Author credibility is important to me. I’m writing a sequel to “Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights” and my hero is teaching my heroine to shoot a rifle.
How can I write a scene about learning to shoot if I don’t know how to shoot? Gun-phobe that I am I screwed up my courage and made a date with a pistol range in New York City. I hauled my non-gun toting, non-hunting butt down there through a driving rain.
Being a romance writer, I had to find the romance in the situation. Maybe the instructor would be cute? I wore a low-cut top and snug jeans, hoping for a little flirtation with Pistol Pete. Big mistake! Who knew smokin’ hot bullet shells fly out of a fired gun, possibly ricocheting right down my décolletage? John, my instructor, warned us. Ouch! So much for sexy.
Worrying about getting burned in a sensitive place by a hot bullet shell didn’t help my nerves. John was so sweet and calming. He told me the ultimate truth, an echo from my friend, Alex, who said you can’t fire a gun if your finger isn’t on the trigger.
John is not tall and is unprepossessing with both arms completely tattooed, like sleeves, which didn’t go with his shy demeanor. He is patient and has a sense of humor. I liked him. Good thing since I trusted him with my life!
He told us how to avoid shooting ourselves in the hand or foot, how to handle the gun and all in a calm, quiet voice. His calmness made me calm. I suppose you don’t want to be too upbeat with newbie gun handlers who might go hot dog on you.
I refrained from asking him how many people get injured there each year…and if anyone has been killed. Especially after signing a waiver of responsibility for my death! He didn’t volunteer that information, probably because he didn’t want me to run screaming out the door or lose their $65.00.
We were a small class, four women, all considerably younger. Older women have more sense…most older women. The form we filled out asked about my position as a law enforcement person, I laughed and scratched that out and wrote in “writer”. My fellow classmates were probably police. Get ready to look like a jerk, Jean.
Time to load our magazines. Time to shoot. I was wondering about glasses. I wear glasses for distances. I put on my glasses then the protective glasses over them. Couldn’t see the sites at all. Chuck the prescription glasses.
I picked up the gun, loaded the magazine then pulled back the bolt. WRONG! Still, it worked. Picked up the rifle, holding it the way John told me and waited for my arm to stop shaking. After a couple of minutes I realized my arm was not going to stop shaking. Held my breath, concentrated on looking at the sites, where was that little gold ball, dammit… and fired.
The sound was deafening, then I remembered my ear muffs. No kick to the gun, though as John told us. Made a mental note to take out the part where the kick from the gun knocked April into Gavin’s arms from my work-in-progress. Have to find another way to get them together.
Had no idea if I even hit the target without my prescription glasses. So I kept shooting. Boom, Boom…this was fun. Emptied another magazine when John came over. And that’s when he said it… “You’re a regular Annie Oakley.” Surprised, I looked at him with disbelief, then I almost kissed him. I put on my real glasses and…holy crap! The bulls-eye was getting torn up!
I loaded up again. My confidence was stoked as I fired away, feeling like Rambo…until the gun jammed. You’re supposed to pull the bolt back before you put in the magazine. John bailed me out a couple more times before it sunk in. At least Rambo knew how to load his gun.
At one point, I didn’t believe I was doing so well, and wheeled the target closer to have a better look. Damn, I was Annie Oakley! I fired the rest of the magazine and practically blew the smoke from the tip. I swear I was three inches taller when I was done. I refuse to say whose face I saw while aiming at the target…but you know who you are!
I had the best score…by far! I saw by the tiny light going on in John’s eyes…he was impressed, even if I was stupid enough to wear a low cut top to the rifle range, I was one pistol-packin’ mama.
He whipped out his cell phone and took pictures of the target. I was thrilled. When we packed up, a couple of guys looked at my target and asked me, “first time?” I nodded, beaming. Crack shot, sharpshooter, Quick Draw McGraw… a rifle-virgin no more, that’s me. I’ve put John’s picture up here so you know I’m telling the truth. Am I going back? Try to keep me away.