“When the Light Touched My Gun” — Max Minard ’20

There I was, a small, chubby youngling in my dark black cowboy hat.  I had two small guns placed on my belt with six extra loops around the hips.  The tips of the pistols were covered with bright white duct tape to hide the large orange ends of the barrels.  With the small hand held camera turned on, I glowered at my opponent.

He stood, several feet taller than me, staring me down with his one solitary eye.  The eye shined with a light blue hue, ready and yearning for a fight.  His eye patch lay amongst his rough, scratchy eyebrow hairs with a light gray streak jutting across the small sea of hair.  His hair was hidden partially under the dark black bowler hat with the rounded top, too small for his head.  His dark green shirt contrasted with his silver and emerald colored plastic ring with the small label “Made in China” hidden on its under belly.  The cuffs were scrunched up, out of the way of his gun hand.  My hands twitched fiercely, mirroring the hands of my opponent.  The man threatened to reach for his gun just below his hands, hidden in the dark shadow of his large fingers.

I was not myself anymore.  I was Clyde, the mysterious cattle rustler, the unforgiving killer of Billy Shackleford.  I remember seeing him walk once, tripping and falling on nothing but thin air, smiling and laughing in his feeble minded way.  I remember his face slowly falling, turning pale as blood slowly drained out of his plaid collared shirt.  A similar fate would meet my current enemy, Milford Gurden.

My hand dropped faster than the cattle I chased.  I felt the cold metal rub across my pudgy, small fingers.  The pistol quickly rose out of the dark depths of my holster.  As it rose, the sun shone off of it, bouncing directly to the small glass lens of the camera.  I pointed the pistol straight at the man, matching the white duct tape up with the small green buttons at the center of his chest.  I knew that I could not shoot my father, not in the film, not in real life.  My gun would soon malfunction, I would slap the side in an attempt to dislodge the small mechanism, but a shot would ring out, and Clyde would be lying dead on the ground.

The next few seconds whizzed by, just as they were planned.  Clyde was officially dead, a bullet stuck in his gut.  He had felt no pain, his death instantaneous.  It did not hurt me, but I clasped a thin sorrow for my dead comrade.  Once again a young boy in a cowboy suit, I jumped up and asked, “Did I do it right?”  My father answered, “You were great, son.”

Recently, I saw an old, dark green shirt hanging in my closet.  I slowly inspected the shirt, its large and wrinkled cuffs, its many green buttons.  Some of the buttons were missing, lost in the vortex of time.  There was a small tear in the right sleeve: my father’s gun hand.  I took the green shirt off its hanger and tried it on.  The buttons lined up perfectly, the cuffs unrolled at the perfect length.  I closed my eyes and looked back, seeing a small, chubby youngling in a dark black cowboy hat.

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