The polished steel of the clunky weapon outweighed my arms and overwhelmed my childish hands as my father stood courageously behind me. I struggled to direct all eight inches of the revolver’s barrel consistently down range. His gentle tap turned me around, and he patiently mouthed, “Just take your time… take your time.” I became focused.
Crack! My body jumped backwards. The gun recoiled itself toward the sky and my eyes peeled open without consent. I quickly readjusted and fixed them on the large coffee can, still intact, that lay shelved on the splintered wood beam where my sights had been fixed. A miss. My body shrugged as all the strength ran from my hairless limbs. My ears still wrung from the explosion and I was too jarred to withstand another shot. I turned to see my father reading disappointment in my face.
He winked, and stepped forward heavily, purposefully, inline with my left shoulder. I watched his elbows tightly lock and his bearded stare become deadly. He held his posture and I watched his relaxed body which refused to flinch. I envied his determination. The gun cracked again in the background, stirring my attention back to the labeled tin bucket, which now lay torn in the sand below.
I loaded the weapon for him a few more times and explained to him how my body was still shaking with vibrations - saddle and hinge joints that had quaked when I fired. He emptied the gun between our words. Like clockwork, shots rang out echoed with a metallic thud some sixty feet away. My ears, as well as my body, were throbbing, but it was fascinating to watch. It was painful too. I didn’t tell my father. I wanted to be out there. I wanted to be a good shot; whether my ten year old body would allow me to or not.
The August sun slumped into the fields and turned our sweat-laden bodies into long, drawn-out shadows. We packed the brown sack with handgun cases and ammunition, perforated metals and empty casings. My father carried the bag to our ’87 Buick...