Long Shot

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Review Chain
A quiet girl seeks a refuge during a party.

Submitted: August 24, 2017

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Submitted: August 24, 2017

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What is she doing? I peek around the trunk of the maple tree I’ve been hiding behind since the guests started coming.

She’s picking up the rifle now. It’s not a real gun, just a BB, or so I heard Dad inform everyone earlier. She swings a piece underneath the gun back and forth. I count ten swings. Now, she’s putting the end of the gun against her shoulder and pointing it towards a can sitting on a stump in the middle of the grass.

Pop! The noise makes me jump, but I can’t tear my eyes away. She slowly lowers the gun and stares at the can sitting on the stump.

“Missed,” she says, voice carrying to where I stand pressed against the rough bark. She turns and looks back. “Want to try?”

I glance behind me to make sure that she isn’t talking to anyone else, but there’s nobody around. Sprinting across the grass, I’m standing next to her before she or I can have second thoughts.

“Here.” She shows me how to flick a switch and load a tiny copper ball. Then, she “pumps” the gun. Ten swings once more. “It’s to launch the BB,” she tells me. She points out the little lever called the trigger and warns me not to press it until I’m ready to fire the gun. Finally, she passes the gun to me. It’s heavier than I imagined it to be. I put it against my shoulder and tilt my head like she did.

“See this notch and this orange bit here?” she asks me.

I nod.

“You want to line the orange up with the notch to aim. Point the orange at the can and line up the notch—“ She adjusts my grip so the two parts interlock. “—hold your breath, and fire.”

I suck in a breath and hold the gun tight to keep it from wobbling. Pressing the trigger, the loud pop sounds. The noise startles me like it did before, and the gun swings with me.

“Did I hit anything?” I ask hopefully.

She smiles. “No, but it was a good first try.”

“Can I try again?”

“Sure.”

She reloads the gun, and I shoot. Over and over, I aim at the can and miss. She doesn’t say a word about my lousy aim. She only gives me a tip on how to hold the gun to keep it steadier or how to position my body.

I want to give up, but I want to hit the stupid can more. She hands me the gun, and I aim at the can once again.

I’m going to hit you this time, I think.

The loud pop sounds, but I’ve long gotten over it. A new sound joins it, and I watch as the can topples off its stump. Letting out a whoop, I jump up and down, too excited to stay still.

Laughter and clapping erupts behind me. I spin to see that a crowd has gathered on the patio. All the party guests have come out to watch while I was distracted by can and the gun. My feet still as I clutch the gun close. There are a lot of people in the driveway, and they’re all focused solely on me.

They quiet as if sensing my rising panic. I gulp for air wondering how fast I can run to somewhere else, somewhere away from prying eyes.

But, she stops me. Throwing an arm around my shoulders, she lets out one of her loud laughs that always draw people’s attention.

“We’ve got ourselves a little Annie Oakley in the making here!” Her words earn another round of laughter from the crowd. People disperse, most back into the house, but a few make their way over to us.

They start talking about shooting and take their own turns with aiming at the now dented can. Every time I get antsy and think about slinking off, she catches my eye and smiles. I stay.

 

 



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