, too good to get drunk with the rest of us,” then proceeded in a flash to disembowel him with a large hunting knife.

 

We stared, slack-jawed. When someone finally mentioned “we oughtta do somethin’,” we were too busy scratching our heads over Bodie’s sudden, inane assertion that Nixon couldn’t possibly have been involved in the Watergate break-in cover-up. Then there was nearly another gutting when someone suggested to Bodie that although there’s no better place for a heated political debate than around a raging campfire encircled by drunken American males armed to the teeth, his timing couldn’t have been worse.

 

Miraculously, Orville was still alive when the first vulture alit. That sobered us up a smidgen. Someone shooed away the beast and I immediately went to work shoving the mass of stinking, writhing goo back to where I thought it belonged. As you can imagine, Orville screamed wildly.

 

Orville screamed even more when we emptied the last jug of moonshine to sterilize the bloody mess. I considered it a nifty bit of quick thinking, but Bodie—having just witnessed the last drop of booze poured out to save a teetotaler—catapulted over the parapet of insanity and tried to stab Orville in the heart. Luckily, someone intervened with a well-placed stroke of a rifle butt to Jim Bowie’s jaw. Bodie was down for the count.

 

A kleptomaniac named Ollie owned the Oldsmobile. He rummaged through the spare tire well he used to hide pints of schnapps from his wife, as well as storing his illgotten booty, and produced a stapler he’d lifted from his own home office. I had sobered to the point where my vision was double instead of triple, so I volunteered to close the reeking wound that had become a celestial dining experience for the gnat kingdom.

 

Were I to reminisce about the details of my heroic field surgery, I would blush muzzle-flash red. But I will emphasize that during all the violence, the only person injured by a gun was Bodie. And he deserved it. Furthermore, that timely blow that saved Orville’s life came not from a bullet, but rather the ass-end of a classic Winchester Model 94. If you can turn that into a legitimate argument against a citizen’s right to bear arms, then you might as well demand that sawed-off 2 x 4s be outlawed as well.

 

For those of you concerned that old acquaintance has been forgotten: Bodie remained a semi-vegetable from that blow to his jaw. Where he is today (whether above or below ground) I neither know nor care.

 

Ollie: Fate in the form of law enforcement finally caught up with this well-intentioned but doomed soul. He now lives in Starke. How he’s adjusted to being forcibly sodomized daily is uncertain. I had spoken on his behalf during the failed appeal to overturn his larceny conviction, describing in detail his quick thinking in producing the stapler I’d used to put Orville back together. (The police had returned to me my journal Ollie had stolen years before.)

For a few moments afterwards, everyone in the courtroom sat in stunned silence. It was touch and go there for a while as to whether they might lock up me as well.

 

Orville: He developed an intense phobia for any knife sharp enough to cut warm butter. He became a state legislator, but the only things he legislated were knives—out of existence. My new Swiss Army Handyman (that’s what the hell they call them these days) has a cork screw, can opener, bottle opener, both Philips and flat head screwdrivers, and an Allen wrench. But nowhere to be found is a blade that forces a man to demonstrate personal moral conviction by choosing whether or not to slice open and lay bare another man’s viscera. Perhaps the world would be a better place had I let Orville die those many years ago.

 

As for me, I eventually gave up my rifle for the simple reason that the world had shrunk. To this day I remain a writer of ground-breaking views on gun control and other great ideas.