Sunday, July 13, 2008


I was 11 or 12 years old when we shot our neighbor in the ass. Some explanation is needed here.

My father was not a hunter, but we did have a shotgun and a bolt action 22 on the farm. The 22 was used primarily to shoot rats in the chicken coops when we were cleaning out the chicken shit. It was a summer day and my cousin was visiting for a few days. We decided it would be fun to do some target shooting with the 22 and stuck some tin can lids on the door of the outhouse for our targets. The outhouse, unused for years, sat adjacent to one of the barn sheds which was sided with corrugated tin. I honestly don’t remember if we asked permission to do this, but it is extremely unlikely that my mother or father would have given us permission if we did ask. Neither Walter or I were aware of the power and range of the 22. Because of the way the buildings were located we were shooting at an angle that allowed the 22 longs to go through the outhouse, 2 tin walls of the shed, and through a field and our vineyards, to reach the small cluster of homes situated about 150 - 200 yards away.

I don’t know how many rounds we shot before we heard someone yelling at us from one of the houses. After that everything is lost, or repressed in my memory. Apparently one of our shots hit a pregnant neighbor as she was hanging clothes to dry. To everyone’s immense good fortune the bullet literally grazed her buttocks. The local doctor came to the house and declared she was fine, though understandably frightened and angry, anger that paled beside that of my parents. Afterwards, all I can remember is Walter and I standing by the window in my bedroom, scared beyond anything I had known, not knowing what we had done and what was ahead for us. To this day, I still get an emptiness in the pit of my stomach when I think about this, and how so many lives could have been devastated by just a few inches difference in that bullets trajectory. I can only begin to imagine what my mother and father were feeling and thinking. Fortunately this occurred around 1950, before litigation became a social sport.

1 comment:

madre-terra said...

Oh my gosh!!
What a tail.
Who'd a thunk?
All I can do is sit here with my hand over my mouth in amazement.