Saturday, July 26, 2008

Things I’ve Never Done Before: Day 5: Annie Get Your Gun

"Kaelin, don't embarass me!"

That's what Peter (Searcy, of course) said as we were about to walk into the gun shop at the Knob Creek Firing Range. I got completely sick to my stomach as we walked in, but I managed to keep my Liberal comments to myself. I did think that pink gun was kind of cute. And when we were picking out a target, I thought the cartoon "bad guy" was funny.

I really don't want to get into any sort of Second Amendment debate here, but wow, was it really really scary. Also, our trip required a long drive down Dixie Highway, which was also scary in its own way. I don't know that I've ever driven down Dixie Highway before, so mark this up to two new experiences.

Before Tuesday, I had never even touched a gun before, or even seen one up close that wasn't on a policeman on the New York subway.

But in the spirit of trying new things, I agreed when Peter suggested we go to Knob Creek.

It amazes me that I could just show up, sign in, (no ID required), and start shooting. The guys next to me were shooting assault rifles. Someone had a machine gun. A nice couple was firing off those kinds of guns that you strap on your shoulder and hold near your waist. (I don't know my gun lingo.)

But the weapon that Peter guided me through was some sort of handgun, or pistol (is that the same thing?) -- called a Makarov, apparently the standard issue gun for the KGB. Historically, I found that cool. In the moment, I found it terrifying.

When I was standing there, pointing the gun out into the open field, I honestly wasn't sure that I was going to pull the trigger. The only thing I can compare it too is standing on the edge of the high diving board and preparing yourself for the jump. You're not quite sure what to expect, but once you do it, there's no turning back. I hesitated, while Searcy cheered me on, and the guy next to me fired off the loudest noisemaker of a gun I have ever heard.

I pulled the trigger. And the recoil wasn't as bad as expected, but i was gripping fiercely out of nervousness. I wasn't expecting the shells (is that right?) to come exploding off to my right. I couldn't even think about aim because I was getting over my fear and expectations. Apparently, I did hit the cartoon bad guy in the nuts, though not on purpose.

After maybe three rounds of me getting used to the idea that I was shooting a KGB gun, I decided to actually try to aim at something. We had set up two bowling pins, a water bottle, and a Welch's Grape Juice bottle, next to our cartoon bad guy target.

Searcy said, "Kaelin, take out that Welch's grape juice." Now, he had successfully destroyed two bowling pins, so I thought I'd try my aim. I hate Welch's grape juice anyway, so I didn't feel guilty aiming that Makarov. And I took one look at its evil purple label, and beady little twist cap, aimed, and blew that motherfucker away. (Pardon my language -- it's the power of the gun!)

Then, feeling cocky (ha ha ha! pun pun pun!), I turned my anger towards a bowling pin, called my shot, aimed, and took it down in one blow. And for my final shot, I nailed the cartoon bad guy in the head.

Little Annie Oakley would've been proud, so I started singing, "There's NO business like SHOW business like NO business I KNOW!! Everything about it is appealing! Everything that traffic will allow!!"

This obviously prompted another, "Kaelin, don't embarass me," so I quieted down and smiled at the nice Eastern European men with the assault rifles. They didn't smile back.

But Peter gave me a huge compliment and said, "'Looks like you might not be totally useless in the Zombie War after all, Kaelin."

He took out the bad guy some more, then when he noticed we only had two bullets left, he turned and said, "Welch's Grape Juice is the zombie. We have two bullets. You kill him, or we die. Got it, soldier?"

I took aim and fired. Low. The dust on the ground in front of Evil Welch-Zombie exploded, but the Juice didn't budge.

"If you don't kill him, we die," Searcy implored.

Last shot. I raised the gun slowly, breathed deeply (well, really i just inhaled because i think i had held my breath during every round), and pulled the trigger one ... last ... time.

And we apparently died because I missed. Although, really, I hit the ground RIGHT next to the bottle. If it had been an actually six-foot-zombie, from 50-yards-away, i would have TOTALLY blown his brains out.

I still hate guns. But it turns out, I'm a pretty good shot.

Stay tuned for the YouTube footage.

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