I said I didn’t care, maybe I didn’t. I slid my hands inside the pockets of my hand-woven poncho and walked away, mad. Occasionally kicking a pebble or ant hill, I weaved my way through the scrub brush and yucca; back to the old metal shed we called a clubhouse. I threw myself down on the old tire seat inside. My butt hit the hard earth underneath causing me to arch my back in pain as I lifted off of the dirt, rubbing my 8-year-old jean clad bottom. “Damn it!” I yelled. I quickly looked around to see if anyone had heard me swear. But I was alone.
Everyone else had stayed behind on the bank of the dried-up river bed shooting BB guns at the Mexican kids across on the other side. Why hadn’t I stayed? Was it because I knew what we were doing was wrong? I turned my pistol over in my dirty hands, inspecting it. Opening the chamber, I poured in dozens of silver BB’s and slid the dusty chamber closed. I knew why I hadn’t stayed; I thought, as I raised the barrel to the sky, elbows bent in an armed pose I’d seen on TV. It was this worthless weapon I held in my hands. It couldn’t shoot ten feet, let alone the 50 or so feet it would take to cross the Burrendo River. In anger, I aimed the gun at the opening in the wall and pulled the trigger, sending a speeding orb away with my wrath.
I learned a valuable lesson that day as I sat alone in that chicken coop turned clubhouse. It’s one that has served me well all these years. For you see, that lonesome BB I sent soaring, hit the tin metal wall and returned to my unsuspecting face with much more force than I realized it possessed.
I was grateful for the tender skin beneath my right eye which caught the BB, sparing me the spanking I knew I’d get when I got home had it lodged in the eyeball it was closest to.
The incident taught me a couple of things. 1. Never haphazardly shoot when angry, and 2. Never walk away from a gun fight, regardless of how much or how little faith you have in your firearm.