Sitting there, I had ample time to think about how stupid I was.
I am not admitting to anything illegal here, mind you, but I have fired a gun in the dark-of-night before. Midnight, New Years for instance. They make an impressive ball of fire, especially if you touch off a powerful round like a 30-06.
The guy with the tablet was my meat. Unfortunately, he was the only one I was sure had impaired night-vision. It was certain that the other guys would see the flash even if they weren’t looking directly my way.
The mind does funny things at times like that. Would it be worth cutting off the head of the snake if it meant that the other five guys caught me? I remembered the times that Vince had taken an ass-whipping meant for me. I remembered that it wasn't just him, it was hundreds of other people cowering in their gingerbread houses.
I slid off the five gallon bucket and squirmed my way back, deep beneath the over-grown yew bushes. Then I squirmed even farther back.
I operated on the belief that if I can’s see their eyes then they can’t see me. But I wasn’t worried about them seeing my eyes, I was worried about the ball of fire that would bloom off the end of the rifle’s muzzle.
I could only see the bottom halves of the men. That was not going to be a problem.
The .30-06 is an incredibly powerful round. It had been designed at the turn of the nineteen hundreds when horses and mules delivered war materials to the battlefield. It was easier to hit a horse at a half mile than to hit a man peeking out of a trench 250 yards away. Taking out that horse resulted in five soldiers being tied up humping materials to the line, material the horse used to hump.
It was no accident that the specifications required that the bullet be powerful enough to kill a horse at a range of half-a-mile.
A bullet that can kill a 1500 pound horse at 900 yards blows through a human at fifty yards like it is tissue paper. And I had seen enough episodes of NCIS to know that the plume of tissue expelled from the wound’s exit would point back to my hide and the trail to Mom’s back door.
I really didn’t want to get Mom involved.
|Section through a male, human hip at the level of the head (ball) of the femur. Image copyright Ken Hub|
The key would be to hit the target in the meatiest, boniest part of his body so the bullet wouldn't exit. The tunnel through the yew bushes was ample for my purposes. I intended to wait until my prime target turned sideways and then I was going to shoot him in the hip.
And I fully intended to live to fight another day.
Lest you think I am totally daft, I must confess to having an on-going war with red squirrels.
There are some complications that I haven’t bothered to share with the old-coots I drink coffee with. For one thing, my next door neighbor does not approve of my discharging firearms.
She has her reasons. She collects rescue dogs of some obscure, bug-eyed, neurotic ankle-biter breed. I saw her trying to walk one of the on a leash, once. A woodpecker lit off and the tiny dog wrapped the leash around her legs like a Tasmanian Devil and she toppled like a redwood. Those dogs aren’t normal.
If a woodpecker pecking a utility pole can do that to one of her dogs, I can only imagine what touching off a twenty gauge does to seven of them inside of her house. I can only imagine frogs in a blender.
The key to avoiding Karen’s wrath, I had learned, is to only take one shot.
One shot gets people’s attention. Unless you are searching for it, the best you can hope to do is raise your head and maybe guess which quadrant the shot came from.
The second shot is the one that always gives you away.
I was lucky. The rioters were setting off fireworks. The pops and booms and sparkles were apparent from our location.
The thunderous boom of the 30-06 rolled out and bounced off the houses lining the street. The five radio-minders couldn’t even guess the quadrant the shot came from, pummeled by the echoes.
For my part, I was regretting the lack of hearing protection and the muzzle flash left me with big gray spots in the center of my cone-of-vision.
The man who had been working the tablet was thrashing around in the middle of the street, screaming like a 4th grade girl after a snake had been slipped down her blouse.
I thought “You are fucked now, buddy!”
I may be good Catholic boy and go to church but I used to work in a factory and you gotta use language folks understand. I had a feeling the guy thrashing on the ground shared my opinion.
I was curious how they would get him to medical care. The first responders pretty much didn’t go out when there was rioting. They had lost too many ambulances and firetrucks (a name that sadly proved apt in more than one way).
It was difficult for personal vehicles to get around. The rioters indiscriminately threw rocks and firebombs at anything that moved. I doubted that they would be carrying him out. It seemed likely that he would bleed out, there in the middle of the intersection.
Indeed, he was well and truly “fucked”.
And then I heard the chopper.
No lie. He was air-lifted out in an unmarked chopper fifteen minutes after I dropped the hammer.
I don’t know anything about helicopters, but it was big and angular. It was painted a dark color which didn’t seem to reflect much light, so I assume it was matte and not gloss.
It didn’t take much more than a minute to load him, and as he was being loaded a person hopped off and beckoned the radio-minders and they trotted one block northeast to another five-way intersection.
I did what they tell you to never do in Hunter Safety classes. I glassed them with the scope.
The face of the person who had hopped off was lit by the same bluish glow that had illuminated the face of the man I had just shot.
BAM! Just-like-that, the second-string quarterback was in the game calling plays.