Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Straight shooter – part 4

Straight shooter - part 1
Straight shooter - part 2
Straight shooter - part 3

by Tom Gaylord

Steve Sgouri had the most powerful gun of all, although it wasn't the most accurate. His dad bought him a Benjamin pneumatic gun for his ninth birthday. He pumped it on the ground with a long plunger in the nose of the gun, then dropped a lead BB down the barrel. His gun would go through one side of a tin can at close range—something the other boys' guns couldn't do. But Steve was lucky to hit a quarter-sized washer at 20 feet because that Benjamin had a trigger that had to be yanked instead of pulled easily. If you tried for a smooth shot it hissed and the air ran out without shooting the BB.

I tried all their guns, but the experience left me wondering what kind of gun I should get. None of them were as easy to shoot as my dad's .22, and I wasn't even good enough with that yet. So, would I ever be good enough to get a BB gun? I was starting to think I wouldn't.

We went out shooting the next Saturday, and I surprised both my dad and myself with how much better I had become. All that practice with those quirky BB guns of my buddies had made me appreciate what a real accurate gun could do. I began hitting the tomato paste can at 150 feet with regularity, and even as often as my father. So he said it was time to bring up the matter to my mom.

That evening, he got her started talking about the rats, and she went on for quite a while by herself. Four of her chicks were missing and she knew the rats were getting them. She sometimes heard the hens squawking and making a fuss, but whenever she got out to the coop, there was nothing to see. She did see the rats hanging around the compost pit where she threw her edible garbage, though, and since the pit was close to the coop, she was sure the rats were up to no good.

When dad brought up the subject of killing them with a gun, though, she said absolutely not. We lived in town and she didn't want to scare our neighbors with the noise. Besides, she said, a gun wasn't safe that close to town.

Dad agreed with her that a .22 wasn't the thing to use. But he suggested that if they got me a BB gun and I were appointed as the official rat killer, the problem might just be over. Mom said she didn't think a BB gun could kill a big rat, but dad told her it could. She said if it could kill them cleanly she wouldn't mind me having one, but she would have to be convinced that it could. Apparently, that was the moment dad had been waiting for.


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