Posted 01-01-2004 at 08:40:37
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I dug around last night in the gun safe, cussing, for fifteen minutes before I found my .410 so that I could clean it and put the sling I bought on it. I liked to never found it. I blamed the low light and I blamed the fact that I've only shot the thing three or four times since Fred gave it to me for last Christmas last year, and I'm embarrassed to say that I couldn't remember exactly what it looked like.
I eliminated all the long guns with two barrels, and then I elminated the ones with clips, then I eliminated the black ones and the silver ones, and the ones that looked like they were older than I am. I gently set aside the one that is almost as long as I am tall, that had belonged to Fred's great great somebody or other, that is held together with baling wire and has the notches in the stock to commemorate the successes of a dead eye shot, and finally... I found it.
I carried it to the living room, and while Jenny and I watched a scary movie I went to work. First I cleaned the inside of the barrel, and much to my surprise I found it was FILTHY. It took three passes with a new patch each time to get it clean.
Then I went to work on the outside of the barrel. There was no rust, but it too was filthy. I found a scratch on the stock, and I got a knot in my stomach. Fred was going to kill me for letting it get scratched! I flipped the gun over to work on the bottom and that's when I found the gouge. I mean a GOUGE, right there on the bottom of the stock. Further inspection revealed that the black plastic (I guess) molding between the wood of the stock and the metal of the trigger assembly was busted all to he11.
By this time I was so mad that I couldn't hear the scary movie for the roaring in my ears.
He had to be the one who did this. He's the only one who used my gun except for me, and look what he'd done. Before I ever even got a chance to really use it, he'd beaten it all up. Well, he was going to get a piece of my mind! I glanced at the clock. Nine thirty. Everybody would still be up at the hunt club. I snatched my cell phone and dialed the long distance number. Jake answered the phone.
"I oughta whup your butt, and when you get home that's exactly what I'm going to do!"
"Who is this?"
"Who else do you know that's going to call and threaten to whup your butt long distance!?"
"Oh, hey Mom."
"Hey nuthin'! Jake! What did you do to my .410? It's got a scratch and a gouge and the molding on it is broken!" I was on the verge of tears. "It looks like it's a hundred years old and I never even got to use it!"
"I have no idea what you're talking about, I never used your gun."
"Oh...yes...you...did. I remember you asking to use it." I was pointing at him through the phone.
"Well I shot that cat with it that time, and I chased off a dog with it once, and I shot a snake or two, but I never damaged it."
"Well then! Who did!?"
"I dunno, but it wasn't me."
I sat there for a minute thinking. Could it be that it got this beaten up just being moved around the safe, I asked myself?
"Put your Dad on the phone." I said between gritted teeth. I was still furious, but this time I needed to move with just a tad bit more diplomacy, so by the time Fred got on the phone I had resorted to whining.
"Honeeee? Honeee! My gun is all beaten up. The one you gave me for Christmas last year! It's all scratched, and the molding on it is broken. Do you know anything about that?"
"No I,....wait a minute. What on it is broken?"
"That little piece of molding that goes between the wood and the, you know, the trigger part, it's black, and it goes from one side of the barrel, across the bottom and then comes up to the other side of the barrel, it's all broken out on the bottom."
He started laughing and I thought that was very unchivalrous of him.
"What were you doing, chewing out Jake about it?" He asked, still laughing.
"Well, shouldn't I have? Are YOU the one that did it?"
"Yes I am. I dropped it." He replied.
"When did you use my .410?" I asked, keeping my rage in check. I couldn't yell at him over it, he's the one that gave it to me.
"I never did. That .410 is mine. I've had it for thirty years. I remember when I broke it. You've been cleaning my old .410."
Oh he11! Lol!
"Well then where's MY .410?" Now I was really panicked.
"I don't know, it should be right in there with all the others."
I went back to the safe, made him hold on the phone while I tried three times unsuccessfully to put the combination in and open the door. Finally I got it right and I started the process of searching again.
"Oh, wait a minute, wait a minute, look on the top shelf." Fred said suddenly. "Look in that leather boot up there, seems like I put it up there just so it wouldn't get all knocked around. No more than you use it, I figured that would be a good place for it."
I took down the leather boot and slid the gun out and there it was just as shiny and new as it was the day I took it from under the Christmas tree, and I doubted that it even needed cleaning, but now that I had my hands on it and it was intact, it was going to get a thorough going over just the same.
"Umm...would you put Jake back on the phone please?"
I apologized to Jake for yelling at him for something he didn't do, and I guess news travels fast as I could hear the laughter in the living room at the hunt club as Fred told the other guys about how I had just reamed Jake out for beating up a gun that was beaten up thirty years ago.
"That's all right." Jake said, and I could hear the grin in his voice. I hung up the phone, the sounds of laughter ringing in my ears, and went back to the living room, and Jenny, and the scary movie, and set about cleaning MY .410.