“You ready?” Phil asks me.
“Ready,” I reply.
“Let her rip.”
I squeeze the trigger on the heavy revolver. With a tremendous roar, a .357 caliber bullet explodes out of the barrel and smashes through the head of my target.
“Good shot! ” Phil crows.
No, I haven’t gone postal. I’m at a gun range. The target is paper. The Magnum revolver belongs to my friend, Phil. I realign the sights, thumb back the hammer, and gently place my finger on the trigger.
“Would you like fries with that?” I growl, in my best Dirty Harry voice.
“Uh oh,” Phil says behind me. “I was afraid this would happen.”
The gun spits out a ball of fire. The target flutters as the bullet zips through it.
“No reservation?” I ask in customer friendly tones.
The silhouette target stares back mutely.
“No table for you!”
“A little angry?” my friend teases.
“I look over my shoulder.”
“What do you think?”
“That you’re enjoying this too much?”
“Oh,” I say, exhaling a deep breath. “Maybe just a tad.”
“Glad you’re on my side,” Phil says.
“So you’re friends with the owner?” I ask the target, reacquiring my sight picture.
The black and white silhouette’s still not talking.
“Ouch!” my friend yelps. “Did you have to shoot him in the nuts?”
“Water with lemon?”
“But of course Madam.”
The guy shooting the Colt .45 in the lane next to me gives me a funny look.
“You’d like pasta instead of potatoes?”
“No substitutions!” I yell. “EVER!”
“That’s six,” my friend says. “And keep your voice down.”
“More bullets,” I say, ejecting the shells from the smoking cylinder.
“I’ve got more,” my friend says. “Don’t worry.”
“Good,” I reply. “I’m just getting started.”
Phil and I spend the next hour blowing through several boxes of ammunition. By the time were done I feel strangely peaceful – like I’ve purged a dark emotion out of my body. My hands are smudged with gunpowder.
“That was fun.” I say, wiping the revolver down with a towel. The barrel’s still hot to the touch.
“It’s been years since we’ve done that,” Phil replies. “You did good.”
“And I didn’t scream Die Yuppie Mofos Die!”
“You almost did.”
“We should do this more often,” I say.
“Next time,” Phil says, “I’ll bring my shotgun.”
“That’d be nice.”
As I pack up the gun Phil grabs a broom and starts sweeping up the spent shells. I bend down, pick up some empty casings, and put them in my pocket.
“Whatcha gonna do with those?” Phil asks.
“When a customer asks for change,” I reply, grinning evilly. “Maybe I’ll mix these in with the coins.”
My friend stares at me balefully.
“Bad idea?” I ask.
“Just a thought,” I say. “It beats handing out pharmaceutical pens.”
“What are you talking about?” Phil asks.
“Don’t you read my blog?”
Phil just looks at me.
“Forget it,” I say. “Let’s get some beer.”