Friday, July 18, 2014

Kids With Guns.

Harold C. Jones

When I was seventeen, I went to a department store at our local mall, a place called Woolco. I went to the sporting goods section and bought a Crosman CO2 pistol of .177 calibre, model # 454. It resembles the 1911 Colt. I bought a couple of boxes of CO2 cylinders and plenty of BBs.
I paid cash, having some kind of job at the time.

Stepping out the door, I took it out of the bag, and stuffed the garbage into a green trash can by the front entrance. I loaded that gun, and shoved the pistol into my inner jacket pocket. I made sure I had the manual and the accessories. A few darts and pellets, BBs and stuff came in the box.

That was so cool.

I walked across the parking lot, got into my little sports car and drove away.

Kids with guns are just nuts.

One night, when we were about fifteen, Phillip showed up. He had a .22 calibre gas pistol, and it sure was a beauty. It was the Colt .45 six-gun. Every cowboy had one. Half the kids I knew had a single-shot .177 pellet rifle, but unfortunately, I didn’t. I eventually bought one, needing a new seal and not packing much of a punch, for about four dollars and three Estes model rocket engines…

Those were the days.

Phillip also had a thirty-two ounce glass pop bottle of homemade wine mixed with Pepsi or something inside of his parka, having sliced the lining with a knife to create a secret pocket. Like the teenagers we were, we left my dad’s garage with the fort up in the rafters and headed out into a crisp and clear winter night.

We ended up at a local scrap yard, shooting out rearview mirrors, headlights, taillights, anything kids might want to shoot at. Later, we went along the ditch behind a local grocery store, a nice long store. They had plenty of lights out back by the loading docks and the trash compactors. We all got shots at them.

I was a mighty fine shooter by the time I was seventeen. You could probably follow our progress across town on a fine summer’s evening by the trail of destruction. Shot-out streetlights, the lights at the exits of schools especially, anything. We did all kinds of crazy stuff, including shooting each other and a few other folks. You really haven’t lived until you’ve shot some neighbourhood kid in the ass with a .177 dart from a finely-tuned pellet rifle.

That big old .22 would punch a hole through both sides of a beer bottle. Whereas a .177 gas pistol by the same maker would only chip away at it. It took a few good hits to puncture it. For one thing, the mushroom shape kept the gas pressure better than a hard round BB, and for another it was simply bigger. It had more mass, although it probably flew slower. Later, my girlfriend’s brother had a hand-pumped, single-shot .22 air pistol. That gun was nice—I’ve always wanted to find another Benjamin. I would probably buy the thing. That gun would punch through a magnum wine bottle, both sides, nice little round holes.

Plunk. Just like that...

We used to get a twelve-pack of beer, or some wine, (or both.) My buddy brought his wife, I brought my girlfriend, ( I liked her gun) and sometimes her older brother, my younger brother and his girl came along. 

We shot at beer bottles dropped into the creek from a bridge on a side-road. Of course, we had to drink the beer first. The girls like shooting too. It was a fun afternoon when you’re young and kind of feeling your oats…

Back then, if you were walking through the woods and didn’t stumble across any shot-up old wrecks, you were doing something wrong. There is a whole field of post-modern archeology to be invented here. The fact is that a .357 Magnum will penetrate the engine block of a ’57 Chevy from front to back if you’re near enough…

At a later date, a buddy and I were shooting out of an old Dodge van with .22 long rifle, (Cooey .22 bolt-action.) We were sitting by the side of a secondary, gravel road, as if we could sustain ourselves by hunting our own meat or something stupid like that. A few beers helped, I have to admit. The author has also owned a double-barrel 12-gauge shotgun.

Shooting is a wonderful sport. It’s a lot of fun just plinking and fooling around.

We did some stupid shit with those guns.

Yet never, at any time, did we claim it was for our personal defense. We never even claimed it was for hunting, or meat for the pot, or for target or skeet shooting on a range. I don’t recall claiming it was a right, although I admit I couldn’t wait until I was seventeen so I could buy that CO2 pistol.

You’re not going to believe this, but I’ve even been shot in the leg with an arrow. That was my own brother, ladies and gentlemen.

That’s okay.

I blew him up with a crumbled rocket engine and a nichrome igniter and a three-volt battery a few days later. No serious harm done, although his pant-legs were burnt, and a serious message was sent that day.

Don’t steal my bike.

Don't steal my bike.
By the time we were done, we had bows, compound and simple, crossbows, butterfly knives, brass knuckles, steel-toed work boots, stun-guns, electrical traps, Molotov cocktails, (thanks to my dad for the tip) snares and boobie traps. Double-barreled shotguns…nun-chucks and churikens, blow-guns, all kinds of things really, and we also knew how to cut up fireworks and shotgun shells to make a simple anti-tank rocket. We knew how to make smoke-screens, and caltrops, and trip wires and all kinds of fun things.

We could make, or find, or buy, any damned thing you care to name. We were just kids, too.

We never claimed that God was on our side.

I guess we might have missed something there.


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