It was Saturday morning, around 9. I went out to the kitchen, where I saw my older brother Mike sitting at the table with several guns, and he was cleaning them. Across from him was Dan, a kid from our school who moved from Oregon to stay away from his recovering parents. He was currently living in our basement, as a result of some sort of argument with his grandpa, whom he was living with at the time. He's a pretty cool guy and all, but when the two were together with several large guns, it made me a little nervous.
"Howdy," Mike said, grinning. He was holding a double barrel shotgun and swabbing the outside of the barrel with an oily rag. On the table, besides the double barrel, were two 30.06s, a .22, a pump shotgun, and an assortment of ammunition that would supply us through the holocaust.
"Are these dad's guns?" I asked.
"Yep, and we're gonna shoot 'em."
My first thoughts were how the hell we had so many guns. Then I thought if my dad knew that they had them out. Then I thought if they would care if I shot them. After all, what 15-year-old boy wouldn't want to demolish a milk carton full of water with a gun that was meant for taking down large animals?
Before I could ask, my dad came out of the hallway in his traditional attire: his ratty red bathrobe was open, so it revealed his white briefs and undershirt. It wasn't uncommon to see this sight. My friends refer this look as "going Castiglione", since he gets into this outfit once "all the work has been done". This always seemed to be right when my friends came over to my house. He usually sits on the easy chair with a glass of scotch, watching TV when this happens. I don't mind it. To be honest, I think it's funny. He thinks it's a way of life.
"Oh good, you found the bullets," he said, taking a swig from his coffee.
"Yeah, but we didn't find the .45 slugs," said Dan. He was looking down the scope of one of the 30.06's, aiming it at the hummingbird feeder outside the window, all the while grinning ear to ear.
Dad set down his cup and pulled out a box of slugs from his robe pocket, and began to bounce them in his hand.
"Yeah, I keep them in the safe at work with the gun."
"What gun?" I asked.
Right then I noticed what was in his other hand. It was a .45 Service Patroller -- The Dirty Harry Gun.
"Bad ass!" I said. I began to edge closer to the gun, and my dad took this as a cue to spin the chambers and hoist it in the air. He handed me the gun, and I couldn't believe how heavy it was. I didn't say anything else; I just looked at this massive piece of firepower. I began to wonder what kind of damage this thing could do. Instantly, I thought about cartoons about the old west, where the villain was shot with such a gun, and a giant, beach ball-sized hole sat where his torso used to be. I thought it would do something like that. Then it crossed my mind -- how come I've never seen this, or even heard about this gun before?
"Right hand of God, huh?" Dan said. He put the gun he was looking down back on the table.
"Huh?" I snapped out of my daze.
"You said it," dad said. He then picked it up out of my hands, and started to gather up a few rounds.
"You want to see me shoot it?"
Mike and Dan followed my dad out to the porch to see him shoot the .45. I went over to the large window, not because I was afraid of the gun, but because it was cold outside, and I was only in my underwear. I didn't want to miss this spectacle by putting on pants. Dad began to waddle out into the driveway; dressed in his same attire, but now with worn, tan slippers on, which would do nothing as to keeping his feet dry, since the snow was over a foot deep outside of the driveway. He then began to load the slugs into the chamber.
"This may be pretty loud, so you guys should maybe cover up your ears." He said, sliding the bullets into the gun.
"Are you wearing ear plugs?" asked Mike.
"Are you wearing ear plugs?" he asked again.
"Oh, hell no!" dad said. "I'm doin' it western style!"
Dad then snapped the chamber back into the gun, and held it at the ready by his stomach; he began to search the cold, dead forest for any sort of life, any creature that was moving in the cold northern reaches of Charlevoix County. Then, a snap and a moving branch gathered our attention, as we noticed two squirrels work their way down to the bird feeder no more than twenty yards from where he was standing, one on the ground by the feeder, and the other closer to him, elevated on a thin branch. Dad began to sway. He noticed them out of the corner of his left eye, yet he didn't move his body to gain a better shot. He just stood there, eyeing his prey. He knew he had a target, so he cocked the hammer back, and spun the chamber. His mind was ready; his nerves were set; all he had to do now was go.