TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Steve had found the address of the guy Terry had told him about. He parked at the curb. Nothing was unusual about the house or the neighborhood. There was nothing to indicate that this was someone operating outside the law. These were nice family homes, with kids playing in the front yards. He looked at the paper again. "Yep, this is the right place."
He checked his wallet. He didn't know how much a gun cost from this guy, but he'd brought $500.00 with him. He walked up to the door and rang the bell. A casually dressed man opened the door. Steve noticed he didn't look mean, or thuggish at all.
"You must be Steve?" the man asked. "Terry gave me a call, said to be expecting you. Come on in."
Steve followed him into a nicely furnished home, but was led out to the back yard, and to a storage shed.
"Terry said you were looking for some home protection...that right?"
"Yeah, that's right," Steve said. "I'm not sure what I'd need for that, though."
The man unlocked the shed door, and they went inside. "Well, I have a few I can show you; let's take a look."
There in homemade display cases, were guns of every size...from small lady-like pink ones, to full size rifles. The walls were lined with shelves full of ammunition. Steve just stared, not knowing even what to ask for.
"Let me suggest a couple of pretty popular ones, for home protection," the man said, as he brought out two pistols. He described their features, and ease of use.
"That one," Steve said as he pointed to one.
"Good, choice," the man said, as he showed Steve how to load it, the type of ammunition, the safety lock, and a carrying case. "I'd advise a little practice, first. Maybe even take a gun safety class." He hesitated a second, then said, "Here's the thing, though...You never heard of me...you didn't get the gun here. Make something up if you have to, but don't ever mention my name, or implicate me in any way. Got it?"
"Sure, man, I got it," Steve said. He paid the price that was asked, almost the whole $500.00, but Steve didn't argue about it. He put the gun, in its padded, zippered case, into his jacket pocket, and left.
He was paranoid the whole way back to Missing Mile. He felt like everyone was staring at him...could see right through the car doors, through his jacket, and see the gun on display. He tried to drive carefully; he couldn't chance getting pulled over with an illegal gun in his possession. He was even scared the thing was going to go off at any second, like a time bomb, fixing to explode...probably blow his crotch off...even if it wasn't loaded.
He laughed, nervously. He even talked aloud to himself, "I can't believe I did that. I bought a gun...a damn gun I don't even know how to use. Shit, I'm scared to even touch it. How am I gonna shoot Nothing, when I'm too scared to pick it up. That kid'll kill me with his fangs before I could get it out of my pocket. I'm an idiot," his laugh now, more like a high-pitched giggle, verging on hysterical crying. "Now, I gotta figure out a way to tell Ghost. Oh, Lord, how am I gonna do that?" He worried and planned all the way home.
Ghost himself, was worrying how he was going to tell Steve about his own gun. He'd gotten home, and cleaned it, and reloaded, and put the safety on. He was sitting on the couch with it, practicing his aiming, as he had to now compensate for his eye problem, when he heard Steve pull up into the driveway. "Well, the time has come," he thought. He wondered what Steve had done, too.
Steve gasped, as he came in the door, seeing Ghost sitting there aiming the gun at the bookshelves...one eye squinched shut, and a calm look on his face.
"Wha...what are you doing, Ghost?" He barely got the words out; he'd seemed to lose his breath at the sight.
Ghost put down the gun, and looked over at Steve, "Just practicing my aiming."
"Where'd ya get that? Did you go out and buy it when I was gone?"
Ghost shook his head. "No, it's mine. I've always had it. My grandmother gave it to me when I was a kid...and Steve, I'm sorry I never told ya about it...just...it never came up. I kinda forgot about it, too." he looked up into Steve's eyes. "I know how to use it. I took it out and practiced shooting it today...out in the woods." He waited to see if Steve would tell him he'd gotten one, too.
"Well, shit, Ghost...if I'd have known you already had one, I wouldn't have had to go get this one," Steve said, as he pulled his gun out of his jacket. It was still in it's padded case, but Steve held it like it was gonna explode.
"Do you know how to use it?" Ghost asked.
"Not really. The guy who sold it to me showed me a few things...but, I never shot a gun before."
Ghost nodded, not wanting to make Steve feel bad. "Well, I can show you...we can go practice. Bring it over here and let me look at it, then."
Steve carefully handed it over, and Ghost unzipped the case. "It's a nice one, Steve," he said, as he checked the safety on it...just in case. "Ya wanna go shoot it, now? I'll show ya how."
Steve was still awed by the fact that Ghost even knew about guns, much less that he had one, and could use it, and that he'd never, ever told him about it. "All these years, and you never told me? Jeeze, Ghost, that some secret ya held out on me."
Ghost shrugged, "Well, it never seemed important. I never use it...at least in a long, long time. But since you was talking about needing one, ya know, just in case, well, I thought I'd practice again and...and...well, I'm telling ya now about it."
"Yeah, I guess you are," Steve smiled. "So, where do we go to shoot these things? I gotta learn how."
Ghost grinned. "Come on." He grabbed his jacket, heading for the back door. Steve followed.
"Grab some empty cans, too...we can shoot at them out in the woods," Ghost said.
They reached the area where Ghost had practiced earlier. Steve set up his cans, and saw the others laying there, each with several holes in them.
"You shot all these?" he asked Ghost.
"Yeah, earlier," Ghost nodded.
"How long do ya think I can get good at this?"
"Well, I don't know...ya have to practice. Maybe you'll do ok right now."
"Ok, show me what to do," Steve said.
"Ok, watch me first...remember the steps," Ghost said. He flipped the safety switch off his pistol. "Don't ever point it at anyone or anything unless you're sure you're gonna kill it."
"I know, I know..." Steve said, but Ghost gave him a serious look. "What?" Steve asked.
"Are you gonna be serious about this, and listen?" Ghost asked. "These things are deadly...even on accident, even if sometimes you forget...it'll still kill someone...maybe me, maybe even yourself...that's why I'm kinda scared to even know you have it," Ghost gulped. "You know how you are, Steve." He didn't have to spell it out. Steve knew Ghost meant when his temper flared, and he flew off into a rage."
"Ok, but you don't have to be scared of me accidentally shooting you," Steve said.
Ghost looked into Steve's eyes...a silent prayer, that Steve would never be careless with the gun.
"Ok, then, here's what you do." He pointed at the cans, held the gun up at arm's length, sighted, and fired. He hit the can. Steve jumped at the loud sound, and he was still amazed that Ghost could actually do it.
"Now, you do it," Ghost said, putting the safety back on.
Steve took his gun out of it's case. He wasn't paying attention to how he held it, just held it up, looking for the safety switch. Ghost ducked, and hollered.
"Steve! Steve! Stop waving it around! You know how many times you just pointed it right at me? Pay attention to what you're doing!"
"What? I didn't point it at you. I was just looking at it."
"Yeah, ya did, Steve...all that waving it around...just hold it with it pointed down at the ground...all the time ...until you're ready to actually shoot, ok?"
"Ok, ok, what now?"
"Walk over there, keep it pointed down. Now flip the safety off."
Steve did this, all right.
"Now hold it up and point it at the can you want to shoot. Look down the barrel and close one eye. If it's still on the can, fine. If it's not, try the other eye. Remember which one is accurate...that's the one you always use." He waited for Steve to find the right one.
"Got it? Now, slowly squeeze the trigger. It'll be loud. Then, as soon as you fire, point it down again!"
"Ok, but it seems so complicated...too much to remember," Steve said, as he was trying to sight the can with his dominate eye.
"Yeah, you're right, Steve, but this isn't TV...this is real. So go on, shoot a can."
Steve followed Ghost's instructions, with only a couple of prompts. "Wow!" he said, after the first shot. "That was loud, and it really had a kick, huh? Did I hit it?"
Ghost almost laughed out loud at Steve's remark. The pistol had absolutely no 'kick' at all to it, but he let it slide. "Sorry, dude, didn't hit it, but you were close. So, try again, and keep on...you'll get one soon enough."
He sat down, to watch Steve 'in action' for awhile.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing