A small chapter from one of my manuscripts.

We didn’t hear our dad talk about the twenty two caliber rifle incident often, and after we were older we learned not to bring it up at all.

My dad bought a used twenty two that didn’t shoot straight. Of course he didn’t know it didn’t shoot straight or he’d never have surrendered cold hard cash to get it… those are the ingredients for stories that stand the test of time through generations.


Now a rifle that won’t shoot right is just an expensive club, and not even a very good one at that. Not to mention the fact that it’s mighty hard to kill varmints with a club, least wise until they’ve been shot or trapped.

image courtesy of arms

Turns out that the rifle barrel’s machining was full of lead from the scads of bullets that had been skedaddled down the pipe; where the old adage, “Get the lead out,” comes from.


When my dad took the worthless gun back to the man who sold it to him, dead set on getting his money back one way or the other, the man was in a less than agreeable mood. I don’t know who the man was, but I gotta give him some credit, he was tough. Or maybe he was dumb, but he was willing to go fist-uh-cuffs to back up his less than honorable ways, or he was betting that the young man wouldn’t resort to less than civilized ways.


That flick of his wrist at the end of my dad’s vicious left jab was powerful and effective, even more effective than he’d meant it… no wonder we got all the speeches about using it for the just cause.


It was just something that my dad would have to live with; the regret of tearing the man’s eye out of his skull at the end of a punch. He permanently blinded the man in that eye for his remaining days stumbling around this earth.


It takes time to figure out the cards we’ve been dealt in life, which ones to keep, which ones to throw away. There are some that will bluff, but know when to fold, and sometimes winning isn’t worth the price it costs. The man that sold a useless rifle was gambling. My dad was just figuring out the hand he was dealt.


Just because violence becomes a way of life, and even if a person gets good at it, doesn’t mean they love it. Some of them did, but my dad didn’t. The world sees a man who can get what he wants as a tough man, a strong man. My dad looked at this life and those types of matters with a different perspective. Although he’d been molded and taught how to survive in an unforgiving world, he didn’t see it as strength. He never uttered the words to me, but I knew in most cases he saw it as weakness. The strength the world saw was really his weakness. He was like the nail that couldn’t be driven straight into the heart of the wood. It looked strong, but it bent at its weakest point. Only God can use a bent nail…